Comic Creator Interview
with Derek Baxter
Name: Derek Baxter
Comics: Drunken Cat Comics
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Derek – Whatever age I was when the X-Men cartoon show first premiered, that’s how old I was when I first got into comics as a fan. I didn’t actually draw my first comic until last year. I also didn’t read comics for several years, but they were always in my periphery.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Derek – Probably a Roger Rabbit comic.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Derek – 29.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Derek – I am on a really big very late 80s/early 90s kick right now. I am reading a lot of Batman from that era. I like the 80s as a decade for comics in general. Reading books from that decade fills me with a sense of nostalgia, even if I didn’t actually read the books when they were initially released.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Derek – It allows for more creative control.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Derek – I guess they are their own unique media. It might border on pretentious to say it, but it seems like the idea of “mainstream” is evolving & changing in an age in which anyone can put their work on the web & find an audience.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Derek – Between 25 & 50 issues to gauge how they sell at cons.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Derek – Depends on the comic. Small press creators are putting a lot of their own money into the publishing, so I feel like it’s only right they get a fair price for their work.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Derek – I wrote & illustrated one book last year myself, & then collaborated on several others. I would like to build up to producing several books a year.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Derek – I like serialization that can build up & be sold as a complete work. I guess it depends on the story being told.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Derek – Strips have a traditional set up & punch line. Books have more of a three act structure. I prefer comic books.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Derek – It depends. Usually several months.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Derek – I’ve learned a lot about filling in negative space & paneling.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Derek – I am guessing now, since I am not sure what this is asking.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Derek – I’ve learned to draw bigger than what you will print at. When I started, I was drawing the comic at exactly the size I wanted it printed. This left no room for re-sizing.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Derek – Micron.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Derek – A coffee shop.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Derek – I color & add text in Photoshop.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Derek – I enjoy them & produce a daily comic for our website.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Derek – I love color images; but if I am pressed for time, I will do something in black & white.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Derek – This really depends on the comic.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Derek – I only really collaborate with one person & we’ve known each other since high school.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Derek – My only experience with this is writing with my friend & we’ve developed our own style. In general, I feel it should explain the story & panel breakdown, but leave room for the artist’s own interpretation.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Derek – Gary Larson.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Derek – Some laugh. I am not sure how many of them know the full extent of what I do.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Derek – Pro.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Derek – I like Batman & I like Spider-Man.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Derek – I would be too intimidated to work with other people’s characters. I am always afraid I wouldn’t know enough about the “character bible” to do them justice. Maybe I could revive Sleepwalker?
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Derek – Yes, as this would allow for maximum creative control.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Derek – I love SPACE, because it’s local & a lot of my comic artist friends show up. It’s like going to summer camp each year.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Derek – Tell anyone who will listen to check out the website.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Derek – Probably elsewhere, if not for the irregular release schedule alone.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Derek – Animated TV show.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Derek – Reader.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Derek – Hopefully there will still be comic stores; but as older comics start to deteriorate, I hope they cab be preserved digitally. I would love to have a digital library of every Batman comic published.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Derek – Just telling interesting stories.
QRD – Anything else?
Derek – How is Marmaduke still being made?