Comic Creator Interview
with Jack Gonzales
Name: Jack Gonzalez
City: Chicago, IL
Comics: Pins & Needles, Last Unicorn, The Shadow King
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Jack – I was very young when I first got into comics. Can’t remember the age, but Batman & X-men were my first comics that I religiously collected. I started drawing my own comics around 7 years old, they were not very good. However I knew I wanted to tell stories. By the time I went to high school I shifted my attention to writing. I wanted to be a famous author. I ended up joining the Air Force in 2006 & was released due to medical reasons. I had thought at the time that I would make a career of the military. When that came to an end I went into a depression. My wife pushed me back into art as a way to express my feelings. 2012 was my very first convention, it went amazingly well. I was hooked after that.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Jack – First comic I ever bought was X-Men
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Jack – 26.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Jack – This is a hard question to answer. I think there are great comics in every single decade along with some really bad ones.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Jack – I do it because it unifies both art forms in one. I love writing & drawing so it just seems like the right choice for me.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Jack – I see indies as a unique media, there is a lot more freedom of expression through indie comics, many stories that would never make it through a mainstream comic publisher. There is room for both. I like doing indie comics because I have way more control over what I want. Honestly I don’t see myself ever trying to go into a mainstream comic. However, it is not to talk bad about mainstream. After all, I was introduced to comics because of it.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Jack – I like to print 250 due to the space I have at home & because I have only done this for a year, so I am still learning. Thank God though that I have sold out of all my first prints.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Jack – I think that is up to the artist. Most comics are under priced if you actually break down how much work goes into it.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Jack – Last year I produced 3, this year my goal is 10. They are all scripted, so I just have to put the ink on the paper now.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Jack – I like investing in trades. I am impatient. However it is impossible for me as a self-publisher to afford the price of printing them in trade form.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Jack – They are both the same to me. It is a sequential art form that tells a story with beginning, middle, & end.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Jack – It depends, but so far I go & print them as soon as I am done with them & have the funds.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Jack – I am still at the starting point.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Jack – No.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Jack – I draw in 11x17. I like how the art looks nicer when it is shrunk for printing.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Jack – I use India ink & copic markers.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Jack – A mess.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Jack – Right now with the success of Pins & Needles which was done by hand, I was able to invest in a Cintiq. So with my current comic The Shadow King I am doing it all digitally.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Jack – I think they are awesome. So many artists are able to share their work instantly to the world. Crowdfunding is filled with successfully funded webcomics that are attempting to get printed. This in my opinion shows how popular they are.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Jack – I like both. I’ve worked with black, but now that I have done the transition to color I think both are amazing tools that can help set the mood to the story.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Jack – It depends on the comic. I work on the comic alone. But it can be so much faster to work with a team of people who have strengths in different areas.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Jack – I haven’t. I have talked to some, but our schedules never seem to work out. The curse of having a graveyard shift work schedule.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Jack – It should be the skeleton to which the artist can place the muscles. Without a strong script the story can easily fall apart.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Jack – Being compared to anyone who has had success would be flattering.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Jack – I have had the support of friends & family. I am surrounded by geeks.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Jack – Superheroes are the cornerstone of comics. They are the reason why it has become such a popular form of storytelling. I personally love superheroes & hope to soon share my own superhero comic book.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Jack – They both have amazing talent & stories working for them. Not to mention I have loyalties to certain heroes from both companies.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Jack – Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Hulk, Batman, Constantine, & Sandman.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Jack – I like self-publishing, set back is distribution.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Jack – Whatever my work schedule allows me to attend. Why? Well, because I love the atmosphere they produce. Feeding off the energy of all the passionate fans is just fun.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Jack – I go to conventions, go to local stores, & social media.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Jack – They can be sold well wherever books are sold. However comic shops are my personal choice to buy them from just because I know they carry some treasures most stores would pass, thinking that they don’t have a market.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Jack – I’m just worried about getting them printed as comics right now.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Jack – I’m a reader, not a collector. I enjoy the art & story. I just don’t have the time or resources to have a collection.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Jack – I don’t know. I know that times are changing & sites like Kickstarter are bringing attention to small press.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Jack – Treating them as serious forms of expression given the respect literature is given. There are many comic book writers that should be held as high as Shakespeare & other literature authors.
QRD – Anything else?
Jack – Nothing I can think of.