Comic Creator Interview
with Darin Shuler
Name: Darin Shuler
City: Bothell, WA
Comics: Castle & Wood
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.