charles’ portrait taken nov. 2012 at BERGEN STREET COMICS by chris anthony diaz and colored by graham willcox
THE SHED’s new regular feature is five question interviews. i’m stoked to launch our inaugural one with super talented, nice guy charles forsman, a recent winner of the prestigious IGNATZ award at SPX 2013 for outstanding minicomic: THE END OF THE F*CKING WORLD no. 16. (charles also wrote the narration for my upcoming short film DESTINATION UNKNOWN) for more of charles’ endeavors, such as the upcoming CELEBRATED SUMMER put out by FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS and his new on-going minicomic TEEN CREEPS, visit here:
what established comic book characters would you like to portray in your style? (the SPIDER-MAN cover you did as a reinterpretation of ditko’s 60s version comes to mind, which i liked very much.)
hmm, well, i grew up with super-heroes and still buy MARVEL COMICS. well, mainly stuff from the 60s and 70s. SPIDER-MAN is definitely one of my favorites. i’ve actually started an unauthorized SPIDER-MAN comic a few years ago but i aborted it. especially after michael deforge put his (PETER’S MUSCLE) out. i think about working on some MARVEL characters from time to time. i highly doubt they would ever ask me. i also have some issues with their business practices. give kirby’s family some money guys! i guess i would have to settle how i feel about that if an offer ever came my way. maybe i would give half the money to the HERO INITIATIVE or something. i’ve also been into PLANET OF THE APES recently. would love to do a weird story in that world. i don’t know. It sounds cool to think and talk about but i’m not sure if i would be able to pull something like that off. it feels too far away from what i do. maybe in 20 years i would be able to hit the notes i would like to but it feels too far away from what i can do at the moment.
are you thinking about color more these days entering into your stories, especially since you’ve been creating risograph prints? or will you remain in black & white for the forseeable future?
yeah, i looooooove black and white comics but i do think about color. i enjoy using it when i can even though it can be very challenging to me. it takes a lot for me to color a comic. so many more choices to make and i don’t think i have an instinct for color and i have to really focus and work at it. i do want to do a color issue of SNAKE OIL someday. i just have to wait for the right story and someone willing to print it. good color printing just costs so much that i’ve always shied away from it.
but as far as the risograph, i can print in black, red and blue currently. i am starting to print some new books with those other inks. and i really want to use them myself. was thinking today of doing a 3-D print or zine using the red and blue ink. and i’d have to find a bunch of 3-D glasses to package with it.
who are two or three comic creators you look to for inspiration when you’re working on new projects and explain a little bit? also, would that influence find its way into your own stories as some kind of homage?
hmm, i feel like i think about my favorite cartoonists less and less nowadays. i still get obsessions with cartoonists. i’ve been really into herb trimpe, pat boyette and steve ditko recently. But that stuff doesn’t really influence my work much. i used to really study chester brown, sammy harkham, and old cartoonists like segar and schulz. i think their influence is really apparent in my comics. i try not to directly use other cartoonists stories as direct influences. i need to feel like it is my own thing when i start it. i may steal stuff without knowing it but i think most creative people do that. it is hard not to. i feel like i am finally getting comfortable with my pens and pencils and don’t need to use others as a base anymore. it feels good to say that. that said, i have a lot to learn and and want to get better.
does TEEN CREEPS take place in the 1990s? if so, how do you see working that era into the themes and details of your TEEN CREEPS storyline? (for example, jaime hernandez grounded his LOCAS stories in the los angeles punk scene of the early 1980s.)
yeah. it does take place in the 90s. setting is very important to me. i think of it as a guideline. it helps me form the world and dictates how characters interact. i was a teenager in the 90s so i don’t have to do much research to remember the feeling of that time. i don’t like throwing it in the readers face though. i try to keep it kind of ambiguous just because everyone has their own associations and i don’t want to rely on that too much. it is more for myself. it helps me get in the right mood when i am writing. i don’t want people to look at it and say, it is a 90s comic. that would suck. for me it is just a building block.
which do you prefer, cartooning or realistic illustration?
well, to me, that is what I love about comics is the act of cartooning. boiling the images and words down to give the reader just enough information to form a story in their heads. i love a nice detailed drawing but it also puts me to sleep. i like stories and people who cartoon. i think it is how comics work best. when the drawings get too close to realism, a lot of the magic goes out the window for me. it doesn’t mean that people don’t enjoy that stuff or it isn’t nice to look at but i feel like simple drawings are much more powerful. i also think you can work a lot more subtlety into comics if you aren’t overworking them.