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Thursday, February 05, 2004


Larry Young -- As the writer of ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE and the publisher of
many excellent comics and graphic novels through his company
AiT/Planetlar, Larry Young has shown himself to have
an eye for quality and a willingness to engage the industry in new and different
ways. He took the Five Questions like a man. One would expect no less.

What do you see as AiT/Planetlar's unique place in the comics industry?

I'm not sure we're as unique as all that. We're publishers, just like
Marvel and DC and whoever. The $12.95 it takes to buy THE INVISIBLES:
BLOODY HELL IN AMERICA from your local comics retailer is the same $12.95
it'll cost to buy yourself a copy of LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS.

What's the most surprising thing you've learned from becoming a comics publisher?

Nothing's really "surprised" me. I had worked in advertising and marketing
and promotions and print publishing for sixteen or seventeen years or so
before we leapt in, and Mimi had ten years in print and digital and her
MBA, so "surprise" didn't, and hasn't, really entered into it at all for
us. There are always bumps in the road and little victories in ushering
any creative endeavor into a form that others can enjoy, but there hasn't
been anything the two of us haven't anticipated on one level or another,
yet. Knock on wood.

What's your greatest frustration as an independent comics publisher, and how do you overcome
the challenges of same?

I don't have any frustrations at all; being a comics publisher is the
greatest gig in the world! I mean, my talented pals and I can craft little
stories to instruct and entertain and engage a reader with our poignancy
and our humor and our elegance and our joy and our enthusiasm, and people
pay us for the privilege. And just when we get a little low and think our
efforts have been forgotten, someone buys another copy of a book we did
years ago, and lets us know that it's a vital and entertaining work,
still. I mean, c'mon, it's like raising a productive, tax-paying member of
society once a month. What's to get frustrated with? Publishing our great
comics is awesome.

From the level of detail and passion for the subject you bring to all
your Astronauts in Trouble projects, you clearly have an affinity
for the subject for space exploration. What's your take on the White
House space initiative recently announced?

Hey, I'm just a guy who reads the papers. But it's no secret that I wrote
AiT: LIVE FROM THE MOON because in 1969, when I was six, I thought I'd be
living on the moon in 30 years, and when I looked around in 1999, I
couldn't help but notice I was still on terra firma. There's a line in my
original proposal for it that the mozillionaire industrialist Ishmael
Hayes funded the whole thing because "he had a bug up his ass to see the
surface of the moon not through a telescope's eyepiece but from the inside
of a spacesuit." And that's me talking, right there, not the bad guy of a
story. My perspective? I suppose I'm pissed I got cheated out of my Pan Am
flight to the L-5 Hilton because in 1970 Nixon didn't have a vision for
space that extended beyond 350 miles up.

What's the best thing the comics industry could do to capitalize on the
increased awareness of comics and manga over the past year or two?

Well, manga are comics, right? And I'm not sure that you can count the
book trade's recent discovery of comics as a viable entertainment artform
as some sort of wholesale "increased awareness," although I'm sure many
people have a differing perspective on that. I *am* sure I'm not qualified
to answer what "the comics industry" could do to ride the gravy train
longer, because I don't think in those terms. Mimi and I are on course
with our company plan, and it really doesn't have anything to do with what
else is happening in "the comics industry." I had occasion to write
recently on a message board, "the day I realized that I view comics
differently than most was the happiest day of my life," and that's true.
We publish books that reinforce our vision for comics, and we've been
fortunate enough that lots of readers in the audience seem to dig what we
do. Slow and steady wins the race.

Stop by the AiT/Planetlar site,
and check out the company's DEMO by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, reviewed here.


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