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QRD #58 - Indie Comic Interview Series Part IV
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Indie Comic Creator Interviews:
Heather Nunnelly
Jeremy Baum
Graeme McNee
Michael Neno
Cihan Sesen
Shana Cleveland
Jeremy The Artist
Andrew Taylor
Simon Moreton
GMB Chomichuk
Virginia Shields
Mulele Jarvis
Lars Kramhøft
Josie Pi Grant
Palle Schmidt
Shawn Atkins
Tom Kristensen
Francesca Urbinati
Harold Dean Cupec
Adam Black
Daniel McCloskey
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Mulele Jarvis
Mulele Jarvis
Mulele Jarvis
Mulele Jarvis
Mulele Jarvis
Indie Comic Creator Interview with Mulele Jarvis
February 2013
Mulele Jarvis
Name: Mulele Jarvis
City: Tokyo
Comics: The Mindgator, Elbis, Weird Crime Theater
Websites: www.mulele.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?

Mulele – I first got into comics when I was 3 or 4. I couldn’t read them but I used to copy the pictures out of the book. I think at the time it was an extension of the Batman TV show, which I loved back then.

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

Mulele – Was too young to remember, but probably Batman.

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

Mulele – Professionally, I was 29 when I debuted at Dark Horse Comics. Prior to that I never considered putting out my own comic.

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

Mulele – I never really looked around before, but the number of independent publishers & webcomics currently putting out good material is inspiring.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Mulele – I’m a storyteller who draws. What better medium is there for me?

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

Mulele – Money is not commensurate with quality. The only thing the mainstream has is distribution (outside of the internet) & the ability to make toys. I see the mainstream as a marketing tool for independent creators.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?

Mulele – I haven’t ever had to worry about that so I don’t know. I am going to print my first indie book For What Do You Fight? next month & I’m going to start with 200. We’ll see how it goes from there.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Mulele – No more than they have to. But I think there is a line that is crossed when I can’t justify the quality of the read with the price of the comic. 4 bucks for 24-pages is a bit high. Especially for a mainstream book.

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

Mulele – Very sporadically until now, but I’m planning on producing about one complete story plus supplemental material per year from now on.

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

Mulele – Depends on the project & the structure of the story. I believe the format should fit the story.

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

Mulele – I don’t know. I just like good comics.

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

Mulele – As long as it takes. Probably too long. I’m getting better, though.

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

Mulele – Every part of the comic I do better than before. I’m more confident as a writer & I’ve been able to hone my art to a system of production so it’s not as randomly good or bad, but hopefully constantly good.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

Mulele – Yes! All things I do are better if they are planned. My thumbnail sketches are quite loose, though.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

Mulele – I draw at B4 size. (13.9 x 9.8 in)

QRD – What kind of pens do you use?

Mulele – I use Japanese fude brushes & some brush-pens.

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

Mulele – I work on a board big enough to hold my paper. When I’m out in the world I can take it with me & draw on the go. I also have a big white desk with a scanner, a printer, a tablet, & an iMac.

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

Mulele – I draw on Japanese paper so light you can see through it. I scan them into the computer & compile my pages digitally. I try not to draw anything using the computer these days.

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

Mulele – Just another way to get your work out there. You can also play with the presentation of the comic a bit more. It’s totally valid.

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

Mulele – I prefer color, but it takes a lot of time & my color theory isn’t what I want it to be so I work primarily in black & white.

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

Mulele – One comic, one creator is best, but collaborations can be fun. They should split up the duties as they like. I just want a good read.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Mulele – I find them difficult when their goals are different to mine.

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

Mulele – The script should provide structure & background for the artist to draw from. I don’t think the artist should stray from the script too much; but like every collaborative effort, if there is a problem, good communication will work it out.

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

Mulele – Flattery & 4 bucks will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks & nothing more.

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

Mulele – My girlfriend recently commented, “With artwork like this, how are you not more famous?”

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Mulele – I don’t.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Mulele – They’ll come around someday.

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

Mulele – None. I think every character & story speak to the needs & wishes of their creators. To work with someone else’s character is uncomfortable. If you see me doing that, there was either money or feelings involved.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Mulele – Yes. There is much satisfaction in controlling every part of production. Even when I make a mistake, that’s MY mistake. Pride!

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

Mulele – I’ve been to San Diego & New York Comic cons. Fun to meet people, but really they just make me tired. & the cost of flying out from Tokyo is prohibitive.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Mulele – So far, hit up websites & beg my friends to buy copies of my book. I’m still quite new at marketing so I’m still figuring this out.

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

Mulele – I think they would be fine at comic shops, but sometimes I make things that bend the idea of a comic a little too far for some retailers.

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

Mulele – Anything is fine. At that point it’s just money in my pocket & I can produce my next book with less of a fight with my wallet.

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

Mulele – I’m a creator more than a user.

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

Mulele – The internet. I think we are already there for comics & as an indie creator it’s your best bet for sales & promotion.

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

Mulele – Reading them.

QRD – Anything else?

Mulele – Not that I can think of at the moment.