Sammy Harkham interview

Posted On September 20, 2006

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 sammy harkham

 

First Published in UK The-Beat http://www.the-beat.co.uk

Interview (via e-mail) with the amazing Sammy Harkham. 

The comic strip Poor Sailor, originally published in Kramers Ergot 4, was subsequently included in The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2004 and has been published in French, Korean, and Italian. He was nominated in 2002 for an Ignatz Award for ‘Promisng New talent’, and kramers ergot has been favorably reviewed and placed on numerous best of the year list’s including the LA Weekly, Time.com, Dazed And Confused, The Comics Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly. Harkham currently lives in Los Angeles working on his comic series Crickets and the next volume of Kramers Ergot. 

It’s great to see that you’re into Jamie Hewlett; this guy changed the face of the UK comic scene almost like what the sex pistols had done. Any other newcomers that you feel have had a massive impact on today’s scene? 

There’s a lot of great young cartoonists whose influence you can already see taking hold: C.F., and Jeffrey Brown. Kevin Huizenga is  someone who is brilliant but I think his influence is going to be absorbed more slowly by other cartoonists 

Do think the whole indie comic scene has changed? For example, gone are the days of drawing, photocopying and selling your own comics? (I suppose the internet closed that chapter of indie comics…) 

Not really. There are still a number of amazing mini comic being made  for the love of the form and craft. Just look at usscatastophe.com to  see what I mean. The biggest change has probably been all the attention comics have been getting from major book publishers. It seems every ass who can draw a word balloon is getting huge advances to make a ‘graphic novel’. but I guess the book world has all ways been bullshit. They are in the business of pumping out product as fast as possible. My only hope is that the good work will always be discovered and appreciated, regardless of publisher 

What do you know of the UK indie comic scene? 

I am not terribly that well versed in u.k. comics but two of my favorite cartoonists are based in London-tom gauld and will sweeney.  both of them, while completely different stylistically,  do amazingly  smart, funny, beautiful comics 

Work wise what’s next for you? 

working on a short story called THE DRUG EATERS for crickets 2 and  gathering comics for kramers ergot 7. 

Do you feel at times you get tied up with the business side of things and drawing gets put to one side? 

Not anymore. it was a problem when I was self publishing, and I would  have to spend months on the phone, but now I am working with Buenaventura Press and they handle all the business stuff-invoices, filling orders, dealing with distributors and stores. So I am more free now to just work. 

Have you ever read “Milk & Cheese” by Sarah Dyer & Evan Dorkin (check out the quality site: http://www.houseoffun.com/) 

I was a huge milk and cheese fan as a teenager. it was some of my  favorite stuff next to tank girl and eightball. 

Are you ever influenced with what’s going on in the world? 

How can you not be? I may not make specific comments on things happening in our culture and world, but I think the work I do filters in everything I see and hear in some way. 

Ever thought about going into the animation? Like a short/indie animated film? (I guess it’d cost $$$$$$) 

No, not really. Except for stuff like fantastic planet or the odd animated music video I am not that psyched on animation. 

Johnny Ryan and Eric Reynolds gave interesting answers to this question, so I’ll ask you – If you could fight any celebrity who’d it be? 

I want to wrestle a young Rita Tushingham.   

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