Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Questions 5: Colleen Coover

Colleen Coover comic book artist and illustrator based in Portland, OR with her husband, writer Paul Tobin.    She is a member of Periscope Studio, a collective of more than twenty artists and writers who share a studio space in downtown Portland.    Her comics include the adult title Small Favors and the all-ages Banana Sunday.      While she is a an Indie comic maker she has started illustrating stories for marvel;  for example X-Men: First Class,  Pet Avengers stories and the new Girl Comics.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?

I'm working on a new project with my husband Paul Tobin. So far, it's too early in the creative process to talk about, but we're probably going to be releasing it serially on line. And we have a graphic novel called Gingerbread Girl finished. That'll be published by Top Shelf when we can figure out the publishing schedule.

DD:  What is your writing Process?

I typically do an outline, then build upon it, like raising a house. I'll often have a new idea to bring it all together about halfway through, or get stuck on something in the middle and go on to the end before I can resolve the sticky bit.

DD:  What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?

It's been a long time since I've read it, but I love Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa. It's so rich in storytelling and scope, and the antagonists are deeply flawed characters, but not evil.

DD:  What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?

If you can find them, the oversized black & white editions of EC Comic's Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales. Great adventure and war stories by the greatest collection of comics artists of the 20th century. The black & white reproduction allows the art to really shine.

DD:  When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?

It depends on the writer I'm working with, and on the project. If I'm working with Paul, I can have an ongoing conversation with him as we work. With a writer I know well and have worked with in the past, like Jeff Parker, I feel free to ask questions and even suggest small changes to make the story better and more fun for both of us. But with writers I don't know well, I am less likely to suggest any writing changes, so the collaboration is more a matter of making my art tell their story-- not a subjugation of my art to their story, but more like an interpretation or adaptation of their script into comics form. I enjoy either process, as they involve different skills and challenges.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?

I'd like to learn some foreign languages.

DD:   Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?

I don't collect much myself, but Paul collects comic and illustration art, and I own a few choice pieces myself. Probably my favorite piece is a Terry & The Pirates comic strip by Milton Caniff

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?

Adventure and Romance.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.

Yes! I read ebooks on it voraciously.

DD:    What is your favorite TV show/ movie?

I don't know if it's my favorite, but I love Hitchcock's Notorious with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?

A tiny little show in Omaha back in '93 or '94. There wasn't much going on, but the hotel room we stayed in was twice the size of my studio apartment at the time, so I basked in the luxury.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?

Seeing all my good friends in the comics community that live scattered around the country-- around the world, really.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?

Illustration art, I guess, or try to write a novel or something.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?

I've been to some pretty good restaurants around town, but really, you can't beat some of these food carts! I always know if I need a burrito the size of my head, or a really good banh mi sandwich, I can just walk down the street and pick one up for CHEAP. I usually only eat out for lunch, so the carts downtown near the studio tend to get my business.

DD:    How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?

We moved here from Iowa six years ago. We were attracted to the change in climate, the public transit, the trees, and the comics community. I love it here.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?

The zoo is awesome.

DD:    Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?

We don't have a car, so I haven't visited much outside of the city. Never been to the Gorge, only been to the coast twice, haven't been out into the desert areas. I really want to do more of that type of thing.

DD:   Would you like to write for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about writing a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?

I dunno about writing, but I think character design for video games might be fun. As for adapting into comics, I've been fantasizing about writing a script for a comic version of Jane Eyre, preferably to be drawn by someone else, but maybe I could do that, too. It's been done before, but I'd love to take a stab at it myself.

Check Colleen out at the podcast War Rocket Ajax

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