QRD - Current Issue   About QRD   QRD Archives
QRD #56 - Indie Comic Creators Part III
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Comic Creator Interviews with:
David Branstetter
David Paul
Gabriel Dunston
Gary T Becks
Jeremy Whitley
John Porcellino
Ken Eppstein
Nate McDonough
Brenda Hickey
Brian Payne
Suzanne Baumann
Chris Monday
Christiann MacAuley
Katherine Wirick
J.M. Hunter
Mark Oakley
Jason Dube
Zak Sally
QRD - Advertise
Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Silber Kickstarter
Suzanne Baumann
Suzanne Baumann
Suzanne Baumann
Suzanne Baumann
Suzanne Baumann
Suzanne Baumann
Indie Comic Creator Interview with Suzanne Baumann
July 2012
Suzanne Baumann
Name: Suzanne Baumann
City: Hamtramck, Michigan
Comics: Turtleneck Boy, As Eavesdropped
Websites: fridge-mag.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?

Suzanne – As a kid, I always liked writing & drawing; watching cartoons & reading newspaper comics. I didn’t seriously think about making comics until I was in college. For me I think it was a matter of being a teenager at a time when cartoons were starting to receive more attention for their potential as entertainment for adults, late 1980s/early 90s. Independent publishers, graphic novels, alt-weeklies with several pages of comics, The Simpsons... all that stuff hit my radar in the span of a few short years & made me seriously think about how I could use my self-indulgent love of writing & drawing to entertain others. I’ve tried to make time to make my own comics ever since.

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

Suzanne – Maus by Art Spiegelman.

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

Suzanne – Twenty-one.

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

Suzanne – There are brilliant minds & absolute crap in every decade. I don’t think I can judge.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Suzanne – I want to do both. It just feels right to combine the two.

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

Suzanne – They can be both, obviously, but I personally treat minis as their own thing. I like to treat the design, production, printing, & distribution of the comic as part of the creative process & individualize it to fit the specific art & story. Mini-comics allow a creator to do just that.

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

Suzanne – Usually fifty. I print them off at home, so if that’s not enough, I can always make more.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Suzanne – I come from a zine/mini-comic background, where we traded with other creators or charged just enough to cover printing & postage. In an ideal world, I think art should be free & created & shared by everybody ? if you find yourself among people who also think like that, do it! At stores & conventions, though, price them at the going market rate (but budget so that you can afford to give away at least some for free).

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

Suzanne – Currently I average about one mini-comic a year. That’s definitely not enough to keep up with all the ideas I have, but it gives me enough time to do a good job on my one comic & do other things with my life, too.

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

Suzanne – As a reader, I prefer the big books. But it can be exciting to follow a well-executed serial & watch it unfold.

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

Suzanne – I prefer good comic strips & books over bad comic strips & books. “Good” & “bad” depends greatly upon how well the creator utilizes either format.

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

Suzanne – It varies wildly. As much as I try to stick to a schedule with these things, life always intrudes.

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

Suzanne – Damn near everything.

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

Suzanne – Book layout, mostly. I don’t do color comics often, but I do color digitally sometimes. I can see myself inking on a computer some day, but I’m in no rush to buy the equipment to do so.

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

Suzanne – I think it’s great that the art form can adapt along with technological advances. People who love comics read them because they’re comics, not because they’re printed on dead trees.

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

Suzanne – When I started doing mini-comics, black & white was the only cost-effective option, so I got pretty good at using it over the years. I haven’t done a lot of big comics projects in color (even though I like working with it) mostly I still automatically think B&W when I plan out the look of my comics. Color still feels like one extra step to me, & it takes me long enough to put out comics as it is.

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

Suzanne – There’s no “should.” Just do what works with the talents of the people you have.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Suzanne – I don’t. They find me.

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

Suzanne – It depends on the story & the creators involved. There should be clear communication so the writer & artist each know what the other is doing. A writer who does a tight script should work with an artist who’s good at sticking to the script. An artist who likes adding their own touches to the story should be paired with a writer who is content to leave such things open to interpretation.

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

Suzanne – I love to hear the comparisons my readers come up with, because they’re all wildly different & usually quite flattering. I don’t aspire to have my work compared to any specific person’s, though. Why should I? My work is mine.

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

Suzanne – The friends I’ve made through years of making comics all seem to like them, or at least respect what I do. There are plenty of other folks in my life who don’t get it, but they see it makes me happy, so whatever.

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Suzanne – Not really my thing, but I can sorta see why other people like them.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Suzanne – I don’t read enough of either to give an intelligent answer. Or even an emotional answer.

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

Suzanne – I never really gave that much thought. I’m too busy thinking about my own characters.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Suzanne – Self-publishing works for what I do, but I can definitely see the advantages to being published by someone else. Sometimes it’s best to just focus on making a good comic & let professionals handle the rest.

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

Suzanne – I usually do well at conventions that emphasize small press & creator-owned work (like SPX in Bethesda MD, SPACE in Columbus, OH, & MOCCA Fest in New York City… & there are lots more out there!).
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Suzanne – Not much. I’ve been at it for a long time so word of mouth travels around. I should probably do more promotion. I’m doing this interview, that counts, right?

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

Suzanne – A few shops carry my comics, but most comic shops aren’t set up to sell mini-comics & most patrons aren’t there to buy them. (Many comic shops involve mini-comics people in a lot of other great things, though ? signings, gallery shows, comic jams, figure drawing sessions, etc.) My comics do sell pretty well at conventions.

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

Suzanne – I have a morbid fascination with fan fiction.

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

Suzanne – A reader. I’m a bit of a comics accumulator, but I do try to clean house now & then.

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

Suzanne – We’ll probably see more webcomics & printed graphic novels & collections will continue to be popular, I imagine. Beyond that, who knows?

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

Suzanne – More people doing the kind of comics they want to do, the kind they want to read.