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QRD #51 - Indie Comics Interview Series
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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
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Interview with Indie Comic Creator Michael Anthony Carroll
June 2011

Name: Michael Anthony Carroll
City: Columbus, Ohio
Comics: R.A.In.B.O.W, AsthmaAttack, The Accidentals, Death Takes on Holidays, The Kernal
Websites: http://webcomicsnation.com/carrolltoons

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

Michael – 9ish; big stack of books given to me while I was in the hospital. Cut back here & there over the years, but stuck with it.

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

Michael – With my own money? Can’t really recall; either a single issue of The Justice League of America, or a subscription to Shazam! I was either using allowance money, or selling Grit. Seriously.

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

Michael – 10 when I made my own comic; 23 for first regular sized direct market book; 23 & a half for first self published book with multiple copies.

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

Michael – All of them.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing? 

Michael – It’s a balance between not wanting to write so many words & not wanting to draw so many pictures.

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

Michael – I see them as both.

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

Michael – Enough

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost? 

Michael – Whatever the market will handle that allows the creator to be compensated fairly.

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

Michael – From 2-6 average, in addition to my online publishing & anthology work. As many as time & my health will allow/the market can handle.

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

Michael – Depends on the story & the creator.

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

Michael – I like the rhythms of comic strips, but also enjoy longer form comic books & graphic novels. Like different dialects of the same language.

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

Michael – Depends on the story, character, dialogue, budget, etc; I can crank out one story in an afternoon, or take years to complete another.

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

Michael – Draw & write. Started out drawing, then switched to writing, then started bringing them together.

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

Michael – Either at the beginning or near the end & sometimes in the middle.

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

Michael – Digital has made things like color & timeliness/productivity much more attainable for me.

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

Michael – They both have their merits; for me, my R.A.In.B.O.W/elemental characters in color, & the AsthmaAttack/autobiographical stuff in black & white.

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

Michael – Depends on the story.

QRD – How do you find collaborators? 

Michael – I stopped looking when I couldn’t keep to what I would initially offer folks in a collaboration. These days I love being able to get comics out almost as fast as I think of them; it’s spoiled me for the collaborative process, but I’m working on that.

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

Michael – It comes down to how the artist interprets what’s written. If clear directions are given, but not followed in the execution, what happens next?

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

Michael – I think the last time I was compared favorably to someone, it was a writer I wasn’t reading regularly & I’ve had a hard time reading his work since. In the mid 90s, someone else’s work was reviewed & compared to my “earlier” work, which was pretty sobering.

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

Michael – Some family members like them, some friends like them; among them is a select group that’s objective enough to point out when something of mine isn’t working, & offer feedback. They’re not regular comics readers or cartoonists.

QRD – What do you think of superheroes? 

Michael – I love their absurdity; they often work better for me as comedy; people have complained about them since well before I started reading fan-press in the 70s. I now hear the arguments against them more than I read any arguments in favor of them. Yawn.

QRD – Marvel or DC? 

Michael – Me. See? With DC in second place.

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

Michael – Pretty much every obscure/third or fourth tier DC character/team, from The Creature Commandos to The Metal Men; & maybe a full length Justice League story done entirely as stick figures.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish? 

Michael – I am & it is ideal.

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

Michael – S.P.A.C.E is about it for regular appearances; sometimes I wander up to Michigan & hang out with the gang in Hamtramck; lately I’m trying to step up & appear at shows where cartooning is less prominent.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books? 

Michael – Post links online, chat up co-workers & friends of friends who are not comic readers.

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

Michael – Definitely elsewhere.

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

Michael – Leaning toward animation & games; at least that’s how I’ve arranged my digital workflow.

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

Michael – Yes.

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

Michael – Digital, print-on-demand, whatever bookstores are left standing.

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

Michael – More people trying it just once & more work from the people who already know how.

QRD – Anything else? 

Michael – Find a path that brings you the level of success that best suits you; incorporate more of yourself into your cartooning, no matter what your genre specialty is; stop making excuses & make comics.