Howdy, Bearnerd readers! James here! You may remember me from the “Jim com Limão” videos. </troymcclurefeelings>. Today, I’m here to talk about a comic series square in the are of interest for us, nerd bears.
is the labour of writer, artist, actor, bear and nerd Jeremy Owen.
The first issue, or #0, starts with Mike, our protagonist, arriving at the city of Albuquerque, in the U.S.A. State of New Mexico. Getting off the bus, he looks for the first joint where he can grab something to eat and gather some information on the town, where he apparently plans on settling down.
This is a typical protagonist introduction story, where the character finds himself on a place unfamiliar to him and, presumably, to the reader as well, and that gives us, the readers, the chance to get acquainted with him as he gets to know his new enviroment.
The story sets up, or rather begins setting up, the stage for the protagonist’s journey – He’s obviously in search of something that’s not yet clear to the reader, but has ties to strange events he seems to be following.
Owen has a great ear for dialogue, and the interpley between Mike and Alice (the priceless “oversharing barista”) is a great example of that. The characters’ conversation flows very easily and it picks the reader’s interest. The art is also really efficient, and it’s noticeable how it improves as the story goes along, which shows how commited the author is to his craft. Of particular notice are the locations and the body language of the characters.
I should also note that our protagonist, Mike, is one FINE bear himself!
In short, I really enjoyed this first offering of Bludgeon, and Iook forward to the unraveling of a very promising story.
Now read an exclusive Bear Nerd interview with Jeremy Owen, where he talks a bit about himself, his work, his hobbies and influences:
BN – You say on your profile at your site that you’ve been drawing most of your life. What about comics? Have you always been a fan? What kinds of book do you like? Do you follow any particular character or creator? Tells us a bit about you and comics!
I love comics and superheroes. Ever since I can remember I was a fan of the DC heroes because of the Superfriends cartoon. Superman, Batman and Green Lantern were my favorites (I still have my Superman action figure from when I was 5). As I got a bit older I started collecting actual comics (around 4th or 5th grade). Mostly marvel stuff… Spider-Man, and X-Men. Then later when Image premiered I started reading a ton of titles, pretty much anything I could get my hands on, both mainstream and indie. Somewhere during college I got broke, couldn’t decide which titles I wanted to stop and which ones to keep, so I ended up stopping all my titles except for the occasional paperback collection. As an adult now I have started collecting again, but mostly smaller press stuff. I still read the big titles when I can borrow them from friends but usually only buy the indie stuff. I know that totally makes me sound like a hipster, doesn’t it? But its what my tastes have moved to.
As for what are my favorite characters that have stuck with me? Batman, Deadpool, The Maxx, The Tick, Kevin Matchstick (from Mage), Johnny the Homocidal Maniac… And my favorite comic of all time is Scud: The Disposable Assassin. If you haven’t read Scud, pick up the collection, called”The Whole Shebang”, on amazon or somewhere. It was created by Rob Schrab and some issues co-written by Dan Harmon, who are two of my favorite creative minds working in TV and moves now (though the comic, Scud, is over 10 years old now… except the last 4 issues that finish out the story).
A few years ago I started getting into queer comics too… a realm of comics completely unbeknownst to me as it took me a long time to figure myself out as a gay man. My favorites currently being published are Shirtlifter (by Steve MacIsaac and others great artists), and Wuvable Oaf (by Ed Luce). In fact Ed has been a huge help in my own work… pointing me in the right directions to figure out this small-press self-publishing thing.
BN – What are your strongest artistic influences? What sort of art catches your eye?
This one is tricky… My biggest comic influences, creatively, probably include Rob Schrab, Jim Mahfood, Chris Bachallo, Sam Keith, Frank Miller, Jhonen Vasquez, Doug TenNapel, Scott Morse and of course Ed Luce. Also I should mention my friend and Editor, Greg Freeland II… he’s a fantastic artist and always inspiring me to be better at what I do. Writing wise, big favorites are H.P. Lovecraft, Poppy Z Brite, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and my friend Scott S. Phillips (who has a great knack for interesting characters and awesome dialogue).
I love Mike Mignola’a stuff, Hellboy especially. I mentioned already how big of a fan of HP Lovecraft… And Mignola definitely tips his hat to Howard in a big way. Something I hope to do with my book too. I love horror comics and comics that include horror themes. I may be the only person on the planet that hasn’t read The Walking Dead yet, but I plan on it when I can borrow my friend’s collection. Matt Wagner’s Mage is also a favorite (not to mention Kevin Matchstick is good eye candy).
OK enough name dropping… What usually catches my eye is, of course, interesting art and visual style (and hot characters don’t hurt either!). But also interesting characters. I am a huge fan of character-driven stories that aren’t just devices for moving the plot along. I hope that as I continue to write Bludgeon I can live up to this in my own writing, and that my art isn’t so horrible it makes people stop reading 😛
Of course, this being my first foray into the world of comics, who knows what influences may assert themselves?
BN – Bludgeon moves to Albuquerque as he’s on this journey to find the origins of his powers as well as to find himself as a newly out gay man. How much of your personal experience has made it into Bludgeon?
As I stated before, it took me a long time to figure myself out as a gay man. I was 23 before I even considered it, and another year after that before I found my first boyfirend. I’m 31 now, so not as new as I used to be but still new compared to the folks out there who have known their whole lives. I wanted to incorporate this into the book… I figure Mike has only figured himself out about a year and a half ago, just before his super-group disbanded. So now he’s just trying to put the last pieces of his life in order, both personally, and as far as his powers are concerned.
I’ve always liked stories so much more when we knew more about the person as themselves rather than their super hero alter ego. Take Spider-Man vs. Peter Parker. Batman vs Bruce Wayne. So much more interesting when you explored their flaws as humans and their mental states dealing with the real world while still having to put on the mask at night. In With Bludgeon, my goal is to spend as much time with Mike as a person learning who he is personally and romantically, as with Bludgeon fighting baddies and nasty creatures.
BN – You say on the website that the comic will have a horror feel mixed up with the sci-fi aspect inherent to Super-Heroes. How will those two mix? Will you favour one over the other? Will humour play a part as well?
Yes… I’m a horror film fan, big time. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is probably my favorite film of all time. And I honestly don’t think that mixing horror with sci-fi and superhero genres will be that big of a stretch. Pretty much every superhero book that’s had a long run has had horror story-arcs, or at least a “What If” or “Elseworlds” story involving the supernatural.
My book will include a lot of cyptozoology and folklore, and hopefully I can pull off some Lovecraftian ancient unspeakable evil too. Next issue, Bludgeon runs across a skinwalker (which is a nasty piece of native american folklore here in the southwest united states). I aim to include a lot of creepy nasties for sure. But I will be including sci-fi elements too. One of the rival heroes I’m planning is a straight-up gadget man (neat hi-tech toys and such), so look forward to a whole gamut of fun stuff.
And of course there will be humor. Or at least attempts at humor! I guess its up to the reader to decide if its really funny or not.
BN- Given that you’re also an actor, what kind of movie references (horror, sci-fi) make their way into your comic? How heavily do you draw on movies as a source of inspiration and reference?
I do draw a lot of influences from film, both creatively and artistically. I love old exploitation, sci-fi, and horror posters as the pieces of art they are. As far as people goes: Kevin Smith, Charlie Kaufman, David Lynch, Guillermo Del Toro, Cohen Brothers, John Carpenter, Lloyd Kaufman, Greg Mottolla and Takashi Miike, to name a few.
I actually think of comic layout and design more in terms of film (shots and camera angles and continuity) rather than panels and images. It tends to work out as they are both very visual ways to tell as story. The difference is I don’t have a budget to stick to when using a pencil and paper.
BN – You’re a bear. Does it influence your work on Bludgeon? Does it bring any particular sensibilities to the work? How’s the bear scene where you live, and do you play an active part on it?
It does influence my work, indeed… but I don’t want it to overpower my book. Not to knock the books that live in a bear wonderland where everyone’s a big gorgeous burly hairy gay man (I would die for a copy of Go Fujimoto’s Bear Detectives in its entirety, and I’m really excited for Daniel Mainé’s Bearton City graphic novel to come out) but that kind of world just isn’t me and what I am going for. Bludgeon/Mike will be meeting and being involved with straight people, and gay people… and I want to be sure to include all types of people in the gay community. And I want to avoid any “big super bear crush evil twink” type story lines pitting one aspect of gay culture against the other. But there will be other eye candy in the book, and when it gets to the romantic stuff it most likely be with another cute bear.
The bear community here in Albuquerque is small, though not so small that I know everyone here in town. There are some really nice (and cute) guys in town for sure and I’m happy to call a lot of them my friends. I don’t really play an active part with the bear organizations, though. I’m happy to try and make the events when I can, but I’ve never been a “Club” type of person (going to meetings and such). Also being a bear is only one aspect of who I am. Like I said earlier it took me a while to figure out the gay part of me, and most of the rest of who I was (the geek, the horror fan, the actor, the artist, etc.) was already in place. I embrace the bear community but it doesn’t define me entirely as a person.
My book will reflect this too. The bear stuff will definitely play a part but in the end the book isn’t solely about a super powered bear. Hopefully my book will be enjoyable by all types of folks, but will definitely “deliver the groceries”, so to speak, for my bear fans too!
BN – Finally, the floor is yours – Tell us anything you’d like to share!
Not much to say here except thanks so much for the interview! Thanks to everyone who reads this and picks up a copy of the comic or any of my other work. You can find anything you wanna know about me or Bludgeon up on burlypress.com. Big thanks also to my editor and collaborator, Greg Freeland II… his art blog is gregfreeland.com. And if you haven’t already, go buy Ed Luce’s stuff at wuvableoaf.com… it is an amazing comic full of wonderful characters and hot guys. And keep an eye out on my site for my next pinup book and/or Bludgeon #1 soon!
Now take a look at the exclusive preview from Bludgeon #0:
The work of Jeremy Owen, as well as the links to buy the comic, can be found at his site, at http://www.burlypress.com/home.html.