Something I always wanted to do, to capture that later half of the '70s. It's like the early half of the '70s is still the '60s, in that there's still kind of a playfulness and inventiveness in terms of design and the things that were going on in the culture. The second half, it got much more commodified. It's possibly the ugliest era of architecture and clothes and design in the entire 20th century, from 1975 to '81 or '82.
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-... before I was going to college, my secret plan was to one day not tell anybody and just get on some bus to some random city and just move there and become this totally different person. - Then what? -... and not come back until I had totally become this person... I used to think about it all the time... - I don't get it... - That's because you don't uterlly loathe yourself
Comic characters have to have some kind of life breathed into them, and I'm never exactly sure how that's done, but you can tell when it works and when it doesn't. There's nothing worse than looking at a comic when somebody doesn't have that. It's like looking at store windows or something.
Usually when I put together a book like this Death-Ray hardcover or that Ghost World special edition, then I have to reread it and see if there is anything I want to change or any re-coloring I want to do. That's when I'm faced with the actual work. When I'm working, I'm too close to it. I'm sort of inside, and I can't see it at all. So when I have that experience of rereading it years later, it's jarring.
One of my weekend hobbies is to go look at old houses when there are open houses around here. Just to go look at the architecture. And you can see how many houses were built around 1977, the year where everyone said, "Let's put in these aluminum windows instead of beautiful hand-made wood ones."
Alfred Hitchcock talked about planning out his movies so meticulously that when he was actually shooting and editing, it was the most boring thing in the world. But drawing comics isn't like shooting a movie. You can shoot a movie in a few days and be done with it, but drawing a comic takes years and years. That's the biggest part of doing comics: You have to create stuff that makes you want to get out of bed every morning and get to work.
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There are certain things in there that no one else would recognize, really. I see details of my life that I didn't even intend to put in when I was doing the work. For example, I noticed that every single kid in the high school in The Death-Ray is based on somebody I went to high school with.
My feeling is that it's one of the very few things that comics can do that you really can't do in any other medium. I feel like the reader accepts all of these styles, and after a certain point you can flip the pages and see a character rendered very differently than you saw on an earlier page, and it's not jarring. It suggests things that you can't suggest just in the writing or in the plotting.