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Monday, February 23, 2004


Paul Hornschemeier -- The creator of the recent graphic novel MOTHER, COME HOME, Paul Hornschemeier is one of my four or five favourite cartoonists of all time. With a new issue of his FORLORN FUNNIES comic coming up from Absence of Ink and a number of other projects in the works, Paul took some time out to answer Five Questions.

What spurred your interest in comics?

The first thing I drew, at age 4, was a cartoon. What spurred my interest in comics as a viable medium to tell something beyond a cliche was reading Ghost World one Christmas (1997) and realizing that this thing I had done since before I could spell my own name (which is a hell of a name to spell, let's face it) could be something so incredibly significant and stuffed with meaning and beauty.

What do feel you've gotten out of the artform, and what if anything would you like to give back to it?

I can't say what I've gotten from it, Alan, beyond intellectual excitement and some insight into other people's lives and beliefs, but I hope to give examples of different ways things could take shape, and, the BIG HOPE, a few good stories that escape simple gesturing and experimentation.

How have your artistic influences impacted on your development as a creator?

I think I have been very influenced by the film Yellow Submarine (yes, The Beatles cartoon), and by Jim Henson, as well as Maurice Sendek and Edward Gorey. There is something in the sad, drooping, floating worlds, sprinkled with explosions of manic color and heat, that seriously colored the ways I expressed things, even at a very young age. I think these people influenced the method by which I translate the world into images, even in my mind, before any paper is brought into the equation.

Why is design so important to you? What do you think the elegance your work and its presentation possesses conveys to the reader, if anything?

A cartoonist is a designer, if s/he is anything. A designer is simply taking elements and employing those elements to convey a message, bringing separate components together to form a unified voice, to play upon the mind of the readers in a certain way. I believe every element of the book needs to be analyzed: it is what carries and contains the story. And I think every element (paper color, paper weight, colors of ink, line quality, page layout, etc.) all serve as ingredients in the larger cognitive experience. Nothing should be ignored out of laziness. If you do not choose to address certain issues, let that be by choice, because it will certainly play a role in the perception of the audience.

What kind of relationship, if any, do you see yourself having with your readership?

In all honesty, very little. I see myself producing the stories to take care of something in myself, which is horribly selfish, and I can't understand why people support these sorts of things, but I thank them profusely for it. I care immensely for people and am very appreciative of any praise or criticism I receive, but I can't stop writing these things down. It's sort of awful, really.



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