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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
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Indie/Mini Comic Creator Interview with Steve Seck
February 2011
Name: Steve Seck
City: Jersey City, NJ
Comics: Steve Secks Life is Good, various 1-shots
Websites: www.secktacular.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?

Steve Ive been into comics since before I could read. My parents had a few Peanuts & Mad collections that I examined front to back numerous times before I could even understand what they were about. I dont think theres ever been a time when I wasnt reading comics - even when my focus shifted almost entirely to playing music in high school, I still kept up with the most recent issues of Bone coming out. Id have to say that the indie comics of the late 90s & early 2000s - James Kochalka, Alex Robinson, Tony Millionaire, Craig Thompson, Doug TenNapel, etc. - brought me back in stronger than ever though & ultimately lead me to going to school for cartooning.

QRD What was the first comic book you ever bought?

Steve Probably a Muppet Babies or Bullwinkle comic when I was 3 or 4.

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

Steve 25.

QRD What decade do you think produced the best comics?

Steve Hm... I dont particularly pay attention to that sort of thing - good comics is good comics.

QRD Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Steve If I were only writing Id constantly be wishing I was drawing & vice versa.

QRD Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?

Steve 99% of the comics I read are minis or indie comics, so Id say I see them as their own unique media. They can certainly be a path to the mainstream, if thats what you want; but I dont see them existing for the sole purpose of breaking someone.

QRD How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?

Steve I do print-on-demand for all my books, so I usually order 50 copies of each book for whatever convention is coming up.

QRD How much do you think comics should cost?

Steve I think $4 - $5 is a good price for a pamphlet book.

QRD How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?

Steve Ive been knocking out about 80 - 100 pages a year (roughly two 36 page books & an anthology submission or two). Id love to do twice that, but its hard to do when your primary source of income isnt from comics.

QRD Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?

Steve I serialize my own series, Life is Good, so I dont see a big deal with serializing a longer story as long as you remember to ease new readers into your story with your newest issue.

QRD How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?

Steve Comic strips are vastly different than comic books. You only have a certain amount of panels to work with in strips, which means you have to fine-tune your style to work within those confines. I prefer working on comic books so I can allow my work to breathe.

QRD How long is it from when you start a comic until its printed?

Steve It depends on how much time I have to work on it, but Id say 3 - 4 months is a good estimate for a 36 page book.

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

Steve Hah! EVERYTHING. Ive learned so much since I first starting making comics - I dont re-print a lot of my older material because its obviously by someone who didnt know what they were doing! Just off the top of my head: character design, inking, staging, lettering, backgrounds, page layout, shading, pacing, types of material I work best with, etc. etc. I just started making comics a little more than 3 years ago & I already feel like Im at a completely different place artistically.

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

Steve Clean-up & book layout in Photoshop & InDesign.

QRD What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?

Steve Theyre fine.

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

Steve Black & white. Color is nice, but Ive always been drawn to high-contrast black & white books.

QRD How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?

Steve I guess you could have as many people as you want working on a book & performing as many tasks as theyre willing to do if thats whats needed.

QRD How do you find collaborators?

Steve Friends.

QRD How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?

Steve It depends on how much the artist wants to be told how to draw & how much the writer wants to influence the drawings, Id assume.

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

Steve Im most flattered when somebody tells me my work is unlike anyone elses. Of course, Steve Purcell is a nice one, too.

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

Steve My friends who read comics seem to dig the ones I make. I dont really share my familys creative sensibility, but I know they like my drawings & are proud of me.

QRD What do you think of superheroes?

Steve Aside from Watchmen & Batman Year One, I never really got into them.

QRD Marvel or DC?

Steve Marvel put out the Ren & Stimpy & Rockos Modern Life comics I loved growing up, so Ill go with Marvel.

QRD What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?

Steve Ive never really thought about this - the reason I like the comics & characters that I like are the creators own individual voices as writers & artists. If I had to pick, I guess Id say Sam & Max. I bet theyd be a blast to write for.

QRD Ideally would you self-publish?

Steve I already do. Itd be nice to have someone else deal with the business & promotion end, but I guess if I become successful enough at self-publishing I can hire people to do that for me. Still, thats probably a ways off for me.

QRD What conventions do you try to attend & why?

Steve I always do SPX & MoCCA - EVERYONE goes to these shows & I get to catch up with friends that I havent seen in a while. Ive done a few of the smaller East Coast shows that have been pretty great, too - PACC & Brooklyns KingCon were probably my two favorite from last year. Im looking into doing a lot of the smaller regional shows this year, but Im still doing SPX, MoCCA & SPACE (this will actually be my first year at SPACE!).

QRD What do you do to promote your books?

Steve Right now the convention is the big thing for me - I get a decent amount of return traffic at shows Ive done before & getting face time with your readers & other cartoonists is invaluable. Ive also got a website that I dont really promote too much & Ive just started sending my books out to critics for review. Hey, Ive only been producing work Im not embarrassed of for less than 2 & a half years - give a guy a break!

QRD Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?

Steve I do a decent amount of consignment with some local comic shops. Theyve been selling pretty well in shops that are indie friendly & poorly in shops that primarily stock Marvel/DC stuff.

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

Steve Id like to see some ridiculous branding using my characters - drinkable yogurt, USB drives, colostomy bags, etc. I guess those other things you mentioned would be pretty neat too.

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

Steve I read comics & I like to keep them.

QRD What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?

Steve I dont think print will go away, but there will probably be a big boom in digital distribution for e-readers like the Kindle or the iPad in the next few years.

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

Steve Id like to see more cartoonists make humorous adult comics that arent filled to the brim with shit & piss jokes, non-sequiturs or constant references to video games/things from the 80s.

QRD Anything else?

Steve Maybe. Ill get back to you on that one...