Logan Kaufman: You broke into comics by
sending a packet of work to Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics,
and were welcomed aboard with open arms. Sounds
like the easiest thing in the world.
Colleen Coover: The easy part was sending
in the packet to Kim. But it contained over 100
pages of finished art that took a year and a half
to draw! That's like four issues worth of material
done before we got started! So, no, not easy.
I am occasionally asked ny new comics artists
how to get published, and I always tell them,
"you have to FINISH something." It's difficult
to spend a long time writing and drawing a comic
without knowing if it's going to be picked up
by a publisher, but that's the only way to show
that you can get the job done.
Logan: Were you expecting some rejection,
or did you have a fair amount of confidence in
your work by then?
Colleen Coover: I was pretty sure that someone
would pick up Small Favors, whether Eros or NBM
or whoever. I felt that it compared well with
the quality of a lot of other adult comics, and
again, there was four issues worth of comics ready
to go! I went to Eros first just on the basis
of its size relative to other adult publishers
in the US.
Logan: Do you get a whole new set of nerves
kicking in after something is first accepted?
Are people going to go over this with a magnifying
glass in one hand a Psych 101 textbook in the
Colleen Coover: With the first issues of Small
Favors, I just wanted people to evaluate it as
a comic, not just as porn. And I wanted them to
not think it sucked. Happily, they didn't! Now
I have a weird sort of disconnect between my work
and the published piece. By the time anything
I draw gets published, I have a whole new deadline
or project to worry about! What is brand-new for
the readers is old news to me. But I still do
Google searches to see what people are saying.
Logan: Lately you've been collaborating
with your partner Paul Tobin on Banana Sunday
and other short pieces. Do you enjoy that collaborative
process more than doing everything by yourself?
Colleen Coover: What most people don't kow is
that I've been working with Paul all along. He
got me into creating comics with a few short pieces
in his comic Attitude Lad, which was published
by Caliber Press and then Slave Labor Graphics
in the early-mid 90's. He's been my advisor and
coach from the beginning, so working with him
is perfectly natural. How it would be to work
with another writer, I have no idea.
Logan: Small Favors was all Colleen, however,
Colleen Coover: Yeah, though Paul was always
there for me when I needed advice or ideas, and
in the beginning I needed a LOT of advice and
Logan: With everything else you're working
on, is Small Favors officially on the back burner
at this point?
Colleen Coover: Yeah, for the moment. I expect
there will be more Small Favors in the future,
probably in the form of the occasional special
issue, but I really want to expand my range and
do other types of stories.
Logan: Right now it is kind of interesting,
because your two major works have covered the
extreme ends of the spectrum as far as labeled
genres go (All Ages and Erotica). Where do you
Colleen Coover: Our current project, the graphic
novel Freckled Face, Bony Knees, And Other Things
Known About Annah, is what I would term hesitantly
"Lit Comics." Not sexually expicit, but for an
adult fiction readership.
Logan: What led you two to settle in Portland?
Colleen Coover: We came from Iowa, which is a
fine place to live, but there is very little there
by way of a comic book community. In Portland
you can't turn around without running smack into
a cartoonist. So we came to find a city with other
artists, and in order to have a bit of a cultural
change from the state we had both lived all our
lives. And since I don't drive, I wanted to live
in a city with a good public transportaion system.
Portland provides on all fronts!
Logan: Did you have any experience with
Portland, or did you just hear that it was a good
place for artists? It might just be Washington
bias, but I would probably think of Seattle first
with Fantagraphics and the large number of artists
who live there.
Colleen Coover: We knew Portland mostly by its
reputation, and we were attracted to the fact
that there were not only the Fantagraphics crowd
here, but also mainstream artists and writers,
and three major publishers, plus a vibrant Small
and Micro Press scene. And good buses!
Logan: Who else is working in Portland
now that we should know about?
Colleen Coover: Greg Beans runs Tugboat Press,
which is publishing a new quarterly anthology
that's of much higher-than-average quality called
Papercutter. The first issue had a sweet story
by Aaron Renier, and Paul and I did a short piece
for issue number 2, which should be out in the
next few weeks.
Logan: Coming from the midwest, you've
touted your Cubs fandom before. You know, the
Mariners should have a pretty good team once they
get rid of Carl Everett...
Colleen Coover: I really missed the local radio
Cubs broadcasts this summer! Even though I was
able to listen on the computer, it just wasn't
the same without the other local fans. There's
talk that the Marlins might move here - that'd
Logan: They'll be in the National League,
so you'll get to see the Cubs come to town, too.
Your family might disown you for loyalty issues.
Colleen Coover: I'm safe, because I'm the only
member of my family who even knows the most of
the rules of the game. I can't root against the
Cubs, though. I'll watch their games, but if the
Cubs are in town, they're my team!
Logan: The collected Banana Sunday is
coming out in just a few days, what would someone
not familiar with it need to know? What would
someone familiar with it not already know?
Colleen Coover: All you need to know is that
this is a comic created to be fun, so have fun
reading it! And readers who are wondering if there's
more to come will be happy to know that Root Nibot
has a series of Banana Sunday novels in the works,
featuring many of the same characters in a quite
different story. We're scouting about for an agent
to represent them at the moment!