Friday, April 03, 2009
Amost 20Q : Mysterious Adventures
I’ve started a new feature here at Pulp 2.0 called “Almost 20Q” named of course after the infamous regular column in Playboy magazine. To inaugurate this bit of journalistic buffoonery and “behind-the-scenes” madness, I have decided to put the spotlight on Matt Crap (honest, that’s his name) and Scott Godlewski aka Scotty God -- two creative pulpsters who decided to take the bull by the balls and publish their own comic Mysterious Adventure Magazine.
I was first made aware of this book thanks to one of my pulpy agents Rolf, who is able to sniff out all sorts of things across the web. You can see his work here.
1. What is is about the Silver age and pulp that attracts you guys?
MC: I really like the "flash bang" aspect of Silver Age stuff. Everything is loud and in your face, very unapologetically upbeat and sometimes even campy. As far as pulp, that's a whole different animal. Pulp to me, is a lot like Punk, it means different things to different people. I like that my idea of a perfect "pulp comic" is a gritty drawing of a guy in a fedora walking through the rain and this guy's idea of a "pulp comic" is some weird sci-fi story with aliens rayguns...that's good biz.
SG: I like the hero beating up the bad guy. Not that comics today aren't good, but there's something great about the larger than life hero punching the problem until it's solved and only taking one episode to do it. I guess I miss that compressed storytelling style.
2. Who are your favorite artists (living or dead) who you count as influences?
MC: I know eveybody goes straight to Kirby (and I'd be lying if I said he didn't/doesn't effect me) but more indirectly through other guys. My top influences would be Erik Larsen, Bruce Timm, Mike Mignola, and Ron Frenz. I'm constantly amazed with their output or spirit.
SG: Jim Lee got me looking at comic books, but the guys I really pay attention to these days are Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Mark Schultz, Kevin Nowlan, and Darwyn Cooke.
3. Why publish yourself?
SG: Control and convenience. I really wanted to have a new book for the Phoenix Comicon in 2009 and doing it ourselves was the only way to guarantee we could have it in time.
MC: Who else is gonna do it?
4. We've all heard the horror stories - give us a self-publishing horror story.
MC: That's a tough one. The positives have far outweighed the negative. Honestly one specific horrific situation doesn't come to mind. Don't get me wrong, if Scotty reminded me, I'm sure I could go off on it.
SG: There weren't any real horrifying moments. Wearing the hat of publisher in addition to creator is a bit stressful, especially when working with other creators. We got lucky, though, that everyone on the book was so cool.
5. What were you thinking when you embarked on this pulpy publishing adventure?
MC: Besides the primal drive to create, I would say that I was sick of not contributing to the industry or scene or whatever you wanna call it. I wanted something that I helped make out there in the world for other people to see. I know while we were doing it, I kept referring to MAM as a 40 page business card. Almost as a way of diminishing the importance of it being successful as a storytelling device and more like a job application. But I think that was a way of distancing myself from being as emotionally invested in the project than I really was. When really it was my main focus for a number of months.
SG: I wanted to make a cool, cheap book that could be picked up cold and be enjoyed by anyone. Unfortunately, the cheap part isn't as possible as I would like.
6. What are your long-term goals with your characters?
MC: That's actually the kicker. I had originally intended the characters I had created to be pretty disposable. I was trying to take small excerpts from existing story ideas, that could stand alone, and present them without a past or future. The problem was that the process helped flesh out those ideas even more and now the continuation of those ideas won't stop. As far as actual plans…
SG: Make lots and lots of money on licensing and media deals. And do whatever the hell I like, story-wise.
7. Who do you want to work with?
MC: As gay as this sounds, I wanna work with Scotty. He's a goddamned genius, case closed. I'd be buying his stuff even if I didn't know him. He's one of those guys who has the drive, vision, skill, and talent to write his own ticket. I'd put money on Godlewski tearing it up at one of the BigTwo (or both) later in his career. I wanna work with Ben some more too. I didn't think he'd be able to do it, he was the last guy added to the project, and he absolutely floored me with his content. But other than being a kiss ass, I'd love to work with Ryan Dunlavey, Scott Wegener, or Ryan Ottley to name a few.
SG: Other than Matt and the fine folks already working on the book? I think Chuck Dixon would craft a killer Flying Phantom story. And if Joe Kubert drew it, I'd die a very happy man.
8. What's your working methodology ?
MC: I don't know if I have enough stories under my belt to describe a standard method. Scott and I worked differently then Joe and I and I'm sure I was a different kind of pain in the ass to Scott than I was to Ben. It's all relative.
SG: When writing, I break the story down by page, working out the beats and pacing. Then I script it out in full before designing layouts. I draw out a final thumbnail at 50% of the board size and then enlarge and transfer it to the art board. Using a lightbox to transfer the layout saves me the time of trying to replicate the composition on the larger board. Then I pencil and ink.
9. What pulps influenced you the most?
MC: Sadly for me I think most of the influence is gleaned from how pulp effects other mediums. I know I'll kick myself later, but as far as a direct influence, I don't have one to give.
SG: I have to be honest and say that I've only recently started actually reading any pulp novels. I've always had an idea of what they were like from seeing the cool covers and reading about them. And I've come to discover that they're just as cool as I thought they would be.
10. What else are you interested in? Movies, animation, house building ?
MC: I love movies. Horror movies to be specific. Good horror, bad horror, big budget, no budget. I think it's a genre that's riddled with expectations while having no real expectations to speak of. A horror movie isn't expected to be brilliant or Oscar worthy so you have a real feeling of "anything can happen" and some rules of fiction can be bent or downright disregarded.
SG: I'm a big movie fan, though my wife will tell you that I hate almost all of them.
11. How has the internet changed how you do business?
MC: This book would not exist without the internet. I've never met in person with Scotty, Ben, Joe, Matt, or Danny. But I made a comic book with Scotty, Ben, Joe, Matt, and Danny. I don't think any of us live in the same state as the others. Without looking it up (forgive me fellas) AZ, OR, MA, MN, CA, and Danny across the pond in the UK.
SG: It makes business possible. We know all of the guys contributing to the book through deviantART. Our printer, Ka-Blam, sells our book online through IndyPlanet. The internet makes self-publishing an option for anyone willing to put in the work.
12. Raygun or jetpack?
MC: I've always wanted to fly, but ever since the Rocketeer, I've been worried about burning the back of my legs. So i guess I'd go raygun...actually screw my legs, I wouldn't need them, I'd have a jetpack.
SG: Raygun. I don't like heights.
13. Domino mask or cowl and cape?
MC: Gotta go domino mask
SG: Domino mask.
14. Lone adventurer or Team leader?
MC: Lone adventurer
SG: Working in a vacuum stinks, but I don't think of myself as a leader. So I choose C.
15. Underwater or underground secret headquarters?
SG: Underground. I also don't like the water.
16. Favorite movie serials...
MC: From the few that I've actually seen? I really dug the Lone Ranger when I was a kid and always like Sherlock Holmes stuff. If it counts, the Fleischer Superman cartoon STILL gets me all nostalgic.
SG: My dad used to have some VHS tapes of the first Batman serial. I always thought those were cool. I've got the Captain Marvel series on my Netflix queue. Indiana Jones counts, right?
17. Moment you understood that comics and art was what you wanted to do?
MC: I wish I could nail that down to one moment in time, but I don't remember. I think I finally resolved to that fact when I realized I couldn't draw a whole cartoon on my own.
SG: The moment I realized that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic book.
18. What's a typical work day like?
MC: Go to work, work at a hump job, come home to do the whole "wife and kids" thing, and fit in as much nerdity as possible in the gaps.
SG: I work a day job from 8-5, come home and spend time with my wife and son, and then draw or write until I can no longer see straight.
19. What more is coming from the guys at Mysterious Adventures?
MC: Without giving away anything specific...more Flying Phantom, superhero vigilantism, more mythology, more folklore, more fun.
SG: Hopefully a lot. We're collecting stuff for the Summer issue now. There's a nice Cloak story in that one. There may be other Flying Phantom and Green Ghost stories in future issues. We'll see.
Buy their pulp here.