QRD - Current Issue   About QRD   QRD Archives
QRD #51 - Indie Comics Interview Series
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Indie Comic Creators Interviews:
Kimberlee Traub
Liz Suburbia
Michael Anthony Carroll
Mike Kitchen
Sloane Leong
Troy Little
Wayne Wise
Blair Kitchen
David Lawrence
Dawn Best
Gary Scott Beatty
Jack Knifley
Jason Strutz
William Schaff
QRD - Advertise
Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Cerebus TV
Silber Kickstarter
Interview with Indie Comic Creator Blair Kitchen
June 2011
Name: Blair Kitchen
City: Carlisle, Ontario, Canada
Comics: The Possum
Websites: www.possumpress.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?

Blair – As long as I can remember, there was always a box of comics at my grandparents’ cottage that my brothers & I were given free reign over.  I read comics pretty consistently until college, where I had a few years where I didn’t buy any & my focus shifted to animation.  My brother Mike got me back into them a few years after college.

QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?

Blair – I remember my mother buying us a pack of comics (one of those 3 in 1 packs from the department store) & the comic that stood out in the pack was The Amazing Spider-man 233 (with Mr. Hyde & The Cobra by John Romita Jr.)  It’s still one of my favourite Spider-Man comics.

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

Blair – I was 29 years old when I self-published my first Possum comic.

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

Blair – Every decade has some good ones (& lots of bad ones), but I like the 70s.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Blair – I really like animation as an artform, but with comics you can tell a complete story all by yourself at a minimum cost & I love having something tangible to hold in your hands afterwards that doesn’t require a computer or TV to view it on.  Comics are timeless.

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

Blair – Depends on what your goals are.  I like self-publishing & indie comics, so for me those are the end goals.

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

Blair – I’ve been printing 6000 copies of each issue (5000 of issue #1).  With offset printing, the price goes down significantly after the first 2000 copies, so I always print extras to sell at conventions & use as promotional material.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Blair – The cheaper the better.  Unfortunately, with smaller print runs the price is going to go up.  I wish they could be 12 cents again.

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

Blair – I’m currently averaging one issue a year.  The goal is to someday publish monthly.

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

Blair – I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way, but for me I like them serialized.  It really depends on the artist & the type of story though.

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

Blair – Comic strips focus on the single gag.  Comic books tend to have a bit more room for experimentation & can focus on a more complex story.  I like them both.

QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?

Blair – Just over a year when you factor in the day job. 

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

Blair – I try to focus on bettering a new weakness with each comic that I do.   Right now I’m focussing on my inking a bit more, so I’d have to say that’s an area that’s a lot better now than issue #1.

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

Blair – I ink everything on illustration board & scan my pages into the computer after that for laying down grey tones or colouring (in the case of the covers).

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

Blair – There’s nothing like reading & holding an actual comic book in your hands.  (Especially when you can smell the old newsprint!)  I think digital comics & webcomics are great for reaching as many people as possible, but when it comes to reading them for myself, I like the real thing.

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

Blair – Black & white.

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

Blair – I don’t think there’s a right way or a wrong way as long as everyone is happy doing what they are doing.  Obviously, the more people involved, the smaller each piece of the pie should be & the harder it is to keep everyone happy.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Blair – So far, I’ve only drawn comics alone.

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

Blair – The writer should right to the artist’s preference.  In my case, I’m the writer & the artist, so I tend to keep the script very loose & then complain about the lazy writer when I’m drawing.

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

Blair – Sergio Aragones & Dave Sim are my two biggest influences.

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

Blair – They tell me they like them to my face…….

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Blair – When done well, they’re great.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Blair – Neither at the moment.

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

Blair – Cerebus, Groo, & Spy Guy.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Blair – Yup.

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

Blair – I live close to Toronto, Canada; so the Toronto ones are always on my list; but I try to get to a couple out of town conventions each year.  San Diego, Wondercon, & The Toronto Fan Expo have been some of the more successful ones for me, but S.P.A.C.E. & SPX had a really nice vibe to them.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Blair – Comic conventions & message boards, but I’m starting to try & focus on more local advertising.  Without proper distribution, I think it’s important to start local & then work your way outwards at a natural pace.

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

Blair – Every comic shop that has carried The Possum, that I’m aware of, has had success with it.  The problem with comics geared towards kids is that a lot of kids don’t even know what a comic shop is unless their parents take them there (& comic shops are the last thing on most parents’ radars).  It’s a shame there isn’t a way to get comics back into variety stores & grocery stores, but for a self-publisher that’s a tricky one.

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

Blair – I’d love to have a crack at animating The Possum, but I wouldn’t want to do it by sacrificing the comic & I wouldn’t want to give up creative control to do it.  I’m all for merchandising as long as it’s quality merchandise & I’m still in charge.

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

Blair – I’m a collector & a reader, but if I had to pick one it would be a reader.  What’s the point of having comics if you don’t read them?

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

Blair – Hmmmm…..  It would be nice to see some smaller distributors having success again, but it seems like quite a daunting task to break Diamond’s stranglehold.  You’d think that with the internet that micro distribution would become more viable.  Maybe a group of creators getting together to distribute each other’s comics via their online stores.  Digital comics are appealing for the simple fact that there’s no postage & handling charges as well.

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

Blair – How about wearing them?  In all seriousness, I’d like to see more artists moving away from the work for hire model of publishing & start taking their creativity into their own hands by publishing their own work & focusing on good storytelling.

QRD – Anything else?

Blair – Maybe some fries?