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QRD #60 - Indie Comic Creators Part V
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about this issue
Indie Comic Creator Interviews:
Mike Dawson
Floyd Lewis
A.P. Fuchs
Darin Shuler
Trevor Denham
Jules Rivera
John Steventon
Lorenzo Ross
John Allison
Michael San Giacomo
Matt Chic
Jackie Crofts
Don W. Seven
Derek Baxter

Interview Series Updates:
Nate McDonough
Jason Dube
Brian John Mitchell
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Darin Shuler
Darin Shuler
Darin Shuler
Darin Shuler
Darin Shuler
Indie Comic Creator Interview with Darin Shuler
April 2013
Darin Shuler
Name: Darin Shuler
City: Bothell, WA
Comics: Castle & Wood
Websites: darinshuler.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?

Darin – I read The Far Side, Calvin & Hobbs (Sunday funnies kinda stuff), & a little bit of Archie & stuff like that when I was a kid; no super hero stuff except I did collect some Marvel & DC cards because I liked the stats (I was really into baseball cards). I always loved cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Looney Tunes, & all the Hanna Barbera stuff, so I was trying to draw like that.

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

Darin – I bought a Woody Woodpecker comic from the 50s & I thought it was probably worth a million dollars, ha-ha! It was pretty cool though.

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

Darin – The first things I xeroxed were in college. They were really emo auto-bio crapolla.

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

Darin – Now, for sure, because anybody can make anything on their own & you can find it on the internet. No rules.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

Darin – I have nothing to say, but my drawings do.

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

Darin – No. They are different for me. If somebody wanted to publish my stuff that might be cool, but I don’t send things to publishers or try to make things “publishable”. I make what I think is good & I print it & present it to the world in real time. No rules. I make small run stuff for a small audience, which means it is affordable for me & it doesn’t matter if most people don’t like it.

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

Darin – C&W is funded by a Xeric grant so I am able to print like 350 copies. Before I was printing 20 or 50.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

Darin – Free to a lot. If a comic is chiseled in stone or hand colored or made in some crazy way I might pay more for it. That said, I am a lot more likely to buy a comic if I have enough in my pocket. I like it when comic books are under 4 bucks.

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

Darin – I make 4 issues of C&W a year. I wish I was making 6 & doing other projects on the side.

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

Darin – Both are fine but I prefer serialized comics. It is more fun to get comics in installments, they look better on your shelf, & they are easier to read since your not holding a super heavy book. Plus if Castle & Wood, which is gonna be 10 issues, was coming out as a big book instead of floppy comics, I would be so over it. Each issue is like a new project & that makes it exciting again, & I get more feedback along the way.

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

Darin – Comic strips seem super hard to me since you have very little room to do a one off kinda thing usually. There isn’t much room to develop a mood or a pace. You are almost set up for failure. Old strips like Dick Tracy kinda blow my mind because they fit so much into so little & it looks so good. Most strips are just awful. I prefer comic books.

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

Darin – Usually about 3 months.

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

Darin – Dialog & pacing.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

Darin – No, well, very rarely.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

Darin – I draw actual size (5.5” x 8.5”) with a 00 Rapidograph & larger with brushes usually.

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

Darin – I have a messy flat desk covered in supplies, with one of those long armed lamps on it. There is a scanner on my right. I have a window that looks out over a hundred year old apple tree that still produces awesome apples.

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

Darin – After I pencil & ink a page, I scan it & adjust the B/W levels & fix all the text & sometimes drop in some halftone.

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

Darin – I like it sometimes. I like that they can go up so quickly. I like that you can show something that would be really expensive to print. Since they are so easy to put out there a lot of them are just like reading a fart.

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

Darin – B/W so I can print cheaper.

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

Darin – I don’t know. I like to fly solo for the most part.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

Darin – I like to collaborate with friends. A lot of the time they have nothing to do with comics.

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

Darin – What script? When I make a comic I know where the issue will start & maybe end. I work it out as I go. A script might be a good idea because I end up cutting a lot of pages, but I don’t know how to work that way.

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

Darin – I have my heroes, but I don’t wanna be compared to them. That kinda freaks me out. I guess I want to have a similar work ethic to some of those people though. I want to create a lot of stuff.

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

Darin – They like ‘em. People say nice stuff.

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

Darin – I don’t care.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

Darin – I don’t care.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

Darin – That’s what I do now & I like it just fine.

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

Darin – Short Run in Seattle. It is close to me, I like the size & there are so many people doing cool things there.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

Darin – Word of mouth mostly, the internet helps people find my comics, & I use Facebook & my blog. I don’t do much. Maybe I should try harder.

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

Darin – They are only available in person or on the internet. It is easier for me that way.

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

Darin – Action figures, sheets, & cartoons.

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

Darin – I have comic books & I read them. I wish I could buy more. I see something everyday that I would buy if I had a job.

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

Darin – The way they transported that Wonka bar through the air in WWATCF.

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

Darin – Reading them.

QRD – Anything else?

Darin – I think this interview makes me seem like I am really opinionated, but really I change my mind about everything several times a day. Also C&W #6 will be out soon.