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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Five Questions for Jason Marcy --Jay's graphic novels are autobiographical, blunt, occasionally dirty, and funny as hell. He's a keen, often furious observer of human behaviour, but his love for his family and his affection for the work of James Kochalka both speak to a more whimsical and human side that was on spectacular display in his well-received third book in the Jay's Days series, Pasta Shop Lothario. That most recent of his graphic novels delved into both his fascination with his s teenage co-workers and the birth of his son -- see, the guy's a perfect example of the dual nature of man.

Jason Marcy's a buddy of mine, so there's your disclaimer. No, wait, there's even more self-interest at work here, I have a story in his forthcoming book MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY, a mostly-true recounting of the long weekend my family and I spent with Jay and his wife Kris and son Xander last year. Not that I expect to get anything back from my participation in the project except the pride of being a part of a book by one of my favourite cartoonists. I caught up with him this week to get the scoop on his new books, and to tip you off that these are going to be fun, entertaining volumes you'll be glad you picked up.

Cover art to MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY by Jason Marcy and Friends.1. What did you learn about yourself from the stories turned in for MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY?

That people seemingly like me more than they hate me! I was really okay if folks wanted to go open season on me in a bad way, and it didn't turn out like that at all. Not that people didn't get in their licks mind you, but I was touched by the feeling expressed in some of the works. Ron Gravelle's comes to mind, and of course Joe Meyer's. Jeremy Kaposy handed in a top notch dissection of the "Jay experience" in my mind, kind of an eye opening thing really.Even Andrew Foster came through in the end with a bitingly real Jay moment.

As for those who either only know me through my comics or through cons, well, they were great. Chip Zdarsky, Kagan McLeod, Ben
Shannon...hell they were all great pieces. In the end it was an amazing experiment, so much so that I've now turned my attention to a book with my scripts/other folks art, like a Harvey Pekar project.

2. You've recently been working with cartoonist Chip Zdarsky on your book design, what have you learned from Chip?

Chip is very much a perfectionist, and he's been hard on me, y'know? "Why did you do this like that?" and "How come you don't know this stuff, Jay?". He's been great actually. In fact, all the guys from the Royal Academy of Illustration and Design have been awesome in their support of my little efforts. No doubt I've
exasperated Chip a lot, but he's been very patient and helpful. I'm miles ahead with my understanding of Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign because of him, and in a very short period of time.

3. You're going the Print on Demand route for your two new books after working with a number of small-press publishers. Tell me what brought you to POD.

It's really how the other books were done too. I decided on POD because right now it facilitates my immediate needs, which is low print run graphic novels at reasonable prices. I don't need say a minimum of three hundred books for a couple of thousand dollars. If and when I solicit these books, I'll go from the orders and print exactly what I need. A lot of people have been haranguing me on this, but riight now, it makes financial sense to not over order a book, and POD gives me the freedom to order whenever I need product with minimum hassle.

Cover art to JASON MARCY'S BOOK OF HATE by Jason Marcy.4. Your other new book is JASON MARCY'S BOOK OF HATE. Tell me what fills you with hate more than anything else in the world.

Huh. It's hard to say really. I often get filled with petty jealous feelings over others success. I really hate that part of me. In the big wide world, I'd probably say general intolerance, and again I cover my own times when I feel that type of thing too. The book really covers a lot of what HATE can mean to me, I think.

5. I get as excited about a new Jay Marcy comic as I do about one by Harvey Pekar, James Kochalka or Robert Crumb, just to name three creators whose work, I think, has been an influence on yours. And yet, you haven't achieved the readership levels of those perhaps better-known cartoonists, and you've talked about that on your LiveJournal and in your comics. Yet here you are with two new books on the horizon, plugging away. What keeps you making comics after all these years?

What else am I gonna do? If I keep plugging, maybe someone'll take notice and say,"Hey, that bald guy ain't half bad." and come and rescue me with a book deal or something.

Comics are in me to be done, so to speak. Gotta create, gotta use my voice to let the world know I'm here in a way I can. It's this or catching chickens as a side job. Hey, that may pay better.

Visit jasonmarcy.com.



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