with Phil Sloan creator of Deadhorse
Name: Phil Sloan
Websites: www.deadhorsecomic.com, philsloan.carbonmade.com
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a cartoonist?
Phil – I can’t put an exact age on when I realized it was something I wanted to pursue. It’s definitely pre-K. I can vividly remember being home & tracing my Scooby Doo books. I really loved to draw back then. When I got some of my first comics at the supermarket, I was hooked & it was all I ever wanted to draw.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your cartooning career?
Phil – Well as someone who is still an unknown quantity, I would say that being able to make Deadhorse & having a tangible book that I can hold is quite a highlight. I was mainly a painter until ‘07 so I still feel like I’m learning quite a bit as I go. The last 2-3 issues of Deadhorse are the most satisfied I’ve been of my work, which in itself feels like a highlight/achievement. I also did work with Walt Flanagan on his War Of The Undead mini from IDW. That was fun & a learning experience. There’s also a Bill Watterson documentary on Netflix that features a Calvin & Hobbes tribute strip that I did so that was a nice surprise.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Phil – That’s one of those things that I think I always just assumed was going to happen. There was a time in my mid-20s where I wondered if it was for me or if it would ever happen. But by the time I got married at 31 (I’m 36 now), I was ready. I was ready to let go of some of the selfishness that haunted my youth.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Phil – It’s weird. I probably have gotten farther & done more since my first daughter was born. I kind of floated around my 20s trying to figure out the type of artist I wanted to be. That said, it’s hard too. Now I have a newborn & we’re still in that stage where we’re trying to gather our bearings. It’s all about a balance & I won’t lie, sometimes it’s tough to find it. The important thing is that my wife supports it & I don’t bail on it.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Phil – The positives are not yet tangible to them. When all is said & done with this series I can at least proudly show my children a book that I created with Eric Grissom & we did it all on our own. Without any help from a publisher. For better or worse.
I try to keep the two separate anyway. Most of the work I do is done at night or during their naps.
QRD – Have your children effected the comics you make &/or read?
Phil – Definitely. I really don’t want to work on something that I CAN’T show my kids. Right now they’re too little to appreciate Deadhorse. It’s above their heads at this point. But I definitely think twice about drawing anything horrific. I can appreciate that kind of subject matter as a consumer, but as a producer, I don’t know, it’s like I said earlier about having something to proudly show them.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from an artistic career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Phil – Oh yeah. Deadhorse is still firmly footed in the passion side of my life. I have to maintain a day job to keep the lights on. That’s the biggest obstacle in my life right now. Trying to find that balance. I always tell people that I love doing it, I just hate finding time to do it. I can work quick, it’s just finding a consistent schedule. There are times when I’ll have a block of time planned out & goals to hit & then I’ll get a call that my wife’s car broke down or someone has to go to the doctor.
QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on going on the convention circuit, would you have showed more earlier in life if you’d known?
Phil – I used to show quite a bit in my early to mid 20s. The only thing that really prevents me from going as much now is that I don’t make much money from it. If I did make money, my family wouldn’t mind.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a cartoonist has a greater impact on your community?
Phil – I think it’s hard to compare being a parent to anything else to determine what has a greater impact. At the end of the day me being a father & being a good father raising good kids is best for everyone.
QRD – Would you rather see your children eventually become a cartoonists or parents?
Phil – I feel like I would be like my dad, if they’re happy with their careers, then I’m proud. I would rather them be parents so I can find out what it’s like to have all the fun & be able to pass off back to them at the end of the day.
QRD – Both family & comics seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
Phil – As I mentioned before, we just had our second kid. She was a premy so the feedings have been regimented. When that can loosen up, I’m looking to get back to doing my work when they sleep.
QRD – What do your kids think of your comics?
Phil – As I mentioned before Deadhorse is way over my eldest daughter’s head. But I don’t know. She likes how I draw & she recognizes what I draw. I would imagine to her it’s just a thing I do & a skill I have & it’s apart of who I am. Kind of like if I played music & it was just something that surrounds her. It’s who I am & I’ve been at it all her life. The appreciation isn’t there yet. It’s just who I am to her.
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a comic project with your daughters?
Phil – Oh yeah. I would love to do something like that if either of my daughters were willing. It’s not something I would push on them though.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Phil – Yeah in terms of being an artist & a father, don’t let having kids be an obstacle. It’s what you make of it. Jack Kirby had five kids & look at his output. Being a father can be very motivational & inspirational to an artist.