Saturday 16 June 2012

Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot

Cerebus #104 (November 1987)
Art by Bob Burden, Dave Sim & Gerhard
Bob Burden is the writer/artist of Flaming Carrot Comics which The Comics Journal described as "steeped in a broth of surrealism, hardboiled adventure stories, knowing innuendo and superhero comics turned inside-out." Aardvark Vanaheim published Flaming Carrot Comics #1-5 between May 1984 and January 1985, with #6-17 published by Renegade Press and #18-31 by Dark Horse Comics before ending its original run in 1994. Bob Burden was the recipient of an Inkpot Award in 1990 and an Eisner Award in 1988. The following quotes are taken from an interview in The Comics Journal #268, June 2005.

On Publishers:
Deni [Loubert, Renegade Press] was a great friend and somebody that I could trust, and you always have to be able to trust your publisher. I've been very very lucky with that. Dave Sim [Aardvark Vanaheim] was a sweet, honest, wonderful guy, and Mike Richardson [Dark Horse Comics] has always been solid, 100% there for you... Really, when you think about it, the comics industry has had a few nebulous and shady characters, but by and large we've been very very lucky. National magazine distribution and movie distribution and whatever it is, it's whole different ball game. We had a wonderful cottage industry there where there was integrity and honour that you don't find in a lot of other businesses. It was more of an art form.

On Leaving Aardvark Vanaheim:
It was fine. Dave was cool. He was all "Go for it! Do whatever you want!" He was the rebel and the rest of us were kind of following this madman, upstart, revolutionary, like the cast of Seinfeld through a parking lot. There was a sort of hippy spirit there. No one ever thinks of Dave and Deni as hippies but it was real laid-back and there was a trace of that. Also in Dave there was always this almost undetectable but very dark and deep sadness: a bit of introspective, self-aware Hamlet thing going on there. Don't know if he even knows it but Dave is different from most people. Never met anyone quite like him.
On Creating Cerebus #104:
I think that ideally I'd like to be working with two or three more artists and be plowing through this stuff quick. My big problem is the backgrounds. They are just a big chore for me. I dread [them]. If I had a Gerhard like Gerhard, I could be knocking out a monthly book... When I worked with Dave Sim on Cerebus #104, Dave wrote the story, and I contributed some dialogue. It was such a relief to not have the responsibility for the whole story. It was one of the most fun stories I've ever done because the pressure was off. It was a good story too, because Dave wrote a good story. I find that it's hard for me to work on a story that sucks. It's like the artwork takes five times as long to draw, because you're just drudging your way through it. So when I write a story, I have to write a good story in order to get me spirited up to actually sit down and start drawing it. So anyway, that Cerebus story was one of the best times... We did Cerebus, me and Gerhard and Dave, in nine or ten days, Cerebus #104... It was great to knock out a comic book in ten days... if we hadn't been out partying and carousing and drinking all night, we might have been able to get that issue done in seven days.

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