Friday, April 01, 2011

Questions 34: Shawn Aldridge

Shawn Aldridge is a comic book writer and musician who created Vic Boone, a pulp-style detective living in a sci-fi world.     Vic Boone, an ex-motorcycle daredevil, turned private eye in a world where the science fiction of early Hollywood is science fact. "He’s a bit of a smart ass and sometimes too reckless for his own good."   The new Vic Boone ongoing series coming out from 215ink in June.  Look for it in Previews in April 2011. 

Vic Boone and one of his other stories Island Alone were distributed as the Zuda Online competition. Each month Zuda Comics, a DC Comics online imprint, held a competition involving 10 comics, with the winner of the competition receiving a year long contract .   Island, Alone as described by Aldridge is “sort of in the vein of Harryhausen, Victorian Gothic literature, with a little Lovecraft and EC comics.”  The story follows the misadventures of “John,” who finds himself lost and alone on a hostile island.

Shawn Aldridge is  also in a band, French 75s,  a mix of Power Pop, Punk Pop, and straight up Rock ‘n Roll. 

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
Right now, Vic Boone, my creator-owned project with artist Geoffo,  is my main focus. Finishing the lettering and coloring on the first issue, which comes out in June from 215 Ink. (available for order in April's Previews.) I do have a few other projects I'm writing, which are in various stages of completion--Kid Gloves, Seven Guns to Santa Fe, and a proposal with artist Nathan Ooten for Top Shelf.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
I don't do much in the way of art these days. I used to draw, but made a decision years ago to focus on writing. I always a better writer than artist. I do color my own projects on occasion, for example Vic Boone. In cases like that the first thing I do is find the colors I want and that best serve the art and story. Boone has a very limited color palette based on a 1920s record cover.  I also letter all my own stuff. Just easier for me (and everyone involved) since I approach it as the final stage of dialogue revision.

Island, Alone
DD:   When you are writer, what is your interaction with the story illustrator?
I really strive to make it a team effort. I like them to know that nothing is set in stone. If they have a better idea of how to approach a scene or panel to go with it. I'm open to suggestions and ideas they might have about certain things. Of course, there are things that I won't budge on, if I feel it undercuts the story or character. In the end, though, it's all about collaboration; melting all the influences, viewpoints, etc together to make the best comic we can.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Anything by Darwyn Cooke. Sweet Tooth has been good. Blacksad, which I was recently recommended, is a must read.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
The default answer has always been Watchmen, but I'm not sure that's always the right answer. I would ask the person what they enjoy reading then recommend something based on that. The best way to make new readers into regular readers is to give them genres/books based on what appeals to them in other areas.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
Honestly, I wish I had never stop drawing. Everything would be a lot easier if I could draw my own stuff.

DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
You're not always right.

DD:   Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
Yes, I have a collection. I'm proud of it all. A few years back, an artist friend of mine, Jeff Winstead, decided to thin his collection down to only the books that made him happy, to stop being concerned with complete runs or series and such. I took that approach with my own collection. So, know every comic I own is based on me truly wanting to own it and not around the notion I need it to complete something.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
The genre of good comics. I just enjoy great stories. I don't care if it's talking animals or superheroes, sci-fi or war stories. If it's good, I'll read it.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
No, I don't own an Ipad.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
Oh, geez, um, Castle, Walking Dead, and Modern Family. I know that's "shows." Favorite movie depends on mood. It could be It's a Wonderful Life or Bloodsport.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
Hmm, I'm not sure it does. I think most of my sensibilities were instilled before I moved here, as far as my approach to writing. I'm more Southern than I am Portland.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
Chicago Comicon in 1992, as a fan. Two memories--Stan Lee continuously got lost in the hotel. I almost got into a fight with Rob Leifeld.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
I haven't been to one in awhile, but I always enjoyed the interaction between creators and fans. Also the discovery of new talent/books you might not have known about.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
Playing a lot more music and writing a lot more short fiction.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
Not so much a restaurant, but a cart--Korean Twist. If you haven't had a Korean burrito from them, you don't know what you missing.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
It'll be 11 years in August. I moved to Portland to help my best friend from Kentucky take care of his kid brother who was dying of cancer.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
I think it's just the overall vibe of the place. I've never been a big city kinda guy, so I love the fact Portland is more like a big town.

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

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate 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 don't think I would enjoy writing for other media. A friend of mine wrote for the show True Blood for a bit. Having heard his experience, I think I'd pass on TV and probably Hollywood in general.
Gosh, I've never really thought about writing characters from other media. Oh, there is one thing I'd really like to do--Write graphic novel adaptations of The Harlem Cycle novels of Chester Himes. Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed are awesome.

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