|Rachel Rising Vol. 1|
CBNAH: You’re one of the most hardworking guys in the industry, writing, drawing, inking and lettering your work while maintaining a five week turnaround. Can you share with us a little of your process and how you spend your time making a comic?
TM: I just work on the comic every day. I work at home so it is easy to keep drawing all the time and into the night. i usually write the comic or at least the first few scenes, then start drawing. I change the story if I get a better idea while drawing.
CBNAH: Who were some of your influences as a young Cartoonist?
TM: Charles Schulz, Herge, Curt Swan, Frazetta, Manara. I can see their details in my art.
CBNAH: Rachel Rising has far more horror elements to it than your previous work. How is writing horror different to writing sci-fi or drama?
TM: I would have to say it's more liberating. I am free to let the worst happen. In fact, I am expected to let the worst happen. Isn't that odd?
CBNAH: You’ve said Rachel Rising is going to be around the 24-30 issue mark, which means we’re past halfway. Can you tease us with any tasty morsels from upcoming issues? What can we expect?
TM: Nope. No spoilers!
CBNAH: Your talent for creating strong, interesting characters is well documented – currently I’m loving Aunt Johnny! Do you draw inspiration for your characters from your own life, or do they come from somewhere else?
TM: I think my characters are composites of people I've known or read about. I never make a character directly from one person, that would be dangerous!
CBNAH: I’ve noticed you tend to write women in pairs – Katchoo and Francine, Julie and Ivy, Rachel and Jet – Is that a conscious decision, or am I seeing something that’s not there?!
TM: I tend to work the yin yang of everything, including people and relationships. For every push there is a pull.
|Francine and Katchoo, the main characters of SiP.|
CBNAH: You spent the better part of 14 years working on SiP. What’s it like to have that hard work recognized, both through awards and sales?
TM: It's wonderful that Strangers In Paradise has not been forgotten and left behind by the world. I hoped it would outlive me. So far, so good.
CBNAH: Can you give us anything juicy on the new SiP story for next year?
TM: It is about the girls today, in the present. And they are every bit as cool now as they were then.
CBNAH: As someone who is somewhat detached from the mainstream comics industry, what do you make of the state the industry is in? Are comics a dying art form?
TM: I think comics are changing. But they won't die. They are will remain a valid art form, like classical music and oil painting. Those disciplines were once very high profile in society, but have fallen to quieter levels. So it may be with comics, but the art form will survive. Comics have been around since the the cave men, I don't think the computer will kill them.
CBNAH: You’ve expressed your take on digital comics elsewhere, but I’m curious to know what the results of making your work available digitally have been? Have you seen a decrease in print sales?
TM: I have seen a slow steady decrease in print sales but it is not because of digital... it is because that's the way comic retailers order books. They order less and less and less and less and less until a book dies. It's a nightmare for indy books, and the reason why mainstream stories are mostly short arcs that last no more than a year. No matter what people say, it's all about the new in the American direct market. Meanwhile, my digital sales have been good, helping me to survive the shrinking print market.
CBNAH: What comics have you been reading lately?
The last comics I read faithfully was Power Girl by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. I tend to read novels and but art books. I read good titles like Chew and The Goon when I can find them.