Showing posts with label new zealand comics writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new zealand comics writer. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Daniel Brader Interview

Daniel Brader is a comics writer and stand-up comic currently running a Pledgeme campaign to fund a continuation of his series in collaboration with Yi Lang Chen, the semi-autobiographical The Adventures of The Kite family. I've followed Dan's misadventures which he has a gift for translating across social media for a couple years and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his writing in comics.

Chatting With Dad tumblr.

Read the first issue of the Adventures of The Kite Family.


What got you interested in comics and creating your own?

I became aware that autobiographical comics existed when the movie American Splendor came out and after that I started reading Pekar's stuff. That inspired me because I'm not an artist either and he was able to get talented artists to draw his stuff. Then I got deeper into the genre when Travis Nash (Melbourne based comedian/artist), who had always been a comics buff, pointed me in the direction of other "real life" comics. He showed me Joe Matt's stuff and I really liked it's brutal, hilarious honesty. Then I did my own research and found out about Seth and Chester Brown who also do a similar kind of thing. 

I'd always loved semi autobiographical novelists like Charles Bukowski, Dan Fante, John Fante and Mark Safranko but I'd always been more interested in film. I was always put off trying to make my own films though because it just seemed like a very difficult enterprise that required a lot of people. I also tried a couple times and was most disappointed with the results. Which is a really defeatist attitude I know and I did keep writing some stuff but I never did anything with it really other than show friends and family. But when I realised that people were telling the style of stories I wanted to tell in comics I immediately gravitated towards the medium as it seemed more likely I could get stuff made and get it out there to the general public.

Where did your interest in comedy develop from?
So I was always a real big movie buff. I used to watch a couple of movies, sometimes more, every night from age sixteen right through to my University days. I was also hired by The Otago Daily Times to write movie reviews from 2001-2004. I always thought I'd try become a writer/director. I made a few short films and then realised how difficult the process was and also that my natural talents might lie elsewhere. The directing and editing side of it felt a bit of out my wheelhouse. I dabbled in poems and short stories too but always felt there was something missing. I'd always loved comedy as a kid growing up and although I wasn't consuming stand-up stuff with the same voracity as I was film I'd always been into it. When I was in high school I'd always been a "class clown" type and I'd often sit around at lunchtimes holding court with funny stories I'd thought up or simply relaying some funny shit that had happened to me. So I found out there was some amateur level stuff going on at University and decided to have a go. My first gig went really well and I got a lot of encouragement to keep going.

I did a few more and I started getting very mixed results. At the time I was too head strong and arrogant to really listen to advice from more experienced people so I found myself blaming the environment I was in, convinced I'd try stand-up again but in another city. After University I found myself working in advertising in Australia and through a friend there I heard about an open-mic competition (RAW Comedy) and we decided to enter. We made it through to the second round and were both immediately hooked and started to perform as often as we could. Now I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with stand-up comedy as it's very difficult to make money from it and my style is far from traditional and often has me at odds with whatever scene I'm working in. I sometimes question whether it's totally for me as I really feel more at home writing. That said when everything comes together on stage and the crowd's with me it's an amazing experience. I think I'll always do stand-up but I wouldn't be surprised if it took a back seat somewhat to writing.

You've mentioned Adventures of the Kite Family being semi-autobiographical, was there a reason for not writing straight autobio?
My comic is pretty close to being autobiographical. I've really only changed the names of the characters and a few minor details here and there. My parents have seen the comic and for obvious reasons aren't exactly thrilled by it. Although I don't consider it to be that cruel to them at all. They have told me to stop writing it on numerous occasions! I figured the least I could do was change the names and a few details here and there and class it as semi-autobiographical in an effort to appease them somewhat. It hasn't worked that well really but I'm still always able to say "it's fiction!" whenever they get particularly irate about a comic I've produced. But aside from that it also allows me some leeway should I want to invent some situations and dialogue completely which often I do. But the spirit of it is always very true. Like the conversations or situations I have made up completely are very much in line with the kind of things me and my parents would say or do.

Are you involved with any comics communities in New Zealand or Australia?
I'm not heavily involved no. I'm not against the idea at all it's more I just haven't really gone out of my way to get involved, which is stupid, I really should. I've maybe held back because I don't draw the comics myself and a lot of the people in these groups write and draw so perhaps I've felt I'm not legit because of that? Which is silly I know! I've also had some big breaks in putting stuff out. Like there was a period in which I churned out a full issue and several short pieces but then I ran into some money trouble and wasn't able to pay artists so I fell out of it a bit and concentrated solely on stand up comedy. 

I'm back in New Zealand a for a little bit now and my expenses are lower so I've been able to get back into it, I've also got more free time as there's not anywhere near as many comedy gigs here as there are in Australia. But yeah I am a member of some of the little groups on Facebook for NZ/Aus comics and I've had my stuff published in Dunedin Comic Collective, Funtime Comics and Fist Full Of Comics but I'm not involved to the point where I'm meeting up with these people regularly or chatting online with them all the time. However, I should add that the Fist Full Of Comics guys have been really supportive and they even published the first issue of my series. They sent me a bunch of copies and took a bunch themselves to various comic book conventions around Australia. They've really been a big help in getting my comic out there! Which is awesome. They're really great guys.