Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Alex Robinson

(from an interview in The Comics Journal #293, November 2008)
So [Comics Collector magazine ran an article] about Cerebus and I said, "That sounds so weird, I should pick that up," and it was totally like "This is the greatest thing I've ever read in my entire life." Because it was smart and it was funny, and the fact that I felt like an outsider in high school and here's a comic about a literal outsider aardvark waking around in a world full of humans, a bitter, angry aardvark at that. So it was like "Oh my gosh, this is made for me." That also definitely had an influence on the way I saw comics, because Dave Sim at the time was at the forefront of the self-publishing movement. "You don't need anybody, you don't need editors." As someone who resisted authority as I mentioned, this was like "He's doing it. He's living the dream." Up until then I'm, like, "Well, I'll work for Marvel comics." At that point, I was like "Wow, you can do pretty much whatever you want and you don't have to take no guff from nobody... It was issue 65, which would be about 1985 or so, '84 maybe. Cerebus had just become the Pope, so it was a good time to start reading because it was the start of a new storyline. It was also the first issue that Gerhard as background artist came in, so it was a coincidence in that sense.

[Dave Sim] was definitely the biggest influence on me cartooning-wise The times I would ever see him or contact him, I would say, like, "I'm an imitator of yours." He eventually told me I should stop saying that, not because he was mad but because, as he said, "Everyone's an imitator of somebody, everyone goes through a phase where they slavishly copy someone else." And he would say, "Oh, you're your own person now and there are Alex Robinson imitators out there." I just think at his peak he's a fantastic storyteller and it's really a shame that all his personal stuff has diminished the appreciation of his work these days... I think stuff like using text pages, to have a conversation written out like a script, which is something I stole from Dave Sim. That kind of stuff... Overlapping balloons where you sort of - someone compared it to a Robert Altman movie, where there's over lapping dialogue and you only hear parts of certain conversations, a sampling of a lot of different things that are going on. Yeah, he definitely was someone I got that trick from... So yeah, I stole everything from Dave Sim.

Alex Robinson is the Eisner Award winning writer/artist of the graphic novels Box Office Poison, Too Cool to Be Forgotten and Tricked.

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