Heard Millar talk about his method for story structure on a podcast the other day, praising Seinfeld for apparently informing his approach to putting together a comic book. Yeah, no, I don’t see it either. But yes, because I am not beneath comparing myself to one of the biggest names in comics today, I lean back against my douche throne and ask myself… Outside of comics, what prominent works could have put creases in my brain deep enough to directly influence my own work (and I use the term work very loosely)? Too many people fall into the trap of learning to make comics just by collecting shiny things from the comics they’ve already read, and that’s okay if you don’t plan on bringing anything new to the table, but I always figure that the biggest hindrance to being able to think outside the box is when you yourself become the box, Daniel-san. Thanks, Mr. Miyagi.
Everything I know about facial expression, I learned from watching Chuck Jones cartoons as a kid — Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The motherfucking Grinch, I’ll yell it loud and proud, sir.
For gesture and body language, I drew from the TV sitcom Friends — nothing beats the visual comedy of contrasting personalities, especially in the first few seasons… when everyone was overacting, I thought (sorry, Perry).
I learned pacing from Spielberg movies — when I saw Sam Neil shakily take his shades off and stand up in the theme park jeep, I think I might’ve clenched in anticipation so hard I later crapped a diamond.
Fairly easy to name the cinematic influences, but it takes me a while to figure out what single biggest thing feeds into my shot design and camera placement, aside from the occasional Wally Wood flowchart or Frazetta piece. I laugh when I realize that it’s probably my gaming. Now Alex “Awesome” Cipriano (he made me do it) will cackle like an oversexed harpy and slap me with a dead horse’s cock and say that I’m not even a real gamer, and he’d be right — give me a Playstation controller and I’ll throw it back at you thinking it’s a batarang. Thing is, as I was getting serious about my comic art years ago, I saturated myself with a shitload of first-person shooters every time I needed to unwind, and the immersive experience cut such a deep groove into my mindpeach that it got to a point where I’d run around de_dust maps in my fucking sleep. I can still describe building ruins in COD’s Carentan map, and I sometimes still replay insane Quake III rocket launcher frags when I drink my coffee.
A little sad, I know… but I draw comics, what’d you expect? Existentialist discourse?
All things considered though, it’s true up to a point when people say you can actually learn to make comics just from reading them, but a big part of me likes to believe that it’s the outside influences that add the real flavor to the stew that eventually eventually becomes your style. It’s a little tragic though that because I’ve simply been too busy lately, I’ve had to uninstall what little games I did play just to avoid temptation.
Call of Duty…
Sexy Beach 3…
That HD Modern Warfare trailer looked hella sweet too.