Earlier this month, we posted a Kickstarter pitch by Gavin Dillinger for Laughter, a new comic by Dillinger, artist Y. Sanders, and colorist by Gab Contreras with an interesting twist on demonic possession:
After watching their father die at the hands of a demon, a family is forced to process the trauma of not only loss but the realization that there is another element to life which they were previously happy to ignore. With virtually no resources in place to assist in this, the family is forced to cope with whatever is at hand. This would be hard enough if the demon didn't hang around just to laugh at their misfortunes and pick at the corpse of their father, though never touching the family.
That Kickstarter has less than a week left and less than $1,000 to hit its goal, so Gavin, my old buddy from my days at The Outhousers.com, decided to hit up the well once more with an interview. Can we help push Laughter past its goal by April 17th? Also, look out for a SHOCKING REVELATION toward the end of the interview…
Jude: Just a few years back, it seemed like it was virtually impossible to be a comics journalist without eventually landing a job working for a publisher, making it seem like getting a job making comics was the true end-goal of comics "journalism." But it doesn't seem to happen as often anymore, as if that pipeline has been shut down. So why did you wait till now to launch your comic?
Gavin: I never liked the idea of a career based upon a series of favors. If I suck at making comics and don't belong in the industry, then I don't want to be getting gigs. I want people to like what I write because I wrote something halfway decent.
Jude: You spent a considerable amount of time at defunct satirical comics news site The Outhouse burning every bridge in the industry. Is that why you have to crowdfund?
Gavin: Yes and no. I suppose I could have massaged comics relationships and earned a position writing nostalgia books like some former comics journalists, but that didn't feel authentic for me. I had some opportunities to work with publishers on this book, but it just never came to fruition, so I got tired of waiting. Y. was in agreement and supportive on the decision to Kickstart, so we went ahead with it.
Jude: Your comic is about a family recovering after experiencing demonic possession. This seems to be the least exciting part of demonic possession. Is your penchant of focusing on the unexciting what led The Outhouse to close after I left?
Gavin: To be fair I was also gone. The site shut down largely due to the expenses of a forum someone added to the site but stopped using after shamelessly selling out to write clickbait for the first site that offered him a paying job.
Jude: I have no regrets, Gavin. I'm getting paid to publish this interview. True, I get paid in unsold mint copies of Rich Johnston's Iron Muslim #1, but I'm told they'll be worth something one day.
Gavin: I have no regrets either, Jude.
Jude: Not even getting the nose ring?
Gavin: I feel like we've spent too much time talking about me personally. Could you ask me questions on the comic or something? That's really what I want to talk about.
Jude: I'll ask about the comic, but I don't care what you have to say about it.
[turns to Y. Sanders]
Jude: Y., what has been the biggest challenge approaching the book?
Y.: The biggest challenge approaching this project was how to convey this very emotionally driven story visually. Before I start my thumbnails, I do preliminary sketches to determine how I can lay out the essential elements of a particular scene. The planning takes time, as it is crucial.
Jude: While the book advertises itself as primarily a drama the preview pages reveal some graphic content. What do you reference in drawing something gross like exposed tissue?
Y.: Sometimes I find drawing horror to be a waking reminder of your own mortality. I search for images of autopsies, victims, and other artists' works. I reach very deep within my knowledge of human anatomy in order to create something grotesque. It's a disturbing yet, rewarding process.
Jude: When is the collaboration process like in selecting the colors for the artwork?
Y.: I usually gather reference together of stuff that I find to be pretty awesome as a guide, but I am more interested in Contreras's interpretation of the story. As artists, I think it's important to let creativity shine through, instead of suppressing it by imposing a rigid style guide.
Gab: Like Y said, even when I tend to ask to any suggestion or ideas the creators would have about the color palette, it's merely to add it up into my own interpretation of the comic.
Jude: The book's demon, The Sorgier, is an ashy color contrasting with a red suit. What led to this decision?
Gab.: I love to think about the characters' personalities and likes even when I don't have a lot of information of them. I see the Sorgier as an egocentric trickster/demon who makes fun of your pain and…wears suits. Having that idea, I can imagine how the character should be or what colors should wear.
Gavin: Do you seriously not have any questions about the book for me?
Jude: It's just like a writer to take the glory from the artists doing the actual work. Fine I'll give you one. In the end what is your message with this book?
Gavin: So my intent is… Wait, did you just post a lettered page?
Jude: Yeah, you hadn't done it so I lettered the thing myself.
Gavin: How'd you get ahold of the script?!?!?
Jude: It's easy. I just logged into your Dropbox. Julian Assange published the password right before he was arrested this morning. It was his last leak. So do I have the job?
Gavin: I guess, but I can only afford to pay you in exposure.
Jude: Gavin, I don't need to letter your comic to see you naked. I already told you I can access your Dropbox. But since this is an opportunity to ride your coattails to sweet comics success, I'll take it!
Gavin: You sure you doing an interview about the book and working on the book isn't a conflict of interest?
Jude: Gavin, it's comics. There's no such thing as a conflict of interest.
(Disclosure: There's a conflict of interest.)
Gavin: Laughter is in the final five days of its Kickstarter campaign. If funded, all backers will receive an EX-X-XCLUSIVE short story from Stephen Kouzeniewski entitled The Suffering City upon completion of the campaign. If funded the book will reach inboxes and mail boxes just after Halloween to provide one last scare for the year. Also, if funded, Jude Terror will have less time for s*** stirring for a few weeks, so… you know.
Jude: I've always got plenty of time for that.
Back Laughter on Kickstarter here. Jude Terror gets no money from your pledges because he's lettering for free like a sucker.