The Summer Blog Blast Tour continues here at lectitans with Kazu Kibuishi.
Kazu is the creator of the online comics "Copper" and "Clive & Cabbage," the graphic novel Daisy Kutter: the Last Train, and the editor of the Flight anthology series.
I'll have a review of Daisy Kutter later this week.
And now, the interview!
Both in the back of the Daisy Kutter trade paperback and on your website you include glimpses into your comic-creation process. What goals do you have in providing this look behind the scenes? What kind of response to this unique perspective have you received from fans?
I didn't have any specific goals in mind but I did get a lot of people asking about the process, so I decided I should include some of that stuff in the book. If it does help others get better or faster at drawing comics or inspire them to get started, then great! It can only help the rest of us in the comics industry.
In Daisy Kutter, you seamlessly integrate an Old West setting with futuristic technology. Why did you choose to put these two elements together?
I just love drawing robots and creatures. When I decided to work on Daisy Kutter, I knew it would be a western, but the idea of not being able to draw robots and creatures saddened me, so I just incorporated them into her world.
The Daisy Kutter TPB has the number 1 on its spine. Do you have plans for more stories featuring Daisy?
Yes. I even have at least two stories in mind. I'm just not sure when I'll be able to tackle them. She's a wonderful character, though. I love writing and drawing her adventures.
On your blog you mention that Flight was born at the Alternative Press Expo. Would you give us more insight into how that happened?
The first year I attended the show, my friends and I didn't have very much to sell at our table. We decided that we should put something together for the next year. It was supposed to be a small, black and white book, but as soon as the wheels started turning, the project just got bigger and bigger. The next year we showed up, but without an actual book. We set up a booth at the show with the intention of pitching the project to various publishers. Luckily, Erik Larsen from Image Comics saw us there and said he would publish it immediately.
Daisy Kutter was picked as one of 2005's ALA Best Books for Young Adults and Flight Vol. 3 was a finalist for the Cybils awards. What were your intended audiences for these books?
It's hard to say who the intended audience was for Daisy Kutter. I think I was trying to do something different than what I was known for, which was mostly very kid-friendly material. However, no matter how cool or edgy I try to be, my comics usually tend to be considered kids' material anyway. As for Flight 3, I leave the book in the hands of the artists, so the intended audience covers a broad range of people. I only have control of choosing the artists and putting the material together when it's done. I do, however, encourage the artists to make the material appropriate for all ages.
Your new graphic novel, Amulet, is set in a fantasy setting. How is the world-building for this story different than what you have had to do for your other work?
Since Daisy Kutter was all about someone reconciling their differences with their past, I didn't give much thought to the world in which Daisy lived. All of the focus was on the emotional journey of the character and the world only worked to service the themes and mood of the story. While this is true to a certain extent for Amulet, once the fantasy stuff started kicking in, I realized I needed to take the world-building much more seriously. In fact, I began to realize most fantasy literature was comprised almost entirely of world-building, especially when writing about children. Young characters tend to have very little in the way of emotional conflict, since they're so new to the world, so I needed the fantasy world to provide most of the conflict for me to work with. Alledia, the world in which the kids travel to, became a living, breathing character in the book.
There has been much discussion among librarians, educators, and children's literature experts about how graphic novels can be an integral part of reaching reluctant readers. How do you think webcomics can play a part in this process? What are some webcomics you would recommend for younger readers?
Hmm, I actually think webcomics wouldn't be all that effective in getting reluctant readers to begin reading. Chances are, if the kid is online looking for a webcomic, they're already reading plenty of information. However, if one were to print the webcomics in book form, then I can see how they could help. The web is a wonderful place to get comics started, and offers the artists a chance to gain confidence and a readership to keep them going. That said, I do recommend Ben Hatke's "Zita the Spacegirl" and Kean Soo's Jellaby, both of which are among the best comics for younger readers being produced today.
Thanks for joining me, Kazu!
Eager for more? You can read Kazu's other Summer Blog Blast Tour at Finding Wonderland.