Guest Post by Chris Stevens of Locust Moon Comics
Box Brown is a two time Ignatz award-winning cartoonist living in West Philadelphia. In 2012 he jumped into the publishing game, launching RETROFIT COMICS. His graphic novel biography of legendary wrestler Andre the Giant is set to be published by FIRST SECOND.
I sat down to chat with Box about his art and projects in this week’s Geek of the Week. Enjoy!
You keep a pretty full plate of projects going where you’re the creative force. what made you decide to go ahead and launch Retrofit, taking on the role of publisher & promoter of other folks work?
I was working really hard to publish my own comics on a regular basis. I found that when I released new work it would help sell the previous works. I worked as fast and hard as I could but I couldn’t get comics out fast enough.
One day I was on a long drive and realized if could apply the same principle to other peoples’ comics as well I could have regular new releases constantly helping to sell the whole catalog. I asked a bunch of my friends if they’d want to make a comic for me hoping a few would be interested and I ended up with 17 artists. So, the next day Retrofit was born.
What were you looking for when lining up the Retrofit publishing slate?
Mostly I wanted to publish artists that I was interested in. There’s nothing really that ties them all together besides that. It’s just artist that I think make excellent work and are cool people, friends, etc.
Touching on something from earlier, you’re the most productive cartoonist I know.
Can you talk a little about your process, specifically how you keep yourself excited to make comics and manage the solitary grind all cartoonists face when producing daily work?
I think originally one thing that drew me to cartooning as an art form is the fact that I’m really impatient. I need to move through things and get them out. I love cartooning because you can work on something finish it, get it out fast and move on. I don’t really enjoy spending days laboring over a single image or a single work.
When I was working on the Andre the Giant book over the last year it’s really been a test of patience.
I like having the freedom to move in many different directions at the same time. I like moving from project to project and back again, etc. Refocusing on many different projects throughout the day. I may spread myself too thin at times, but I just enjoy it all so much as well. It’s a super weird thing. I got to know what workaholism really is. I didn’t think it could exist!
But when you’re combining the thing you love to most with your occupation and then throw in the realities of paying bills and managing a family/social life it can become problematic. I just have an insatiable appetite for creating comics and being involved with comics.
You’re wrapping up the first year of Retrofit with (Farm School by Jason Turner) in early February what have you learned from this experience, and what does year two have in store for Retrofit?
Well, I may have over extended myself slightly in the first year. So, I’m keeping things much looser in 2013. I’ve got 6 artists lined up and a bunch of weirdo side-projects too so expect the unexpected.
I’m really excited about all of the artists creating new works for Retrofit: Roman Muradov, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Simon Moreton, Andrew White and Ryan Cecil Smith. Plus, we’ll have the return of Josh Bayer’s Raw Power.
It’s a new year. What does 2013 look like for Box Brown the cartoonist?
Well, I’m hoping that the Andre the Giant biography will be coming out but that might be in early 2014. Otherwise, I’m doing a whole bunch of small projects. Expect, at minimum, a lot of new comics. In 2011 I drew over 600 pages of comics, in 2012 I drew slightly less so I’m hoping to get back in my stride in 2013.