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QRD #58 - Indie Comic Interview Series Part IV
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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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Palle Schmidt
Palle Schmidt
Palle Schmidt
Palle Schmidt
Palle Schmidt
Indie Comic Creator Interview with Palle Schmidt
February 2013
Palle Schmidt
Name: Palle Schmidt
City: Copenhagen, Denmark
Comics: The Devil’s Concubine (IDW), Hard Evidence (Graphicly)
Websites: www.palleschmidt.comwww.devilsconcubine.comwww.comicsforbeginners.com

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

Palle – Probably some superhero book. I remember getting Batman versus Ra’s al Ghul when I was around 8.

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

Palle – Too young! I published a series in a local role-playing game fanzine. Never finished it. Didn’t know what the story was when I started!

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

Palle – No idea. Late eighties, early nineties had The Dark Knight & Watchmen, those books still for me are the cream of the crop.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Palle – I do both things separately too, as a writer & an illustrator. But combining them in a 100% creator owned form of visual storytelling is for me a privilege & great fun. I tend to think of it as making movies, only without a budget!

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

Palle – Depends on the creator’s ambitions I guess. If you’re ONLY doing it to get to draw Spider-Man one day, then I think you’re doing it wrong.

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

Palle – I let my publisher handle that. The Devil’s Concubine is on Comixology, so millions of copies. Theoretically.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Palle – As little as possible, but enough that the creator makes a buck.

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

Palle – I would like to be more productive, but drawing pages takes forever. & since no one is really paying me to do it, I have to squeeze it in between other work. I’m also doing more writing now, YA novels & otherwise. As long as I have SOMETHING of my own out every year, I’m a happy camper.

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

Palle – I definitely prefer the complete works, I like to know just how much time & money I’m going to be sinking into a book before I start. The endless repetition, rebooting, & crossovers just annoy me.

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

Palle – Strips can be fun, but I don’t really dig them. I like stories, not punchlines.

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

Palle – Anywhere between 1 & 10 years!

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

Palle – Everything! Writing an actual script is something I’ve definitely gotten better at, I used to just start drawing & get to about page three. Now I finish everything I start.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

Palle – Absolutely. That oversize piece of empty paper scares the crap out of me.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

Palle – I live in Europe, so we have A3 paper, but I usually make the pages to fit the US format. The US is where I’m hoping it will end up eventually anyway.

QRD – What kind of pens do you use?

Palle – Markers of any kind. My first book was done with a quill, but I don’t really like the result & my hand never got used to it. Right now I work with watercolor & brushes.

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

Palle – Messy. A lightbox drawing table & a desk with a PC, piles of paper, pens that dried out years ago, & way too many comics & reference books.

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

Palle – Depends on the project, but I usually do texting & borders on a scanned rough sketch, to make sure the balloons fit the dialogue. I then print out the pages & sketch on the print outs. Later I do colors or color correcting in Photoshop.

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

Palle – I like them a lot better after I got an iPad. Also the quality seems to have gone up, but that might just be because traditional publishing is getting harder to get in to & the money is next to nothing. I’m intrigued by the idea of self-publishing digitally. Watch this space!

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

Palle – Right now I’m coloring my next graphic novel, so this minute I would say black & white! I can definitely get it done faster if I lose the colors, so I might just do that next time.

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

Palle – In a perfect world, who knows? In my world, it’s just me. I can’t pay anyone to help out. I do work with a couple of US writers on different projects, so who knows what the future will bring.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Palle – I met some great people at conventions, but with writers it’s harder to tell the quality of the work just by flipping through a book. So a combination of face-to-face & online research would be my advice.

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

Palle – If the descriptions are too elaborate, I tend to feel constrained. I like the opportunity to throw in an extra panel or change the pacing a bit. Breaking it down is part of the storytelling to me.

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

Palle – I get compared to Frank Miller a lot, but recently that’s not so flattering! I’m also a huge fan of Sean Phillips, Ed Brubaker, & Brian Azzarello; so any of those guys.

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

Palle – If they have an opinion, they’ve pretty much kept it to themselves. I’m hoping to expose my kids to some of the good stuff when they get a little older. But like any other medium, there’s good & bad. I for one can’t say I love comics in general. Some comics, yeah.

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Palle – Sometimes sublime, most of the time just stupid. I grew up on a diet of X-men & the like, but lately I don’t really follow any of it. I like some of the movies though.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Palle – DC has Batman, so they win. But almost all the other characters I like (or used to like) are with Marvel.

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

Palle – I think my comics would sell anywhere! I wish there where more places people would get exposed to comics. When I was a kid they sold comics at the supermarket, now you have to go to dingy basement stores or get them online, booksellers have next to nothing. A shame.

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

Palle – All of the above. Well, movies mainly. But if I get a percentage, bring it on. Pez dispensers, shampoo bottles, the works!

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

Palle – Comixology & other online services. I think we need to place our comics in people’s hands, not hold our breath waiting for them to come to us. Because they won’t! It has to be easily accessible & relatively cheap. If not, there are simply too many other forms of quick fix entertainment that will grab people’s attention.

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

Palle – Tell stories that matter, not just nurse the fan base. Push some buttons, rock the boat.

QRD – Anything else?

Palle – If you’re interested in more of what I’m up to, check out my blog. As we speak I am working on my next graphic novel STILETTO. I also just started a series of video tutorials on how to write & draw comics, which you can find at www.comicsforbeginners.com. Thanks!