Monday, September 21, 2009

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Bryan Baugh

Welcome back kiddies! This time I tricked Artist/Creator/Writer Bryan Baugh to come down into the dungeon. If you don't know who Bryan is you should be ashamed of yourselves! JK. That's why we do these interviews. Bryan's art is just sick and then his writing style will floor you, it is just that damn good. So go on and take a look at what he had to say when he woke up and found out he was trapped in the interview chair.

Alright lets start out with a short answer section and get the usual stuff out of the way.

Name:
Bryan Baugh

Age:
For the past 10 years I have been celebrating anniversaries of my 27th birthday.

Married/Single/Dating/Other:
Happily married.

Pets:
Three cats. First there is Tiger, who looks like a gray-and-black striped tiger. That one adopted me. He literally showed up as a kitten on my doorstep one night and I invited him in, and he just never left. At that time he was so small he could sit in the palm of my hand. Now he is almost as big as an actual tiger. Then there is Lucy, the black cat who looks like a silhouette with eyes. Lucy is the alpha-cat of the household. She is convinced that it is her house and the rest of us should be happy that she tolerates us. And finally, there is Kayla, the little orange-and-black Halloween kitten. Her job is to follow the other two around and imitate everything they do. She has a true little-sister personality.

Highest Education Level:
I went to the Columbus College of Art and Design for 4 years.

First Job:
When I was 16 I got a job as a lab tech in a veterinary clinic, where I learned how to care for sick animals and how to clean large amounts of blood and other bodily fluids off of various surfaces.

Staying with short answers lets talk about what you do:

Comic(s) Before 1998:
I have been drawing short comics stories since I was a kid. In Art College I drew several short horror comics stories, and found ways to justify doing them as assignments for various classes. Right after I got out of college, between 1994-1996, I created a comic book series called Tales From Blue Soggoth, which was about a group of explorers from Earth who crash their spaceship on an alien planet populated with dinosaurs, zombies, Fish Monsters, Lizard Men, and whatever else I felt like drawing. Basically it was Lost In Space, with more monsters, violence, and scantily-clad women. I did 4 issues, and sold them at the Chicago Comic-Con in 1994 and 1995. I tried to get Blue Soggoth picked up by a real publisher but nobody was interested. That was the Image Comics era, you recall. Back then the only kind of subject that comic book publishers were interested in were superheroes with big guns and disco clothes. Old-fashioned sci-fi horror was dead in the early 90’s. I was working against the grain with that subject matter and shoulda known better.

From 1999 - August 2003:
In late 1999, I created Wulf and Batsy: a comics series about the adventures of a ferocious werewolf and a cute female vampire, as they wander the earth in search of friends, and a place to call home. The only problem is, wherever they go, they eat people, and get run outta town.

September 2003 - Present:
I have continued to work on Wulf and Batsy comics. For my day job, I work as a storyboard artist in the animation industry. That’s the job that pays the bills so I have to give it top priority. But I still write and draw Wulf and Batsy, as a fun side project. I have worked as an artist for publishers like Viper Comics, AC Comics, and NEC Comics. In 2009 Tim Seeley invited me to draw 4 issues of his series, Hack/Slash. Most recently, I have been focused on self-publishing trade paperback books collecting my complete Wulf and Batsy material thus far.

Alright all that stuff aside lets get to the center of Bryan.

What do you do when not making comics?
When I am not making comics I watch a lot of movies – mostly horror movies and crime movies. I read all kinds of books but mostly crime fiction. I am really into seafood. I am willing to try eating anything that comes out of the ocean. I seem to enjoy the overwhelming majority of it. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my wife, or my three extremely needy, co-dependant cats. I also hang out as often as I can with my best friend David Hartman, who is also a horror artist, and also very needy and co-dependant. Just kidding on that last point. Haha.

Favorite TV Shows past and present?
When I was a kid, I mostly watched re-runs of old TV shows. The Munsters. The Twilight Zone. Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The Outer Limits. As a kid of the 80’s I actually preferred re-runs of old black and white shows that had horror and science fictions stories over the family sit-coms that were so popular then. But I also had an affection for The Brady Bunch and Leave It To Beaver. I don’t watch much TV as an adult. I mostly just use my TV as a receptacle for my DVD player and watch movies. I have collected some TV series on DVD though – basically all the ones named above. Those are still my favorites. To be perfectly honest, Leave It to Beaver is probably my single favorite TV show of all time

Before the age of 16 what was your favorite Halloween Costume? After 16?
When I was about ten I got this cheap Wolf Man mask, the old kind with a string that goes around the kid’s head to hold it on. It was just an okay mask but my Mom went out and bought some brown furry fabric and sewed it into gloves, so I could have furry Wolf Man hands. I thought that was the coolest thing she ever did, and that alone made it my favorite Halloween costume up to that age. Many years later, at the age of 29 I created probably the best Halloween costume I’ve ever come up with. I found a high-quality werewolf mask with a moveable jaw that opens and closes when you move your mouth. I ripped holes in my clothes and put patches of brown fur inside the holes, so I could have fur bursting through my clothes. I got some really nice rubber monster-hand gloves with big claws. The final touch that really sold it, was a set of padded shoulders and arms from a muscle-man costume that I put under my shirt, to bulk me up. That was my best werewolf ever. But I try to create something really unusual every year, mixing the best store-bought items I can find with homemade touches. There was another year where I took a flesh-colored human head mask, and fit it over top of a regular old skull mask. Then I ripped the human head mask apart so the skull would show through, and covered the whole thing with drips of red paint, for blood. That was probably my goriest costume ever, it was very scary looking.

Back to comic stuff for now. Knowing that Iceman is the greatest hero of all time, why do you think he is so underused?
Well first of all, allow me to correct a fundamental flaw in that question – which is that Iceman is not the greatest hero of all time – Firestorm the Nuclear Man is the greatest hero of all time. Firestorm was awesome in the early to mid 1980’s when I was first getting into collecting superhero comics. I collected every single issue of The Fury of Firestorm as well as all the Justice League of America issues in which Firestorm appeared. I thought he was the coolest. I really dug that bright red and yellow suit and the flames coming out of his head. And for the record he could melt Iceman. The reason Firestorm is underused is because in recent years, DC Comics tried to fix something that wasn’t broken, by killing Firestorm off, then resurrecting the same character concept with a different person wearing the costume. I can say as an old-school Firestorm fan that I personally had no affection for this new version of the character, because when I read a Firestorm comic I want to read about Ronnie Raymond, the original Nuclear Man, not some new guy.

If you were to make a superhero comic, would it be a team or solo book and what would the main character(s) be called?
Hmm. I have often thought that one of these days I would love to do a really sleazy rip-off of The Shadow. Just take the exact same style of storytelling that you find in the old 1940’s Shadow radio plays, but make them “Rater R”, pushing the violence and sexual innuendo to scary extremes. I haven’t actually developed a name or a character for it, but that’s something I’ve often thought would be fun to do, if I wanted to try writing and drawing a really “heroic” adventure type of comic.

I guess we can agree that your art style is alright (JK its really f'cking awesome) what influenced you to do it? What made you want to draw and create and write and rule?
I can’t explain why but from the earliest age, scary stuff always had the most power over me. As a kid of the late 70’s and early 80’s, I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of the “TV Horror Host” era – when there were still TV shows, hosted by weird characters, dedicated to showing old black and white horror movies. There were a couple of different shows like this that I watched every week as a kid. So from early childhood I saw all the Universal classic horror films on TV and picked up on this whole history of monster movies. I feel very lucky that I was able to experience The Wolf Man, King Kong, Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jeckyll and Mister Hyde, all those classic old horror movies, by the time I was in kindergarten, and they became like sacred texts in my mind. So I was just fascinated by anything scary, and wanted to explore every bit of it. Around the age of 9 or 10 I became aware that there was this new writer named Stephen King. I would go to the bookstore and see these scary covers on his early novels, and felt intensely curious about them. But I was too intimidated by their length to try reading them. I saw them as “grown-up” books - too big for a kid to finish. I saw the movie Creepshow when it first came out in 1982, and it instantly became one of my favorite movies. Creepshow left as big an impression on me as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark did. I learned that Stephen King had written this movie and that’s when I decided, “Okay, I gotta start reading this guy’s books, I don’t care how long they are.” I bought Night Shift, which seemed like an easy one to start with, because it was a collection of short stories. Reading that whole book gave me the bravery at a young age to tackle novels, and I started reading all of King’s books. It was also around the age of 10 that I found the Creepshow comic book, which was drawn by Bernie Wrightson. And that was it. If I had to pinpoint a single moment when I decided I wanted to draw horror art for the rest of my life, that was it.

Where is the real money at in comic creating?
I suppose the answer to that question probably depends on your definition of “real money”. So far I haven’t figured out a way to make money doing comics that is even remotely comparable to what I make at my day job. If I ever start to believe that such a thing is possible, I will be happy to pursue a comics career more seriously, and crank out a ton of new comics and graphic novels. Till then, I prefer to retain my financial security, and do comics as a hobby on the side, as spare time allows. Based on my experience it would seem financially irresponsible to do otherwise.

When your making comics what’s going on around you? Music, what kind? Silence? TV on?
I have to listen to something while I work. Usually I listen to music. I prefer weird electronic stuff. Everything from Industrial music, to Goth, to bizarre experimental synthesizer stuff. I also have a massive collection of obscure horror movie soundtracks and those are helpful for intensifying the horror-mood. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks while I draw. Basically, I need some sort of audio backdrop that keeps my brain occupied. My artwork always turns out best when I am just drawing by instinct and not analyzing it too much. I would compare it to riding a bicycle. It’s only when you try to concentrate on keeping your balance that you soon lose your balance and crash your bike. As long as you are just doing it – without thinking about it - it’s all smooth sailing.

10 years from now. Where do you see me at. in my career as a headless journalist?
Oh, there is no doubt in my mind that you will have dominated all horror entertainment news media. Absolutely.

10 years from now. Where do you see yourself?
Hopefully living in a decent house that is either located someplace close to the ocean, or someplace close to a forest where it rains and snows often. Hopefully with my pretty wife and a healthy, well-behaved 9 or 10 year old kid. Hopefully still financially secure. Hopefully I will have made a lot more comics by then, and hopefully they will be better known and selling well. That would be good enough for me.

Alright we can finish up with a quick word association game. I will say a word, you give me a quick one sentence response.

Wulf & Batsy?
The deformed, drooling, mentally handicapped child I send out into the world, who is shunned by the masses, but dearly loved and supported by those precious few who have taken the time to get to know it.

Hack/Slash?
A fun comic to draw.

Horror Comics?
My favorite art form to work on.
$5.27?
I don’t know what the significance of this amount is, and I don’t believe in numerology, but it is spooky that you throw this at me because the number 27 seems to reoccur frequently in my life.

Indy Planet?
Good people and a wonderful resource, but in my opinion they would have a better image if they were willing to reject obvious amateur-night material.

Big Bird?
Entertaining guy but I find “Animal” on the Muppets easier to relate to personally.

Anime?
Like a swarm of butterflies flapping in my face, and I know each one must be beautiful and unique, but they all blur together and I can’t discern one from the next.

Fondue Parties?
Never been to one.

Decapitated Dan?
Seems like a good guy to me!

Bryan Baugh?
The Edward D. Wood Jr. of the comic book industry.

Awesome stuff Bryan. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.
No problem! Thanks for asking me some new and unusual questions! That was fun!

If you want to check out or buy any of Bryan's work head on over to http://www.cryptlogic.net/

2 comments:

  1. Way to go Bryan! Firestorm is the best character ever!!!

    The Irredeemable Shag
    http://firestormfan.com

    ReplyDelete
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