With Dean Haspiel …
After last week’s intimate discussion with Ulises Farinas & Erick Freitas (which you can listen to here) and my recent film podcast with Before Midnight‘s Graham Reynolds (which you can listen to here) I suit up to chat with writer/artist Dean Haspiel (American Splendor, The Alcoholic, Billy Dogma) about his work on The Fox from Archie & Red Circle Comics.
We discuss the many and varied stages of his career; working with folks like Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Harvey Pekar and Jonathan Ames; his influences and aspirations; getting naked with Rich Johnston; and how all of that led him to working on The Fox with writer Mark Waid.
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With Dean Haspiel …
I’m a big supporter of the Kickstarter model. While I think it’s important to support your local comic shop (and will stand by that point of view until the day I die) some projects simply don’t fit the standard retail model. One such project was a campaign launched by Joyce Brabner to build a memorial statue of her late husband, Harvey Pekar.
The statue would be featured within the local library he loved so much (Cleveland Heights) and would take the form of a sculpted comic book page with Harvey quite literally stepping out of the picture. It wasn’t so much intended as a memorial to the man as it was to the artform of comics – at least, that’s how I understood it.
I loved the idea and was immediately compelled to contribute, but I wasn’t sure what I could afford. I was pondering things over when a new reward surfaced and made the decision for me – $99 for ‘a cup of tea and a long winter’s chat with comics giant Alan Moore’. How could I say no? I’d listened to Unearthing countless times and generally find anything he says to be of interest. I may not always agree, but his articulation, grace and honesty are without compare.
Of course, we couldn’t all just squeeze into Alan Moore’s living room (as much as I’d be prepared to do it), so the decision was made to hold an exclusive video conference, allowing the participants to offer up questions ahead of time. In total 58 of us happily paid the $99 to enjoy tea with Alan, who surpassed all hopes and expectations.
Sadly I was mugged and ended up with a severe concussion just days before the event was to take place. The idea of sitting in front of the screen for two or more hours was unbearable with all the headaches I was getting, so I emailed the organisers and made clear my intentions in regard to recording the event. Joyce sent out an email the next day confirming that participants could indeed record the event and do with it as they wish.
Although the video was originally intended so I could watch it in bite-sized chunks later on, I felt that was a little selfish and so I decided to put it up on Vimeo for others to enjoy. I’d had the privilege of enjoying it live and contributing to the event, but it wasn’t fair for others to miss out – plus it was an opportunity to raise further awareness of the ongoing campaign. Despite surpassing its original funding target, the project was going to run over-budget due to incidental fees and other costs.
The story was picked up over at Bleeding Cool where Dirk Manning (one of my fellow contributors) shared his personal highlights. He also linked to my video on Vimeo which really caused it to take off. I hadn’t intended it to happen, but somehow my home recording became the ‘official’ video of the event (at least for the time being). I’m still hoping a better version becomes available as I’m not super-techy and the recording has its fair share of glitches, but if not then at least this one record exists of it all.
I’ve embedded the video below for those who are interested and possibly haven’t seen it yet. If you do enjoy it (and I have no doubt you will) please consider donating something towards the campaign to make the Harvey Pekar statue a reality. More details can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1844705603/harvey-pekar-library-statue-comics-as-art-and-lite and you can make donations via Paypal using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or via the link at Bleeding Cool: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/02/06/a-tribute-to-harvey-pekar-with-a-little-help-from-alan-moore.
My thanks to Joyce Brabner, Alan Moore, Calvin Reid, Joe Brown, and everyone else who helped to make this event possible. The results were amazing and Alan was apparently so pleased that he’s looking to arrange something similar with Joyce in future. Thanks also to all the people who contributed to the overall Kickstarter campaign – nothing is too little and everything means a lot. Remember, if you enjoyed this video then please make a contribution of your own. Thanks!