Kelley Jones – Sandman and the long goodbye
Welcome to the conclusion of the Kelley Jones adventure. Here you will hear all about Sandman, Kenric and Kelley say goodbye then keep talking, and so much more! You also find out about our future plans with Kelley to do more episodes talking about the Universal Monster movies!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Kelly Jones Interview Part 3
[00:00:00] Kelley: I thought there, I thought, I bet you there’s people out there like me. Maybe there’s a few of them. Like me, I knew there was with Sam, Keith used to say that all the time, there’s gotta be people like us out there. You know, because at that time it was just so mainstream super hero and we love super heroes.
It’s just, they wouldn’t let us do what we would do with them. Right. So, so I remember him sitting in my kitchen once and we were talking about this, anything, Kelly, we don’t look like this guy. We don’t look like that guy. And I go, no, but they don’t look like us either. granted more people are going to like them, but maybe there’s some out there like us and there’s gotta be a place like for people like us. And, as it turned out, the people were, I’m talking about. They’re long, gone, and salmon are still around
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Kelly. We got to. W we gotta [00:01:00] reschedule you because I swear to God, I feel like you and I could talk for another 20 hours.
Kelley: Well, we, we scratched the surface.
Kenric: we did. We scratched the surface and I feel like I want to, I want to get all your stuff in because this is too much wind. You know what I mean? You have literally given me chills at times, talking about some of the experiences and some of the things you’ve gone through.
These are things that I’m vicariously living through you on some of this, because not only are you a fan like Jeff and I are, and like our whole crew here at sport of the country, John, my, my other cohost is, he, he writes and draws comics. He’s got a, he’s actually got a series called, the irons and Talia is coming out.
He just wanted to let you know, he couldn’t make it tonight, but he loves your work and he absolutely, you know, Sandman is his favorite are his favorite books. Just, I think Jeff had said the same thing, but you know, that’s it quintessential Sandman to him is a lot of your stuff. And then all the Batman, he just loves it.
He wanted to let you know that,
Kelley: Well, I appreciate that. No, I [00:02:00] do. Because a lot of times when I do these things, I, I. It gets very narrow where I’m, it’s just me in a room going, how am I interested in not bored today? How do I make this fun for me? And you wonder if that’s gonna, you know, once you come out of that and you turn in, you go, maybe that was a mistake but, but it worked and look, I was very grateful at the show is telling you where I met. Rights and Neil Adams was there. And before the show opened that day, I was, I got there early and writes and I were having a cup of coffee and we’re just talking and he comes up and Neil always has an entourage and Neil comes up and he’s with his wife and he says, Hey, Kelly. And I, you know, and I I’ve met him a few times a little bit, but nothing major. And I go, yes, and I stand up and shake hands and it’s hurting me. And he goes, and he, and he blows me off and he goes to his wife, this is the guy he [00:03:00] says, this is the guy who was telling you about this is the guy. And he looks at me and he goes, he starts naming.
From the forties and fifties, certain artists that were to him, Jerry Robinson and all the major people that were known for Batman of that decade. And he goes, you were the nineties, your
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah.
Kelley: you’re still lasts. You’re still laughing. I was telling my wife that, that you’re one of the guys or one of the guys.
And I was like, wow, this is amazing. Right. This is amazing. And then he goes, and you, and you figured out how to do dead man in a totally different way than I would. I never think like that and writes and nudges me cause Bernie knows him really well. Right. And I didn’t and I go, well, thank you bill. Thank you.
You know, I, I, I’m not really seeing any, I’m just saying thank you. and it was so weird because that’s Neil fricking Adams
Kelley: and. And I’m thinking at that point, he’s talking about another guy, cause I’m sitting [00:04:00] here fanning out on rights and telling him how much is black and white work on, in creepy and eerie.
Still to me just absolutely resonates. I, I, it’s a, it’s a clinic on rendering and texture and atmosphere and he comes up and he’s doing any starts doing this. but it meant a lot, you know, because. Once you get to know Neil, he doesn’t really do that. So when he did it, you know, it was clearly that he knew I wasn’t a threat.
Anyways, his reputation is solid forever, but I had was so divergent from him, but kept to the core of those characters that he respected. It.
Kenric: it’s so odd seeing Neil Adams now on Facebook, I see them like almost every day doing live and him drawing stuff and then selling stuff. And it’s just like, Oh, it’s so odd.
Kelley: It is. I think, I think it’s one of those things that, well, certain people become a legendary set of strength, go him Frazetta, for sure.
[00:05:00] Kenric: yeah,
Kelley: And it’s almost like, should I meet them or not? Do I want to know them or
Kenric: right, right. They might, the myth might be busted.
Kelley: Yeah. And you don’t want anything to be broken like that, but you take that chance because you know, you have to,
Kenric: Yeah. Here’s one of the coolest guys and go
Kelley: well, I just, I remember that being disappointed so many times, you know, you’re always afraid.
Kenric: Yeah. Especially when they have a weird handler that just it’s like, you can’t say anything or you don’t need to be there. They’re just trying to
Kelley: part is the worst part is when you’re with one of the, in my position, I’m with someone and they’re being okay with me, but they’re being shits to everybody
Kenric: yeah. And then you feel like, Ugh.
Kelley: And then they’re going to think I’m a shit. And then, so I have to go and like more than try to go make up to everybody. Yeah.
You know, I’m like, Hey,
Kenric: You know, who is a really cool artist that is just wonderful with the fans. And I always feel bad because him and I he’s been on the show and we talk all the time. And so when I go to like a con and he’s, and he’s there, [00:06:00] cause he lives in Seattle now and he’s there and we, and we’re sitting there talking, I got to go, Hey man, I got to go because you got a line out.
The door is a Ben temple Smith. Oh, he is a joy to talk to and he listens to everybody interacts, knows that he’s lucky to have these people that want to come up, want to talk to him about his stuff. And not only that drop a bill, just for him to sign a, a piece of artwork that he just, you know, he drew up for them and just, yeah.
He’s, I think he’s.
Kelley: No, it, it is. It’s something that if you forget that, and I don’t mean this in some kind of anxious sentimentalist way, if you forget that, then why it goes away, whatever this is goes away.
Kelley: And you just, then you just tr you, there’s nothing special about this in that regard that you, that you have an ability to do this.
That would make you more special. Okay. For me bottom line. That’s not my identity [00:07:00] though. So my identity isn’t I draw comics. My identity is a husband and father
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah.
Kelley: that’s on the tombstone. That’s what I want them to say. Not he drew three issues of Batman,
Kenric: Swamping number two, scared him.
Kelley: not that stuff. That, stuff’s the fun stuff that we do.
That’s the stuff of, if that’s the spice in the fun, but I absolutely, I’m knocked out when people, I see a line of people I’m knocked out, I’m knocked out of one person
Kenric: Do you come up to Seattle for the, for the Emerald city Comicon?
Kelley: I, the last time I was in Seattle, I was there a couple of times. And that was in the late nineties, early two thousands. I did it one in the nineties, one in mid nineties and one in 2000 and I loved it up there. I love Seattle.
Kenric: you got to come up again and when you do, I’m gonna, I’m going to beg you to come out and have a beer or at least
Kelley: I would absolutely. The funny part of what you said is the begging part. Like there would be big.
Kenric: Yeah. [00:08:00] Yeah. You be like on cars, but yeah, I mean, cause I, I just, I, I feel like. So Kelly, I feel like I want to have a time and maybe you’ll be down with, maybe you’ll be up for this someday where we could sit down on video and have a conversation like this, and just talk about our love of comic books, the medium, and even get into some of the movies and what they mean and how and how they change.
We had a great conversation with Walton, Louise Simonton about everything. And it was so funny because we asked her about the man of steel. She is not a fan of that movie.
Kelley: look, we’re all, we’re all weird about certain things about what we like and what we don’t and what, and look, I’ll be the first one to say, My embarrassing thing is I was like this one, man, roll eye. Rolling. It’s going to suck. Who would ever go see it? I’m glad I’m not involved in the film ends.
Cause I would know, but I absolutely was reviling before just [00:09:00] reviling it before it came out was guardians of the galaxy.
Kenric: I think you had a lot of people,
Kelley: It’s actually not all I said. Great. So now we hate now we’ve done super, so much, just a couple of years, but we hate them and we’re going to do this. Right. Cause I just saw a few things.
Anyway, I go and have some kind of minor dental surgery down and I can’t work for that day. And it’s now on cable, right? It’s on one of the cable stations. So it’s that long after the fact, like six months or so after the fact I’m laying there and I’m too drugged out of my mind to find the remote and change the channel as it comes on. And. Like 20 minutes into this thing. It’s my favorite superhero movie ever. Right? I was just going, Oh my God, this is so
Kenric: It’s funny. They hit, they probably hit your childhood. Pretty good.
Kelley: I can’t believe how entertained I am. And so I watch it that whole time. And I go to my, I go home, you know, and it comes on again. Cause she said she wanted to go see it.
And I poo-pooed it. Right. [00:10:00] So she didn’t and I, and I said, go see it. I didn’t want to see it then. So we sit there and watch it. And she goes, man, that was really good. And then she punches me, I’m drugged and she punched me. You didn’t let me see that in the theater. So, but. That’s how much I missed it. And, and I was, I was so worried that they were going to make fun of what I loved rather than, you know, I was shocked that they got to the core of what I
Kenric: yeah, the, this James Gunn hit the spirit of what a comic book movie should be like. You know what I mean? It, even though he changed some things, it didn’t matter. The heart was so right. That you just
Kelley: not. Really? Yes. And that’s it. And not since the, first cursory Superman had I been hit like that by a super hero film or by a comic book movie where the heart was there and it struck me, you know, like, yes, that you could still be hit like that. The, the thing I was always afraid [00:11:00] of is I would go in there and criticize these because I, you know, I was loving captain America.
First of Andrew. I love that. And, I was really digging, you know, I was, I was digging these things that Marvel was doing here and there, and I didn’t mind the changes here and there. I didn’t, you know, I understand they’re not talking to us. They’re talking to people who don’t have any clue as to what this stuff is.
so, so I’m very forgiving that way, but, and I loved, you know, Nolan’s Batman. So I thought, yes, they’re very serious, but they they’re fun.
Kenric: think the dark Knight, I think the dark Knight returns one
Kelley: Oh, absolutely. I just, I just enjoyed Nolan. I enjoyed Nolan doing a literary take on something I loved.
Kenric: Yeah, I loved it. There’s not very many of them that I, I don’t like, like a lot of people don’t like to BVS, you know, Batman versus mint. I understand what they don’t like about it. And I agree with the writing and some of you know, how the story is convoluted and all that kind of fun stuff. A lot of people don’t like, I can’t remember the actor’s name, but his portrayal of [00:12:00] Lex Luther, I felt like it’s very contemporary.
It’s something. What I feel like maybe an add and ADHD multi-billionaire, you know, tech conglomerate would be like today.
Kelley: thing is the thing is that happens in our, in what we do is people’s begin to feel like they have to qualify why they love something. You don’t have to qualify it. If you love it, you love it. And that’s legitimate to me, that’s sincere to me, God, most of the stuff I’ve loved. People always like go that’s crap.
You know, why would you love that? Or that’s silly or that’s whatever. I, I love it. You know? Time will bear out a lot of stuff. Look, I was in a theater as a, in 1980 several times watching Kubrick’s the shining. When all my friends said, it’s not the book. It’s not, how can you love it? I loved it because it wasn’t the book.
The book is, the book is wonderful. The movie is plentiful. Yeah, they’re both wonderful. And now what are we talking about? You always see in the top three or [00:13:00] four horror films ever made the shiny.
Kenric: yup. Yup.
Kelley: Okay. And it’s like chronic and it entered the, it entered the, the, the lexicon. So, so no, I’m, I’m being a faint.
Yeah, I’m a, I’m a big fan of being a fan I’m not the fan who says. I’m going to tell you what I don’t like. I’m always the one who says, I’m going to tell you what I do like, and if I, and if I don’t like something, which is fine, I don’t, I don’t rain on someone’s parade. You know, it’s like, it generally makes me go and say, well, I’m going to go revisit that and see what it is. Maybe I miss something. And a lot of times I miss something.
Kenric: Yup. Yup. I’m the same way. I’m exact same way.
Kelley: I mean, I’m just glad I get it because I can’t sit through a. I can’t sit through a lot of stuff that I’m supposed to like that I hate, you know? And I think the comic book, movie thing will go away. Everything does. So I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here, because [00:14:00] it will change. The tastes will change.
It does. It’s just the way it is. or they’ll become silly or they’ll do whatever, you know, westerns were the dominant form for many years and then they went away. And then you, you only get a Western every once in a while now.
Kenric: Yeah, but
Kelley: And, and that’s how I feel. I know comic book movies. I don’t know how much longer the last right now they seem to fun, but they’re not going to be forever.
Kelley: They can’t.
Kenric: Well, they’ve calmed down to really right. Cause they got done. Marvel just got done with that whole phase and now they’ve taken a year off, maybe even two. And I, cause I, I think they understand that they can’t just keep shoving them down and have people just think they gotta take that break. Take a step back.
Let it reload then go
Kelley: what they did is they captured as light Geist in the hugeness of the, of the whole storyline. They just did with animals.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah, they did.
Kelley: Then, and, and it was an organic thing. Well, let’s connect them all up. Now they’re going to [00:15:00] do their thing. It’ll be Marvel universe, but. They’re going to have to say, will people be interested in a more BS?
I will, because I like that material. I’m
Kenric: I love Morpheus. I’m so excited when the nineties, I thought the night. So when the nineties, series for Morpheus came out, I didn’t know that morning. Cause I was 15. I didn’t know. Or 16, I didn’t know. More BS had had a run. Had other comics, I didn’t know that he came from Spiderman back in the, in the
Kelley: Oh, he is. So you, yeah. And now, you know, those early old seventies books are.
Kenric: So I was all in when Nick, when Morgan’s number one came out in 19, was it 91 or whatever? I was all in. I was like, Oh, I gotta read this. And then I loved it. And then they canceled the series, not, you know, pretty quickly actually, which was a
Kelley: Yeah, they did because they well look, most of the stuff I loved in the seventies got canceled pretty quickly, but it’s still around. And what I missed. And if I ran comics, I would do this. I would return to a Marvel premiere Marvel spotlight kind of book.
[00:16:00] Kenric: Oh, thank you.
Kelley: I would say, let’s try out new characters or let’s take a skier characters and do something with them.
The book is not committed to it, so it won’t live or die. That’s why spotlight and premiere could last so long. You, you could do Marvel two. And one was a great idea why DC and Marvel do not do that. Now. I don’t know that way you can have rotating teams. You can have artists, you know, like I said, most artists can only do two or three issues in a row.
Kenric: right, right.
Kelley: so that’s the thing. Let’s put them on something like that. And there, you can bring these things back and see what flies
Kenric: that would be amazing. That would be
Kelley: I, I think it would, it’s a gold mine waiting to be found. And, and people wouldn’t jump jumped the book and, Oh, this is only for a few issues here. This is for a few issues there. So you just follow it to see what’s going to happen.
Kenric: That would be
Kelley: You know, I remember [00:17:00] loving an old Marvel comic. I think it was amazing adventures and half of it was Casar, but half of it was dr.
Doom. And I’d never, I never seen a village front of book before,
Kelley: it was all about the people rebelling against dr. Doman Vasari or wherever he lives. And I was like, Oh, this is awesome. I would kill for that. Now, you know, it doesn’t have to be this giant Meg Magnum Opus. And so it can be reprinted in a big book.
No, just these little things. And you could bring people in and it’s a safe place to start.
Kenric: I think that’s a great idea. They don’t do a lot of that kind of stuff anymore. I loved like the Marvel team ups and like when they brought in a Mockingbird with, and they teamed her up with Spiderman,
Kenric: it’s a great way to introduce a character.
Kelley: watch them, you could watch them retool a character. Like you had the cat turned into Thai GRA, you know, you had, all these characters where they, they would work them out like that. it, it [00:18:00] ventures into fear. That’s where you got more BS. That’s where you got man thing.
you got, you know, okay man things do an okay. Let’s try more of these. Okay. More let’s try Frankenstein, you know, they would just keep throwing stuff at you and all these characters, it, it lasts, it made it. It, it it’s sustained itself. And now, like I said, I don’t know if people will show up at the regular people will show up and go see these things, because now you’re not talking to Ironman, captain America, you know, you’re talking the shanky and all these secondary characters, I will be there because those are the books I bought in the seventies,
Kelley: you know, but I don’t know, I can’t speak to the, to the typical, big tent audience.
Kenric: But you can’t, you can’t.
Kelley: if, if they go into it with lesser expectation
Kenric: That’s the key, right?
Kelley: and lower blower budgets, but full sincerity in making these things, I think there’ll be fine. I think there’ll be, you know,
Kenric: what’s a character that if you had your druthers, you’re like, I want to do [00:19:00] that character.
Kelley: I would want to do the Legion of monsters at Marvel.
Kenric: Oh, that would be your style would be perfect.
Kelley: I would love to do the Legion of monsters. I want to do man thing, Frankenstein, ghost writer, where we’ll fight night. Morpheus. That would be the thing.
Kenric: Oh, I would love to see your rendition of ghost writer. Have you
Kelley: Aye. Aye, aye. There they draw themselves.
Kenric: yeah, they do. Yeah, they do. Is, what do you got? What do you, what are you working on today?
Kelley: I just I’m. On the last issue of Daphne burn for DC and Joe Hill. So I’m working on that. I’m also working on heavy metal, 300, getting prepared. We’re working through the early stages of stuff for DC, for some other things, they’re there, we’re working out those things right now. again, another thing [00:20:00] with Joe Hill, Matt Wagner and I are putting something together too for dark horse.
Kenric: Yeah. How was, how was working with Joe Hill?
Kelley: she’s been a blast. I mean, he’s pure enthusiasm,
Kenric: Oh, that’s cool.
Kelley: so he’s, he’s, he’s just a big idea machine, you know,
Kenric: you really love about Joe Hill is I read like locking key and I didn’t know he was Stephen King son
Kelley: That was his goal.
Kenric: and I just loved it. You know what I mean? I’m like this guy is great. And then, and I kind of regret looking him up on the internet and finding that out. You know what I mean? Just because.
Kelley: think, I think, I think it it’s to his, kind of his character, you know, it would be very easy to go in and use that leverage with, with an audience. But I also think it was very wise. Cause it’s detrimental too, because now you’ve got to live up to that,
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah.
Kelley: and make his [00:21:00] bones on his own name, doing his own thing, get a lot of street cred with that.
And now, now it’s like just a cool little asterick rather than the main thing.
Kenric: right, right. No one ever talks about, I mean, people talk about it because it’s a side note, but no one there’s no comparison.
Kelley: In fact, I’d met Joe many years ago. before, you know, he was a kid and, I’d went to Maine because his dad wanted to buy a page from dead man. So I met Joe at that time and he remembered it. I was thinking, Oh, he wouldn’t remember that.
He remembered it. but he spent a blast. So he wants to do some, I mean,
Kenric: wait, wait, wait, you gotta rewind there first. It’s like, could you kind of glossed over something right there? Stephen King went and bought a page from you for dead,
Kelley: there was a page from dead man. He wanted, well, no, the cool thing. Here’s where I get credit. This is where within my family. I
Kenric: this is why we keep going, Kelly.
Kelley: 20, like 15, 20 years ago when [00:22:00] whenever tower was still around
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah.
Kelley: And my brother was a manager of, of one of these places. He ran one of them and, For whatever reason, Stephen King was going through the area.
And as a thank you to, to the people at tower and whatever these books for promoting, doing this really nice promotion for him. And he said, he’d go in there and just privately signed some books for these guys. You know, all the people in the back rooms, all the, all the staff and everything. And he would sign books and spend some time with them.
Am I? And it was going to be at my brother’s store and I wasn’t there. Right. I was, I was doing whatever. So my brother, he had known this and that, King had liked stuff. I had drawn. He had, you’d like my Batman quite a bit and a few things. And, anyway, Kings they’re signing this stuff and do whatever.
And my brother just says, you know,
Kenric: that brother again? Keep helping
Kelley: yeah, like my brother. She says, Hey, now I didn’t know he was there. He says, my brother says, Hey. And he [00:23:00] goes, and he goes, and your brothers, who’s your brother. He says, Kelly Jones. He, you know, Sandman dead, man Batman. And he stops what he’s doing. And my brother loved this because now he was cool.
After this, he stopped and asked, how is Stephen King goes, how’s how’s Kelly doing? Oh, man, I saw this thing. He just did that. And they start talking about whatever I was doing at the time.
Kenric: Oh, that’s awesome.
Kelley: And so now all of a sudden everyone’s looking at him brother, like, Hey, we’ve gotta be nicer to him.
Kenric: I don’t know, man, if
Kelley: I started to get deals on things.
When I go in there, they started giving me all these deals
Kenric: how’d you keep
Kelley: don’t you be nice to me? My brother tells me the story.
Kenric: how’d you keep your head in check.
Kelley: was in here. And this thing happened well, that was very cool. You know, I wasn’t there. I didn’t, you know, but, but I liked that story, because it was like King was still reading the books, you know,
Kelley: still reading copy.
Kelley: And that would have been to me. I mean, at that time I was doing Batman. So he was reading the monthly Batman cause he was saying, he had told my brother, he says, well, tell him, I really liked that these, Batman’s are one shots and [00:24:00] two partners. I really liked that, you know, you can just sit down and read them and it’s, it’s really cool.
So, those kinds of things are very wicked, you know, little things like that make it wicked. Cause it’s like, wow, he’s he’s and then, you know, then I go on to work with the Joe. but you know, Jeff Johnson called me and he wants to do something. He’s got some specific ideas and, and, you know, we’re running through those.
So I’ve got a lot of things I’m going to be getting to. right now I’ve been enjoying, I’ve really enjoyed working at Hillhouse. It, it feels like old comics to me in the sense that they’re allowed to do whatever they want to do. You know, it’s like a comic that is a reader as a fan, as a buyer, I could take it or leave it.
Kelley: I mean, that meant I was that’s how it used to be when I was buying them was okay. You know, is there a sincerity to it, if that kind of thing, that energy from that kind of creative newness is cool. Not [00:25:00] there’s a preplan thing that you have makes you do it. It’s like, no. Do you want it or do you not want it?
Kenric: Yeah. Right, right, right. I liked that too. I liked that too.
Kelley: Yeah, it’s just, when you work like that, I think you keep a very loyal base of people. They don’t feel like you’re ripping them off or anything. They don’t
Kenric: Well, you don’t feel like you’re being dragged along,
Kenric: the next book, by the next book. I haven’t, this arc is never going to end, but by the next one,
Kelley: When I did, when I did Kings of fear, I made it very clear that I didn’t want it connected to anything that we’re doing. I just, I had said, if it came out in 1972, or if it came out in 2032, it would be a separate, it’d be pure Batman. It’s Canon it’s in their world. Like it’s not tied to anything.
So people, and this is what I always love telling DC. And they hate hearing it. Probably I go, so they don’t have to buy it.
Kenric: Yeah, well, TC is actually really good about that. They do a lot of one shots and things that are encapsulated in [00:26:00] the world, but you don’t have to read everything else. They,
Kelley: No, I’ll I’ll, I’ll tell you what. I grew up a Marvel guy and I read everything there was Marvel and, and I did read decent outlook swamping and, and detective by Marshall, there were things that stood out to me. Okay. But as a Marvel guy, and, did I have a career at DC? Is. To me. Wonderful, because they were the ones who could see who I was not marble now Marvel might now, but I mean, at the Marvel that I knew in the eighties, they didn’t, they couldn’t, they didn’t know what I had.
I was D C knew who I was within the first three or four months. And they were the ones to this day who say go further. They still say it. And they still push that as. As where I’m at. There’s some times I will feel awkward to them about certain things. They’re the ones who will say, Hey, [00:27:00] no, no, no, you keep doing what you’re doing.
You know? they’re the ones who keeps, who over all these years, all, all the changes of, of personnel management, whatever, that core DC thing, that atmosphere is still the same. Marvel has fluctuated a lot to me. But DC has stayed the same that I don’t say it because I work in DC, but DC has me because they’ve stayed the same in that approach to developing talent.
Kelley: I’ve always said I owe DC everything, but DC doesn’t owe me anything because they let me do what I’ve done. I mean, I’m even talking to you because of decisions at DC.
Kelley: And so I don’t say that it’s some company guy. You did it. I’m not real. I’m I’m
Kenric: So you can tell you’re a friend before anything else, so
Kelley: I’m in the, [00:28:00] if DC was a solar system, I’m the planet that orbits furthest from its core.
Kenric: your Pluto.
Kelley: I’m not the guy they’re going to come to and say do whatever, or that that’s fine. That’s okay. But they still let me revolve around that big star.
Kelley: And I will always be grateful for that.
Kenric: I, when I looked, when I was looking up all your stuff you’ve done, I mean, I know you from dead, man. I know you from Batman, you know, and that’s really. Yeah. I was a late person to Sandman. It was actually John, my coach that told me you need to go back and read Sandman because when I was, I think it was 88, when Sandman came out somewhere around there, I was 13, 14, and I was like, I was a superhero guy, you know, that’s what I wanted to read.
And. So it took me just until like 2017 that I read that series. And to be honest, I didn’t go back. I knew it was no game in, but you know, when you think Sandman, you think Neil Gaiman, that’s what you think. I [00:29:00] remember being blown away by the art and everything. but I knew you from, from, from Batman and dead men when I was going through and I haven’t seen you do anything and you can correct me if I’m wrong.
And tell me, tell me, how could you miss this, but I haven’t seen you do any, create our own stuff yet or have,
Kelley: I don’t. I have, I did a thing for dark horse called the hammer.
Kenric: the hammer.
Kenric: to have to go back and
Kelley: And that, that’s one of those things that I’m still bugged. I’m bugged about doing more of them, but I kind of, I, I did two mini series and some, one shots with it. And IDW, reprinted them all in a hard cover. and I, and I’m still asked about those all the time.
I mean, I have to say every week I get contacted about that.
Kenric: Did you ever think about going back and visiting
Kelley: I did that in a series called the 13th sun, which there I was going to link them both together. but, but. For me, I do. Now, this always happens to me. [00:30:00] They ask, would I do it? I stopped doing it because I, I, for the reasons I’m going to tell you did it, it sold well, it was well received.
I’ve always been asked about it that, so all those things were taken care of. It’s that? I missed the collaboration though.
Kelley: Yeah, I missed, I
Kenric: I can understand that the teamwork
Kelley: Yeah. I love talking. I love talking to the writer. I love talking to the letter. I love talking to the colorist. I love working with everybody out of those things, little special weirdness happens.
you see some, some myths, a lot of weird, wonderful stuff happened out of a dead man, Batman, all the things of when I did swamp thing with Lynn, all these things that weren’t in the script and weren’t in my mind, but we worked together and stuff happened. And that kind of stuff. I missed it. I just, I missed it.
And [00:31:00] so I will, what always happens is I’ll, I’ll go off on my own, do with thing, eh, do whatever I’m doing. And then someone will ask, do you want to do something, write some whatever, and I’ll go well, you know? Yeah. Okay. And I’ll forget that. I’ll forget it. And I’ll work on it. I’ll realize this is very lonely.
You know, I sit and I write these things and I enjoy it, but. There’s that thing you miss where you’re with your friends doing it.
Kelley: And, and I’m such an eccentric when I work that the editors I’ve worked with have been lucky because they they’ve kind of CA they understand that. if my art is eccentric, my writing is even more so, and that’s why the hammer did very well for me.
And, and I did a, a one shot zombie world. Mike Minola did a series called zombie world and they asked me what I do at arc in it. And I, I had no nothing to say about the zombie world. There are zombies in general, they’re kind of limited. It’s kind of a [00:32:00] limited thing to me. And so finally they could jolt me into just doing a one shot and, and I did a one shot that is probably in my career, the most notorious thing I’m accused of ever having done.
And, and basically it’s the same thing about Batman. Like I said, I don’t know how to be Batman, but I know how to be afraid of Batman. It was the same thing. I don’t understand zombies, but I understand being afraid of zombies. And that isn’t interesting to me, but what if somebody who’s already kind of a zombie and then zombies come. Who’s already such an outsider, but he happens to survive. And the basic plot of the story is that he’s such kind of an outsider that this girl in high school, that he goes to the school with just as nice to him. That’s all just [00:33:00] says, hi. Doesn’t mean anything more than height? Well, he falls in love with her from a distance. Well, the whole world goes Somby and so does her, and while he’s surviving and killing his grandmother and chopping up neighbors, he, she comes up as a zombie and he can’t kill her. So it’s how do you have a relationship with her? And the cool thing was I’d gotten a, the people who did Shaun of the dead were very kind in letting me know.
They borrowed a few things from that issue.
Kenric: That’s cool.
Kelley: And that’s cool. I mean, I had, Robert Kirkman wrote a really nice review of it, and, and had written a nice introduction when they reprinted it in a dark circle, dark horse book. it’s whackadoodle thing it’s, I’ve done. it’s pure ISI. Underground kind of a thing, but those, so I have done it and like I said, I’m very involved in the plotting or the planning in the construction of stories, [00:34:00] in general, but it’s because, and I do have a thing to write.
I can write comics and I think I can do it pretty well. It’s just, it’s a lonely business for me. And I was always introduced to it as a collaborative effort. And I’m not, I’m not as. Hog for the spotlight. I like it. I always liked the teams,
Kenric: you’re well, you’re an outgoing person, obviously, so I could
Kelley: and Caribbean wean and Wrightson and, and all the, you know, all these great teams that ever did things.
I always liked that, you know, I always done that.
Kenric: Yeah, I liked that too. I like,
Kelley: I like
Kenric: ween, you think Wrightson.
Kelley: well. I always liked, it was a barren and Jones and Gaiman and Jones and mentioned Joe and loved that. I like that.
Kenric: yeah. Yeah. The way you put them together, it sounded like a law firm.
Kelley: It does. but, but, but that’s, that’s the kinetic energy of these things and I don’t try to overthink comics. I just try [00:35:00] to feel them and let it wash over me and not try to analyze it or not try to explain them. I don’t want to know, you know, I don’t want that. I want that emotional reaction.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. I liked that. I liked that a lot.
Kelley: And if I can do that with some other people, that’s more fun.
Kenric: Well, you know what, when you’re working on something and you’re bored, you can call me, I’ll sit and talk with you.
Kelley: Okay. There you go. I’m going to hold you to that,
Kenric: Yeah, no problem. I’m telling you right now. I would be more than okay for that.
Kelley: No, you look what, that’s life though. That’s the fun of thing. So, so, you know, When I was a kid talking about how exciting the latest issue of Thor was, it’s the same thing. When you’re working with someone, you get that same energy.
Kenric: you do we, so John and I had an idea for a whole story and it was electric. You know, we were going through and talking about it and we have it all worked up. Now. We, we actually did a whole podcast on it. [00:36:00] It came. That was the cool thing about it. We started talking about the story and it organically grew during us having this podcasting session with just the two of us.
And now we’re like, okay, we’ve written everything down now we’re going to go back. And now we want to, we want to do another podcasting, say a session to build upon it. You know what I mean? To really bring it
Kelley: No look, I totally, I totally get that. See, I, I do, I don’t sit here with that. I have notebooks filled with finished stories. I’ve written. That there are, that there are people who want to publish those, but then I’d have to sit down and do it and the whole thing. And then it’s like, eh, because I’m alone. I know as soon as I do it, I’ve committed myself to six months of loneliness, you know, six months of not, you know, when I talked to Matt Wagner about the stuff we’re doing, there’s a real excitement like you just described.
Kenric: You’re right,
Kelley: when I talked to Jeff Johns, there’s this real, it’s just this thing that happens. When I’m by myself, you know, it’s not it’s [00:37:00] it’s, I mean, I can see it in my head and it’s almost kind of finished at that point. It’s like, okay, it’s in my head. I can see it. It’s finished the physical doing of it now seems like drudgery as opposed to yeah.
And I always, I always think of comics to me. The eccentric thing with me is the title should be not. Anything to do with what it’s about, you know, it should be these odd titles. And I always have to go against, like one publisher really wanted me to do this book and he, and they were great. They were wonderful and nice.
And the sticking point was the title, because I wasn’t going to give up the title and they wanted the title to be more about what it was. And my title sounded like a. why a teen girl book
Kenric: but you know what you’re doing, but why, why would they even, why would they even argue with you about that?
Kelley: I think a lot, because it is that eccentric and [00:38:00] sometimes I have to be in all honesty. I have to sometimes listen to them because I realized I am like the writer fell off of me and I’m the horse and I just run crazy And everyone else is going around the track and I’m running up and doing all this other stuff. Right. And I, and I realized, Oh, the writer fell off again.
Kelley: So I have to remember that and go, okay. And then I’ll come back and go, no, there, no, I’m going to stick to my guns on
Kenric: Right. This is something that needs to be this way
Kelley: right. And, and, but I don’t do that.
I, I, but the title was just so,
Kenric: out there.
Kelley: Yeah, well, it didn’t convey the kind of gut wrenching or that I was going to do,
Kelley: which was very, and they would love, they love the stories and the, what I wanted to do. Cause it wasn’t. And again, it’s very now they didn’t mind the main thing, the eccentric thing of no main characters
Kelley: that, [00:39:00] that it’s a place, not a person that, that the short stories run into one another and create a whole thing.
They love that. Probably probably cause it sounds like a TV proposal
Kenric: Kind of reminds me of creep show.
Kelley: right. Well, it’s just this bizarre thing. Right. But what it was was it was a place, not a, an, and there would be regular characters obviously, but that was the thing and they were digging it and they, and I said, well, here’s how it connects.
Here’s the bigger picture here’s what’s going to happen. And then it becomes like Conan the barbarian.
Kenric: Oh, nice.
Kelley: you know, so it’s all this regular stuff and blah, blah, blah. And I said, so there’s, here’s all the, you know, when you’re doing a pitch, you hit all the high points. And then I told him the title and I guess dad, their faces went dead. I went, well, look, I’ll change. I will totally change and do, and all the rest, the title’s got to stick though.
Kelley: Cause it’s, that’s the point
Kenric: Do you think you’d go back now and be like, if they came back and said, how, how do you feel about that title today? You might be like, yeah. Maybe. Or are you like, no, it’s got to stay
Kelley: No [00:40:00] nowadays now pro I mean, this has been kicking around for a while and, and they would, now I could just do it. Right. I don’t think it’d be an issue at all. And I think that would be fine.
Kenric: can do it on Kickstarter too.
Kelley: it’s still, when I, when I, when, when it it’s those things, I, the main thing is that when you, when you say something, or when I say something, I have to remind myself, they don’t know the joke.
And I’m telling a joke, but I tell the punchline, not the joke pink and they know the joke. And that’s why I’m with my friends. You know what? We’re all talking because we all know this stuff. If, if regular normal people were listening to us, they would not understand what we’re talking about. Okay. Not if people are talking about whatever else in the world, normal stuff, we’d all understand.
But when you get into this, the weeds of comic books, they don’t understand the lingo, the jive, the, any of
Kenric: right, right.
Kelley: So sometimes editors wisely understand that there’s outsiders to this thing, normal [00:41:00] people, normal people are
Kenric: The normies have got to understand the title.
Kelley: they look at a title like that, they’re going to walk right on by.
They’re not going to look, that’s their thinking. And I go, okay, I get that. I understand that. But then at a certain point, I already say, well, but I have put in, God knows how many years doing
Kenric: yeah, the covers we’ll get them when it comes to comp books, the covers we’ll get them.
Kelley: come to it just on that alone,
Kenric: Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. You don’t want one of the things we do here as for the country, Kelly. Is, we get together with, creators and artists and, you know, people that have made books, obviously. It’s awesome. It’s the same thing, but we had a, Stephan Frank on, do you know, are you familiar with Stephan Frank? He’s not the first, but he’s one of the guys we’ve done this with where he brought. I loved silver. I met Stephen and me and John met Stephan in San Diego Comicon back in 2017. He is literally the first, when I walked into the con, he was the first booth I saw. And I went there and I basically blew [00:42:00] my whole wad that I planned on spending over the weekend.
And I was like, you know, because I loved his work is phenomenal, you know, and he’s such an affable guy. You can’t help, but love Stephen when
Kelley: Right. No, I
Kenric: So we had him on and we took, he’s been on like, he’s been on, a half a dozen times, but we had them on come on one time and we took one of his books and we did a DVD commentary on his book.
And we went page by page and talked about what he was thinking about why he came up. We talked about composition. We talked about the story, how he came across to this point, you know what I mean? All that kind of stuff. And it’s, it’s a really fun thing to do because you go, you know, you get to learn about the book that you’re you’ve loved and I’m just, I’m putting it out there.
It’s okay to say no, if, if, if that’d be too much. but if you’d love to do that with one of your books of your choice, a book of your
Kelley: I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what it’s. So if you want it, if you mean doing that, I don’t mind doing that. You pick the book.
Kenric: Okay. That’s easy.
Kenric: Okay, we’re going to,
Kelley: with, [00:43:00] yes. It works better that way. And then I can answer those questions rather than pontificate.
Kelley: yeah, it always works better if someone picks the book they
Kenric: We’re going to try to, I mean, in my, in my heart of hearts, because you called it your favorite era of working on your books, I want to pick dead man, but maybe we should pick something that’s a little, no, you think that that’s the one.
Kelley: No. If, if that’s your first look, I’m always big on when I’m making decisions, drawing, you, you pick the one, if that’s your gut, go with it. And that’s fine, whatever. I mean, if you change your mind and
Kenric: Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Kelley: absolutely. But always go with that first thought your first reaction. And don’t try to think what I would like.
Kenric: no, no, no. Yeah. Yeah. I’m just thinking that it cause a part of me is like, Okay. You’re so you’re super well known for Batman. You’re super well known for, for a Sandman you’re super well known for dead, man. It’s kind of fun to find that that diamond in the rough that no one knows about,
[00:44:00] Kelley: Absolutely. And if you want to go hunt it down, you can hunt it down.
Kenric: And the cool thing is, is we can tell everybody what book it’s going to be.
And before, you know, before the series comes out, so they can go and find that book either digitally or hopefully, they get that great smell and they crack the plastic
Kelley: Yes. Yes.
Kenric: You know,
Kelley: that was wonderful feeling.
Kenric: that’s my favorite part of when I buy a book like on eBay, like I have a couple books that are CGC and I hate it.
You know, cause there’s a part of me was like, I just want to crack this thing open, but then I don’t want to crack it open because I don’t want it. I don’t want to, I don’t want to ruin the book or anything, but then that’s like, I gotta crack this stupid thing open,
Kelley: Oh no, you have to be because you know what, that’s what they’re for.
Kenric: Thank you. That’s exactly right.
Kelley: that is exactly what they’re
Kenric: I got an Erie number four and it smells like 1958. You know what I mean?
Kelley: Look, if, if, if it was about just collecting them to do this, it becomes sterile.
Kenric: yup. It’s boring.
Kelley: I don’t care. I don’t care about the value in the grading system. I don’t even understand the grading [00:45:00] system.
Kenric: I want certain series just because I love that, that character. And I want the first appearance because I love the character. And then when I get a book signed and the artist or writer, or, or the editor, whoever it is assigning it, and they asked me, do you want me to make it out to you? It’s a hundred percent of the time.
Yes. Because I’m never getting rid of this book. So please make it out to Kenrick.
Kelley: all everything I have, my kids will have to deal with it. won’t, I mean,
Kenric: That’s how my that’s me too.
Kelley: Yeah, that’s it. In fact, each move is getting subsequently harder because it’s taking longer to pack everything. Right. Because I collect everything. So, so no, I mean, I, there’s the thing with, with, when I do is I put so many things in it that I figured no one will care about sea Ray, you know, it’s just there.
If they reread stuff, it starts showing up. Right then there’ll be images within things or there’ll be angles or [00:46:00] there’ll be symbolic stuff. It’s how I pass my day. It isn’t to be smart. It’s just how I, I think, well, you know, if I do that enough, it’ll add atmosphere to it. And I think a lot of what, what I like you to saying on this is sometimes you can, you know, I don’t.
I’m big on ambiguous. And I don’t like to explain a lot of stuff, but on something like that, you can show how you do something, or you can say why you did something. And that’s interesting, you know, and that doesn’t ruin the experience for anybody.
Kenric: Yeah, exactly.
well, Kelly, what do you think? You think we should put a pin on it this time?
Kelley: I think. So let’s try to do that.
Kenric: yeah, let’s try. We, we, I think we’ve said bye to each other twice. And now we’re three hours in.
Kelley: Get the hell off the phone?
Kenric – Kelley Jons Interview: Three hours, seven minutes, 17 seconds.
Kelley: Well, no, look, it has been, you know, an absolute it’s went very quickly. [00:47:00] Hasn’t it?
Kenric: It’s super quick. I feel like I’m talking honestly, Kelly, after this conversation, I want to consider you a friend, not a guy that just came on my inner and did an interview on my podcast.
Kelley: I, I have beat you to that cause I already consider you guys friends. So that’s cool.
Kenric: I mean, are you on Twitter?
Kelley: No, and everyone gets on me for not being on
Kenric: Yeah, you don’t have to be on, you don’t have to be on Twitter.
Kelley: And, and I, you know, I, probably because I would forget, you know, and then it would see where are you? And they either be concerned or think I, you know,
Kenric: You know, what I’ll do is, when we, when we get off, I’ll send you on. On Skype that we just, you know what I mean? I’ll just send you my, my email and my personal cell and that way you can, you know, get a con get ahold of us anytime.
Kelley: I got sounds great.
Kenric: Okay. Well, Kelly, thank you so much for coming on.
Kelley: Well, thank you for having me. It’s been a blast.
we will talk later. Bye bye.