The Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE) is happening THIS WEEKEND in Columbus, Ohio, and Stephen Hines will be there! But first he's here, and you can read about it right now!
The Outhouse's own indie comics expert (and creator) J.M. Hunter, otherwise known as the InDIY Hunter, caught up with Stephen Hines, one of the guests at this weekend's Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE) in Columbus Ohio. Hines is a novelist, a graphic novelist, a webcomic... ist, and, well, let's just say one hell of a comic creator!
InDiy Hunter: Hey Stephen, How's it going?
Stephen Hines: Great, Hunter. I just got a fresh haircut, and I'm over-caffeinated and ready to rock!
IH: Your claim to fame is being an Albino kid from Ohio. Have you been working on your tan?
SH: As my wife says, I get tattoos in order to have a complexion. Haha! If only I had more money, then I'd be inked from head to toe!
IH: Okay seriously. You'll be at SPACE in several days. What can con attendees expect you to bring to the "table"?
SH: Weirdness, pasty white skin, and a dark sense of humor. My comics range from over-the-top satire to nonfiction memoir. Oh, and my wife is pretty so she's the eye candy at my table. :)
IH: Being married to one myself, I find that teachers these days often get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment (that's 'no respect' for you newbs). As a creator, do you feel like you have a dual identity? I'm not asking you if put on a pair of tights, but how do you juggle the two worlds: comics vs. classroom?
SH: Great question, dude! You aren't kidding! We get the Dangerfield treatment! Lately, teachers have been the political scapegoats of choice in this country. Fortunately for me, the anger this treatment causes is usually channeled into creative endeavors, such as writing comics and music. I don't think I really strive to pull off a dual identity. I use a pen name, but most of my students and co-workers know my pseudonym; so apparently I would suck as a super hero. :)
My edgier stuff that I'm starting to put out (Icon-O-Plastic) is just not available in my classroom. All my other comics (and my young adult novel) are in there for my students to read.
IH: So judging from your book Hocus Focus and other projects, I take it you like the punk rock. What influences find their way into your written/comics work? Comics, music, politics whichever?
SH: I'm a huge music geek. Punk and metal are my two favorite genres, but I have everything from mariachi music to the Beatles to Cee Lo to Slayer on my iPod. My favorite band, the Wildhearts, has a big influence on my writing. Some of my new comic, Icon-O-Plastic, is based on their song called Nexus Icon, which is an analysis of the effects of fame on musicians as well as the fans.
Other than that, the biggest influence on my writing is my subconscious. I get most of my story ideas from whacked out dreams I have. I keep a journal beside the bed for writing down strange dreams.
IH: Alternative comics and indy comics are a counter-culture. What's the landscape of this culture look like to you now and where do you see it going in the next year, and the next decade, at SPACE and elsewhere?
SH: Wow. Another fantastic question! With all of the advances in technology making it easier and more affordable for people to make their voices heard, the landscape looks pretty crowded. Hahaha! The toughest thing is trying to get any attention. Often I feel like the quiet, shy kid in the classroom who desperately wants some attention from the teacher, but there are 24 other spastic hooligans swinging from the rafters who're louder.
I'm not sure I have the foresight to have an intelligent opinion on where indie comics are heading over the next decade. Hopefully, if I keep trying to get better, while staying true to my vision, more and more folks will climb on board for the ride. My dream is to have a medium-sized cult following who are loyal. Basically, I want to be the Lemmy Kilmister of comics. :)
IH: Post-SPACE, Stephen, what can audiences expect to see from you? Do you have any projects coming up?
SH: Issue #4 of Valedictorian USA is being illustrated at this point. I'll begin work on issue #4 of my memoir series called Crackerstacker. A very talented artist is illustrating issue #1 of a mini-series I wrote called Zombie Fabulous! Oh, and I'm planning on finally beginning a sequel to my young adult novel, Hocus Focus, this summer.
IH: What's your dream project?
SH: My dream project would be to do a graphic novel about a washed up punk rock band full of middle-aged dudes who want to take one last stab at the big time. I'm picturing something along the lines (art and characterization-wise) of Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison/Tricked. Or, even better, I could learn photography and work for SuicideGirls.com!
IH: Last tell the people where they can find you at SPACE and on the internets Mr. Hines.
SH: I'll be at table #98 at SPACE and you can find me on the internets at www.stephenhines.org.
You can meet Stephen Hines and a ton of other indie superstars at SPACE this weekend. You can find out more about Stephen and BUY STUFF at his website!
Remember, all day today, The Outhouse will be showcasing SPACE! Starting at 8AM Central, we'll be posting something new every two hours, including more information about the con and its atendees, and some interviews with several guests! And we've got even more planned for later this week! Keep checking back all day for more SPACE as we kick off the week leading up to the event with SPACE Monday!
The Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE)
The Mid-West's Largest Exhibition of Small Press, Alternative and Creator Owned Comics
Over 170 exhibitors
April 21 & 22 Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 10am-5pm
Ramada Plaza Hotel And Conference Center in Columbus.
4900 Sinclair Road Columbus, OH 43229
Off I71 at the Morse / Sinclair exit. Free Parking!
Admission $5.00 per day and $8.00 per weekend.
Written or Contributed by: Jude Terror