Welcome back my faithful minions! I love all of you dearly for following my articles! I have returned to you this evening to bring you more magical indie goodness! You wanted the best, I'm bringing you one of the best! (If you don't catch that reference, don't tell me. It'll just make me feel old.)
Today I am bringing you Jacques Nyemb. I met him on Facebook, (ahh what a wonderful resource for connecting with creators) a few months back. Since then, he has contributed many wonderful insights in the group my partner Michelle and I run on Facebook: Mayhem and Chaos. We've been building this group on Facebook as an outlet for independent creators to come and share their work. It is also a solid resource to connect with a wide variety of artists, writers, reviewers, podcasters, and overall wonderful people willing to lend a hand.
Jacques had sent me his comics sometime back for review, at the time it was before I was a fixture here on The Outhouse. At that point in time, I would read comics and post my thoughts on Facebook. Tagging the creator, and trying to spread my love for independent comics through there. Wanting to share the work. I had gotten tied up, working on other things and didn't get around to posting about his work. However, here I am now, with a full interview with him.
I have been watching Jacques on social media through this entire time, watching for updates on his work. I've seen him working here and there on a new project. Something that looks absolutely splendid, from what I've seen. Jacques also provides various daily updates on Facebook with bits of advice for comics and writing. It's fascinating to watch the positivity he emits. Here are the bits you crave.
(Photos of Jacques by: Carolyn Scott Photography)
Tell me about the path that led you into creating comics. What was the, "I'm going to do this" moment?
I've been "hobby" writing for many-many-many years. From poetry to articles and then comic reviews. It wasn't until I started noticing quality independent comics like Will Power by Vince White, Very Near Mint By Justin Peterson and Samaritan by Victor Dandridge Jr that I realized that normal people like me can do it. Regular people with 9 to 5 jobs can hunker down and make comic books.
The fire that lit under me to actually do it, was finding out I was going to be a dad, that same year. I always told myself I would never use my kid(s) as an excuse as to why I never tried something. Instead I wanted to show them that they can have a dream and make it come true while still being there for their friends and loved ones.
So I put in a lot of work and the comics you see are what came of it.
"Not so super comics" is pretty much about a blue collar fellow, from what I gather on the first issue. Tell us more about this concept and where the story goes from here.
I wouldn't say Daniel is a blue collar worker hehe. He's an IT guy.
Illustrated by Joe Hunter and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic (all books edited by Beverly Bambury), is a story about Daniel Douglas. He lives in a world where the mild-mannered receive little attention. Each day constantly speeds by and all he sees in his immediate future in an eternal state of bachelorhood and entrapment by the company's smart phone.
If a story about a vegan, hipster dude, being bitten by a vampire; trekking with his ex vampire hunting grandma; to destroy the vampire who bit him; and David DeGrand's art; does not stand out enough, I don't think anything else I say will.
The story is about Daniel Douglas. He lives in a world where the mild-mannered receive little attention. Each day constantly speeds by and all he sees in his immediate future in an eternal state of bachelorhood and entrapment by the company's smart phone.
One day his life takes a weird turn when he wakes up with a random assortment of powers. The list of powers grows and Daniel never knows when they appear or disappear. None of the powers are particularly helpful to him and they find ways to inconvenience him at every turn. As a matter of fact, we see his life spiral into sheer chaos as he maneuvers in our unforgiving, modern world as he tries to figure out what made him this way.
Not So Super is more of a biography. It touches on my life in my 20's as I was figuring out what makes me happy. I used superpowers as a metaphor of what we tend to wish we had. Like most things in life, if it happens when you are not ready, it can be a huge burden. This story tries to show how sometimes we have what it takes to be super, but the only thing stopping us is ourselves.
"This Bites": how are you intending on making this vampire story stand out from the crowd?
If a story about a vegan, hipster dude, being bitten by a vampire; trekking with his ex vampire hunting grandma; to destroy the vampire who bit him; does not stand out enough, I don't think anything else I say will.
What is up with, "Squad"?! I wanted to eat the pages! Tell me more about this crazy book!
The Smörgåsbord Squad a two part story.
The first part is story about a quirky group of food costumed vigilante "heroes" as they prepare to battle their greatest enemy, the H.U.N.G.E.R. Pack. Which is illustrated by super talented artist Justin Wood.
The second part the origins of the Smörgåsbord Squad are explored as the details of the day the group came together are revealed. Which is illustrated by equally talented artist Kayla Miller.
Will you discuss some of the struggles and triumphs you've had as a creator that is also juggling a job and a full family?
The struggle of course is trying to be there for my family when they need me, yet find artistic fulfillment. There is an added benefit, it keeps me grounded and on a schedule. I plan things around my family. When everyone's sleeping (like right now), I spend time on correspondence and creating stories and managing my artists. I have a day job to pay my bills which help me focus on creating the vision I have in mind, without compromising anything.
The other awesome thing is I'm independent. I don't have to strive to be like a big publisher to create quality books. I can use the fact that I'm small to be closer to my audience, learn from them and create what they really want.
What are your thoughts on the growing independent market? Do you believe we are in the midst of a revolution? Do you think this collective community is finally receiving the recognition it deserves?
There has ALWAYS been people making independent comics. However, technology has made it a lot easier for creators to get their work in front of people, without having to deal with gatekeepers. It's a competitive arena but also a more open one, in my opinion. I can send emails to fellow creators and get quick responses and share ideas without fear of rejection.
I think we're a long way from creators getting the recognition they deserve though. With a consumer mindset of getting something for nothing, it's harder to assert the value of what we provide, without sounding bitter. As many of us shine through the cracks and catch the attention of media outlets, I think people will start to care a bit more.
What advice do you have for up and coming creators?
My good friend Marc Jackson, a fellow comic creator, said something to me that sums up perfectly all of the advice I've ever gotten on creating comics. He said, "Comics are a very hard business. So many guys I follow who I thought did it full time who I found out had day jobs too. It should be a passion that possibly becomes a job, if you go in expecting it to click instantly, then it's the wrong game for you."
Do you teach your children about your books? Have you or will you incorporate them into any of your stories?
At the moment of this interview I have a 3 year old and my second child is on the way. My daughter is a little to young to understand my books, but like me, enjoys looking at the art. She knows the medium and loves drawing things and tell stories about them. Little does she know, I'm slowly recruiting her to be my in-house artist haha.
I'm currently working on a comic stip-like story with Ashleigh Ekari, that features my oldest. As we progress I see the youngest one getting in there as well. I hope people will enjoy our little adventures.
Where can people find you on the web and where can they find your work?
Not So Super Comics is everywhere!
We have a website Not So Super Comics
A shop Not So Super Comics Shop
Our Facebook page is Not So Super Comics
Our Twitter Page @NSSComics
Anyone who directly wants to reach me, can on Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks Crystal for the Opportunity to chat!
Find me EVERYWHERE on the net!
Michelle Gallagher Poetry (My podcast partner in crime!)