Conversations with Comic Book Creators #1 – Eric Kim

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DEMONS by Eric Kim

CA: Fire one: I’m most curious about this — your roots/origins. Are you Canadian-born, first generation like me, or did you immigrate to our True North?

EK: I was born in Bramalea, Ontario. We moved to Toronto and have had our roots in or around there ever since.

CA: Your CV is beyond impressive!! You are the quintuple quasar!!! (I just coined a new term.) Copyrighted! Can’t use it!! Aside from the artistic abilities, what is your strong suit?

EK: Thank you! I don’t think I really have that many strengths outside of art. I also tend to see everything through that lens as well. I’m just focused on what I want to do, I guess. I’m a comics guy, so everything that entails.

CA: I reviewed your most recent œuvre DEMONS. I previously perused NITRO BATTLERS. Kudos for the one-and-done. I’m in awe of the condensed format that you seem to easily master. No need for unnecessary exposition or obligatory origins.

EK: Thank you! They’re my first forays into writing for myself, so it’s quite nice to hear.

CA: I really dig your sense of humour. You use modern slang, make pop cultural references, and present the main characters as flawed but funny. On that note, as an English teacher, I wholeheartedly approve of the ultra-abridged version of The COMPLETE WORKS of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. I greatly appreciated the two-page synopses and gained a better understanding and awareness of plays I didn’t care for: As You Like It, Much Ado about Nothing, and Twelfth Night to name a few.

EK: Thanks!

Shakespeare_EricKim

CA: How much reading and/or research did you do for this piece? Were the ones mentioned in the biographies the ones who simplified things for you? The dedication was a real hoot. Ditto for the praise.

EK: Not much. Research was restricted to Shakespeare for Dummies and the Wikipedia. It’s by design, of course, so that the layman reading of it is honest. It’s interesting, though. I find that what happens is that it gives readers that are ordinarily turned off by Shakespeare a foothold into his work, so that’s a nice by-product of my idiocy.

The people credited in the biographies were more encouraging friends. I really wanted to thank them, because for me, it was a big risk financially and artistically. Their encouragement helped me along.

CA: The tragedies easily trump the comedies in my opinion. What’s your fave comedy, history, tragedy, and tragicomedy?

EK: For comedy, I like Twelfth Night. I haven’t read too many of the histories, but I would like to, having read through the plots thoroughly. Tragedy, Hamlet. And tragicomedies…I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

CA: When you choose a setting, is it with the T-Dot in mind? This great country of ours?

EK: It’s usually Toronto because I’m pretty unimaginative. It allows me to identify with the characters and where they are. I’ve actually used a number of different locations that are dear to me in there. With the next work, I’m trying to make it different. We’ll see how well I do, I guess.

CA: Ever the entrepreneur, having your own official website definitely gives you unlimited exposure. How much of it do you run? Who assists you in this endeavour?

EK: I used to run the whole thing myself, but now I operate it with my wife.

CA: You have emphasized how much of a private person you are. In contrast, your body of work is so public. The contrast bemuses me. Why is that?

EK: I dunno! I like selecting what I share through the work, I guess. That part of it is fine for me. I feel like so many people already know who I am that it’s kinda weird rehashing it? I don’t know. I guess I already feel like I share a lot, I suppose…

 

CA: Segue!! I have yet to read LOVE as a FOREIGN LANGUAGE but I’m really intrigued by the premise. I want to broaden [pun intended!] my perspective since one of my friends taught English in China; the other in Japan.

EK: Thank you! It’s J. Torres’ book, really. He deserves all the praise for those works.

CA: How often do you hit the convention circuit?

EK: Not as often as I used to. I’ve slowed down some recently. I’ve been focused on making new works and replacing old work. I’d like to try and present a new dimension of myself to people, I guess? I don’t think I can do that with old work. So until I’ve got enough, I’ll be keeping a little bit of a lower profile for the time being.

CA: There’s no graceful way of saying this — do you have a “real” job? Something more substantial to support yourself?

EK: I do. And there’s nothing wrong with it, I think. Writing is pretty difficult, and it kind of necessitates a day job? I’m working as an animator right now, alongside some really great, imaginative people. I’m really fortunate for that. And it helps me in a way that I didn’t expect. I find now I’m able to take in more information, be more observant of the world and learn more about it as well. It gives me time to process. When I was freelancing, I was doing it at such a rapid-fire pace, I wasn’t able to catch my breath or process anything. This works better for me, and allows me to make time for friends and family. I’m pretty lucky right now.

CA: My fondest memory of you is making your acquaintance at the Comic Pile on Free Comic Book Day last year. You were very gracious and accommodating in sketching the only number one heroine in my book: Wonder Woman!! From there, I added you to Instagram and Facebook.

Eric Kim & me WW sketch by Eric  Kim

 

EK: Thanks! I’ll be sure to doodle more Wonder Woman pictures, too.

CA: The local stores that carry your books are The Beguiling and Silver Snail. Anywhere else? I definitely want to spread the word!!!

EK: I think Strange Adventures in Halifax might have copies, as well as The Dragon in Guelph, the Comic Book Lounge (which has recently changed up its business model), and the Hairy Tarantula, I think. And also Sonic Boom has copies, I think. Both locations. So very local, very small for now.

CA: On a personal note, you are quite familiar with my buddy Ariel. He met you years back and actually showed me NITRO BATTLERS two months before FCBD (March 2014). Foreshadowing!! Prophetic! Serendipitous?

Nitro01_FrontCoverFLAT02_400w

EK: Heh! I’ll go with serendipitous.

CA: Putting things to a close: what do you have brewing? I’m foaming at the mouth here @_@

EK: Just started working on something, but it’s too soon to tell. The more I learn about the craft, the more it changes what it is that I’m working on. I get more illuminated and want to test what it is that I’ve learned.

By the way, as a shameless plug, I’d like to recommend Ty Templeton’s classes. God knows they helped me out with regards to writing. Anyways, worth checking out. Cheers!

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