Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cream City Conversations with Justin Cermak

Hello. I'm back after a healthy dose of community with many of the hardcore supporters of Muscles & Fights. Last Saturday was fantastic... a slow start to an in-store signing [at The Source] grew into a great finish. And, of course, the Musclier & Fightier release party [at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe] was a smashing success.

Bud and I debuted Bud's M&F t-shirt and my Heavee Underground ogn along with our ongoing anthology series (contact Bud through the M&F site for t-shirt inquiries). Jon Sloan and his able assistant kicked Tae Kwon Do @$$ all over the place which included some intense Kendo and board breaking.

Bud will have photos up soon on the Muscles & Fights website. For now you can read more here:
It's worth noting, while there are some editorial mistakes in the report, Daily Cross Hatch is supporting their community which is most important.

Enough of that, for now. Let's get back to my 'Conversations' series. Up next is Justin 'Spanky' Cermak. A man of very few unprinted words, Mr. Cermak puts his money where his mouth is everytime he hits a lily white slab of illustration board. I'd go on about this brilliant cartoonist but it'll read better if I leave it to him.

CCC: For those who don't know, Name and location?

Justin "Spanky" Cermak, MPLS, MN.

CCC: How did you become interested in creating comics?

I think it was inborn.

CCC: What was your first published work? Did you self-publish that work?

The first comic I brought to press was Space Sheriff and Happy Space Boy issues #1-5 graphic novel and I actually got Diamond Distribution to distribute it.

CCC: If you self-publish, what do you gain from that experience?

There is so much to learn and even more to know; dealing with printers, getting your book out and on the road meeting the public... for me, that's the best part.

CCC: Give us a list of your published works (self-published or otherwise)?

Space Sheriff and Happy Space Boy, Dynamite Pilot and countless other small projects that didn't get too far.

CCC: Describe the art scene where you live. If you've lived elsewhere and were producing art there, compare those scenes.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Art scene is huge! There are three main parts, all equally good. There is the NE (including the U of M scene) with many artist lofts, galleries and bars to see good bands , St. Paul has a lot of professional artist lofts around and the Southside, "REPRESENT" with MCAD, and tons of awesome galleries like Intermedia Arts and a billion great coffee shops with weirdos on every corner.

CCC: Do you belong to any online or 'real world' art groups? If so, list them and describe what that/those group/s benefit you.

International Comic Book Conspiracy, MPLS chapter. It's a 'skull and bones' thing, you shouldn't understand.

CCC: What is your ultimate or immediate goal in creating comics?

Turn these scripts into gold, solid gold! And to make what I want.

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?

Government grants big enough to live on (40k) and not have to work, like they do in Sweden for the musicains, and free universal health care for everybody!

*Note: I don't know about the socialized health care but I'm all for those 40k grants for creative people who're contributing to society with their work.

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 do both but not nearly enough; I still have the basic page layout from when I began on MySpace. On the other hand, I have put up almost everything I have ever done on comicspace... that is a great site.

CCC: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

I've really enjoyed books on physics, physicists and music... now I'm on to Russian literature.

CCC: What kinds of standards and/or expectations do you place on a comics purchase?


*Note: Apparently, Spanky doesn't have any standards or expectations when it comes to purchasing comics. He just buys 'em for the love of it. Whatta guy! Make sure you hit'em up next time you spot him at a con.

CCC: What is your favorite indie artist/publication?

Geoff Darrow, Hellboy, Conan and Judge Dredd.

CCC: What is it about them you find unique?

Hell, damn, ass-good drawing styles.

CCC: Who is your favorite creator/writer/illustrator?

Steve Purcell, creator of Sam and Max.

CCC: Give us a short list of indie creators you believe are sort of shaping the future of comics (indie and/or mainstream)?

Hellboy, that stark graphic style is hot!

*Note: The creator of Hellboy, for the uninitiated, is Mike Mignola. The most notable artists to tackle Hellboy (besides Mignola) are Duncan Fegredo and Bill Wray. Duncan illustrates the book in a style similar to Mignola... Bill did anything and everything he could get away with.

CCC: If you could change one thing about the modern comics 'industry' what would it be?

"I only read Spider-man". Monogamy in comic love is boring, grab a title that isn't superhero related.

CCC: Give a shout out to any site and/or underground comic you think people ought to be checking into.

M & F, Forever!

*Note: I did not pay Spanky to shout-out our book. Bud may have but I most certainly did not.

Thanks, Spanky!


So... there you go... another edition of 'the indie loving machine' I like to call Cream City Comics/Conversations.