It's a triple threat with the 2 Headed Monster Comics.com gang as we continue our SPACE coverage with Joel Jackson!
Joel Jackson's a good sport and stopped by to continue the SPACE mini-interview madness with yours truly! Check out the co-creator of Publisher 2 Headed Monster Comics answers below!
IH: Joel, for those who are new to Two Headed Monster Comics can you tell us what your role is and more importantly do you have a monster for a head?
JJ: Well, to start, I don't have a monster for a head so much as I have a monster head and even more so a monstrous beard. As for my role at @2hmcomics, I am the owner/creator and one of the artists. My wife Melissa (the second head of the monster in the logo) and I came up with the name when we were making a comic about us as our wedding favor. I hadn't self published for years ( previously as AAA Comics and Crap in a Hat Comics) and that got me back in to it. After some collaboration with my now writer James Moore we put out Radio Free Gahanna #1 and went from there.
IH: Your artistic involvement in Two headed Monster Comics, was it your choice or James Moore to select the green/pink promo for the "Little Monsters EP" preview? Because I love me some green and pink now-a-laters!
JJ: The color Choice was all mine. I really like the combo, it really pops. Modern and electric. Sit this book next to most comics on the shelve and for better or for worse, this sucka' is poppin' out! To be fair though, it was James's title and his idea to use the photo of my daughter Tilly (all mustachioed out) on the cover. Very fun!
IH: Seriously now. Your artwork has a nice blend of black/white/grey tones cartoonesque character designs on top of lushly detailed backgrounds. I love your ability to draw dinged up cars. It's like Rob Liefeld's missing wrist. What's your background and what tools do you consider essential to mark and art making?
JJ: Not sure how to take the Leifeld comment, but thank you for the kind words there.
As for my background, I have been self publishing on and off since high school, throughout college and now with @2hmcomics. I grew up in south western Pennsylvania ( a town called Scottdale) and moved here to go to the Columbus College of Art and Design where I graduated with a BFA in illustration. I currently work for Lane Bryant as a graphic designer in the marketing department.
When I work on our books I am now, with a few exceptions, completely digital. Radio Free Gahanna #1 and the OH SHIT! short, in The Little Monsters EP#1, were drawn traditionally then colored and lettered using a combination of Photoshop (colors) and InDesign (lettering and layout). For everything else I have done for @2hmcomics ( RFG #2, The Toyetic Adventures of Coco Fiasco #1 and The Little Monsters EP #1) I do all of my drawing and coloring using Manga Studio on my Modbook (This is a Macbook that has the screen and keyboard removed, then replaced with what is essentially a Cintiq screen, so that I can draw directly on the surface .), finished off with a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and then off to the printer!
In regard to my backgrounds and cars and such, I do my best to take a lot of reference photos. Not so much for the more fantastical stuff (Coco Fiasco for example), but mostly for Radio Free Gahanna. The figures are straight out of my head, but I actually go to Gahanna, OH and shoot the places where the stories take place. So, when I am drawing I have the photos right there next to me, so I can give the art the details that make it feel genuine. I try and take the approach that they take in animation. Detailed backgrounds that our more iconic characters can live in and pop out of, yet they feel integrated. Backgrounds are something of a rare thing in American comics of the past few decades. They happen, and seem to be happening more, thankfully but we all know it is a problem.
IH: Joel, Two Headed Monster has been pretty quiet since SPACE 2011. What have you guys been up to since last year's expo?
JJ: To be completely transparent. I had a kid and bought a house. The End. It definitely effected last year and partially has this year, but we are on the upswing. We are adding more books and some surprises this year. I plan to personally draw more than one book a year from here on out. Turning a negative into a positive though, I really appreciate it when people give me shit for not putting out more books. It shows that they enjoy what we are doing and disappointing them is the last thing I want to do. My new Little Monster Tilly and our new home were totally worth it, trust me.
IH: In addition to some new Coco Fiasco and Radio Free Gahanna stories, I see that Little Monsters has a segment called Oh Shit, which was created exclusively by you. What's the premise of Oh Shit and what were the inspirations for it?"
JJ: Well, this was originally supposed to be a black and white mini comic but that didn't really work out, so I colored it and put it in the sampler. I wanted to do a story that was one long strip where the beginning is also the middle and the end is the actual beginning. It kinda' goes in a circle. In the first "panel" the space man crashes and in the last panel you can see him blasting off from a planet and trace his path back to where he crashes. All in all it is really just a storytelling technique study that gave me a chance to draw a bunch weird stuff ( including that fleshy suggestive eyeball monster....ugh that vein.)
IH: I personally want to know if there'll be a sequel called "Oh F---!", (editors note, J.M. Hunter has been verbally reprimanded and ordered to donate a 10 spot to the Outhouse Swear jar).
JJ: That may just have to happen... I totally want to do that now. Maybe an online only thing. We'll see.
IH: Joel, what can fans, friends, and fiendish single-headed monsters expect to see at SPACE this year? What are you bringing to the table?
JJ: Well we have out new book The Little Monsters EP #1 that is a sampler chock full of new shorts from Radio Free Gahanna, The Toyetic Adventures of Coco Fiasco, The origins of 2 Headed Monster comics, OH SHIT! And the introduction to a new book from James Moore and Katie Valesca (of nextyearsgirl.com fame). It is going to be a great introduction for new readers as well as new stories for our current ones. We'll also have pins, prints and Katie and I will be more than happy to take commissions.
IH: What are some of the projects you or T.H.M have coming out?
JJ: Like I mentioned above, The Rotten Ones from James and Katie, we are collecting Katie's Next Years Girl for print, Radio Free Gahanna #3 is being drawn right now and there may just be something new in development from James and me that may just be named... well just wait and see. I will tell you it is our take on classic monsters. Not what you think. Trust me, James is cooking up something special here. In addition to all of that I have been thinking about adding some video and audio extras to the website and books as additional supplementary material. Commentary, fake commercials etc... We'll see.
IH: What would you like to work on or achieve that you haven't already? Name in lights? World Peace, worlds in pieces? Etc?
JJ: I would like to get more work out there and build up the @2hmcomics name. I think that we have an interesting voice and I would like more and more people to discover it. We try and push the boundaries of the medium and do things that use what it has to offer. Getting digital comics online to buy as well as web comics for free. I would like to add to our roster, I want our brand to grow and become something that really stands out amongst all of the sequential static out there. Quality is really important to me and I don't want to just put things out to put them out.
IH: Thanks Joel for taking the time to chat with us and have a most awesome con experience at SPACE 2012!
JJ: Thank you SO much for the opportunity, it was a pleasure.
Oh, and don't forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter @2hmcomics and stop buy our website 2headedmonstercomics.com for news and to buy stuff.
Remember, all this week, The Outhouse will be showcasing SPACE! If you live in the Mid-West and are looking to check out some great small press comics, be sure to come!
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: J.M. Hunter