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QRD #48 - Indie/Mini Comic Creator Interview Series
about this issue
Indie/Mini Comic Creators:
Jeremy Johnson - Marked
PB Kain - Mumblypeg
Joe Badon - Behind Yesterday
Andrew White - Sexbuzz
R. J. Paré - Buddha Monkey
Shawn Harbin - The Dungeon
Colin Upton - Big Thing
Kevin LaPorte - Clown Town
Sara Lindo - Carl Finds Love
Joseph Morris - TORC Press
Stephen Hines - Crackerstacker
Steve Seck - Life is Good
Derek R Croston - Method Comix
M. L. Walker - Hero Corp.
Daniel Gracey - G2 Comics
Matthew D. Smith - Liberty City
Brian John Mitchell - Just A Man
Brandon Graham - King City
Gordon McAlpin - Multiplex
Ross Campbell - Hack/Slash
Alex Robinson - BoxOfficePoison
Nik Havert - Pickle Press
Kurt Dinse - One Year in Indiana
Nick Marino - Super Haters
Bob Corby - Oh, Comics! & Vugz
Eric Shonborne - Razorbaby
Melissa Spence Gardner - XO
Dave Sim - Cerebus
Mason Johnson - Zoir
Jason Young - VeggieDog Saturn
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
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Indie/Mini Comic Creator Interview with Melissa Spence Gardner
February 2011
Name: Melissa Spence Gardner
City: Madison, WI
Comics: Strange Snow, Plink, January, XO, Poppycock, Temporary Insanity
Websites: strange-snow.com, plinkcomics.com

QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?

Melissa – I was very little when I first began to read them - third grade. I started with Casper, Hot Stuff, Richie Rich & then when I got older I loved Archie comics. But all the comics were left behind in grade school. I literally stumbled over Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art in my college library - somebody left it in the aisle - & my life was forever changed.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?

Melissa – Betty & Me. It might have been #1.

QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?

Melissa – I “self-published” what may be the worst comic/zine thing ever made over ten years ago.

QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?

Melissa – This one.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Melissa – I don’t even try to intellectualize the appeal or analyze why someone would want to make a comic - or read it. Comics can tell a story in a way that fiction can’t - the text & the illustrations work together to present what’s going on - for instance, a graphic novel can depict an unreliable narrator brilliantly when what is said & what is shown do not mesh. I guess I just tried to analyze it.

QRD – What do you better with your comics now than when you first started?

Melissa – Well, everything, really… but that’s a testament to how truly putrid my stuff was when I first started.

QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?

Melissa – I draw first, then scan.

QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?

Melissa – I love them. So much brilliance out there that I never would have known about if it was not on the web.

QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?

Melissa – Black & white.

QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?

Melissa – This isn’t exactly what you asked, but when I deliberately drew a character in XO to look like Big Moose, a few critics said that my drawings were done in an “Archie” style. (I don’t actually try to do that.) I was absurdly flattered even though I’m sure it wasn’t meant as a compliment.

QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?

Melissa – I’m lucky. They all like them, no matter what the subject matter. I’ve never had to hide anything or hope that they never see something I’ve done.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Melissa – I can’t think that I’d ever be able to do it any other way.

QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?

Melissa – I’ve been to SPACE & zine conventions.

QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?

Melissa – It’d be interesting to see how anyone could adapt XO to the screen. However I should point out that XO is Brian John Mitchell’s, not mine.

QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?

Melissa – Both. But I take the plastic sleeves off of books. I like to read them.

QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?

Melissa – I’m inspired by what I see all the time.