I'm back, again, with more Cream City Conversations. I've received a lot of positive feedback about this blog. I've even read [on other blogs] sentiments like "I wish I'd thought of this"... very humbling, indeed. A big thanks goes out to each and everyone reading, returning to and promoting this blogspot.
Enough of that. This newest of interviews is with someone I've known for a couple of years and think enough about to become equal partners with in regards to the Muscles & Fights anthology series. Bud is one of the most easy-going people I've had the pleasure of meeting... just don't give him too many choices or you'll pay dearly. It's also a very bad idea to mention vinyl siding to Bud... hell, he's created an entire franchise out of surburban fodder. And, besides, he may kill you dead.
CCC: For those who don't know, Name and location?
Bud Burgy, Saint Paul (formerly Pig's Eye, until the Catholics ruined it) on Grand... kady corner from Thomas Liquor.
*Note: It's a great place to purchase malted beverages to fuel Mancurian film mayhem... but that's another story.
CCC: How did you become interested in creating comics?
The first comic I remember buying was G.I. Joe issue 12. I thought it kicked ass. I expanded my collection for a few years but, then, lost interest. After a period of no-comics for a LONG time, I caught wind of some indie stuff like Zander Cannon's Replacement God. I thought to myself, 'this guy has created and published something entirely his own. He didn't need a big studio or anyone to convince. He just made it.' So off I went to a comic convention to find more people like Zander. Little did I know I would meet MANY others like him. Next thing I know, I was making comics.
CCC: What was your first published work? Did you self-publish that work?
Bud Burgy's Create-A-Comic! was my first publishing endeavor. It was an interactive comic where the user could create their own story to go with my drawings. And, yes, I self-published.
*Note: Create-A-Comic also had a part in creating the backstory for what would become Muscles & Fights.
CCC: If you self-publish, what do you gain from that experience?
Complete control is nice. No pressure, another. No one to look at my work and say, "That's not good enough".
CCC: If you've been published by other publishers, compare the experience to self-publishing.
It's nice to just make the comic and hand it off for someone else to deal with. But, I think, the best part is having someone else promote my work. And vice-versa. Its easier for me to jock someone else's work than my own. I'd rather have someone else say, "That Bud guy's comics are awesome", than have to say, "Check out my work, it's awesome".
CCC: Give us a list of your published works (self-published or otherwise)?
*Bud Burgy's Create-A-Comic!
*Meatfist and Gronk: A Twelve Foot World of Hurt!(http://www.meatfistandgronk.com/)
*Meatfist and Gronk: Swamped!
*Muscles & Fights(http://www.musclesandfights.com/)
*Muscles & Fights 2: Musclier and Fightier
*Cats on Bikes Anthology (a tribute to Eric Lappegard)
*Danno's: Manly Tales of Cowardice (issue #4, http://www.staplegenius.com/)
*Dan Olson's: Superfantastica Comix (coming soon, http://www.superfantasticacomix.com/)
CCC: Describe the art scene where you live. If you've lived elsewhere and were producing art there, compare those scenes.
Without tooting our own horn, I'd say that the art scene in the Twin Cities... especially northeast Minneapolis, is one of the best in the country to be self-publishing or an artist. The state offers more funding than you can shake a stick at, there are galleries galore and indie-friendly shops all over the place. Need I even mention the International Cartoonist Conspiracy, founded by Minneapolis comic artists Steve Stwalley and Danno Klonowski.
*Note: All true and I'm very jealous.
CCC: Do you belong to any online or 'real world' art groups? If so, list them and describe how that/those group/s benefit you.
I recently co-founded the Saint Paul cell of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy with fellow comic artists Kevin McCarthy and Dan Olson. Anyone out there...PLEASE JOIN US! We meet once a month and produce jam-comics. It's a social/technical exercise usually followed up at O'Gara's Bar when it's over. Oddly enough, Charles Shulz has some original artwork haniging up in that bar. He went to high school just up the road from there.
CCC: What is your ultimate or immediate goal in creating comics?
I love to draw, but more importantly, collaborate. My ultimate goal would be to compile edit and promote other artists' work. The Midwest version of Fantagraphics or Top Shelf. I know so many great indie artists personally and I'd love to help them get their work distributed on a larger scale. There is SO much good stuff out there that never hits the shelves.
CCC: What do you think is lacking from the underground art scene? If you had the power, what would you do to address that void?
I think a lot of underground artists lack in promoting and distributing themselves. They bust their asses making the art and, then, stop. I think what it lacks is some sort of cohesive distribution system. A label maybe... I don't know the answer, but I'm working on it.
CCC: Do you blog? MySpace? ComicSpace? If so, what kinds of things do you communicate through it and what is your ultimate goal in using that site?
I think the internet is a great way to network and deliver your art without having any printing costs. But there's nothing like having a TPB on your shelf, or coffee table, or bathroom... I don't know what it is, but when you see a printed book, you know someone went the extra mile... so it must be worth checking out. But to answer your questioin, yes. I'm the webmaster for musclesandfights.com and search for Bud Burgy on myspace and comicspace if you'd like to hook up via internet.
CCC: Do you read any other creators' blogs? If so, what do you think of them?
Big Time Attic and Stwallskull are both great informative blogs from guys who really know what they're talking about (regarding comics). Other than those, I check Dan Olson's Bewildered Kid site once a week as well as Ryan Dow's Introspective Comics. They are two self-conscious comic strips that are very original and interesting. If you like satire, go to Jose Cabrera's Crying Macho Man.
CCC: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
I'll just say what I don't. Superheros. Unless there is an interesting angle or symbolic reasoning behind it. Other than that, I'm really into what hasn't been done before. If something strikes me as 'what the hell is this', I'm all over it. I also like 'snippets of life' type-stuff. Sarah Morean does a good job of re-telling her daily life observations.
CCC: What kinds of standards and/or expectations do you place on a comics purchase?
Different, indie, non-superhero, an interesting idea. It's usually something I look at and say to myself, "I've got to show somebody this".
CCC: Who is your favorite creator/writer/illustrator?
Mike Toft, who does a once a year mini called Brain Food. It is absolutely brilliant on every level. The style, the writing and the fact that you can't even pigeonhole what genre/category it falls in. Other than that, local heroes Zander and Kevin Cannon of Big Time Attic and, of course, Danno Klonowski. You can't even keep track of all the projects he's left his mark on.
CCC: If you could change one thing about the modern comics 'industry' what would it be?
An indie-friendly distribution system.
CCC: Give a shout out to any site and/or underground comic you think people ought to be checking into.
Danno (Staplegenius), Mike Toft (Brain Food), Bob Lipski (Uptown Girl), Spanky Cermak (Space Sheriff)
Bud is a comics creator after my own heart. He's serious about community and he's equally serious about creating avenues for others to use. Brilliant!