Page 3 of 6
gg: How do you construct a story?
Do you write the entire story out
gb: Yeah. I do.
gg: So you know pretty much
what's going to happen before you
start drawing it?
gb: Yeah. Except for my really
autobiographical stuff and my
gg: That would be the material in
gg: How do you construct that
gb: Well, with Lucky there're three
issues. In the fi rst issue there's lots
of diary, where I try to take each
day and turn it into a story. And
the second issue I take a few days
and try to develop the diary more
into a story more purposefully. I
would take one day or something
and it would become a sevenpage
story. But it was still very
diary-like. And the third one was
really more... It was actually very
planned out and thought out from
the beginning to the end.
gg: I haven't seen the third one. I've
only seen the first two.
gb: The third one's the best, for
gg: Did Jeff [Mason] publish that?
gb: No. It's all minicomics. But
he's going to put out a book which
should come out in April.
gg: Lucky #1 was 8 1/2 by 11 inches... So it wasn't a mini.
gb: Well, I guess I just call them
minicomics out of habit. I call
them minicomics because there
wasn't a very big print run.
gg: Oh, OK. Mini print runs.
gg: I noticed that the stories in
your fi rst collection When I'm Old
ranges from what I assume is earlier
work where the drawing is far more
detailed with more cross-hatching
to what I assume is later work where
you're using the more minimalist
approach you use today. Could
you describe the process where you
refi ned your approach to drawing
comics into what it is today.
gb: Well, I think I wanted to
draw really perfectly, like certain
heroes of mine in comics. But I
never really could.
gg: Who would these heroes be?
gb: For example, Jaime
Hernandez, which I shouldn't
even say, because I'm nothing
close to the way he draws, but I
would study his work. I think he's
like the ultimate for perfect lines.
But I really wanted to be able to
draw perfectly, but it's so hard to do and it takes so long. You spend
so much time just trying to get
that perfect line and it still ends
up looking clumsy. So it's not so
much the economy or cutting out
the details. I'm spending so much
time trying to get that perfect
line, which never happens. I think
it's probably a problem that a lot
of cartoonists get into, trying so
hard to make it perfect.
gg: I'm sure Jaime says the same
gb: Yeah, but I put out a lot less
stuff because of it. I wish I could
just stop caring so much and just
gg: It looked to me like with the
title story, "When I'm Old," you
might have been under the spell of
Julie Doucet. Do you like her work?
gb: She was a huge hero of mine.
I was so moved by her work. It
was so beautiful, so original, and
so different from all of the other
gg: And so revealing.
gb: Yeah. I like that, too.
gg: To go back to how you put a
story together... You write the
entire story out first. You actually
write all of the dialogue and
gb: Yeah, but it changes as I draw
it. I get ideas or I'll take things
gg: So you leave room for
gb: I don't leave room for it. I
try to actually leave no room
for spontaneity. I mean, if I
had my druthers there'd be no
spontaneity. I'd have it all planned
out and I wouldn't have to worry.
Spontaneity is the hardest thing.
gg: Yeah, well it takes a lot of careful
planning. Don't you find though
that it gives you some latitude to
play with the characters?
gb: I mean, it's kind of like comics
are so unspontaneous when
you're working on them. It seems
like... I mean, the best comics
are very spontaneous and look
very easy, like they just poured
out of somebody's pen. They're
so labor intensive they never feel
spontaneous when you're working
on them. You feel like you're
building a house brick by brick or
gg: The trick is to make it look
spontaneous when you can't be
gb: That's the trick. Yeah. It's all
tricks. Sometimes I get great ideas
midway through the comics and
something spontaneous comes
up. But then it doesn't even feel
spontaneous. It just feels more
hard and harsh.