A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to know some silly information about my fellow authors. So I put together some silly interviews full of silly questions. A number of them fell through the publication cracks then, so I’m running them now with updates. (If you’re interested in the prior features, including ones with people like Ann Leckie, you can find them on my blog here). Enjoy!
RS: Would your hero-fighting, Orthodox Jewish preteen, Mirka, ever fly a hot air balloon?
BD: If I can figure out a story that makes sense for, I’d love to do it! Hot air balloons are fun to draw. Also, I have this friend who writes science fiction stories, and who always reads over my Hereville scripts and makes great suggestions, who has been suggesting a hot air balloon Hereville plotline for years. So maybe if I ever do that, it’ll provide her with some satisfaction. 🙂
RS: Your brand of humor is so distinctive that I can spot it not only in your own work, but in the kind of drawings you pin on pinterest, and that sort of things. What would you say have been the biggest influences on the development of your sense of humor?
BD: Honestly, I have very little idea of what my brand of humor is, so it’s a little hard for me to pin down.
But I think that I’ve probably borrowed a lot from Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD stories, from Walt Kelly’s Pogo, from Doonesbury, and from Dave Sim’s Cerebus; at least, those were the funny works that I remember rereading a thousand times in my formative years. In movies and TV, I think the Marx Brothers were very important to me, and so was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
RS: Did you ever seriously write prose with an eye toward publication?
BD: I never have. It’s something that I’d like to try to do someday.
RS: Do you remember why I asked you question 1?
BD: Did my science fiction writing friend with the obsession about seeing Mirka in a hot air balloon put you up to it?
RS: From a purely “fun to draw” perspective, why should people draw more flawed characters?
BD: Actually, I don’t know that they should. A lot of cartoonists rarely draw characters that don’t fit into a very narrow sort of attractiveness, and I assume the reason they draw that way is that this is what they find fun to draw.
But from a storytelling perspective, I think flawed characters are clearly better, because it’s so much easier for a cartoonist to make characters distinct and recognizable if they break out of that narrow “perfect pretty people” mold. In a lot of mainstream comics, it’s really hard to tell the characters apart. There are also really interesting stories to be told about people who look like ordinary people.
RS: What’s the funniest response you’ve ever gotten to a cartoon?
BD: In response to an anti-racist political cartoon, some infuriated racist emailed me calling me “jew” this and “jew” that (I am Jewish, but I’m puzzled why he thought I’d find this to be an insult) and finally, in an apparent fit of rage that put him beyond writing coherent thoughts, just ended the letter by saying “you jew jew jew!” That totally cracked me up.
RS: If you had to appoint zombie Scalia to an infinite (for he is undead) term on the supreme court, or Donald Trump for a finite term, which would you pick?
BD: Trump. The system has lots of vetos in place; we can survive four years of Trump. I hope.
Wait, no, now I feel guilty because of all the people who’d die in the needless wars Trump would start. Sigh. Zombie Scalia it is. But we need to have him chained up or something so he doesn’t bite Ruth or Sonya.
RS: If you had the opportunity to do your room up in any wallpaper from any time period regardless of expense or probability, what would you pick?
BD: I’d hire a British Artist named Charlotte Mann who hand-draws walls for people. I mean, look at this! That would be incredible. I’d be accosting strangers in the street and demanding that they come into my house and look at the walls.
2019 update: So what are you up to now?
I’ve been working on three main projects lately.
First, thanks to my wonderful supporters on Patreon, I’ve increased my output of political cartoons from six a year to forty-eight a year. People can read all those cartoons for free on my Patreon.
Second, with my co-creator Becky Hawkins, I’m working on “SuperButch,” a webcomic about a lesbian superhero in the 1940s who protects the bar scene from corrupt cops. We’ve got almost a hundred pages done already, and why yes, we do have a patreon, thanks for asking.
And finally, I’ve been writing graphic novel adaptions of Tui Sutherland’s amazing “Wings of Fire” series for Scholastic. The graphic novels are being drawn by Mike Holmes, who has an unbelievable facility for drawing hundreds of dragons. It’s a fantasy series about a group of young dragons who believe they are destined to save the world. Of course, you already knew that, since you’re co-writing the adaptations with me, but pretending to explain that to you was a handy way of getting that exposition across to your readers. Hi, readers!
I have a couple of other big projects that I plan to work on in 2019, but they’re not yet at the discuss-in-public stage.