Dad Interview with Matt Jones
Name: Matt Jones
Comics: Amazing Alleyway Avenger vol. 1, in mini format I’ve done: Silas Intergalactic Stoner Slug 1-4, the highly opinionated Mr So and So, Shoulda Just Stayed Home, Dirty Cupid, Untitled, Aww Lawd Its Book #9, Bing Bang Presents…. I just finished up my first attempt at a zine called “Free for a Reason” trying to promote independent artists from my hometown & any others from anywhere that are interested in free promotion.
Websites: just email. firstname.lastname@example.org
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a cartoonist?
Matt – I was 29! I had always liked comics, but never entertained the idea of creating one. The thought of drawing & showing it to people really intimidated me. I had always seen little self-published books here & there & thought, “That’s really cool that someone has the passion to create that,” but I never had that burning desire really. I started drawing as therapy more or less. It was an exercise in sobriety, if you will. I was looking for something to occupy my mind & one day while my son was taking a nap I went out on the back porch & started doodling. I noticed how I didn’t think about using a substance the entire time I was drawing. So, I just stuck with it to see if it would keep tricking my brain, ha-ha. I had shown my cousin Joseph Tenney the pages I had compiled over that week & he encouraged me to keep at it & to start reaching out in the community. So I held my breath & dove in & I’ve been drawing for 14 months now.
QRD – What are a few highlights of your cartooning career?
Matt – Well, honestly being asked to do this interview is one of them, ha. Like I said I haven’t been going at this for too long, so I was very surprised to see this email. I help produce a quarterly APA with Joseph Tenney called Squad Car & thus far that’s been a very rewarding & awesome experience. Squad Car features artist such as: Jason Young, Billy McKay, Dustin Trimble, & for our one year issue coming out in late July freaking Nate McDonough has joined the roster. I’m super pumped about this APA. It truly offers something for everyone. Other than that, just getting in the community & meeting & trading with some really cool people has been quite a highlight.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Matt – I’ll be honest, I never decided when specifically I wanted to become a father. I partied hard. Real hard. Playing in bands as a late teen & through my twenties I suppose I felt like it went with the territory of playing in & hanging around bars. I guess I kind of always knew I’d be a good dad if I slipped up & was placed in the scenario. Well, sometime around September of 2013 I made that slip, ha-ha. When the time came to step up I did so… in some aspects. By this point the partying had developed quite a dependency to alcohol. I continued to struggle with that, living in a skewed reality until my son was three going on four. BUT! With some great friends & family & the newly discovered power of creating I’ve achieved & maintained sobriety. Being “Daddy” is the greatest feeling I’ve ever had. I just cried a little bit, ha-ha.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Matt – Pretty much it’s all positive. When I was younger & trying to be a musician my parents always supported me. When I met my beautiful lady (at a show I was playing) she was supportive. & the little time I’ve been drawing they’ve all been supportive.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Matt – Well, as mentioned before, the early musician days were a bit rough. But even through my roughest times I think I always had support for what my initial intent was. As far as the little time I’ve been drawing, it’s been all positive from them. My son really gets a kick out of most anything I show him that I’ve done. I don’t show all of my family every bit of my work because you have to know where lines are with people & respect that, but the little bit that I’ve shown them they chuckle at. I believe they’re all just happy that I’ve found an avenue to express myself without being a complete wreck, ha-ha. If I could think of a negative I’m sure my son would say, “It takes time away from us playing.”
QRD – Has your son effected the comics you make &/or read?
Matt – For sure. I definitely limit what I read around my son or leave laying around the house. I still read & buy things of graphic nature, but it all goes in a very safe place. My son, like most children, really likes Spider-Man, Batman, Captain Underpants. We read every day. Not a comic book necessarily, but a book of some sort. He’s really into Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier right now. As far as creating, most definitely. Most if not all of my minis are just me internalizing changes I’m feeling recently of confronting & dealing with things that I need to improve on to become a more understanding being. & most of those changes have & are coming through being a parent & always wanting to do the best at what’s best.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from an artistic career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Matt – Hmm… I don’t suffer from the cost of printing & mailing my art (of course I keep it low end). But, my art is also not my means of income. I don’t see that it will ever greatly affect my finances because if I can’t afford to do something, I simply won’t until I’ve found the financial means to do so. I don’t make a lot of money, but that works out fine because I don’t require much. I have a very full time job that occupies most of my daylight hours. I do spend a fair amount of money buying materials to print stuff & buying other artist’s work, but it’s all by choice. Digging into the community I’ve found some awesome artists that enjoy trades & that always helps. Whoa, kind of forgot the question there. I enjoy a simple life, to the max.
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?
Matt – If this were a passion I had discovered before having a kid… absolutely. Gosh, if I had known I’d love this so much, in my early 20s I would’ve gone nuts. Probably would’ve quit my job so I could draw non-stop & chase a pipe dream of a career at it.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a cartoonist has a greater impact on your community?
Matt – Father. Hands down. Comics are fun & could potentially impact someone; my son on the other hand is a fully functional being with a mind of his own. He won’t sit on a shelf waiting for you to make him important, he’s going to be present, moving, loud, changing, questioning. Thus he has to understand respect, & perspective. Thus I have quite a job to do.
QRD – Would you rather see your son eventually become a cartoonist or a parent?
Matt – Jeez, this is tough. I’ll just say that if my son remains level headed that I’d love to see grandkids. But, being a parent is tough. If it’s something he didn’t want to take on I’d understand.
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?
Matt – Well as I mentioned, for the most part if the sun is up I’m at work. If I’m not at work & the sun is up I’m hanging out with my family as much as possible, doing whatever they like to do. We play outside a lot. A lot of park trips & bike rides. I rarely get to draw through the day between work & entertaining & taking care of my son. A lot of my drawing gets done on breaks at work or between 9:30 pm & 3:00 am. I also started playing music with a chick recently so I throw a band practice in here & there when I can. I never stop thinking about creating though. I find myself not able to sleep when I have a project that I want to start or that I may be in the middle of. Once it’s done I sleep… for a few days, until another idea comes around.
QRD – What does your son think of your comics?
Matt – My son loves my comics. He doesn’t get to see them all, but what he’s seen he gets a kick out of. He’s very encouraging. It’s funny sometimes how serious his critique can be. He will take the time to identify with something & point it out & tell me about it. He also catches a lot of little things I sneak in pictures that most people don’t see. Children are so very smart. It also has him doodling a lot. He told his mom several months back, “When I grow up I’m going to be a doodler & mail things to people.”
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a comic project with your son?
Matt – Absolutely, I’d love to! I’ve already taken some of the drawings he did through the year (2017) & cut them into collages & made an 8 page mini for him. He greatly appreciated my efforts, but in all honesty I think he felt I could’ve done better, ha-ha. My Silas 1-4 minis actually spawned from a drawing I did for him of a slug walking down the street singing, “Here I go again on my own.” We’ve attempted a couple jams with each other. I hope he sticks with it if he enjoys it. The next issue of Free for a Reason will most likely feature a picture he drew.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Matt – Don’t be afraid to try things. People can only like it, or not. Don’t let this world full of colleges & institutions decide for you how “good” you are. Make things for yourself first. If other people end up getting a kick out of it great, but do it for you first. Make something that makes you smile. Stop watching TV. Seriously, stop watching TV. As a matter of fact, take the TV that’s in your home to school & sell it. Then take all the money to your local used bookstore & blow it all. That same rule applies for cell phones. question everything, even authority. No, I don’t mean be a jerk, I just mean sometimes figures in authoritative positions often times forget the intent of their position. Don’t do drugs. Be kind to everyone. Just be kind to everyone.
QRD – Anything else?
Matt – Thank you so much for the chance to do this. Write me at email@example.com I’ll send free stuff.