Alex E Clark
Minicomic.club 2017 season
Do you keep a sketchbook? What do you fill it up with?
I keep a sketchbook that’s mostly loose sketches of people on trams and lists of what I need to do that week. My lecture notes were where I did my most detailed drawing. I think the last time I kept a solid daily sketchbook was Daily Diaries in 2010, which improved my comic layouts / lettering exponentially, but was an exhausting few months. Sketchbooks are for on-the-go notetaking, I have a lot of clipboards and A4 loose leaf for home.
Tell me about your favourite pen. Or favourite cat.
My favourite pen is every Faber Castell connector texta. I’ve got some discontinued ones that are the wrong colour inside, or have ink that disappears in sunlight, they’re magical. I do texta portraits at markets sometimes, and when kids see you drawing with their brand of textas, they’re just so amped up about it, and it’s nice. (Also my favourite cat is Gatsby, who we are looking after for fellow comic artist Laura Renfrew while she is in the UK. Gatsby is a very long white cat who enjoys jumping up doorframes to touch the light switch and yelling like a big, sad car alarm)
What’s deader — Print, or Mail?
When I was little, I wanted to be a postman, so I started filling a red and white stripy bag with letters to friends so that, by adulthood, I’d have enough letters to be a postman. So I guess minicomic of the month will be the fulfilment of that childhood dream. I don’t know which is deader, I thought we just lived in a nihilistic wasteland where distribution means personally pressing your comic into someone’s else’s sweaty hands in exchange for a fiver, and waiting in the shadows until the next secret gathering.
What’s a good comic you’ve read recently?
Aleister & Adolf by Douglas Rushkoff and Michael Avon Oeming. Lately, I’ve been really into early 20th century spiritualists and how the advent of telecommunications just gave everyone a new vocabulary for how ghosts totally work. And how every technological advance gets someone asking “but can we use x to TALK TO THE DEAD?”, like how Black Mirror gets everyone excited about spooky technology. It’s not new, and it’s my favourite thing. Anyway, this comic was linking espionage to the occult and there’s a teen graphic designer with ironic tattoos who gets chastised by everyone else, so it was really nice and I liked it.
The last couple years you’ve been putting on the Hallozeen comics events. What is it about Halloween you like? Is it more about the zines or the party?
So, I get really frightened of scary movies, small surprises or like, anything. But spooky monsters being moral euphemisms or parables of actual life problems is my favourite. I think autobio approach to comics is really easily translated into something strange and supernatural. So maybe my fascination with Halloween is more whole world view of everyone’s personal/interior life being bizarre and horrifying.
I keep thinking of Hallozeen as a competitive comic challenge, but I think I might be the only one who thirsts for conflict. The Inktober challenge supplies enough peer pressure leading up to Hallozeen. Artists are usually happy to creatively riff on the general spooky theme. The Hallozeen party is kinda the catharsis of a whole month of spooky saturation hype, and artists get to meet each other and it’s all very nice and cute and we get to dress up and it’s like Spooky Comics Prom.
The Minicomic of the Month Club is an annual subscription series of Australian and New Zealand Cartoonists. Subscriptions are open for the 2017 season, you should go ahead and subscribe at minicomic.club/2017.