Thursday, November 8, 2012

Curt Pires on LP and Rock and Roll Comics

Curt Pires answered my questions about his one shot comic LP, his thoughts on his creative process, and the melding of comics and rock music.

How did you come up with the concept for LP?

To be honest, I can't really remember when I specifically came up with the idea for LP, but I had been fooling around with some different music/comic ideas because I was really into it.  I  had written a couple of different scripts, kind of a bit in a similar vein about the idea of what would happen if people tried to steal records, sort of playing very literally with the idea of the value of music.  That didn't end up going anywhere, and then I was in this phase of listening to a lot of this band called Thee Hypnotics, it's this band Paul Pope's super into, and I was reading a lot of Paul Pope's stuff and just listening to this music, and not really reading a lot of other comics.  I don't really pull from comics in particular because I'm not a shut in or anything...I get out, and I'm super into music and stuff, so I sort of had all these different ideas and I decided to sit down and try and write a one shot about this story.  My initial concept was to explore the idea of a heist , but they're trying to steal a record. What if a record was the most valuable thing in the world?

LP has a couple of places in the book where there are direct quotes from classic songs, such as "withinuwithoutu", "shiver and say the words of ever lie you've ever heard", "be here now".  How do you feel about music as an inspiration for your comic book writing, and how do you try to meld those two different mediums?

I don't really know how to answer that question...I don't really know how one does it properly.  I think we sort of did it on LP, I think they did it on Phonogram, but I don't know if there's really a particular science behind it.  It's still a weird sort of thing, because it could just as easily fall flat on its face and make no sense, but I think in both pieces it sort of works.  I won't assess LP in relationship to Phonogram...I think in Phonogram they did it amazing.  I just think if you really like music and you really like comic books they just sort of bleed together.  There's a very thin membrane in my head between the two mediums.  I think they're pretty intertwined.

Do you feel like Phonogram is kind of a big influence on LP?

Not like a huge influence.  Like I said, the Paul Pope stuff was a bigger influence on it than Phonogram.  There's this Paul Pope story printed in the THB book one shots that Ad House put out, which is like this six year old kid listening to a David Bowie record.  That was the biggest music comic influence, that five page story, but just sort of the energy of Paul Pope stuff.  It's not getting bogged down in a comic book is a comic book, music is music, I'll take the energy of rock and roll and fuse it to a comic book which is why the whole comic book is basically just this F guy being a huge douchebag and just doing drugs and getting into these crazy situations.  I just want to make rock and roll comic books.

On the LP website, you describe LP as "in the style of Our Love Is Real".  I'm wondering how you feel about producing one shot comics as a way of breaking into the comic book industry in a similar way that Sam Humphries did?  How do you feel about one shot comics in general as a specific way of telling a story versus long form, six or seven issue story arcs?

When you're wanting to break in, it's probably the smartest thing to do.  So many guys who try to do these six or seven issue miniseries to break in, it's honestly really stupid.  They don't have the means to distribute it, they don't have the means to really publish it, and they go broke making them.  A lot of the time they're not even really good, so the Our Love Is Real thing, the comparison on the site, is a very calculated thing because basically if you make an off beat one shot book, that you can manage to infuse your creative ethos into it, and you manage to make it unique, professional market it in a professional way to people, it's a valuable avenue for sort of introducing yourself as a creator, so I think it's the smart thing to do, which is why I took the gamble doing it, right?  And comparatively, it's a lot less of a risk doing six or seven issues is such a pipe dream.  When I see someone online talking about doing that, an extended superhero thing for their indie debut or whatever, it seems real stupid to me, taking into account the business side of distributing and publishing your own work before you pull the trigger on any one format.

In LP, you put text in the gutters a couple of times.  For example, that thing I mentioned earlier, "withinuwithoutu".  Unless I'm mistaken, I think you do it at least one or two more times, so I'm wondering how you feel about that...that's something I saw in Matt Fraction's run on The Defenders.

That's where I pulled it out of, The Defenders.

Oh, interesting!

That book was one of my favorite comics being published for like the longest time, and they did all that cool stuff.  They'd have the narrative running in the book, and then you'd have the gutter captions which are almost like their own narrative.  I thought it was cool, the idea of a counter narrative.  So me doing that in LP was a direct result of how I saw it worked in The Defenders.

Are there any other projects you have in the works that you want to talk about?

I'm doing a book with Dalton Rose that I can't really talk about too much.  I don't want to do that thing where creators talk about their stuff so much in interviews so by the time it comes out, you already know everything about the book.  We've been talking to a publisher a lot today.

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