Evan Dorkin talks Beasts of Burden!
Today we are joined by Evan Dorkin to talk about the current storyline in his Beasts of Burden comic!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus
Evan Dorkin – Video Interview
[00:00:00] Casey: All right, everybody. Welcome again. To another episode of spoiler country today on the show we have writer, artist. He does a lot of stuff. He’s written for space coast, coast to coast. He has done B suburban. He’s done milk and cheese, which is where I discovered him for the first time as a young dork reading wizard magazine.
And it was amazing. So, everybody, Evan Dworkin, Evan, how you
Evan Dorkan: doing man? I’m done. Apparently, according to you, I’ve done this. I’m done. Oh no, no, not
Casey: done. Not done. Yeah.
Evan Dorkan: At least for the next year or so. Yeah. So I’m living a dream, you know, Hey man, I got a haircut today, so I can’t be too upset. Good. It looks
Casey: good. I need to, I need I need to get mine done. It’s
Evan Dorkan: push it. They cut quite a, yeah. I had it down to my shoulders for the first time in a long time. Wow. Wow. I think my last Erica was April of [00:01:00] last year.
So that’s, that’s better
Casey: after a while. Like it’s the process of going, like I could grow this. Yeah. Awesome.
Evan Dorkan: And I can tell my hair that you know, supplement my income, but they didn’t want it. Cause there was so much gray in it. They were like, no, thanks old, man. There’s a nest in there. What are you doing?
Casey: it’s funny. I, so I I’m working on a comic with, with a guy in England right now. And I told him that I was going to be talking to you later today. And I didn’t really know that milk and cheese had gotten over to England.
Evan Dorkan: It was because it was in deadline magazine back in the day. Yeah.
Well, that’s, that’s what I, I was right then I 10 points for me, you know, I was, I was the token American and deadline. I did milk and cheeses. I don’t know, 93, 92. I can’t remember the dates, but yeah, I was doing often sort of mindfully for awhile, but then [00:02:00] intermittently and then they were reprinting older strips, but I did some pirate core stuff for them and from SoCo and they run some fun strips, but yeah, my stuff was in deadline is where.
I went over there for four conventions, did a tour with the D deadlines signing tour. That was, that was a great time. I missed that. That was, that was
Casey: awesome. It is wild. So, yeah, he, he told me that of course he knew who you were because you were in a magazine that had tank girl and
Evan Dorkan: stuff like that.
Yeah. Yeah. That was pretty much what it was the tank girl magazine. And I’m trying to figure out how to get this thing so that I’m not so that I’m looking a little bit better. Maybe that works. Okay.
Casey: It’s all good, man. So yeah, he said after drawing Bolland and Dylan, I used to then copy Hewlett endorphin and that’s, he would go to art school with your stuff.
Evan Dorkan: That’s a good company to be in I’m easiest. I’m probably the easiest to. I’m probably the easiest to copy out of that bunch. Jesus. So
Casey: like cartoon being, being fluid with your character. So [00:03:00] that, that is a skill that is a real skill. And that’s something that you, you Excel at and milk and cheese was a really, really good
Evan Dorkan: example of that to where the two boxes with faces on them.
You know, it’s not like I’m
doing severe, doing serious character design there. I mean, they just are cat that’s my dinner. Oh, oh, well. Yeah. I mean, they are what they are. They’re just two goofy cartoon characters that connected with enough people to keep. Keep me drawing. And then they were just little gag characters. I was drawing on the envelopes for people and things like that.
I mean, I was drunk when I came up with them after a show, I was always see some bands at CBS and we went to a place nearby and we were all drunk and I just was waiting for food and drawing on napkins and just kept drawing those two. They were easy to draw. So, and they ended up doing a lot of nice things for me.
You know, I got, I got, we got space goes kind of from that and [00:04:00] deadline. And the books that book has been mostly been in print Phyllis, jeez, 20 something years, some collection or other. Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. The dark horse is my main polisher right now and the books still out in paperback, the hard cover sold through a couple of findings.
So it’s, you know, for two little drunken dopes excuse me, I’m getting the cat again. Oh no, no, I’m pretty. Okay. And that’s I guess my signature characters although these days I’m mostly doing commissions with them and just drawing them from my followers on, on social media than I am doing comics with them, because there’s really not a lot of places to do two page five page, little humor comics.
The industry has changed a lot over the last 30 years. So, maybe a web comic now, I guess if I was starting out, but you know, I’m a situation, I’ve got a family I’m in my fifties. I can’t just I can’t do those strips for free, you know, and there’s a, it’s hard way to monetize them. I might do a few for my Patriot once things start getting a little more scheduled on [00:05:00] there.
But yeah, mostly I just draw them for people not to doing too many comic strips for if at all. Yeah. But then, you know, they’re kind of like my, my emblems by the logos.
Casey: It’s funny, reading your stuff from, from them and then to beast of burden. And it’s like, you, you
Evan Dorkan: see
Casey: kinda like, I guess you’re growing up as, as a person, as you’re, as you’re creating these things.
Evan Dorkan: no,
there’s no growing up. It’s just redirecting. It’s just putting the words together in different ways. No base, basic burden is now I think, 20 years old or something crazy like that. 2003. So you got, it’s just, I mean, I guess I just got somebody on. Is that the cat? Oh, get off the computer. Whoops. Whoops.
That was bad. What did you just do? What still see you? I don’t see anything. Hold on a sec. [00:06:00] Okay. I see a zoom screen. Let’s see. You might be coming back. Nope. Hold on one sec. Thanks Kat. That’s great. She’s eating. Okay. Yeah. I got to keep it locked in the studio because she’s just being introduced to the house, but the other cat, who’s not going to be happy.
I don’t remember what I was saying. What was the last question growing
Casey: up as, as you write and you, you said that wasn’t the case. You just
Evan Dorkan: rearrange. I mean, I’ve always been doing stuff besides gag strips and milk and cheese. I wrote, I, I wrote a predator series. I wrote a mask series. I wrote some, I wrote, I did the bill and Ted comics.
I wrote in pencil. Those, I loved those. Thank you. I’ve always been working small press. Big press or I, you know, I’ve done book covers, CD covers animation writing with Sarah. I mean, we’ve bounced all over the place. I’ve been in Esquire magazine. I’ve been in maximum rock and roll. It was [00:07:00] just, I have a lot of interests I guess, and I was able to connect with different readers on different things.
I like horror movies and horror books and weird fiction and things like that. And you know, I used to play D and D when I was a kid I liked by like punk rock and a lot of different types of music. So I mean, I like all kinds of comics, so, you know, these things all come out in different ways.
So I like, you know, it, it, it allows you to wear more hats and to be able to try to keep your career going when you’re not somebody who, whose goal is they just do Marvel and DC stuff. Yeah. And that’s all it become less. Less important to the industry on the whole. From when I started out, I worked, I was working at a comic shop and independents were just really starting up.
And I mean, your goal back then was usually you’re going to work for one of the major comma companies which was Marvel and DC. Or a lot of people wanted to work for some of the small ones that were cropping up. Like a clips are [00:08:00] first and then eventually jumped to Marvel DC. And there’s plenty of people who still want to do that, but I always wrote my own stories for myself to draw.
And I found out that I kind of re I can write a superhero comic a lot better than I could draw on, at least for the mainstream companies. Like we wrote a human torch, Marvel snapshot that came out last year. If I drew that it would look like a milk and cheese strip, probably, you know, wouldn’t really.
And there are some people who don’t have a problem with that, but in the direct market, they really would rather stuff looked quote realistic unquote. I don’t have the style for that. And so yeah, I mean, I always loved Marvel comics and I really got into DC when I was in high school because a lot of the Marvel creators went over to DC by that time.
And but I mean, I like, I like a little bit of everything and so that’s kind of what my career has been. I mean, I’ve worked for most of the older companies and I’ve written and drawing for a variety [00:09:00] of books. We did, we, we wrote dialogue for a video game year or two ago. You know, we’ve done a lot of different odd goals stuff.
Sarah and I, my wife and I, and we’re for yoga. Again, worked with some TV shows, did some design work, did some writing work.
Casey: My kids loved that show by the way Gabba Gabba was it was
Evan Dorkan: as an adult, our child was the perfect age for when that came out. And that was like the perfect job I loved working on that show.
And it, it, it was a, it was a happy accident because we had Ida we had hired the acrobats to do the themes for a pilot. I did for the adult swim back in 2002. Welcome to Elton Advil based on the comics from dork building bill club comics. And they kind of when, when a Christian and his partner put yo Gabba Gabba together they piled a lot of people who, you know, they wanted to reciprocate for people who did stuff for them during their, their career.
We were big acrobats fans and we had met them a couple of times. And so we went from designing a [00:10:00] character. We designed super Martian robot girl. And then the those were being done as these short, like electric company, Spiderman, live actions live action shorts and Nickelodeon. Didn’t like the way they were coming out.
So at the last minute they turned them into flash animation. They had the soundtracks, th th the boat, the, they had the the act of actors dialogue recorded. It was not recorded live. So we were, they were able to take all that. And we very last minute started taking the footage from them, redesigning everything as two dimensional, flat characters from live action and basically adapting these live action shorts into flash animation shorts of the same length with very short turnover, because the show was like getting scheduled and they had a hole whole it after this.
So we went from designing the character to then Drawing, all the drawing, all the live action shorts into animation and boarding them a little bit for the directors. [00:11:00] And then there was the latter, half of them had no footage. So we were able to create everything whole cloth. And then we got to write one and do a couple of the cartoon show, a short story time.
And we ended up writing episodes. We ended up co-writing three episodes with Christian and Sarah co-wrote one with Christian that I really had very little input on, but my name got accidentally left on the credits. So yeah, it was, it was, it was, it was pretty wild. We’re actually in a lot of F you know, we did four episodes that we wrote and we it’s our only experience writing long live action of any kind.
And we had to write some song lyrics and it was, it was, it was, but it was, it was terrific. That sounds like a dream job. It really does. The only thing about it was the turnaround was kind of hard and it was, it was On the animation. It was a little hard to, I found it very intimidating to adapt, to writing the live action for a kids show.
I’ve been, we had done kids comics and whatnot, but it was very [00:12:00] much not a milk and cheese or beast of burden type of project. Yeah. So, you don’t want to do anything pandering and you don’t want to do anything. That’s just immature. You want to do something that’s still fun because we knew that adults were watching this with their kids.
We knew that there were a lot of stoner kids, you know, at the same time, you know, mainly for the kids, but you wanted to make it something that wasn’t a lousy, you know, that you want to make something that was fun. Had some references for the adults, you know, not in the way that space goes, theater or anything like that, but in the way that like, you know, not to like.
B O B 52 songs when we were introducing the Munos family and things like that, it was kind of based on some of our future generation, the way that they were doing shout outs to what they were, what their hobbies were. I mean, it wasn’t using the lyrics. It was just, that’s what we had in mind. Yeah. One of the creatures that we designed was a nod to an old [00:13:00] Japanese monster movie.
And you know, we got to do some superheroes and for one episode it was pretty cool. It was just, yeah, it was, it was the best job. I think that in space goes, then I’m, I’m working on Elting bill where the the most freedom and the most fun. Yeah. And he was, it was, I missed them. I missed the I miss the work that Mr.
Paychecks, there’s a, there’s
Casey: a hole right now in like kids, television for shows like that. Like yo Gabba, Gabba had, I mean, they had so many good like indie bands on, and that was, that was super fun. How was it
Evan Dorkan: with your wife? Nothing quite like having like, you know, John rays from rocket, from the crypt and hot snakes and the night marchers, introducing bands that you knew, and then a cactus with the voice with Tim Armstrong’s voice, it was like all the old zenes everybody from the old punk scenes and fanzines from the nineties were like on yo Gabba, Gabba through the Aquabatch and everything.
It was just really great.
Casey: And it looked like we are having a [00:14:00] blast too. Like they were in on it. They not like
Evan Dorkan: got some schmuck and a motorcycle up there.
Yeah, I suppose. I mean, from what I understand, a lot of the people who ended up on the show, a lot of them were just like calling up and asking to be on the show because, oh, that’s cool. Their kids love the show. And they were like, anything that I can do. I think that’s how Speedo from rock from the crypt, because he’s the Swami because he has he’s, he’s had a Swami records.
And I think he’s one of the people who called up and said, Hey, is there anything that, you know, you could use me for? And he’s like, it was just always a good, it was a surprising show. And the thing is, kids didn’t have to know any of this stuff. You know, the parents could see, you know, to see these bands showing up, to see Cornelius thrashing out on the numbers song was just like so cool because we were already fans and then uh, you know, Bismarck and everything, but the kids don’t have to know the reputation of anybody.
They just do enjoy the show. And it did a great job of doing that. She has held two levels of Adam and also a lot of people who are animation [00:15:00] heads and design. Heads and just, you know, people who are into the kind of you know, new wave Sid and Marty Croft aspects of it, you know, there just a lot of things to plug into.
I mean, you know, it just, it just hit on a lot of really great levels. I wish it were still running, whether we were involved with it or not. I feel like they could have done a lot more episodes.
Casey: How did you land the the space
Evan Dorkan: coast gig? Somebody had given the first milk and cheese trade paperback from SLG, the fun with milk and cheese book to Mike lasso at the adult swim and he read it and he enjoyed it and he looked thought, and this was when space goes, was just gearing up.
Only a few episodes had had aired and they were still trying to find the voice, you know, I think, I think It was at the point where he called us Zuora was still being called a locust and not a mantis. So that was really pretty early, before low car [00:16:00] shows up, I guess. And he thought that milk and cheeses dialogue would be good for banter between , who they didn’t have as he put it.
I’m trying to remember exactly. But in essence, they weren’t quite sure how those characters should be, what their voice was, what they’re at, you know? And he just thought that they’d be good for those characters because they had space. CO’s kind of figured out is yeah. Whoa. Okay. They had his, his stupidity worked out and shoot me a second while I kept okay.
And they asked me to do a sample script and I ended up working on it with Sarah because I, it was a really weird, it wasn’t, it wasn’t linear storytelling. It was a series of nonsequitors and gags, cutting up these interviews with real. Actors the real celebrities quotes and the cartoon characters who had very limited, limited animation.
So there was a, it wasn’t like a, you know, an animation ex going to budget. You can do almost [00:17:00] anything when we were working on Superman or Batman beyond, you know, if you wanted to have giant you know, giant ape smashing stuff, you wrote giant egg smashing stuff. And on space ghost, you basically didn’t write much direction at all because they couldn’t afford to animate anything.
You know, you could like, you know, dig in your couch and find enough change to make an episode of space goes. So, I went down to Atlanta after we wrote our first, the gum disease. And when I was in Atlanta, we did a table rating and they kicked all the ideas around. And everybody at the reading, Mike Keith Crawford, who’s the person that was like, who we dealt with the most who I think he just retired.
I look terrific. And a bunch of the other writers on the show producers, and everybody was kind of saying, let’s cut this. Hey, I’ve got an idea for a joke. Well, and when it came around to it, I said, you know, the way that we work this out is exactly the way that Sarah, my wife and I, my girlfriend at the time week, we co-wrote this basically based on the way that this is being done.
And I wanted to talk to you about that. And they were like, okay, just, you know, we’ll credit the two [00:18:00] of you. And they liked what we were doing. And then we were regular writers for like, I guess two years, three years, a few years. I was always very late on everything because I was very, very intimidated.
And my I guess looking back on it, my imposter syndrome was flaring up really, really bad. So I always felt bad about the schedule, but we, we, we ended up doing about 13 episodes and a couple that didn’t end up getting used. And it was, that was, that was, you know, tremendous fun that that was just being goofy for money.
Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s that, that new Gabba Gabba, the best experiences that we had and yeah, Sarah and I worked together on pretty much all of our animations, scripts and projects. I think we’ve, co-wrote everything. We didn’t do it. I mean, we’ve worked on about eight series scattered episodes, yo Gabba, Gabba, DC nation.
We did the middlemen space ghost Superman. We did four episodes, Batman beyond we did [00:19:00] one. We did some doctoring on crayon, Shane, Sean, some, some punch up on that. That was awful, but, and we did the LD bill pilot, and then we did we did some pilot some we did three or four co Bibles pitch Bibles and series Bibles for shows that didn’t end up getting picked up one was commanded for Jack Kirby’s commanding.
And that would be amazing for the adult swim, which is I think the best thing we did, we did something for Bruce, Tim for Warner brothers that didn’t get picked up. I don’t know if that was very serious anyway, because converse with Tim always ends up back on the DC superhero stuff. And we did, Andy wants back in the day we did Andy Watson skeleton key, his independent comics, skeleton key.
We did the Bible for that. And I think there was one other one, but now I can’t remember, but yeah, I mean, but we haven’t done anything since we did one Ben 10 segment a couple of years ago for the relaunch and I think that’s been it. I think, you know, that’s the end of our TV career probably. So w when, when
Casey: you introduced live [00:20:00] wire on the, the Superman, Tommy, or a Superman cartoon, did you think that that would ever get traction in the actual
Evan Dorkan: comment?
No, we didn’t care because you gotta understand. We didn’t invent. We didn’t, we didn’t create her. We were part of the team that created her. Okay. Just like the super girl. Whenever I see somebody saying that whenever I see it it’s online because it’s the way that things are rolled out. Our names are on the script.
Livewire was created by probably Paul Dini and Andy and Bruce did some design sketches of her. Other artists we had been sent sketches of that didn’t get used. Livewire was a character that we were given that script. We were given a paragraph. The original scripts were very, very different because the original Livewire script was going to some of the material that was going to be brought in.
There was Superman. Basically becoming a public, you know, basically coming [00:21:00] out to the public as I’m Superman, I’m here to do this, that, and the other thing. And there were a lot of people who were frightened of him and scared of him and fear-mongering, which does stay in the episode that live wire is, is drumming up a lot of anti Superman set, set sentiment.
But it was going to be that this was the first time he basically was forced to deal with the press and talk to people. If you know what I’m saying, like he was he wasn’t, Spider-Man hiding from people, but he wasn’t actually stopping to discuss anything with people. He was just doing his man of steel job and then going home.
It was supposed to be an earlier episode and they were going to use this as a way to integrate him publicly in the show that it was like his, basically his, his, his, his coming out party and live the whole thing with Limewire. It was going to be a lot more. The rhetoric was going to be a lot more violent than that.
She was going to be talking about how she was under the impression that we’re all being suckered. That Superman is the first of it, advanced guard soften us up with his good deeds [00:22:00] and then this army of Kryptonians or whatever is going to come down here and crush us. Yeah. Which is actually kind of worth thinking about when you think about it, man shows up he’s he acts like, you know, Superman, which most people would never do.
They’d probably just start killing people left and right. And and it it’d be hard to trust this dude. The whole thing was that he would have us in the Palm of his hand and then he would crush it. The story’s changed a lot as it went through, they, they, they dropped, they wanted to drop the angle of, of all that, because it was gonna be a press conference and we’ll get to meet other characters and whatnot.
And some of the, you know, when a show starts, they have this Bible with all these characters and they’re expecting to use them like the character of Bebo. Who, I don’t think anybody likes to use him in one episode and eventually he disappears. But he’s in the Bible and they were going to find a use for him and blah, blah, blah.
But you know, you can see certain characters, chick take off in certain characters don’t over time. [00:23:00] And you know, that’s what happened with that episode. They, they were trying to use some of the media characters from the Bible and introduce this kind of Harley S Superman villain. And I like the idea that there was this anti alien sentiment and that there was fear of him and whatnot, but I guess, you know what I mean?
You’re trying to tell these one episode stories and stuff, and there is a through-line over them. You don’t want to get too bogged down in the kind of thing that works better on a comic. Yeah. Now with streaming and everything, people really like having more texture and more detail. It’s, it’s expected as superhero stuff has really just taken over media.
But I think that there were just certain rough edges and certain like, eh, let’s not mess with that. That got shaped up. Livewire was, yeah, she was, she was already designed when we wrote that episode, we basically just gave her a personality at a manner. We worked on some of the powers and things that she could do.
We came up with some of the weird ideas, like the way she was using copying machines [00:24:00] to do animated flipbooks of herself and things like that and what she was doing to the city. But we basically just, you know, our main contribution was giving her a voice and a personality and and plotting out elements of that episode that was supposed to be a much larger fight at the end, the budget kind of.
Precluded that but it was also our first episode. I think, I think it’s our weakest episode because the show was still getting its feet. We were supposed to be in the first season. I think we ended up as the next season. So the show, the producers and the artists, the creators are all, they’re all figuring it out.
I mean, shows take a while to find their footing. You know, they walk like they crawl them, they walk and the first season can often be a lot of fun, but it’s often a lot of contradictory decisions, you know, figuring out which characters are really connecting with the creators, but then finding out if those characters connect with the viewers, it’s not always the same thing.
And so the episode’s a little stiff. And but I liked the character and I, [00:25:00] yeah, they put her in the comics and you know, but we did not create her. She was a, she was. Somebody created, somebody came up with her name, somebody came up with her costume and my cat is destroying something. And then she was handed over to us to kind of further bake.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we had a lot more input and I think I think we had a lot more our creative DNA got Supergirl. We were in on that from the beginning and obviously we did not create Supergirl, but the WB version first for the Superman series, Sarah and I, Paul Allen, Bruce, other P you know, she was they wanted to make sure they, you know, a lot of thought was put into that debut.
And unfortunately the two partners ended up not being what it originally was, which was going to be a much more action-oriented assault on apocalypse at the end, because the comment. Plot line where they were using the kids [00:26:00] to help them make a magnet to bring that was totally left field added at the last moment pulling a can out from under the original, because a producer did not, who had signed off on the original two-part storyline box when they realized that we were going to have, they wore on apocalypse and the producer was like, I’m having a war on apocalypse.
No one else can have a warrant, a pocket. So we went through like 20 days, the last of that God damn thing. We ended up with another writer on, on the credits. It was very frustrating, but I feel like a lot of things going on in that episode, we could but originally what the real ending was was it wasn’t that they would bring in your accountant to hit the earth, which is funny because if you see early interviews with the Superman created Superman, Producers.
They said, we’re not going to do things like have meteors hitting the earth and Superman’s going to be pushing them out of the space, which is exactly what we did, what we were forced to do. Originally what it was going to be was that all the, the inter gang and the and granny [00:27:00] goodness, and the Fury’s were basically doing a pleasure island from Pinocchio.
They were bringing in all these homeless kids and these lost kids and these runaways, and they were going to be transporting them, you know, suckering them into this group gang and then transporting them to a apocalypse where they were basically going to waffle water in them, into para demons. And that was going to be shown on apocalypse is this kind of corrupt works of dishonored and Some of the other apocalypse villains were going to basically be genetically transforming Fenech Ariens earth people, Hawk people Martians, whatever these days alien races where they were basically capturing them and turning them into para-dime and says, as you know, as a soldiers and a cannon fodder, and the kids who were going to get turned into these things were all ultimately never going to come back.
They were going to actually get wiped out. I mean, there’s going to be a really kind of [00:28:00] semi set episode to try the dark side was in it a lot more. And there was just going to be this big rescue mission to break this up and save these kids and destroy the factory. All the apocalypse characters were there Oh, I’m trying to remember Dr.
Bedlam. I mean, I’m a sucker for that for current day. So I was trying to get as much stuff, but we were trying to get us, we got dog soldiers in there. It was really cool to get the female Fury’s in there. But yeah, it wouldn’t really be McCarthy. I wanted to get like everybody glorious Godfrey. I’m sure that they all eventually showed up at some point when they went dark side and everybody became the main spine villains for JLA and whatnot.
But it was like, this is my one chance to get some Kirby stuff. Yeah. Freelance career. So I was
things get changed. There was for awhile in the, in the decision-making the Jack Kirby character, Dan Turpin was going to be found in the factories. They was going to be found on apocalypse. He [00:29:00] was not killed. He was. Boone tubed up and was being, you know, held prisoner. But they decided that his death really worked really well and really kind of should be left alone.
But yeah, they were thinking they were going to bring Turpin back and he was going to be in that last episode, you know, all torn up and doing his, getting shit kicked out of him with the gun and, you know, basically Calabash punching him and all that stuff. So, which would have been cool, but I think it was the right decision to not do that, to let that stand.
And the, yeah, so that was a, that was a long answer to your, to you, or it was what was coming to mind. That was a lot of fun, but there was the problem with Superman and Batman beyond was that it always did feel as if, well, I mean, it’s pretty typical. It’s it wasn’t, we never felt that it was personal or anything like that.
But you knew that a lot of things that you did were going to get cut. Yeah. And on space, we were very [00:30:00] lucky on space ghost and on yo Gabba Gabba and our LTL pilot that we were really trusted. The writers were really trusted the artists really, and there were no clashes of ego. And there was, we knew our budget was our budget.
So it wasn’t like in Batman, beyond we had designed this big ending, which I, I really liked the splices episode. I think a lot works. Unfortunately they added some material that ended up cutting out some of the backstory of the villain QVA. I don’t know if he has, is he called the Kymera or something like that?
I can’t remember, but the guy who had all of the animal drugs in him and at the end broke out into this kind of like a mix of creatures and lost control of his body, but we had all these different changes for him. Influenced by like the thing and by a cure, a Kira with the body floating out, it’s always different.
I mean, they do, we do it anyway. We did get that, but they were like, you can’t have that many designs because the more designs, the more [00:31:00] project we were like, oh yeah, got it. No problem. We had to cut it down to three. The only thing we lost in that one was that they forgot to change the script to reflect that we don’t learn about QVA being involved with his father was involved with Manbeck Kurt, whatever his name is or something like that.
And that’s where the splice or stuff kind of came from from man bat, from the doctor who created the man bat serum. It was a continuation of that of that research. And there was a nightmare that had manned that in it. And so at one point, Bruce Wayne, the old Bruce Wayne goes, oh, you know, here’s some, I’ve got some anti splicing stuff, but we don’t know why he has it because they cut the man bat connection, but he has it because he’s dealt with man bat.
So, that was the only thing that was bummer because I hate logic breaks because the writer always gets dinged for that. We were like, oh, he literally shows up with these vials that will treat the, some of the characters. And we’re like, there’s no I liked the splices episodes. We got some wrestling in there.
[00:32:00] We got some fun jokes. We got some goofy stuff and they some good action. I was very happy. We were going to work on more Batman beyond, but then we were offered the LTL pilot at the adult swim and we were like, yeah, you know, She had to getting your own TV show. That would have been nice. But we got a pilot out of it.
So that was cool. So yeah, like I told you, we’re done. We’re done. No, no, no, no, no, no.
Casey: Well, it’s more fulfilling for you like doing the TV writing or doing the comics,
Evan Dorkan: doing the comics for real. Yeah. Oh yeah. Everybody, you know, people tend to assume that the animation and then the TV stuff, I love it, but it’s not yours.
And nobody even seems to know that you did it. We can’t get people to like, we’ll tell people to put the animation and stuff like that when we’re doing a signing, but yo Gabba Gabba on there, they just, you tend not to get people coming to a convention or buying your work because of your TV or [00:33:00] yeah.
But the main reason I like making comics is because that’s the language I understand best. I mean, I studied animation in school. That’s what I wanted to be an animator, but I realized that I liked telling stories more than I liked animating. And I was, I, I doubted that I would ever, I didn’t have a good personality for working on big things.
I I would never have had an animation career. We would never have written what we wrote. If somebody didn’t notice my comic book work, I can kind of understand comics and control them. I like that I can write and draw them. I like that. I can write things like piece of burden that I can’t draw and have Jill Thompson or Benton Dewey work on that.
But for me, the, either the books, I don’t have any books that are my name on them or the books that I’m most proud of. The TV shows. I’m very, very proud of them, but they’re not my babies, you know? They’re I mean, it’s all, it’s all, it’s all part of a whole writing and drawing, telling [00:34:00] stories, telling jokes, cracking wise, having things blow up fist to cuffs, you know, cool monsters.
But I can’t call the shots on that stuff. And I like being able to call the shots on my work as much as possible. That’s what most of the work that I’ve been doing over the last years been create our own horror and fantasy stuff and weird fiction, or, you know, my, my joke books, my humor stuff that I’m doing for my Patriot and continuing with I’m sort of putting a dork 12 together on my patron.
But I mean, it’s, we put the same effort into all of it. I definitely am more nervous when I’m working on the animation stuff. I mean, I get it. You know what I mean? It’s seen, as you know, in the last 20 years, I’ve made a lot of jokes about the fact that a lot of people use comics as a stepping stone to try to get into other media.
I make comics to make comics. When I was working in animation, I was still making comics. I mean, it’s what I naturally think of. I’m not a novelist, I’m not an essayist. I love writing and drawing stories [00:35:00] and I mean, that’s the format that I see when I, you know, I dream very small and I aim very small.
It’s something that I’m trying to change in the last, however many years I have left in my life. I never thought about doing a lot of these things on my own. I fell sideways into comics without having to do too many portfolio showings, which I hated or doing interviews. I just got into the right time when a lot of people were getting hired because of the black and white boom and I got better and I was able to stay on.
And milk and cheese gave me a little bit of notoriety back when the S the industry was smaller and everybody kind of knew each other, you know, you’d go to San Diego. They didn’t have parties for every studio. And every, it was like one party at a hotel room that Camico put on with graffiti. And there were people from Marvel, DC Fantagraphics first eclipse.
And I was invited because I met a bunch of people and made them laugh. And, you know, you’d have superhero artists and you’d have small press people and autobio people [00:36:00] very small back in the day. That’s how I ended up meeting a lot of different people and ended up working for a lot of different companies back in the day.
I mean, nowadays, it’s very easy to get lost because there’s so much talent out there who have access to eyeballs through the internet. And so many people conventions now conventions have become their own career. Yeah. Yeah. Doing covers has become a thing for a lot of different people doing pinups doing people’s gaming characters.
I mean, there are so many other ways to express yourself to make money in this industry right now at the current time, I’m not doing any comics work. I have no comics work whatsoever. I’m only working on commissions, my Patrion and selling artwork. And t-shirts on T public of my characters and things like that.
I don’t know how long that can be sustained, but that option wasn’t there for me back in the day. So as I’m getting either, either as I’m getting elbowed out of the direct market, out of the comics market, which is [00:37:00] what happens to most of us especially since the monthly floppy comic is no longer viable for me putting out there, you know, there’s no small press humor.
Floppies that come out every couple of months, you know, there’s no one creator anthologies really that are getting into comic stores are being solicited as such, you know, it’s a, it’s a bulk oriented small, the small press has become very book oriented, right? That weekly, monthly comic. And I thrived when I was doing the week doing, you know, issue of milk and cheese and then an issue of dark.
It should affect the planet. I would take all my creator on stuff that I did for zines or for magazines or for kids. Disney adventures is gone. Nickelodeon magazine has gone, mad is gone. I was working for mad for 10 years. I couldn’t have used that material, but that was a great job. And Matt is now very, very smaller closed shop with doing specials and mostly reprints.
So it’s very tough to be a humor cartoonist and it’s very tough to
[00:38:00] it’s. It’s been very hard for me to. Not nav navigate. Yeah. What is best for me? Right now, pragmatically, I mean, right now I need money more than I need to make comics. And maybe this is something that I should have been doing years ago is concentrating on my brand for lack of a better way of putting it, rather than always thinking, I need to be making comics.
I’m 56. I think a lot of people, my age and younger and older, they get, so you get so fixated on the idea that you must always have something in previews, or you must always have something that’s coming out published by yourself or somebody else. You know, you got to have that comic. You gotta have that new book or collection.
And to be honest, the page rates have kind of been like the minimum wage. Yeah. They’re not the price of comics goes up. The Mo the money seems to for certain publishers, and that seems to be not too bad for their [00:39:00] lifestyles. It depends the page rate doesn’t budge. Yeah. Some people are trying to cut the page rates they’re offering you.
I can’t work in 2021 for the same page rate that I was getting in 2001, 2011. I mean, but a lot of us still do it. I still do. I mean, a lot of us are so into comics. And so not only are we used to the way that this industry has lurched forward for 30 years, we’re used to always being working this way.
We’ve got to turn pages out, we’ve got to make more material. We’ve got to get stories up. You’ve got to, you’re paid by the page. And if you’re lucky you’ve got royalties coming in, but at some point you have to realize. Unless you are somebody who can turn out five, six scripts a month, 10 scripts a month.
Some people who see, I don’t know what their scripts look like, but I’m sure they’re putting a lot of the heavy lifting [00:40:00] on their artists who should probably be paid to code plot things that say, page one, they’re fighting. I’m like, that’s okay. Yeah. You know how I write? Am I right? And that’s why I think my books are very well.
I think that Blackwood and and visa burden are very full realized comics. And while we can’t bang them out and they’re difficult to draw because they’re animals and they’re semi realistic. And at least you don’t have to draw a car as much, but it’s hard to draw animals. There’s not that many people in the street who can do this kind of book in my opinion.
And people, people go. I don’t want to work on a series where I have to keep speeding up and make book not as good as I think it can be. Yeah. It’s a bit of a diva thing. Maybe that’s a bit of a dilatory thing, but I’ve always, if you’re familiar with my work, I have always provided value for money, whether it’s my humor comics or my horror comics [00:41:00] or my superhero comics that I’ve done, I have always, I do not write three panels, a page of characters sitting around on couches, talking to each other about how they’re feeling.
I write at, when I work with Sarah, we work on very, very tight story oriented, multiple character, detailed texture dialogue. That’s considered comics and we don’t have the, I don’t have the this is not just me. There’s a lot of people who work this way, but I don’t have the push of DC or Marvel career to go to image.
And being able to take advantage of that. I’ve never really had a following because of that work that I’ve done. It’s always been goofy work at DC and Marvel or unimportant work or work. That’s just that not even that doesn’t matter, like world’s funnest or fight man or something like that. But the fact is I do a lot of one-shot stories and things like that and mini series, and I don’t have the, I’m not going to be giving 12 issues.
So I know I can push the plot a [00:42:00] little bit or nose, one little thing along. I’ve got to finish everything I write. I’ve got to actually stick a landing, which is something that I’m jealous of in superhero books of this modern day, because you don’t have to stick an ending. And in most of these books you’d have to stick a crossover segue.
I would love to write a book that an issue for, or issue eight or issue 12, you say, wow, that’s something what’s going to happen next. Go by. You know, Johnny, this is problem. Now know that leads into the crossover, or it leads into a major event, or it never ends because you don’t need a real ending because the Avengers are going to go right into something else or a is going to go right into something else.
It must be very nice. I don’t have the ability to write a monthly series. That’s a talent that I don’t have, but it must be nice to have characters that you don’t have to introduce all the time. And you don’t have to explain that world or explain what they do. It’s Spiderman nowadays, you have movies [00:43:00] doing all the heavy lifting for that.
You don’t, you know, you never have to go, oh no, who’s that guy. You know what I mean? Especially when now you can write a story where you have the X-Men show up and little boxes are above them all the time since Claremont states. So you literally don’t have to write dialogue. That explains things. You just go, I don’t know, Colossus Sunfire Hawkeye.
I mean, that’s, I couldn’t write like that. That’s just, it’s just. Not organic to my thinking. So, yeah, I mean, so you’re going to have a limited career in the comic book in the, in the superhero comic book industry in the direct market, when you don’t have a name for a good run of something at Marvel or DC, but there are very few Jeff Smith’s, you know, and they’re in clouds and I’m trying to think Kate, Pete and people who can just, you know what I mean, keep just, they just become top dog.
It of what they do. Their talent is recognized and it’s, or it’s, and it’s a perfect storm of certain things [00:44:00] and they just have a locked in career. I locked in followers. I have seen my Royal, these reports and I have definitely lost a lot of readers over the last 30 years over the last 25 years. I mean, I’ve just never, you know, people, people who liked my work don’t know I’m still around.
Because I’m not doing milk and cheese as a comic piece of burdened. People don’t know what milk and cheese is. Some of them I’ve had a very skew, I guess schizophrenia is not a great way to put it, but I’ve had a very scattered, I jumped from whatever my next interesting thing to do is I didn’t have a career plan, you know, kind of the way I’m talking right now and bouncing off a million.
It kind of the way my career has been, I just, I did something for Disney adventure. I got a call from Disney adventures. We did shit blast off. I got a call. I got a page to do for Esquire. I did a book cover and the interior illustrations, but I never like got an agent and said, let me do more book illustration.
And we never got an agent and said, let’s do more [00:45:00] animation. I, I just never built up a career where you can peg it down to anything other than back in the day, I was the milk and cheese guy, but now I’m to some people, the guy who writes piece to bird which got kind of fucked because of a 10 year gap between collections.
Because our schedule was hell that’s what, that was my first successful, really successful project that wasn’t real countries. And unfortunately, Jill and I just did not strike while the iron was hot and get that second collection out within a few years. And we lost a lot of momentum. That first book was a bonafide success.
Yeah, it’s, it’s been in parent since 2010.
Casey: I was about to say it’s ultimately like D it’s think it’s evergreen in that. I think so to constantly be discovered by
Evan Dorkan: a new audience. I agree with you. I’m not going to lie. It really has been. And I’m I’m I’m I was at, I was at a comic shop today cause the first time in awhile and they [00:46:00] had just done a reorder of my stuff, which was terrific.
And it’s the comic shop that I used to work. One of the common shops that used to work at back of the day and the Nick and Ronnie who JHU. Books and comics, which used to be Jim Haley’s universe on Staten island, New York chain Manhattan. And they didn’t have, they had, they had a bunch of my dark horse stuff, my own stuff, and my collaborative stuff.
And I was like, oh, you, you don’t have you didn’t order the piece, the first piece of burden book. And they said, yeah, we sold them. And I was like, that’s great. That’s just great to hear. And, but the thing is, the first book is in evergreen. People don’t seem to be treating the second and third collections as necessary to get.
And I’m not sure exactly. I mean, if they’re only fans of Jill Thompson and they don’t like my writing that much, or they’re just somebody who wants the, you know, they only like bond Scott ACDC or whatever the heck. I understand that. But the second book is all Jill, except for one story. And it has [00:47:00] the Hellboy crossover.
Losing, we lost a lot of our readers from not putting out that second book and piece has always been a kind of thing that
I was writing them and we were waiting to get them done. And we were getting one issue out here, two issues out here. We never got a full four issues out in a row in any timely fashion. After the first mini series, the Hellboy crossover to very, very good numbers, got a lot of new people introduced to the characters and we didn’t get a new issue out for awhile.
It’s just not the way to run a business a railroad. And we won Eisner’s for a bunch of these things. I mean, the last thing that, but they’re years, they were so many years apart. I mean, we’ve won, I think, eight Eisner’s and Harvey for, for beef. I mean that doesn’t usually turn into much business, but the fact is obviously there were people who were into it and now it’s like, I feel like I have to jump up screaming up.
Scream up and down to get people to take the book, [00:48:00] still take the book seriously, even though we have another artist on it, because I think Ben Daley is doing a beautiful job. And I think the books are still good, as good as they ever were. And I think the characters are the, you know, the characters are the same and,
you know, with the sales on the land, on the follow-up of the beast of burden’s storyline or a fraction of what we did on the first book and the, the we’re getting some nice, we’re getting some really nice feedback on the new series. Maybe people have settled in with the new law. You know, that the book looks different maybe because I don’t know.
I really don’t know. I don’t know what the future of the book is. I don’t know. It’s, you know, in a. Perfect world. I’d be writing that book by monthly or do too many series [00:49:00] a year because we now have the wise dogs stories, and now, and the, and the burden hill stories. There’s a ton of characters. I have a ton of notes about the background.
What’s going to happen in the future. The burden Hills storyline that we started off in 2003 in the book of hauntings. I know how that ends. I know what happens to the characters. I have all these side stories that I want to do. The next series was approved. I want to do another crossover. I want to do another fetch with another known character and the creator will actually draw it.
But and think the creator is into it. But I don’t know if the support’s there from the readers or from, from dark horse at this point, because the pandemic really punched the hole. In everyone’s plans. Oh yeah. And the numbers on the second Blackwood series were Bismal. And that cause that came out right as the, that was just chopped [00:50:00] by the pandemic.
I mean, I’m not complaining. I mean, look, I’m healthy. We got our second shots. Nobody at close to me has been sick. The, the least concern I should have is that our comic book isn’t doing well. But you know, it’s still a reality that you’ve got to work in this society. And Blackwood is something that I’d like to continue doing.
Veronica fish has, you know, we’ve talked about it. She’s, she’s fantastic. She is fantastic. I’d like to continue that, but I cannot afford to make comics right now under the, and that’s not just the industry. That’s also the way I work. I, I am a slow worker and this is an industry about speed, unless you’re a superstar and I’m just not a superstar.
You know, I’m a mid Carter. You’re interesting, you know, I’m a mid Carter, I think I’m necessarily for the industry because you need to have a mid-last. You need to have a Mr. Perfect has to come out and get beat and entertain people and be a villain and you need it all to fill the shells and to fill the niches.
And I [00:51:00] think these, the burden though, is I think these, the burden is a terrific comic. I think Blackwood is really, really good and can develop into more that I don’t know if I can function in that system, at least not right now. So I piece is the last thing. The new series occupied territory. I have no, no writing or drawing for comics jobs lined up.
That’s my own call. I basically am taking a step back to see what shakes out and I’m not getting any offers these days. There’s plenty of people out there who are better artists than I am. I think that I don’t think there’s as many people who are better writer than me, they certainly are scores of people who write better than me.
But I think that I am a very, very good comics writer with a proven track record. But I don’t know anybody at most of the companies pissed off some people at some other companies that I don’t want to work for such as boom. I mean, I don’t even know if they’ve noticed me, but I just have no interest in working for some of the companies that I think just pay garbage and [00:52:00] take advantage of younger talent coming into the industry who is so willing to work on comics that they’re practically willing to pay to play.
Yeah. To be able to work on average Sukkot or. Rick and Morty or whatever characters they love so much, just like there were people who willing to do whatever it takes to work on Spider-Man or what have you. The thing is, if that’s all you want to do, you got, you’ve got up, got to get a job at Marvel.
If you want to do Spider-Man or boom, I guess. Cause it’s insane that everybody’s licensing their characters. That if you, if all you want to do in your life is work on a specific character. That’s owned by somebody else and you don’t cast your net wider than that. If you can’t work on other stuff, if you can’t do book covers, you can’t write jokes for something and work on TV or design things, you’re going to be you’re.
You’re not going to be the success story. Most likely it is very few people who can get that shot at X-Men Spider-Man Avengers, Batman, there’s only so many things coming out, even though it seems like there’s a million, you know, it’s like only shooting for bulls eyes. [00:53:00] You know, it’s it’s if, if, if you can splash it into a, you know, a triple 20 and get a job doing yoga, the, or.
You know, a guy Davis, you know, designing monsters, he’s left comics to design monsters, you know, if you can do other things and have an open mind if your career you can stick around a lot longer. If I was here just withdrawing superhero comics, which is what I wanted to do when I was 20, I would never made it.
But luckily the industry broke open and you could, you could do stupid comics about a milk and a cheese and, and, and somehow have a viable career that doesn’t work right now because there are no more independent anthologies. You know, there’s a lot of ecologies, but a lot of them are kick-started by grips of ear, you know, cartoon is that know each other or places like iron circus that take, you know, edit and package that stuff and bring people together for a certain topic or but there’s no like dark horse presents [00:54:00] or The anthologies that Fantagraphics had the only double feature.
There’s no deadline, there’s no deadline USA, but that’s where I thrived. I was able to do lots of little pages for those things, own them, collect them, all, package them with new stuff at my publisher SLG and keep that going. You know, I do two pages for a heavy metal Xen in, in, in Finland. And they said me 20 bucks or whatever, I was in the onion for you for awhile, they were paying me to run milk and cheese and strips.
Oh, cool. Back before it was super successful, it was just the Wisconsin paper. But I mean, you throw your, you know, you cast your net, your net out, you throw a lot of lines out. And I tell students to new people. I was like, if all you want to do is, is Harley. You know, or a doctor who you’ve got to deal with the gatekeepers who own those characters and who license those characters.
You know, if you, if you’re not somebody who wants to write your own stuff or draw your own stuff the, the, the gene pool is you right now, because the internet is a lot of people [00:55:00] from every country on this earth. Except I guess, certain totalitarian regimes to try to get a job working on these characters, you know, I I’m old enough where I’ve seen this industry go from, you had to be in New York pretty much.
Yeah. New York conventions, and go to, go to DC, go tomorrow, maybe go to Archie. If you, you know, comico Charlton was still around in some weird form. Man was in the, you know, their office and you had to pound the pavement to do, you know, I was doing stuff for penthouse reflex magazine. If, you know, there was still a lot more magazines that were looking for cartoons Free weeklies and things like that.
It was very, very different. Now you can be, you can live anywhere that has the internet to send your work at. And so we’re competing with a lot more people. I think it’s beautiful to see all these new voices, these new faces, these new talents of all kinds coming into industry. It sucks for me as a freelancer, my, my, my phone [00:56:00] stopped ringing years ago, and then the internet stopped calling.
You know, I don’t get too many calls, which is why now I’m basically working like a lot of older artists. I’m working more from my fan base that I’ve created over the years than I am for making the comics that they used to pick up. It’s kind of like a survival mechanism to be quite honest. And it’s not a bad one.
I don’t know how long I can keep it up because I don’t have a DC Marvel reputation that some people can really do well with on commissions and original art. I don’t have Batman pages to sell. I’m not the person you go to for battle. There’s a million people to go to for Batman or Spiderman or, or Holly Quinn or adopted, you know what I’m saying?
I’m not someone connected with those characters and there’s only so many people who want bill and Ted sketches or milk and cheese sketches. So it’s tough. This has been a very weird year, year, year and a half at some point, and probably going to burn out my whole following and get some more work. But it’s been working out, you know, fingers crossed not too bad.
Oh, [00:57:00] I’m not working on the comics. I’m able to really push this stuff more. The Patrion, the art sales, I’m able to concept the t-shirts that very first month that we started bringing back our old t-shirt designs from milk and cheese and, and dork, they did way better than we had any. I was hoping we did one month.
What I was hoping to do in a year. It’s not sustainable again, you know, it dies down, but yeah, I’m like living on commissions and art sales and selling merchandise and books. My art comics, it’s really weird to basically have turned into a house of fun store. I mean, I’ve got more books. I feel like for collections hook up, we’ve got a bunch of collections coming out this year, but no new work.
It’s a weird feeling, but
that’s where I’m at right now. You didn’t ask that. I mean, I’m just blurred. I haven’t eaten today, but it’s true because this has been my. Oh, I’ve had so far anxiety medication.
[00:58:00] Casey: Well, I’m, I’m about to run upstairs in a minute and make some spaghetti.
Evan Dorkan: Did you have any actual questions you want me to answer?
Why do you, why don’t you let’s do a lightning round? You ask me some questions and I will try to do them in sentences rather than
Casey: So, how has pirate cat? Somebody asked me that
Evan Dorkan: I run a group called the comic jam by the way.
Casey: And we get artists and writers together. Hello.
Evan Dorkan: And
Casey: these, these people will do one-page comics with you, you know, about doing a short comic? It is all that like kind of build portfolios,
Evan Dorkan: so good.
Yeah. It’s a good idea because people tend to forget. To do comics when they want to get a job in comics, they do pinups and covers, and that’s what they show all the time. And you got to show that you can tell a story in comics form [00:59:00] because it’s not as simple as it looks. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of people out there and you’ve got to you’re you’re, you’re fighting a lot more artists and writers these days.
Then when I got into this.
Casey: Exactly. Yeah. It’s a big,
Evan Dorkan: big pool and 13 year olds that are doing beautiful work out there that like, I could never do it. I mean, I want to destroy my equipment. When I look at it, usually it was like, oh my God, Gabriel Garcia, Lopez, Walt Simon sitting there you know, th these people who, who just knocked me on my ass and, and then Becky Cloonan, but now there’s like, you know, this 12 year old.
Kid. And they’re just drawing an eye when I was 12. I like, I didn’t draw much better than I did. I didn’t. It’s it’s, it’s terrifying.
Casey: My 10 year old is starting to do the go onto YouTube and do like the tutorials and stuff. [01:00:00] And she’ll, she’ll show me your stuff. And I’m like, oh my gosh. But, okay. So, I had a friend pirate.
Evan Dorkan: Ken is doing good power cat turned off the webcam a little earlier. This interview she’s going to be in my studio for a couple of weeks. We take her out for visits with the rest of the family. We have to acclimate her, the other cat to her. She came back from the vet with a good bill of health.
She’s no female leukemia, no feline leukemia. She’s healthy. The eye is always going to be, she doesn’t have that second I use but she’s happy and healthy. We’re going to try to keep her. Thanks for asking. We love him. That’s that’s
Casey: awesome. Is this the first time you’ve fostered an animal
Evan Dorkan: like that?
No, we’ve taken it. This is going to be our six cat household over time. And we, we had taken a bunch of cats from the backyard or the neighborhood to the vet. We’ve taken in strays we’ve we’ve fostered, friends of ours have taken in a bunch of our cats when they were more strays in this neighborhood.
So this [01:01:00] has been it’s, it’s been a while since we’ve taken in a new cat. But I wasn’t, we weren’t going to take her in permanently because it’s just, you know, it’s a responsibility and it it’s hard. And I didn’t, but she ran into the room. She ran into the house last Friday and our kid this, our 16 year old team, like it was like, let’s foster her.
Can we also I’m like, yeah, I wanted to keep her. I fell in love with the cat and she’s beautiful behaved. So her cat, hopefully this was her port of call for the rest of her life. Awesome. We would definitely find her a good home. So she’s safe. She’s going to be great. So
Casey: as an animal lover Marco went and Antonio actually asked he is the one of the presenters from the comics pals podcast.
He wanted to know if it’s ever tough for you to put the animals in beast of burden, through like the really dark situations. Is it hard as an animal lover to kind of put them in such a scary,
Evan Dorkan: it’s hard to miss. It’s hard to have bad things happen to characters. You like [01:02:00] we’re human. If you are doing a good job, I hope.
And you really do you care about your characters, which I think most people do, but with animals, it feels much worse because they seem so innocent. They’re, they’re, they’re less complicated characters. I mean, the dogs are loyal and the hugs and the cats are very, very cute and the short answer is sure.
Of course that the issue that we did with the missing Hazel’s missing children was very, very tough to write. That was, that came out of a fear of losing my child, just, you know, anxiety about being a father and having a small child in your life. The, the, the kind of flip side of that was the infamous story about her being a bad parent for her two children and their horrible life.
And it’s it’s a combination of putting some of my own fears and my background into these kind of terrible situations for these adorable animals. I mean, this book was not planned. [01:03:00] I don’t think I ever would’ve planned a book that had horror stories where animals. Could get hurt. I also know that from a commercial point of view, it’s not a great idea because there are a lot of people who will not touch the book or have one and done, or put it down because there are there is animal harm and there’s animal, death and violence.
A lot of that comes out of Watership down and play Gaga, Richard Adams that I read when I was young. And I’m just trying to, it’s a fantasy book, but at the same time, it’s a horror book and this is the way it was set up from the first story that there was a, there was a ghost in the first story that was kind of sad.
I know what’s going to happen to a couple of the animals in the book. And I’m I told we had a meeting with the editor and Jill and Jill started busting out crying joke. Jill has cried on the pages several times. Oh wow. From what I understand, Ben has not, but we haven’t done anything too sad. In our books yet.
Luckily but yeah, but we’ve had some really kind of weird, you know, [01:04:00] not kids book, not kid children’s comics stories. And there’s one character that I know is going to be, is not going to make it. And I actually busted out crying when I realized this was the one I was going to go. I was, I was on Highland Boulevard waiting to make a left turn and I just started leaking.
And and I feel terrible about it. And it was funny because Brian’s and husband, Jill’s husband, like she might have, what did I tell her? What did they say? I mean, she’s also an easy cry, but these poor little baby characters and cause apparently she went up to the hotel room at the convention. It was just,
and yeah, some, some of the characters are not going to make it at the end. ACE was supposed to die in the werewolf story eventually, but everybody talked me out of it. We’ve led that they were able
Casey: to talk
Evan Dorkan: you out of it, or is it I mean, at the point we didn’t have a series still is we’re just in the ecology books.
I mean, it all came from one story. So these things, this kind of happened [01:05:00] piecemeal, you know, we did what they page story and it was supposed to be the whole, that was it. That was the one story. So we figuring it out as we went and if ACE died, we wouldn’t have had like one physically, we wouldn’t have had our fighter character.
If you don’t fit the DOD party, he’s our, he’s our, he’s our fighter. And him getting him, having him becoming a kind of semi werewolf kind of worked out really well because our characters don’t really have powers. And which is why, unfortunately, some of them are going to get killed. They shouldn’t be doing this to be honest, but they’re loyal and they’re helpful and they’re innocent, you know, and they’re trying to help.
And unfortunately, you know, some of them aren’t going to make it. At least the cats have nine lives.
Casey: Now, when you write these scripts for either Benjamin Dewey or Jill Thompson have you had to change your writing style to fit the artist
Evan Dorkan: or no? I mean, the book is what it is in my head. And when I worked with Sarah on the new one, but [01:06:00] basically, you know, this has to be, I’m sure this is the same for everyone, but each anything you work on has a different voice.
Again, I’m using that term, but it has a different feel as a different approach when you go up to it. But Blackwood is a certain, you know, has a lot of the elements of beast of burden, but it’s, it’s got a different attitude. It’s got different characters or D we’re not as loyal or innocent it’s a cynical part comedy, whereas the piece of burden has no cynicism.
And if these animals are, are there. Feelings are on their sleeve for lack of a better way of putting it. You know, they’re not really super deceitful. They don’t make pop culture jokes, things like that. If we write Supergirl, it’s going to be different from it’s going to be adhering to what we think that character stands for.
In the animated sequel series, when we did the comics you know, bill and Ted, I went back, we just did a new bill and Ted book Roger language. And I, and I put my head back in that space. It’s basically like wearing different [01:07:00] outfits for different jobs or for different events. And when I’m doing visa burden, it’s be burden.
I don’t worry about the artists cause I trust them. Yeah. I’m just trying to be true to the characters. I mean basically if, if the artist doesn’t want to do certain things or is uncomfortable with something, we’re going to talk about it. But I don’t. But if the artist comes, if Ben comes back and put something in silhouette, if he puts a scene of gore in the silhouette, which Jill would do a lot, or I’m not going to complain, they tell the story, you know what I mean?
They’re the cinematographer. They do the acting and they set the atmosphere. They do a lot of the heavy, they do heavy lifting. So I’m not going to, unless it’s a plot point we’ll have a conference. I go, well, we really kind of need dog five in there because he has dialogue or we need to show something in the foreground because it’s going to come up later.
But otherwise I don’t, I write pretty detailed. I write very detailed scripts. I write full script, but I also tell my artists that they’re free to break the [01:08:00] page down, break the page up, lose a panel, gain a upon whatever they want to do to make something work for them. Yeah. And if they don’t like drawing cars, I try not to put cars in there.
Jill is afraid of snakes. Jill has a phobia about snakes, so we never will have a snake in a comic that Jill, if Jill ever comes back to do an interior we won’t have a snake. You know, things like that. You don’t want to be a jerk. You know what I mean? But I mean, if somebody says, I feel uncomfortable about writing this, I do not want to show this character doing this, or what have you, Hey, by the way, here’s pirate girl.
But like the, the, the, the showing the showing the pond, the last page of, of loss, Jill Colby, up and said how are you going to, how are we going to do this comic without the, without a last page, because I’m not drawing it. And she was joking, but, and but they, you know what I mean? You have to respect.
The person you’re working with, you have to respect them that they want to have a fun [01:09:00] time working on the pages. Also, even if they’re working from a full script and they want to have input and they want to do things yeah. A certain way. But I don’t change the scripts. Yeah. You know, people asked to do certain things for that.
Also people will say from the beginning, you know, sometimes if they, we have requests or questions, we work that out beforehand generally. But I haven’t done, I haven’t worked with enough artists to do much tailoring for them because a lot of the times when I’d write something I knew who the artist was already and we were working things out, like the thing mini series at Marvel, I was brought in on that.
I knew what was going on, but sometimes you get an artist, you have no idea who’s doing draw it, you know? W we knew that Brett Blevins who’s, storyboarded on the Superman adventures. And a lot of the Warner brothers, we knew he was going to draw the Supergirl stuff that we did for DC. So, you know, we do, we were in good hands, but generally I just write the script and hope the art well yeah.
Tell the story as best as possible when it’s your creator own [01:10:00] book. You can, you can, obviously we ask for things, you know, oh, it’s your book. You own it. You’re trying to tell your stories. But in general, I don’t, I don’t worry too much. The story is important. Go for it and then see what happens. You know, generally I’ve worked with really good people.
So, and I’ve worked with friends a lot of the time, you know, I worked with Ben Dewey on the Marvel snapshots. I knew what he was capable of, you know, and, and the thing is so many artists are so good these days. Okay. I mean, I would never make it. I would never get a chance to draw a superhero comic or work on something like that.
The way that I did get to do fight, man, and do a few little things here or there, because people are so talented right now. There’s so much great technique. Some as far as the picture, you, you know, you’re not going to get like, Brotli felt I’m not trying, but I’m just, you know, you’re not going to get something where you go, I don’t know what I’m looking at.
Hey, he combined sell me. You know what I mean? He’s he’s, he is what he is. But as somebody who really [01:11:00] doesn’t like certain styles in the comics, you know, you, you know that you’re generally not, you know, it’s very hard right now to throw a dark into this talent pool and get somebody who can’t draw.
Yeah. A good looking interior, or be people learning backgrounds, people putting more backgrounds in their commissions than they used to put in comics in the nineties. I mean, there’s incredibly talented people out there working in comics, comics, look. Fantastic. I know that not every style is for me, but the level of talent on display, amazing these days.
Just amazing. So I mean, they’ve never looked better. If I wish people would make the comment, superhero comics a little more for shortening, I miss action. That’s kind of exciting. I miss people with their mouths open more expressive, everything looks like photo reference. To me, everything looks very tight and storyboard or like commercial storyboarding [01:12:00] of the days of your, I mean, the, the technique is beautiful.
The drawing is there, but there’s like, no, everything is robotic emulating the movies, which why do that? The movies are the movies. What we can do in comics is to take things to another level and do things, movies. Can’t necessarily to have for shortening, to have spectacle rather than just a beautiful light show from the colorist.
We see beautiful light shows and all the MCU with DCU movies. That’s my 2 cents, but you know, I like superheroes a little more colorful, a little more, kind of like more like Lucho Libris than WWF. If that makes any sense. I like more craziness and wildness and imagination rather than lens flares in comic books and try realistic.
Costumes and things of that. That’s just me.
Casey: I hear you. Speaking of wildness, my dog is a third howling. [01:13:00] Yeah,
Evan Dorkan: yeah, yeah. Okay. Can we find you? I don’t want you to find me. You’re talking about my view. If indoor can, he will knife. I don’t have that knife. I have a pirate cat I’m at where the hell am I?
Well, I’ve got a Patrion stop, which is kind of where I do most of my creative work right now. Cat stop cat. I don’t know what my patrons link is, but it’s, it’s me endorphin. Greatest name in comics. Dworkin. I’m I’m on I’m on Instagram. Again, just like add a
Evan Dorkan: Evan Dworkin. Oh, okay. I’m on Instagram, which is where I show off a lot of my art.
That’s not patron stuff. My, the drawings that I sell, I do these little drawings that people, we do, the lottery style. People put a claim in and I roll the dice or [01:14:00] generate a random number. And whoever has the winning claim buys it. And I mail it to them. I ha so that I’m on Instagram, I’m on Twitter.
I’m on Patrion. We sell milk and cheese t-shirts and house of fun stuff on T public, T E P B L I C. I think we’re at house of fun at T public. If you, if you’re an old time milk and cheese person and you like the old gin shirts and things like that, we brought, I redrew them. We brought them back there.
They look really good. You can get them on any color and. I guess that’s about it that we got and that’s, you know, visa burden, occupied territory is issue three is coming out in like two weeks. Awesome. Marvel snapshots is getting a full collection this year. Some of all of our DC animated stuff is getting collected in the kids additions, a Supergirl suit, Superman animated, the dark horse book of horror is getting reprinted in paperback.
Yeah, it’s been, you know, bill and Ted came out, just came out in paperback from dark horse, the the [01:15:00] CQL tube bill and Ted bogus adventure, bogus journey and the prequel to the new movie. That’s our dark horse. So yeah, I mean, you know, still doing stuff. Awesome. Awesome.
Casey: I’m going to put links in the show notes.
Hopefully we’ll have this up. By the week that issue number three goes out
Evan Dorkan: for beast. Yeah. Just so you know, that’s cool. Drop me an email so I can plug it in. You know, people used to me never shutting up. So I hear you.
Casey: Thank you again for having me. I appreciate it. Thanks for your time. It’s been, it’s been a dream talking to, I’ve always loved your stuff.
When I first saw you in wizard magazine when I was a kid.
Evan Dorkin – COMBINED: Yes.
Evan Dorkan: It’s funny that so many people found my work through wizard because people are like, why are you doing stuff for wizard? And I’m like, it’s it. You know, I would, again, wizard was a place that blizzard was weird. Wizard wouldn’t write me up, but they would hire me.
I was, I did, [01:16:00] I did milk and cheese and Ellenville comics for them. I did a board game. So then I remember the board game I had, I did their Christmas card one year. I mean, but they wouldn’t actually like interview me or anything like that. It was the funniest thing. It was a really weird relationship, but it was like, there were people, the people who did the back of the magazine really were into me into my stuff.
And that was very, very cool. And I, some, I have scanned a number of the envelopes I got from kids who would write to wizard and draw the envelopes. And we got a, really, a lot of milk and cheese envelopes. They would send them to me. That’s why Jim McLaughlin who’s with the hero initiative. He would send me all the envelopes.
So I’ve scanned them all. I love they would draw like, you know, Bart Simpson and milk and cheese. And it was like the weirdest. It’s so funny to hear that, sorry, that really makes my day. It’s such a weird, even though I was against almost everything, was it stood for, with them, with their price guide and all that crap,
Casey: a window.
Like if it wasn’t for, [01:17:00] for wizard, I would have never read Adrian to mine or to me, or or your stuff, or
Evan Dorkan: What was it? Was it Tom Palmer Jr. In the bag? Or was that hero? I’m trying to remember somebody in the back with the section. Yeah. They have a one or two page in the section and they, and, and, and, you know, they, they plug that stuff, but I mean, every, I would, we would do something.
I would do something for anybody who asked, who wasn’t a Nazi or Nazi adjacent, you know what I mean? Anything that wasn’t, unless it was a company that I absolutely hated the guy running it I, you know, I was grateful for any call I got, and not only was wizard supportive of me in that weird way. They paid better than most of the common companies.
So we went and we got, I mean, I still have people coming up to us uh, conventions, not in the last year, obviously who got into our stuff through Disney adventures, cause kid blastoff. And that’s all they knew us from really, or, or wizard. And there are still people who think that I, I lived in [01:18:00] Wisconsin because of the onion running milk and cheese.
You never know where people are going to find you or get into your work. And a percentage of those people, like you are going to stick with, stick with the creator, which is, I mean, fantastic. It’s just gratifying to hear that, you know, that it grabbed you and you stayed stuck around.
Casey: Evan. Thank you so much, man.
I’ve enjoyed it. And how did the dog, I certainly would
Evan Dorkan: feel free if I have anything coming out again, maybe in a year or so. You know, you have my email, feel free to ask me. We’d love to have you on for sure. Maybe I’ll even let you talk,
Casey: man. It worked perfect and
Evan Dorkan: it was great. Thank you very much. All right, have a good one.
Have a great night. Bye bye.