with Harold Dean Cupec
Name: Harold Dean Cupec
City: Vandergrift, PA
Comics: Pugnuggle Tales, Cryptic Vault of Weird Suspense
Websites: www.drunkduck.com/Pugnuggle_Tales; crypticvaultofweirdsuspense.thecomicseries.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?
Harold – I did a comic in my high school newspaper at age 17. That would be the first to see print. There were stories before that, but just for practice & learning the tools.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Harold – I think it was an issue of Showcase featuring Aquaman that my dad bought me in the gift shop at the hospital when my sister was born.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Harold – Probably 20. Dave Mosser & I put out a book titled Chronicles. That was around 1974 or 1975.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Harold – I think that, like music, is imprinted on you as a generational quirk. I would say the 1960s, because that’s what I devoured at my most impressionable period. I really miss the innocence of those stories.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Harold – I believe that Archie Goodwin once said something about comics being movies on paper. You can actually be a one man production crew, if you have the inclination.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Harold – I see them as both, though I prefer the unique media option. At my age, it’s become abundantly clear that the mainstream has no use for me.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Harold – I haven’t taken any of my comics to print yet. I’m not sure of the print runs on the indie books I’ve worked on for others. Right about here you’ll start to realize that I’m not driven to do this for the same reasons that most other comics creators are. I don’t have any expectations of success financially or even of popularity on anything but a very small scale.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Harold – They should cost enough that people at my income level can afford them. Sadly, I have to pay my bills & buy food first. Well, not sadly, as I really enjoy eating & having a dry bed with lights!
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Harold – Whatever I can manage after I work all the overtime at my day job.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Harold – As far as reading, I usually wait for the trade paperback collection, so that I can get the entire experience at once.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Harold – Comic books represent a larger workspace, to me. I prefer the size of the pages as well as the amount of story that can be thrown down at one go.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Harold – That depends on who I’m working for & the deadline, if any. I prefer to work on my own stuff where I can let it gestate without time constraints.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Harold – Just about everything. Hopefully, I’ll know what I’m doing someday.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Harold – Yes, I do thumbnails of varying sizes. Some are so large, they’re more like footprints.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Harold – It depends on my mood & the amount of detail. 8.5 x 11, for ease of scanning, if it’s just a rough; 11 x 17 if I’m going for detail.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Harold – I’ll try anything if I’m drawing in the real world. I’ve used Copics, Microns, G-pens, crow quills, uni-balls, I even have a box full of steel pen points from 1911 that I found in a second hand store. When inking real world, however, I do the brunt of it with Winsor & Newton series 7 red sable brushes #s 1, 2, & 3. Mostly #3.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Harold – The city dump.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Harold – Once again, it all depends on what I’m up to & the mood I’m in. I might start with pencils, then scan it in for inking in Manga Studio; or I might pencil & ink, then scan it in for lettering, coloring & corrections.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Harold – Any delivery system is good.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Harold – They both have attractions for me. Depends on the subject matter.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Harold – The less people involved in anything, the better. When possible, I opt for one.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Harold – If something interesting is going on, I’ll offer my services. In the case of Ninjabitch I was contacted by the writer/creator, Dave DeVera.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Harold – My favorite is a very loose script, more of a synopsis. I did a 24 page Thundergirl story from a 3 page synopsis provided by Shawn Atkins. He then wrote the dialog after the art was done. It’s very freewheeling.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Harold – Over the years I’ve been compared to a handful of artists. I’m not saying I agree, but it’s kind of cool. Two Bernie Wrightson, about three John Buscema, four Gene Colan, & my favorite, about five Will Eisners from the early days of Pugnuggle Tales. There may have been a Steranko once.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Harold – My friends & family sort of humor me.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Harold – Not much, since they sucked all the fun out of them. They used to be my escape from the world. Now they’re just as grim & dismal as the rest of the planet.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Harold – Nah. If forced, though, I’d have to say DC, just because of Vertigo.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Harold – Ninjabitch & Thundergirl.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Harold – If I can get my act together.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Harold – I’m a paranoid recluse with no delusions about my talent, so I don’t.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Harold – Not much. There are already armies of people who know lots more about promoting themselves than actually producing something worthwhile.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Harold – No.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Harold – I haven’t got the comic thing straight yet.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Harold – Neither.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Harold – My crystal ball’s on the fritz.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Harold – Enjoying them.
QRD – Anything else?
Harold – No, thanks for asking.