So it's another double shot of reviews and interviews this week! I liked the preview of Angora Napkin so much that I asked Troy Little some questions. And, he was kind enough to respond.
The images are more previews from Angora Little, pgs 12-14. ENJOY!!!
(1) I can’t believe that anyone produces comics these days without having been influenced by them as a child. What comics were you reading as a kid? Do you remember your first comic?
I don’t remember the very first comic I ever had but I can remember sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office with a Star Wars comic I hounded my mom to by me. A quick Google search tells me that was #15, 1978 which would make me 5 at the time. I was huge into Star Wars and obsessed with Indiana Jones. In fact, dig back into the letters page of “The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones” #32 and you’ll find a letter from me commenting on an earlier issue.
(2) So who/what are your biggest influences?
It’s changed a lot over time. I loved Groo as a kid and read a lot of Marvel stuff but I hit a brick wall with the superhero genre in the late ‘90s. Now I have no patience for them. I discovered “Cerebus”, “Bone” and “Strangers in Paradise” all at once it seems and got hooked on the B&W small press. Dave Sim has been my most obvious influence but Jeff Smith, Craig Thompson, Dave McKean, E.C. Segar, Dave Cooper and Frank Miller are up there as well. Lately I’ve become a huge Brian O’Malley fan. I’m totally hooked on “Scott Pilgrim”.
Editor's aside #1: Please note this is twice in two weeks that creators have noted Segar, creator of Popeye as an influence. I highly recommend the current hc collections from Fantagraphics which collect his early adventures. They're great stuff.
(3) What’s harder, writing or drawing?
Both have their set of challenges but to me they’re almost the same thing. I come up with ideas and then visualize them for a long time, eventually jotting down a rough outline in a notebook. Sitting down to write is usually just playing with dialogue and characterization, which can be a lot of fun. Drawing the books is either a chore or a joy depending on the project or how focused I am. Comics are still a spare time job, so I often find I may only have an hour or two (sometimes only a few minutes) every other day to work on them. It’s a challenge.
(4) I see that you’re an animator in real life. I would imagine the animation is much more profitable than comics, so why comics now?
It is, but animation is tedious as hell and more often then not I hate the show I’m working on. I started doing comics as an opportunity to work on something I could call my own. Working contract in animation is “Feast or Famine” and I wanted to do more than act as a cog in the process so I had to find a means to get my own ideas out there.
(5) Where did the idea of Angora Napkin come from?
My friend Nick Cross and I came up with the idea for an animated show in ’97 as a means to take some control over our world. We spent a lot of time drawing backgrounds on kids cartoons. Eventually the contract would run out and we’d go for months between projects. We hoped to A) stay employed and B) make something fun that we’d enjoy working on. So we came up with “Angora Napkin”, which encapsulated everything that amused us and we felt was missing from modern cartoons (ie: funny). It was also an antidote to the saccharine we were subjected to daily. The ideas kind of floated around for a while and didn’t really go anywhere until 2005 when I decided to make a graphic novel out of it. Interestingly, it’s now come full circle and we’re currently in production of an animated pilot of “Angora Napkin” for Teletoon Canada!
(6) How do you work? Do you still use pen-ink or are you all digital these days?
My comic work is done with pen on paper. I hand letter everything as well. The only time a computer gets involved is when I have to scan the art for the printer. My work in animation seems to have gone digital, I just got a Cintiq tablet and it’s great for animation.
(7) I’ve been lucky enough to read a little bit of Angora Blanket and loved it, but besides my glowing recommendation, why should people get it?
It’s a classic funny book filled with innuendo, violence and a healthy dose of girl-on-girl action. And there’s zombies in it.
(8) Is there any place people can go to see your animation?
www.angoranapkin.com is the production blog for the cartoon! We’ll soon have some clips up there as they are completed to whet your appetite.
Editors Aside #2: There's an animation sample on Troy's website right now! Go check it out.
(9) Do you have any projects in the works after Angora we should be on the lookout for?
“Angora Napkin” was meant to be a side project (and a break) from my on going book “Chiaroscuro” but it seems to have blown up much bigger than I had anticipated. I plan to get right back into the “Chiaroscuro” series as soon as the cartoon is finished, I have two more books to do in the series.
(10) Finally, I understand that you’re a lover of fine music. People wanna know… Beatles. (a) “Sssqqquuuueeeaaaalllll. I love the Beatles! Turn it up!” or (b) “OOOWWW!!! The pain! Turn that old , moldy music off!”
Beatles defiantly fall into category (A). Without question.
Well, that wraps up another interview. Many thanks to Troy for taking the time to talk with me. Go visit his website and buy his book. They're both excellent!