Hi there, today we have Hayley Campbell interviewing the great Jon Chandler, who has books out from Mould Map and Breakdown. Here’s a bit:
Your stuff is so odd I don’t even know who to say it’s like. What comics were you into when you started drawing your own?
A childhood best pal and I got lost in a fantasy world for a few years and we used to draw the characters for that, but I didn’t draw comics much growing up. I wanted them to be perfect immediately, which is daft for a kid, but it was too frustrating. I preferred writing stories I think. A little while ago in my old man’s loft I found a Star Wars one I did, which managed to mention the Earth and God.
The comedian Nathaniel Metcalfe — who you and I both used to work with in the comics shop at different times — was once looking over my shoulder when I was logging in to a bank or something and I said, “guess my password.” And he said “Doomlord.” And he was right. It was a photo-strip in the relaunched eightiesEagle that my dad started buying for me and him, when I was four it must have been. Doomlord was a shape-shifting alien with human eyes peeping out and with a sinister grin on him. He had a ring he could vanish people with, after he’d sucked their minds out with his hands, and then he’d steal their identities. It was terrifying to me. I loved it very much. It was written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, a kind of updatedThe Day The Earth Stood Still, a lot about nuclear weapons of course.
As a teen I would go into the Ipswich comic shop and was trying to get into superhero comics but was really just forcing myself. Then I gravitated to the dark bit at the back of the shop where the alt stuff was kept. After the miles of surface you’d get in the X-Men books I fell down this other world like a really deep well. I bought Panter’s Jimbo and was outraged that some kid could draw that and get it published. The next week I went back and bought another one.
I got into Hup and Eightball and that became the kind of work I aspired to after university when I tried my hand at comics. But they were horrible because my energy was misplaced going that way. I got hundreds of the first one printed and then went to a Bristol comics fair with all of them, a total isolated Bambi, and sold hardly any, though Alan Grant bought one.
Elsewhere…. last night I went to the opening of Jim Shaw’s retrospective at the New Museum here in NYC. Besides Jim’s amazing work (and hey, he’s a TCJ-contributor, too), you can catch a glimpse of work by as diverse a crowd as Steve Ditko, Jack Chick and Basil Wolverton enshrined in one of the galleries. Here’s a bit from the NY Times. I wrote an essay for the catalog and took the opportunity to write at length about Wayne Boring. Here’s an interview I did with Jim on this very site. So there’s that.
Speaking of good things, the best thing DC Entertainment has published in who knows how long is this cover by Frank Miller, who, whatever else, is cartooning better than ever. Via Twitter, I was reminded of Sean T. Collins’ excellent piece on Miller’s last major art for DC, DK2.
And more down the hatch, Dark Horse spent the most money on Moebius, I suppose, so they get the prize. I hope they don’t fuck it up. Of course they will.