what is your name?
how would you describe what you do?
I make comics about sex and death. I also write about comics. I’ve co-written a videogame before. What else? I dunno. I make things and say things basically. But not always at the same time.
what are you currently working on?
A serialized book called Goro, which is a soap opera about a colombian assassin named Goro who is hired to kill the evil wealthy matriarch of an American family. That’s the most I can say without giving anything away, but it’s black and white. Most of my work is in color, but I wanted to just focus in on tones, plus I’m self-publishing it monthly, and guess what is cheaper to print. But I actually always wanted to do it in black and white, because I think weird things have happened with my line art that coloring has started to obscure. Hopefully it will be like a fucked up Young Romance, but who knows. I just think comics are so great at melodrama and heightened emotions, that I wanted to work with that, and so I am. I hope it’s as crazy as La Usurpadora. Joan Collins and Gabriela Spanic watch over me, hopefully.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
Egon Schiele probably. And then maybe Evangelion and Ingmar Bergman. A huge influence on Goro is Kyoko Okazaki. I think she is the best there has been in terms of the total package of her art style, her writing, and everything. Goro is definitely me working through Kyoko Okazaki and to a lesser extent Jose Munoz and trying to pay back what those artists gave to me by finding what they hit in myself and spewing it back. They say if you meet your god on the road, to kill it, but I say vomit on their shoes. It’s just as annoying to everybody else, but probably a slightly less dickish move.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
I don’t know that there is one. I know for the videogame I worked on, people were trying to say that it was a transphobic game because it has a trans woman who is a vampire and she killed some bigots…I don’t know…the internet is fucking weird. The on the other side, other nerds were saying that the game was this SJW thing. And I don’t even know what that means. Anyone who uses the term SJW with any level of seriousness, I just imagine that they spend most of their day playing first person shooters and posting on message boards like it’s 2004. There’s only so much credence you can give those kind of people. Militant nerds are really obnoxious. It’s messed up. BUT. whatever. It’s weird. That game I put in incest, necrophillia, and a homocidal vampire monkey…I don’t know exactly what social cause I was meant to be advancing there, but hey whatever. I’m definitely personally very politically engaged. But as far as my work is concerned, I’m not interested in politics. I was talking with one of my friends the other day and she was talking about how she was an anarchist rather than a communist, and it’s like you can be a fascist, a communist, an anarchist, or a religious fanatic now–all at the extremes–I’m much closer to a religious fanatic than I am a communist or anarchist. I would be happier being a nun than in a political party. And I think that takes up most of the space of my work. Though if you follow me on twitter, I have a lot to say politically, and would definitely fit in some spectrum between socialist and communist. There’s a tarkovsky quote for all of this in sculpting time somewhere, I am almost certain …what was the question?
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
I think the strength of comics is that I don’t need to ask permission to make them. I just sit down and do it. And I can do it with just a think to make marks and something to make marks on. Figure out the way to show it to someone, and boom. Comics. The weakness of the medium is the direct market making comics a niche thing, when everyone should be reading and enjoying them. There should be a comic for everyone, like there is in movies. Taking comics off of newsstands and out of grocery stores was dumb as hell. But the internet is starting to balance some of that stuff out more. I don’t even have to use a publisher to get my comics to the people who would want to read it. That’s pretty fucking cool. I literally do not have to ask anyone anything at any point in the process of making and selling a comic. I could make the whole thing and never talk directly to anyone. That’s really amazing.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
Given me access to a wider audience, and made it easier for me to color work. Cheaper to use screentones.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Practice kindness. I think Jack Kerouac said that. It doesn’t say Be Kind. It says practice kindness. Because you have to work to improve on it. I think it’s about learning to be open to the existence around you. Try to not leave things worse in your wake. It’s not comics specific I guess, but if you listen better, read better, empathize better, you’ll probably be a better artist for it. And even if not, at least we won’t be worse for having had you around, which is alright. I think Kerouac said that. I don’t know. That’s literally the only advice I could think of that I have remembered. I read it like 15 years ago. Oh he also said “you can’t fall off the mountain”, which is both a thing that is very true, and very not true, but I think contextualizes any sort of fear you might have about trying to do any particular thing creatively. Probably moreso than it even applies to mountain climbing, because I think, and I don’t climb mountains, but I think you can actually fall off the mountain. Probably my real advice would just be to stay off mountains. I climbed pikes peak when I was a kid with socks for gloves and now my right pinky bends weird because of frostbite. Or something. Really fucking miserable. You know who you’ll never catch on a mountain again? Me. Mountains fucking suck.
where can we find you online?
@mercurialblonde on twitter, tumblr, and instagram
My website is here:
It has links to places to buy my comics.
what are you reading at the moment?
Poems by Mayakovksy, Arseny Tarkovksy, the comte de lautreamont, letters between Dali and Garcia Lorca, Shuzo Oshimi’s Happiness, Re-reading Goodnight Punpun by Inio Asano, re-reading Blame! By Tsutomu Nihei, re-reading Kyoko Okazaki stuff, some Blutch comics, some photography books of Daido Moriyama and Eikoh Hosue, some Brendan McCarthy Judge Dredd comics, that Billie Holiday book Munoz and Sampayo made, Lupin III, Ryuko by Eldo Yoshimizu, Baki the Grappler by Keisuke Itagaki. Probably a bunch of other stuff too. I read a lot of things at the same time and just switch day to day depending on what mood I’m in or what mood I want to be in. Your output is only as good as your input I think. The quickest way to get better at writing is to read better. Same with drawing and comics.
what are you listening to at the moment?
anything else we should know?
Give money to the ACLU and CAIR. Don’t let politicians turn you against your own neighbors. A neighbor has your back when shit starts. A politician will stab you for a dollar. Take care of the people around you.
any suggestions for who we should interview next?