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Hensley and his sister, Cathy
gg: I like the last panel in "Testosterone,"
where you just see the girl's
legs in the background.
th: Yeah, I guess she's overdosed
on pills there, I gave her a little pill
gg: That's almost a Will Elder-esque
th: Will Elder is the king of the
sight gag that's in the corner. I definitely would try to aspire to something
like that, because his work is
gg: Do you allow yourself some
room while you're drawing it to incorporate
th: Not much. It's just that I have
to try to do something to keep
it interesting while I'm working
on it, and luckily things will happen
intuitively or spontaneously.
Besides the conversation the two
characters are having in that story,
I thought, "OK, he's going to be
eating something. What would he
eat? Oh, it would be a hot dog with
caviar." He eats that, but there's still
a bit left, so he squeezes it in frustration,
and now he has caviar on
his hands. Then he eats the can of
caviar. Then he shakes her hand.
Little things like that.
gg: The whole idea that she would
know 150 national anthems and
that this would impress Walter is...
th: That whole national anthem
thing comes from this guy I went
to high school with who collected
national anthems. He was a really
big sports fan, and he would write
to baseball stadiums and request
copies of performances. He would
get all this stuff in the mail, actual
45 singles, some promotional copy
of the organist at the stadium.
I think as a result of that, I really
learned the Canadian national anthem
better than I might have, because
he was always singing it. He
would also tape them off the TV on
a little handheld recorder.
gg: Do you feel very much a part
of what's going on in contemporary
th: Well, right now I'm trying
to finish up a story for the next
Kramers Ergot. And I love all the
work that's in there, but it's funny
for me to contribute, because I'm
thinking, if you're familiar with
the EC story "Kamen's Kalamity,"
where Jack Kamen, this romance
cartoonist, is assigned this horror
thing, and he actually has
to kill people in order to learn
to be able to draw horror comics.
I sort of feel like that with
this, like somehow that I need to
change the way I draw, because I
see all these qualities I admire in
all that work, and yet I don't feel
that's the work that I do. [Laughs.]
gg: What qualities would those be,
th: Well, I think a lot of the people
are not coming from a comics
background, they're more interested
in art in general, and the way
that they approach drawing is a
lot less belabored. Not to say that
there isn't a lot of thought or work
being put into it, it's just that you
feel like it's more immediate when
you look at it I think. The things
that I do are constructed, done bit
by bit, and put together. I feel like
the drawing is much more important
in the contemporary work I'm
seeing, more than the writing. Not
that that's a bad thing.
gg: I always thought, in a way, you
couldn't separate the writing from
the drawing. Even in a way, the
drawing is part of the writing, part
of the narrative.
th: Yeah, yeah.
gg: But I think I know what you
mean, that the emphasis is more on
th: In a sense, it makes it more
pure. The way that I approach
things, I don't doodle stuff. When
I do thumbnails, a little bit of that
comes into play, but the fact that I
work from the language first and
the try to make a comic out of it,
makes it not as pure as it could be
More books featuring Tim Hensley (click covers for complete product details)
Mome Vol. 5 - Fall 2006
Mome Vol. 6 - Winter 2007
No More Shaves
The Comics Journal Special Edition, Winter 2004 [Sold Out]
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All books featuring Tim Hensley