Monday, August 1, 2011

Jason Paulos Interview

Blackhouse Comic's one man horror anthology EEEK! is masterminded by Jason Paulos (Mad Magazine, Hairbutt the Hippo, Green Lantern). For the princely sum of $3.00 an issue, EEEK! pays homage to the classic horror comics of the 50's, 60s and 70's in a classic retro style and price.

's EEEK! work has previously been published in the United States by Asylum Press whilst Blackhouse Comics are currently publishing new EEEK! material bi-monthly, which will eventually be collected in a trade. When I asked if EEEK! was ongoing Jason stated, "Yes ... Satan is a demanding son of a @#$% ... he's got me chained to a stone tablet and I'm being flogged day and night by naked hermaphrodites while I etch out new EEEK! tales with a mallet and a chisel. Pretty much par for the course when you work in the bizarre alternate universe that is Australian comics!"

I asked
Jason a few questions via modern technology to find out about the finer points of his craft.
What were the comics/artists that drew you into comics?

The first story I remember reading was a Golden Age Toth superhero story featuring the Justice League. I was probably 8 years old when I first saw it and it made a big impression on me. I found some scans recently online and was amazed at how good this story looked even after all these years.

Who are among your artistic influences?

How much space have we got? It would quicker to list who I'm NOT influenced by. I'm proud to say I'm NOT influenced by Alex Ross, Jim Lee, Rob Liefield, Eric Larsen or Marc Silvestri. I love all the EC artists and the Golden and Silver Age artists. Toth is a god, as is Meskin, Kirby, Bill Everett. Also the Pinoy (Phillipine artists of the 50's like Redondo, Alcala, De Zuniga etc.I also like Impressionist painting, Art Nouveau, Picasso, Giacometti. I read a short biography on Thomas Gainsborough recently which inspired me. The list is endless and I enjoy adding to it!

Bruce Mutard and Jason Paulos at Armageddon Sydney 2011

Who are among your writing influences?

I try and avoid writing under the influence but I would have to say that none of todays 'hot' writers do it for me ... I'm a big fan of the old school guys like Nicola Cuti (Charlton, Warren comics), Pat Boyette (Charlton, Warren comics), Joe Gill (Charlton, Warren comics) ... you can see a pattern forming here right? Anybody working for Joe Orlando on the DC 70's horror stuff. Also right back to Al Feldstein of EC Fame. Most of my fave creators can write and draw. Wally Wood. I was a big fan of 2000AD as a kid ... Pat Mills, Alan Grant and Alan Moore were my gods. I like writers that use lots of words, I can't stand the 'less is more' trend in writing today where there's a detailed full page splash of an army coming over a hill and there's one tiny narration box with one single word in it. Like we're supposed to be in awe of the restraint of the writer or something. 'Oooh, he's chosen not write! Wow, how Zen!' Give me screeds of florid text, the more over the top the better. Preferably in a reverse 'Bill DuBay' (RIP) back narration box.

Have you ever had any unpleasant experiences collaborating with writers?

Writers are desperate creatures that eke (no pun intended) out a meager existence on the fringe's of what's real and what is fantasy. To survive frequent journeys to and fro between these two worlds requires a certain type of intellect ... one that doesn't always lend itself to constructive social interaction. A successful meeting of creative minds in the realm of comic books requires a certain amount of serendipity ... cosmic forces must align whilst the gods of art must smile upon you and bathe you in their favour. It's natural that egos clash and it's happened before and will happen again. Such are the struggles we face to make good comics!

  Eeek! Copyright J. Paulos

How much revision/editing do you do in your work?

Very little. If you over-analyse a comic in progress you'll lose two all important ingredients essential to all good art ... spontaneity and naivety. Having said that though I could use a good proofreader.
Do you make comics for a living?

No thank god, I'd be dead of a thousand shoulder cramps. My neck would turn into an enormous mound of suffocating gristle that would slowly crush my wind pipe. I'm in the lucrative world of ad storyboards and I'm grateful for it. I get paid well to draw and people respect my abilities, unlike the comic book industry where you're treated like a human photocopy machine and thrown on to the scrapheap when you're no good to them anymore. Sorry to be so cynical, I've read a few too many Wally Wood interviews! The two are related in that storytelling principles (should) remain the same. Of course my creative outlet will always be comics.

Are you connected to a community of artists?

Yes, it's vital. I'm trying to remain in touch with as many people as I can in the form of regular meetings. It's an important social outlet for me as art can be a lonely business!

Do you pursue any other forms of art?

Yes. If I had another lifetime. I'll probably retire one day to paint landscapes, who knows. Landscapes with tiny little hippo detectives hidden away in the detail.

What recent comics/books have you enjoyed?

I avoid graphic novels like the plague. Recent purchases have been pre code horror compilations or comic art monographs (The Horror The Horror. Four Colour Fear. The Art of Steve Ditko. The Weird World Of Eerie publications. Books on Golden age greats Jerry Robinson, Bill Everett, Mort Meskin.) I love the DC Showcase reprints and the Essential Marvel 70's horror stuff. The new Zombie Terrors by Asylum Press is great.

 Jason's workspace

Interview conducted via email March 2011.

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