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gg: Now the characters are all
microscopically obsessed. They're
all pretty insular, and in all the
four stories, there're only two other
jb: Yeah. It's the guy who's picking
up junk or whatever?
gg: Yes, and the other is a girl who
has a cameo for one page and then
disappears. The stories are primarily
one character, either wandering
around or reflecting.
jb: That's true, that's my problem.
From Esoteric Tales #2
gg: Or your strength.
jb: Yeah, I don't know.
gg: So why, you don't write stories
where characters interact with other
jb: I don't know if it's because I just
can't do it or I'm afraid to attempt
it or what. I think I also spend a
lot of time just wandering around
alone. That's where I do all my
deep thinking. [Laughs.]
Who knows; I don't know. I don't
want to transcribe conversations
in my comics. I hate the idea of
that. Eventually I will try my best
to do that, to bring in different
characters who are interacting, but
I have a fear of that, I don't always
like that when it's happening in
comics. If you don't really have a
solid storyline, then it's hard to
improve that sort of stuff...for me.
I feel like I'm still learning how to
do comics, still trying to learn how
to do the basics of it, of writing.
I feel like I would need an actual
story written down, not necessarily
a script, but at least a thumbnail
and an idea with a beginning,
middle, and end to incorporate
other characters like that. I don't
know why that is, but the only
other characters that I can handle
at this point seem to be these
people who are on this periphery,
edge of things.
gg: In a way, it seems to me what
you're doing is very difficult to do,
especially in comics, which is that
you are creating a narrative out
of the interior of these characters'
lives. Basically, it's them thinking to
themselves or making connections
jb: I think that it allows me to do
things visually though, or at least
it's made me try and consider
the visual side of comics and
storytelling instead of just having
12 frames of a talking head or
having someone sitting somewhere.
It's made me try and keep it a little
more interesting, have something
else happening visually. So I don't
get bored, and so that I feel like
there's something worthwhile
going on. Whether it's something
like a pigeon sideline story that's
happening in #2, or flashbacks.
I don't know, just having things
happening in the environment
gg: Well, they're interacting with the
world, but just not with people in the
jb: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I can't
explain what it is, I think I'm just
embarrassed to say that I'm not an
experienced enough writer to have
taken the plunge. I'm self-obsessed,
egotistical, I don't know what the
word is. [Groth laughs.] I don't
know what my problem is, but I
definitely want to get away from it,
and I tried really hard to begin to
break away from it with issue four
by making it not myself. But that
didn't work, because it became me
gg: Your characters almost always
start reflecting back to childhood.
jb: Yeah. I tried to avoid that. It
even happened in #4 again. I do
not use the same device that I've
used in the past, those little like, rip
off Sugiura-style manga children.
I think it's in the first two stories.
I couldn't help but make those
connections with the world and
how I was interact it with those
stories. Those were the things
where I see it happening and that's
how the writing process happens.
That's the connection drawn, and I
doodle down the next square, and
that's just what it becomes. I just
try to let it write itself. I definitely
try to avoid doing that though, for
a little while. I didn't want to do
that in #3 or in #4, because I felt
like I was doing the same exact
gg: Do you yourself do that? Reflect
upon your childhood and relate it to
your current life?
jb: I don't know.
gg: Is that connection important to
jb: It must be. Definitely, because
all those things happen regularly,
it's very much my normal train of
thought, all those things always pop
up, things are always reminding
me. I don't know if that's any
different for anyone. It seems very
natural, I don't feel I'm obsessed
with my childhood, or trying to get
back to it. I have fond memories
of childhood, lots of funny stories
that always seem to pop up. So I
don't know why that is. I don't feel
like there's a particularly interesting
reason for it.