Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cream City Conversations with Danno

Hello all!

I'm back with another 'interview'. But, before I get into that, I'm gonna take this opportunity to give you the latest on M&F3. Well... the curse of the third volume in our little fisticuffs trilogy continues to plague us. I received my proof copy in the mail and there were some printing problems... AGAIN. Bud and I are hoping to have them ironed out soon. As I post this Muscles & Frights is being compiled as well.

And now... we return to our regularly scheduled programming. A meeting with the hardest working man in undeground funny books.

1) For the uninitiated, your name and location?

I am Danno Klonowski(dank!) from Northeast Minneapolis.

2) What have you been up to lately? What projects have you been attached to in the first 6 months of 2008?

Well... it's been a busy few months to say the least. My "main" book, MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE, has been more or less on hold (I put out an issue #ZERO which was just my 2007 24 Hour Day story) while I've been working on all the following: MUSCLES AND FIGHTIEST--I did the final 10 page chapter in the SUPERMARKET VIGILANTE M&F trilogy....or did I finish that in 2007? I don't remember exactly...

UPTOWN GIRL vs TOMMY CHICAGO vs MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE--I may not have completed a whole issue of MANLY TALES this year so far, but BRIAN BASTIAN(the writer of Tommy Chicago)and BOB LIPSKI(the writer/artist of Uptown Girl) and I teamed-up to do a 64 page crossover of our characters. The crossover was great fun to do. Some pages Bob penciled and inked himself, and some I did. But, for the most part, Bob laid-out the book and, then, I did the finishes over that. My favorite pages, however, are the 5 pages I penciled and Bob inked. It was a great exercise and it's basically become the next logical step in creating the ever-expanding Minneapolis cartoonists version of a shared universe.

UPTOWN GIRL PRESENTS--When I finished the crossover I was in an Uptown Girl mode... so I coughed out a short crossover I had been promising Bob for about 5 years involving some of the D-list UPTOWN GIRL characters and my old D-list characters Mullet Clown, Liederhosen Punk, and Bitterness the Wrassler.

TOMMY CHICAGO--Bob and Brian have been making Tommy Chicago a couple times a year for a while now. But Bob just became a papa so he chose to complete the last 2 issues of TC and then step down. This made me quite sad since Tommy Chicago is easily my favorite mini-comic so I asked Bob and Brian if it would be possible for me to take over. They both thought it was a wonderful idea... later this year Brian and I are launching TOMMY CHICAGO #1 (vol.2).

To prepare for this I drew the Tommy Chicago half of this years UPTOWN GIRL/TOMMY CHICAGO Free Comic Book Day book.I also just completed over 50 internet-exclusive drawings for the soon-to-be-updated-this-summer www.tommychicago.com. Watch for that.

LUTEFISK SUSHI--Minneapolis' once every 18 months or so mini-comic/art event Lutefisk Sushi went down in May(see www.cartoonistconspiracy.com/sushi) and was a monster success.

In addition to doing a 8 page MANLY TALES mini(written by Brian Bastian) for the Sushi Box, I was also 1/4th of the curating team. My responsibilities mostly involved getting drunk, calling people names, and hanging artwork. I was also in charge of the POTTY HUMOR exhibit in the gallery's bathroom, the contents of which sound exactly like the title implies.

SUPER FANTASTICA--I did a short 4-page story for Daniel J. Olson's second issue of Super Fantastica(www.superfantasticacomix.com) about my youth. Okay...so that's all the crap I've done so far.

Here's what I'm working on right now: GOOD MINNESOTAN #3--Raighne & Meghan Hogan put out the best(only?) avant garde comic book anthology in Minnesota entitled 'The Good Minnesotan'(www.2dcloud.com), and they've asked me to be part of the third issue. I don't know that my art necessarily fits in with the vibe of the book, but I've gone all out to create a strange enough "story" that I think it'll fit in nicely.

MUSCLES AND FRIGHTS--I won't be contributing a full story to this MUSCLES AND... anthology, but I'm being kept pretty busy inking a PLUNGER-MAN story Ryan Dow(www.ryandow.com) has written and penciled. Also, everyones favorite Eisner-winner Zander Cannon(www.bigtimeattic.com/blog) and I are doing one of those fight jams that are so popular nowadays.

TOMMY CHICAGO #1 (vol.2)--Like I said, Brian Bastian and I are relaunching Tommy Chicago with an all-new issue #1. I finally started penciling it last night, and it should rock your funny bone into a stupor....or something...

MANLY TALES #5--Again, as stated before, MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE has been on kinda a hiatus, but not really. I've been slowly penciling a page here and there for issue #5 since January. This issue will be 45 pages long and finally reveal the origin of one of our 'heroes'. I'll be working on the inking of it while I work on Tommy Chicago, so hopefully I'll be finishing both of them by late summer/early fall.

CITY PAGES--OH YEAH! The local call girl/stripper advertisement disguised as a weekly hipster new source, the CITY PAGES, will have their second annual COMIX ISSUE out soon. Lots of us Minneapolis locals submitted stuff, so it'll be fun to see what made the cut. Check out www.citypages.com sometime in the near future to find out for yourself. That's it (for now).Sorry it too so damn long.

3) When and where can people pick up and/or see these works?

SUPER FANTASTICA and the LUTEFISK SUSHI box are available in town, or check their websites contact info for info on how to order them.The rest of the release dates will remain absolutely top secret... until question #10...

4) What projects and events are on the horizon? Do you have release dates in-mind at present? If so, indulge us.

Well, MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE is pretty planned out. It's going to be three 8-issue story arcs, and although I was planning on being done with the first arc this year, it looks like that'll have to wait until 2009(which SUCKS because as much as I like everything I'm setting with these first 8 issues, #'s 9-16 should be pretty awesome and I can't wait to get started on them).

TOMMY CHICAGO, after this years release of #1, should hopefully come out twice a year starting in 2009.In the "WHO KNOWS WHEN I'LL GET AROUND TO THIS" category: I have a 120 page MONSTER PIG-FACE BOY script I've been sitting on for a year, as well as an elaborate plan for a SUPERMARKET VIGILANTE SUPER SPECIAL I'd like to do. There's also plenty of loose talk about a sequel(or two) to the UPTOWN GIRL/TOMMY CHICAGO/MANLY TALES crossover.

And, I'm planning a UPTOWN GIRL crossover of sorts in MANLY TALES #10 that is going to probably lead into a spin-off book/one-shot Bob and I will do together--but again, that'll be in 2010 or something, so don't hold your breath.

5) Have you been working in any new mediums or experimenting with your known style and tools, at all?

I do painting occasionally. In fact, I just finished a large 4x6 foot thing I had been working on periodically for about a year. But I should clarify--my "painting" only really retains that title because I use brushes and acrylic and enamel paint to create the pictures, the reality is I'm just doing really elaborate, time-consuming cartoons when I "paint".

6) If you've been trying new things, share a bit of your thoughts on that process.

The last couple years have been a time where I think I really found my "style" cartooning-wise, and have learned plenty of tricks and cheats and short-hand ways of doing what I want. So I'm pretty proud of that. I'm now trying my hand at using what I've learned to ink over others and see what kinda results that brings. It's pretty exciting to see Bob or Ryan's pencils morph into this amalgam of our styles and create a whole new look. My big hope is to eventually work with everyone I know--with them doing pencils and me inking, or me penciling and them inking, or me writing and them drawing, or etc etc etc. I'm just having a blast collaborating with my co-Conspirators.

7) Do you keep a sketchbook? If so, what do you get out of this process? Do you think it's a good thing, in general, for an artist to do?

No! And I know I should. In fact, just the other day I ran into Conspirator Ken Avidor(www.bicyclopolis.blogspot.com) at a parade by my house and his first question was: "Did you bring your sketchbook?" GAH! .... no.... But Ken does the most wonderful, elaborate sketchbooks I know of, and I hope that someday they will be published for the world to see his genius/madness.

8) Do you ever use these sketchbook drawings for your printed works? If so, please explain how the sketchbook art informs your finished work.

Well, I may not have a sketchbook, but I'm constantly roughing-out ideas at work (or someplace else I shouldn't be drawing) far in advance of when I put the idea into the actual comic. It's usually character sketches or rough page layouts, but they usually all come in somewhat handy at some point.

9) With convention season in full swing, where can the comic book reading public expect to see you and purchase your merchandise [personally]?

Ummm...I have a mortgage and kids, this doesn't leave a lot of time/money for conventioneering about the country. Oh yeah... and I'm a veritable nobody so most conventions are kinda a wash for me anyway. Moving on the more applicable question #10...

10) The big convention this year has got to be Fallcon 2008. If you plan to be there, will you have anything special for that particular show?

FALLCON is where all the time I've put into this year pays off(without breaking even, that is)! This year expect all that crap I mentioned above---I should also point out the people who run FALLCON give you a FREE TABLE! That's right, FREE TABLE SPACE AT FALLCON! The Fallcon people want Fallcon to become a HUGE indie show on par with MOCCA or SPX, and I think that's a pretty admirable goal (considering the Midwest is pretty much lacking a giant, fabulous indie comic Mecca). So I encourage all indie creators to make the trek to Minneapolis/St Paul come the October. Ok, so Fallcon falls on the same weekend as SPX this year, but SPX doesn't offer FREE tables!!! Check out mncba.com if you're a creator interested in a FREE TABLE!!!..............................FREE!................................

11) Now we're caught up on what you're doing and where we can see this year. What are you reading and watching these days? Is there any particular book or film you'd like to make sure people are looking for?

I've continued being a horrible reader, only picking up lately(this week) Kurt Vonnegut's last book "Armageddon in Retrospect" and the Jessica Abel/Matt Madden book on making comics.

Otherwise, I've read lots of comics lately, including highlights: Warren Ellis' superhero work (the Authority and Planetary), books by Jason, and SHOOTING WAR by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman. I've also been really into audio books by David Sedaris and David Rackoff.

As far as TV goes, I don't watch broadcast TV but instead catch up very slowly on DVD. Right now I'm really into the 'Venture Bros','Extras', 'Strangers with Candy', and 'I'm Alan Partridge'(a great British series by Steve Coogan).

I heard 'SPACED', possibly the best sitcom ever, is finally coming out in America on DVD soon and I highly suggest EVERYONE run out and by a copy.(FYI-'Spaced' is the show Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright/Jessica Stevenson did before hitting it big with 'Shaun of the Dead', and... yeah... it' perfection).

Movies? I feel like I'm way behind on movies. But 'THE MIST' was my favorite film of 2007, and if you haven't seen it yet-DO SO NOW!!!

12) Anything already in the works for 2009?

Hopefully, I'll finish series one of MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE and get out issues 6,7,and 8. Also, there'll be at least 2 TOMMY CHICAGO's(#2 and the 2009 Free Comic Book Day book). And if there's a MUSCLIER and FRIGHTER I'll be there. And a ton of other stuff, I'm sure.

13) Do have any other thoughts you'd like to share?

The End Of Days is near! So thanks for spending some of your last moments on earth reading my self-indulgent B.S.---danno "In the old times it was not a crime." www.staplegenius.com

Thanks Dank!

Peace People... I'm off to NYC!