Oh, you lucky folks. It’s an Abe Christie double whammy this week. We caught up with him for a quick interview. So, here it is, with a few strips from his own site.
Let’s start with a history of your art. How did you start drawing?
I started drawing like most people, doodling from a young age.
I found comics when I was about 15 through superheroes like Spiderman. After growing a bit I found an amazing comic called Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson which was the first autobiographical comic I read.
I really enjoy the idea of dealing with superheroes, because they are so iconic they can be used to play with the comic form.
Looking at your work [on your daily comic blog] a lot of the characters are superheroes…
They are, but they lead very normal lives.
In a nutshell, what are your stories about?
It’s very much about daily life, which is still just daily life for superheroes. It’s mostly autobiographical but using superheroes to keep it a bit removed and to play with different aspects of my personality.
So it is autobiographical?
Yeah, a lot of it. Obviously there are a lot of fantastical situations. Superheroes have always been larger than life characters. It’s like Superman, you know. He was created by sixteen year old boys who wanted to be big and strong. It’s always playing with the author’s personality and I think my characters are doing the same.
On a side note, have you heard about the death of Spiderman? How do you feel about that?
Yeah, I feel that he probably had it coming!
So, what do you read these days? What is inspiring you?
I’m really into F. Scott Fitzgerald. Someone recently introduced me to Bukowski and I’m really enjoying that. On the graphic side, James Kochalka is the man. He is totally the inspiration for my daily comic. He does an online comic called American Elf which he’s been doing for something like eleven years. It’s a daily diary comic and possibly the most perfect one you’ll ever find.
You comic comes out online. Given that, it’s a very quick turnaround. How do you cope with that?
At the moment I’m slightly cheating in that I’m about a week ahead. The panic that came a while ago from having to draw a comic for the next day was excruciating, also considering that at the time I didn’t have a scanner so had to make the journey to find one before I was prepared.
So how do you draw your comics?
It’s all by hand and then coloured digitally, (hence the need for the scanner) but trying to keep it as simple as possible. I enjoy the childish colouring style that you can see in the work.
The childish nature seems to be something you play with quite a lot. For example, your signature contains your age.
Yeah, I hear Hockney did that too. I was informed at my [university] degree show, in which I had some pieces up with my age and my name, by a gentleman who came up and said that Hockney’s already done it.
Jumping back to the online nature of your work, you use the internet incredibly well, keeping up various blogs, websites and even a bandcamp. Talk me through that.
Well, over Christmas I was house sitting for a friend and they had a whole set of really beautiful instruments. I couldn’t resist and so I got to recording an album. At the time I was regularly releasing a zine and the first album became one issue of that. It draws on all the same themes as the comic; insecurities, being a male in the city, at the age when life should be taken seriously, but not wanting to. All of that kind of stuff.
Do you have any plans for releasing the albums in CD format?
Well, of course they’ve been bought up by several major records labels [laughter].
No, the music is very much a side project. I did make copies of the first album and gave them out to friends and sold them at zine fairs. They are audio zines. I am writing a full length graphic novel at the moment and that is going to have a soundtrack.
Can you give us any teasers about that?
… Same old… [laughter] No, not yet. It’s coming together, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
We had a couple of questions in from readers. I’ll throw one at you now. Is there any deeper meaning to be drawn from your comics?
Ha, none at all. It’s totally superficial! Well, it’s all different parts of my personality so there are layers to each comic. If you wanted to seek out a hidden meaning I’m sure you could, but it would probably be different for each person.