Mural complete, sharpening our chalk and steeling our wills for a long day of collaborating with the public and each other tomorrow at the MCA. Hope to see your faces there!
COME ONE COME ALL
Behold THE INFINITE CORPSE, a jam comic started in secret over a year ago by Aaron Renier, Nate Beaty and the other cartoonists of Chicago’s comics collective Trubble Club. Based on a combination of Raw’s Narrative Corpse project and Scott McCloud’s idea of the “infinite canvas,” it’s a kind of exquisite corpse comic focused around the skeleton Corpsey. There are already 200+ cartoonists who’ve participated (Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Pen Ward, Carol Tyler, Ivan Brunetti, Lilli Carré etc etc etc) and now it is open to everyone. So go, read! Contribute! Be a part of this ground-breaking new project!
Nate Pritts very graciously asked me to do this NEXT BIG THING interview series that is floating around amongst writers, so here is mine, several days later than I had anticipated/hoped!
What is the working title of the book?
KENNY ROGERS: TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN LOVE
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Did you know that Kenny Rogers is a phone sex freak? It’s true. A person I used to work with at a bookstore once told me, so it is credible ‘cause those people are smart. Anyway, I had been talking about it for years, how Kenny Rogers had a phone sex line hooked up to his house and his wife left him because of it and then I started to think a little more about it—just WHERE in the house would he field these calls? Was it a normal looking phone? Or just the regular family phone but with a special ringtone? Or, maybe, he built a special phone sex antechamber kinda room that his wife didn’t even know about and hung out in there waiting for phone calls. So that is where the idea for the book came from, kinda.
What genre does your book fall under?
I wrote it out as prose but I’ve started to turn it in to a comic, which is what it will hopefully end up being unless something goes terribly awry.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, the clear choice is the man himself, Kenny Rogers. However, on the chance that the tabloid magazine cover I saw recently that proclaimed he “is on the brink of death” is accurately, I guess anyone from that “men who look like Kenny Rogers” website would do the trick. Or maybe Lena Dunham could play him.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Kenny Rogers, the smooth-voiced gambler, seduces his way across the phone lines of America.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Well, I am still working on the draft so really who knows. It has been intermittent work—I’m in grad school for painting at the Art Institute of Chicago so much of my time (in theory at least) is spent doing that—but I started it in September. This probably sounds way more impressive than it should because it’ll probably end up being zine length, but still. It feels like it’s been a long time, at least. So that is something.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, mostly it was because I’d been talking about Kenny Rogers’ sexual proclivities for years but hadn’t really spent enough time emotionally investigating that. And, of course, I thought it was funny. Mostly the latter, actually. Oh and I decided to try to make it a comic because some cartoonist friend was talking about renting a cabin with a bunch of people and swimming and biking and making art and then kind of caught himself and said to me “er, artists [i.e. cartoonists] only,” and I wanted to be invited, on the OFF CHANCE that ever happens.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It really depends on what shape it takes and if it ends up being any good, which is easy-ish for me to gauge with my joke-writing and drawing but IMPOSSIBLE for me to gauge with comics. If it turns out well, I imagine Oily Comics (who published My Sincerest Apologies and The Public Life of Bees) will do it. If I am still in their good graces.
My tagged writers for next week are:
Being a book person and moving is a pain in the ass, but one slightly positive thing about it is that packing and subsequently unpacking books sometimes uncovers a few forgotten gems. Case in point, this 1959 reprint of a 1917 collection of wood cuts and “humourous poems” by physicist Robert Williams Wood. Some (very minor) research brings up a slightly different version from 1907.
This ed. has an introduction written by his daughter that essentially lauds the “dad joke” nature of this book. For instance:
“Here, dear Reader, is the true zest for living. No barbed satire, no insults, no attacks, no grounds for libel suits. In these days or sharp words and strong accusations, political and non-political, I hope that you will be surprised and pleased by the simple, whimsical humor that was so characteristic of my father.” (Margaret Wood White’s intro to How to Tell the Birds From the Flowers and Other Woodcuts)
Also, dig the puss/octo-pus on page 31! How Lynda Barry are those drawings?