Sina Grace – Iceman! Jughead! Jenny Lewis! Haunted in LA!
Today we talk with the creator behind the incredible Iceman run from a few years ago, the artist that provided for Jenny Lewis (who is incredible if you have not checked our her music), and so much more!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Sina Grace Interview
Casey: . [00:00:00] All right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show we have writer and artist Sienna, grace Sina. How you doing, buddy? I’m
Sina GRACE: okay. I’m okay. I’m tired today, but I’m okay.
Casey: My, my day starts at 4:00 AM. And like coffee and, and just desire to just knock it out. So you are largely like self-propelled being a creative person.
I’m assuming you, you, you work from home.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. That’s the, that’s the one kind of like. Benefit of my lifestyle to date is that working from home in quarantine has been super easy. But yeah, it’s, you know, I like being freelance. And being accustomed to just sort of sitting with headphones on deepened.
My thoughts yeah. I have years of [00:01:00] experience with that. So I really do sympathize for people who kind of, you know, went from 60 to zero in terms of like, and now I’m home alone. I, it it’s intense, but you get used to it. Oh yeah.
Casey: Yeah. So, so how does your day start?
Sina GRACE: Like typically or today, cause today started not normal, but I’ve got a dog, so every day starts with walking him.
And you know, you, you check your email and see like, okay, what’s the biggest fire. And Right. Oh man. There’s an email I haven’t even opened yet. And I love that. Like you think like, Oh, if I don’t open it, it doesn’t exist and it’s not like anyway, it’s, it’s a family thing. Not so I think that’s why I can put it off as I can just be like, Oh, I haven’t gotten to this yet.
But but yeah, like you, you kind of, when, when you’re, you know, writing and drawing and working for different companies knocking on wood you, you kind of always have to sort of. Have a battle plan as to like what gets prioritized every day and how to juggle kind of like, okay, like, all right, this mouth needs to get fed or this editor [00:02:00] needs this thing.
And that’s how the days go is, is sort of figuring out what’s the best time of day to use which part of my brain. And what I’ve noticed lately is like for writing, I can’t really get around to it until like three or four, because. There’s just always something to do. Like there’s always some kind of interaction that has to happen that interrupts my flow during, you know, the hours of like 8:00 AM to, again, whenever I start writing that you can’t just like, I can’t put my phone down or I can turn off any of these other, like, you know, apps or something or scheduling conversations with fine folks like yourself.
So it’s about kind of being like, okay. Yeah. Like I’ll. I’ll draw in the morning and then I’ll like, answer these emails or send out this package. Or this is the gross, annoying thing is like, Oh, I’ll prep this social media post. And then yeah, at a certain point, Oh, I gotta write these pages too. So yeah, the days kind of [00:03:00] like, it’s, it’s a tapestry of just figuring out what gets done when and, and, and how to kind of constantly sort of like you were saying, like, how do you nurse and propel and fuel.
The motivation and the inspiration and, and sort of the, you know, the unspeakable, something that makes you create.
Casey: So on, on the, on, on the opposite side of that, what happens when you sit down at your desk or, or wherever it is, you, you do your creative work and it just doesn’t.
Sina GRACE: That, I mean, that’s happened a few times.
In this, in this funny period. And I apologize if like, I feel like, how can you not sort of bring up COVID and the pandemic right now
Casey: and everybody,
Sina GRACE: so, yeah. And I think the, so I, I, I feel really bad for people who are like 1000% paralyzed by writer’s block, because for me, It’s like not an option [00:04:00] again, cause you’re free.
Like I, I have now for better or worse positioned myself to where like the only income I have comes from these comic companies that pay me, you know what I mean? Sometimes I’ll take commissions and stuff from, from fans and readers, but like, I’m really just trying to like write and draw comics full time.
And so. You know, like you sometimes don’t have the option of being like, I don’t feel good today. Like it’s not happening. And, and Lord knows, like you do also have to like honor that I, I for a few months, apprenticed under writer and artist Howard shaken. Cool. Yeah.
Casey: Yeah. I enjoyed talking to him a few weeks ago.
Sina GRACE: He’s and he’s super salty, but he he’s a leper. And I just remember, I still have this distinct memory where, you know, we were all, he had me and another and another assistant in the room and he said something like, it’s like, it’s not happening. My wrist, isn’t doing it today. And he just moved on to draw something else [00:05:00] that didn’t require like the iconic superhero shots.
So that’s sort of what I do is you keep yourself busy and moving on until the thing does happen. And I always say this on panels. I’m like, you know what. Like actually kind of secretly works is just in your document. You go page one, panel one page break, page two, panel, one page break. And if you just sort of like do the busy work until, until something happens, you know the other thing too is on a bit of a.
I don’t know that it’s necessarily, like, I don’t know if I do it to great success, but I also sort of follow, like, I wanna, I want to draw this now, or I want to write this scene now while it’s fresh in my head. So I don’t always work in sequence. And that helps too. It’s like, look, if you really just want to draw, like, you know, Batman bursting through a window.
Then do it the day you feel like doing it. And if there’s a day where [00:06:00] you need to turn your brain off and it just has to be like Bruce Wayne, talking to Alfred for six panels, then that’s what you do that day. You know? As long as you make sure you carve out time for the pages, like you never want to draw, which for me are pages with cars and like lots of buildings.
I like drawing buildings, but to do them the way I like. That satisfies me. It just so many hours. And it’s so mind-numbing
Casey: Oh yeah, yeah. Every, every artist kind of has their, their one thing. They’re just like, please don’t give me horses or something.
Sina GRACE: I don’t mind horses so much, but it’s. Yeah, I, you know, but it kind kinda reminds me of like, learning how to use Excel.
I freaking hate Excel, but if you just do it enough, You get used to it and it, and it can kind of, you can turn your brain off. You know what I mean? And I, and I think that’s what happened with me in buildings is I just found enough tools [00:07:00] and work arounds to just get through it. That at least it doesn’t cause the worst thing is when you get paralyzed by not wanting to do something, you know, and then you really just dilly dally and procrastinate.
And, and, and then you really create problems for yourself. Cause then you’re rushing and then it looks like, do do. So yeah, it’s, it’s just kind of tricking the brain and keeping your brain busy until, until it gets hit with the thing. But man, to circle right back to where I started in COVID times, there have been like weeks where.
It just wasn’t happening. And I, and, and, and even my trick of like, Oh, if I can’t draw today, all right. Today, even that was sort of like, not working like when the black, like, I have never not been able to just draw, even if it’s doodling and, and when the black lives matter stuff happened, the wrists stopped.
It was just like a couple of weeks of like, I’m not, I don’t feel like drawing. I don’t have it in me. And so I just, you know, I just [00:08:00] rolled
Casey: a ton, a ton of scrolling.
Sina GRACE: I, yeah, I I played video games. I was just like, I’m just gonna, you know, I don’t know. Yeah. It’s like doom scrolling and trying to figure out what you can do to, to help out and.
Making a bunch of phone calls and, you know, and, and that’s, what’s been great is people have been understanding, but also I haven’t, you know, I think that was what was great too. I hate saying anything’s great in this time, but like, because the distribution center diamond closed down, like there was less of a rush to wrap up sort of the projects I had on the table when this all started, like at the beginning of COVID we were wrapping up.
Go go power Rangers and ghosted in LA at boom studios. And then also I was doing, I was writing a series called read only memories at IDW. And then I had some like DC stuff here and there. And, and again, like right when I was sort of getting slowed down [00:09:00] emotionally, so was publishing. So. Yeah. You know, no one could be, I didn’t have a, like, I wasn’t a problem.
You know what I mean? Like I wasn’t like no one was like, Oh, this guy can’t meet deadlines. So that was, that was a good thing.
Casey: So you talk a little bit about, about your origins and how you got into comics.
Sina GRACE: Yeah, absolutely.
Casey: So are you from LA originally?
Sina GRACE: I am. I am. Okay. Cool. Born and raised. And it’s, it’s funny.
Cause it, it took like having to leave LA to realize. What access you have? What, like what privilege you have just even being in a city like Los Angeles, where entertainment is one of the backbones of like one of the industry, backbones of the city. And I just loved comics as a kid. And I think like most people, my age, it was like Ninja turtles, the X-Men cartoon, the Batman [00:10:00] cartoon I also grew up loving sailor moon, cause like she, her cartoon was on like right before I would leave for school.
So it, you know, the, the TV and the movies, like the adaptations got me in and then at the time grocery stores would carry the comics. So spinner racks. Yeah, me too. And, and so that’s, that was sort of my gateway and. It’s just one of those things where I like loved it and I would always draw these characters and I just posted it again on my Instagram, my fifth grade yearbook picture, you know, at the bottom, it’s like, Oh, what do you want to be when you grow up?
And I said, I want it to be a comic book illustrator. So I just was gung ho since I was eight years old. And, and, you know, like the lucky thing again, about being from here, my, you know, I was raised by a single mom and I didn’t have any. Connections. And, you know, we weren’t, we weren’t the poorest family on the street, but we weren’t the richest [00:11:00] on the street of apartments.
Casey: Definitely relate,
Sina GRACE: but I think, you know, but being here, I just had access, like I interned at top Cal productions in high school. Cause like I was a huge Michael Turner fan. I loved which blade and fathom And, you know, I would volunteer for them at San Diego comic cons or get to go down to Comicon.
And, and yeah, and then, like I said, Howard shaken lived in LA or he lives in Ventura County, which is an hour away. So I took a semester off call a quarter off college and would drive to his place, you know, a couple of days a week to like learn from him and work under him. And, and that. You know, for anyone listening that just came from having an email address and writing people, you know, like I just wrote the editor, this editor at top cow back then, Renee Gillings.
You know, it’s almost like a weirdo pen pal with her. And then one day I was like so like when can I like intern for you? And she’s like, when can you start? [00:12:00] And that’s yeah. You know, and, and so it’s, I get it. It’s, it’s not easy for everyone, but I think the internet is a great equalizer. And if you’re in like anyone who wants to be in comics for real, real, Has to love it in a very specific way that I think we can all sniff out amongst each other, you know, like it’s like, Oh, that person, like they want to be here.
Oh, that person just wants to make movies, you know? Or that person wants to make money and wow. They’re stupid. They need to go there. Yeah. Yeah. So I, it just, I just kept climbing and trying new things. Until finally, and I said this word earlier you know, the tapestry started to form basically I was drawing the little depressed boy.
It was first a web comic. And then when I started working for Robert Kirkman as his editor I, you know, I, I then sort of had built a light, larger relationship with the folks at image comics. So I was [00:13:00] able to talk to them and be like, Hey, like, you know, we have like 80 pages of this book in web comic form.
Like, you know, w would you guys want to publish it? And I like, I, you know, don’t worry, I’m not going to edit this out, but like, it was a little strategic on my end. I, I. I fibbed and told the publisher at image, I was like, yeah, Oni is looking at this. I’d love your feedback to see if if you have any notes and and, and, you know, the publisher was like, yeah, I’ll, I’ll take a look.
And if I like it, I’ll publish it. And I was like,
Casey: that’s awesome.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. And, and, and it’s just that, you know, you have to kind of always find the balance of like, Believing in yourself and advocating for yourself, but not, not being annoying. Like I remember Robert Kirkman said this either like on a panel or some interview, he said it somewhere publicly where he was talking about, you know, getting started and he had [00:14:00] sort of built this baby tiny baby group of a relationship with Eric Larson.
And he talked about how he was like, okay, like, you know, wait three days before you, you reach out to him again and wait a week before you ask, like, you know, it’s all about, like, you don’t want to be pushy, but you, you know, you do kind of always need to put your feelers out there and see what’s going on.
And and yeah, and so over time, the tapestry has like, like led to this where I’ve worked for, for everyone, I think, except for of all comics. Hey ball, what’s
Casey: up in
Sina GRACE: my number
Casey: and team and shoot your shot.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. I mean, Hey, I, I do it. I just don’t know if I have ideas that they’d want, but anyway but I’ve worked, you know, like I did, I did Iceman at Marvel comics and I’ve done a few things that have been published at DC and there’s going to be a few more coming out in 2021.
Casey: Oh no. Is that part of the the new thing that they’re doing with
Sina GRACE: the no, I’m not doing anything tied to future state. I do have some stuff [00:15:00] coming out. As early as February,
Casey: Holy smokes.
Sina GRACE: It’s just short stories and stuff. That, that I’m really happy with. And, and then some, some bigger stuff is like definitely brewing, but like, I’m not, I’m not blowing it up out of proportion, but it’s, I have a cool project that I, you know, it’ll probably take a year to finish, but I really love it.
And you know, everyone there has been super sweet, so it’s been great. You know, like I I’ve, I’ve gotten to work. Pretty much on like every title or worked on every character I care about, you know, I got to do go, go power Rangers with Ryan parrot and I love the power Rangers. And then the X men were my favorite Marvel characters.
So to get Iceman was like, great, cool, like mission accomplished. And even at DC, like. The, you know, like they let me like already play with plastic managed exam and those are kind of the kinds. Yeah. Those are the characters I tend to like I’m, I’m, I’m like daunted and petrified of like ever thinking about, you [00:16:00] know, the Avengers or Batman.
But I’ve got to change that because that’s the other thing you gotta do as a creator. You can’t, you can’t tell yourself you’re not good enough for something. Let the editors say that, but you should think you’re, everyone should just think. They’re the next important writer, because that then, you know, cause it’s osmosis, like people will start to believe you if you talk that way.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. If you conversely, if you, if you do not have that confidence in yourself, nobody
Sina GRACE: will. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a weird thing. Cause as a, as a former editor and as someone who made a book called self obsessed, I try really hard
Sina GRACE: I try. I just don’t want to, I don’t want to be that to anybody any more.
Like, I think the only way you can put that book out is by having like a hint of self-awareness. And so I just try to be really mellow, but I think I, you know, you do kind of, I do have to find a different balance, you [00:17:00] know, because literally like as of last year I would just tell editors, that’d be like, yeah.
Sort of you know, move me in a direction and tell me to go. And that’s what I’ll do instead of being like, all right. Here’s what I, I would do like a Wolverine gets a fourth claw. I don’t know. I’m not an idea. Leave me alone. Anyway.
Casey: So in the 1990 John Waters, film, crybaby there is a scene where Traci Lords is is crying.
Crybaby has, has left her. She’s crying into a glass. Of tears and she takes a big swig of those tears. I’m imagining you drinking those tiers of all the, the pissed off crybaby fan boys during your Iceman run. Can you elucidate a little bit on that and just tell me about how that was. It sounds like as somebody who is very self-aware was that difficult for [00:18:00] you on the.
On the not so positive reaction to it. There were, there was plenty of people that, that were like, Oh yes, that’s great. That’s, that’s awesome. It’s a new character development. And in terms of how things like that work in reality, there are plenty of people who realize later on in life that, Oh
Sina GRACE: you
Casey: know I, I guess this is who I am now.
For listeners, not in the know he wrote a storyline where I spent, comes to term with, with who he is as in his sexuality. And he is now his character identifies as gay.
Sina GRACE: So yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, well, what’s funny is it’s just so interesting how people decide to target there. Disdain or animosity like, you know, I always like, because yeah, you’ll get these messages, like you ruined ice man.
And I’m like, I never ruin ice, man. Brian Bendis did
Casey: this. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. It wasn’t even your initial idea you just asked. It was a logical conclusion.
[00:19:00] Sina GRACE: Yeah. Like I got like, I’m like, I just got hired to do this, like okay. Like, but that’s how it goes always. And you know, it’s. Now that it, you know, I I’m able to look at the whole experience now as like really beautiful.
I know that that sounds cheesy, but like well was from it. Yeah. And you know, it’s like also, I ha you know, I’ve got friends who are ladies and ladies get shit on way harder than gay men do in comics. It’s, it’s really annoying hearing. Just some of the sort of nastiness. That happens when, you know, it’s like, Oh, so-and-so is now hired to write iron man.
Like, and then that girl is just shit on for no reason. So, so I feel like by comparison, any time any of the nastiness that was flung towards me, I just was like, you know what, it’s worse for other people. And also I felt [00:20:00] very. Resilient. Like, I was like, you know what, mommy can handle this. Like, I can take care of this.
I know. You know, like I just felt really tough and I felt equipped. I also feel, you know, I just felt like I was like, you know what, like, whatever, like come for me. I don’t care. Like, I’m cool. I got this, you know? And, and, but it was challenging, but, you know, so for people who haven’t read the book my Iceman series follows.
Bobby Drake, who is in his late twenties, early thirties, you know, in, in Marvel, vague age. And yeah, he has just come out, but he hasn’t told his parents and, you know, he hadn’t even told kitty pride his ex-girlfriend. So it’s about him sort of settling into his skin. And the way I looked at it was I’ve had exes who did not come out until, you know, 28 30, 32.
So I was just like, okay, I know real people, I’m going to use the psychology that went behind their journeys [00:21:00] and I’m going to give that a voice. And what’s so funny is like, okay, so I got hate on one side, but then even within my own community, people were like, Ugh, this is such, such a dumb reductive story.
It’s one we’ve heard before. And I’m like, well, it still applies to some people. And also it’s the job I got. Like, what am I supposed to do? Yeah. But it, you know, but again, back to like the blessing of it all you know, the book got canceled. I was bummed out then, like within two months I got a phone call and they were like, this book is doing gangbusters at bookstores and online.
Do you want to do another one? And what was great about that is when we came back, I, I just felt this like strength and confidence to then be like, all right, like I did it your way. Let’s do the story my way. And that in that third volume in the series is just so special to me because. He doesn’t hate himself anymore.
You know, like he doesn’t, he’s not struggling. Like, yes, there are still like anything as any superhero deals with, there are always new [00:22:00] struggles. But it felt like a victory lap. And that was the volume where I created like a drag queen character mutant character that like blew up and went viral.
And so it just ended things on a positive note. And, and even with that, like, it’s like, I got like, they were like, all right, you get five issues. But then that even went beyond that and they were like, okay, yeah, you also get this like uncanny X-Men special. So it just turned into this really lovely, like, like, and note, you know, and, and it’s, you know, I think the crazy thing when I talk to other people, it’s like, It’s like other Marvel books don’t get written up in the New York times.
I’m not seeing them the bond, but like I am saying, it’s like, Oh, I did something like I did something and yeah, some people didn’t like it and you know what, there’s stuff in those and those books. I don’t, you know, like I wish I could have done better, but you know, as writers on deadline, you learn on the job a lot.
And you also learn by seeing the finished product, unfortunately like, or. You know, your [00:23:00] artist, doesn’t pick up what you’re dropping and there’s no time to get it fixed. And you got to just basically like finesse it with clunky dialogue. Like that happens tons of times. So, you know, I dunno it was really beautiful and yeah, the fact that it made some people legitimately, it moved people like cool.
And you know, and I just say it over and over again, especially right now being trapped at home. It’s a blessing, like what a blessing, what a gift. And it might not happen again. I might not ever make anything that people, you know, care about on that level. And so I’m just like, cool. Like, I, I did that.
That’s cool. And it might not ever happen again. And that’s okay. What a gift
Casey: do you ever, when you have a character like that, that, that you’re writing and especially when you were doing fan comic, I mean, let’s just be, you know, get down to brass tacks. Did you kind of think, like how you would have reacted to seeing something like that when you were a kid you know, [00:24:00] teenage scene seeing a character that he could kinda like, Oh, wow, this is a faint, I, you know, I don’t, man.
I don’t know if I did.
Sina GRACE: I don’t. I think I was so wrapped up in. Like making, making so many other things work that, and, and this is a lesson I can’t remember. I mean, I’m pretty, you know. Okay. So I don’t think that way when I write, I think a different way, which is like, And, and we call it the, like, what’s the lunchbox scene.
Like what’s the scene that we like put on the front of a lunchbox because it’s so iconic and so cool. You know, like, and, and I, and I always say that it’s like, we’re making comic books. Like these things have to be like action figures fighting and, and in the best way possible, like not. Like, Hey, yes, we are dealing with like Disney and at and [00:25:00] T you know, with these big tools.
And so, yes, they’re looking for action figures that are looking for movies. But I don’t, you know, but the better way to think about that is no. What is, what is the toy that like you want as a kid? You know, like, I think that’s why Donnie Cates, his venom works so well is because like it really, yeah.
It’s just like that, like, And I say this in a really great way. It’s just that like dope, hot topic, shit. You know, like it’s, it’s just that it’s that vibe. And I didn’t always have that for ice man. I was so wrapped up in my own craziness, like the, like the, in the third volume I just like, you know, they were like, Oh, how about like Mr.
Sinister? Like, we’ll let you use Mr. Sinister as a bad guy. Cause we were having trouble finding bad guys that were big enough for ice man to fight, but. Small enough that they could be the bad guy of an Iceman book [00:26:00] because that’s sort of, you know, like these characters are kind of being juggled and moved around all over the Marvel universe at any given moment.
So you can’t just say like, Oh, and then Iceman fights Galactus. Like, they’d be like, no Galactus is busy he’s, you know, in some nebulous somewhere or whatever. So you kind of, it’s like a bank of availability but. I w well, you know, and I was, yeah, so like, instead of kind of like making sinister, like cool.
I decided to just, I was really like more interested in like making him like a delay, a delicious psychopath kind of thing. And I I dunno. Yeah. The first volume, I feel like I did some weird shit specifically for like the toys of it, but no, I should have done more of that. I really, you know, I really should have thought like, Oh, what’s cause that’s what I do now is like, before I quit, I start on a project.
I pick up the books. I loved when I was, you know, the, the right age of like, you know, 12 to 14. And I just like, look at them and I’m like, what did I [00:27:00] love about this? Like, why do I still love it? Like, what is sick about this? And I try to go to that pure place every time. But I think I was just, there was so much on the line with Iceman that sometimes I didn’t really get to give myself a moment to, to sort of like breathe and try and see it from a different perspective.
Casey: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So you, not only do you, do you know, the big books, like, like ice man and, and you’ve, you’ve done editing for walking dead and invincible and all these other things written some infinity war stuff, but you also do your own. Create our own books. Ghosted in LA is one of them. What do you get out of your creator owned stuff that you don’t necessarily get from writing for?
Like the big two. Outside of like all the money that,
[00:28:00] Sina GRACE: I mean, you know, you get all the risk too. Cause like sometimes you don’t make a lot of money. But I think freedom, you know, like with my, with this current book, I’m doing it image called getting it together. It’s like, I’m, you know, I’m writing it with my friend, Omar spa E by the way.
Yeah. And we brought, you know, we hired my other friend, Jenny D fine to draw it, but then like, I also draw stuff like, I’m like, well, I want to draw this scene. Right. I want to draw this Bible. I want to draw this issue. Yeah. And then, you know, like we reconnected with who had, you know, written colored and lettered, the little depressed boys.
So. You know, it, it, it’s just the freedom of like, Oh, I’m gonna hire who I want. And then also tell the story I want. And then we also get to do really cool stuff. Like the book. At the epicenter of the story, there is this like a punk band in San Francisco that one of the main characters is called nip slip.
And I thought like, wouldn’t it be [00:29:00] great if like, you actually could hear the music? So I just like wrote a bunch of songs really quick. And then I sent them to my friend, Lena, and she rerecorded the vocals that like, like she, you know, like she asked for a file with, and without the vocals and then did her version of them.
And like, we threw them up on Bandcamp because like, We can, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission for that. And similarly, like I just got my friend, this drag queen Dax exclamation point who was on RuPaul’s drag race. Like I went and did a photo variant with her. Cause I was like, why not?
Like also that on my web store that’ll be sick. And that’s, you know, it’s it, it’s that punk shit that I love. Like, that’s, what’s great about images. You, you get so much control and, and also the other thing is you can really like paste the story, however you want. So like every issue of getting it together has been like 27 to like 30 pages.
Because we just have like so much, like, we’re just, it’s like, Oh, let’s get as much in every issue as possible. So that way, [00:30:00] like, We can make sure we’ve like, given the reader, their money’s worth, you know, and we have backup strips and like their playlists in the back, you know, like, it’s just like, it’s you get to make it.
I think that’s like, that’s where I get to go. What’s the comic I want, you know, like I remembered getting that Jim Mafu generation X book, and I was like, what the fuck is this? This is so cool. And even, you know, with Robert and all of his books at Skybound, whether it was like walking dead invincible or super dinosaur, like the letters, columns were so important to him to have.
And, you know, I love those too, even though I don’t always read them. I love that they’re there for, for books. I love like and as someone who has like been published in letter columns as a kid, like. It’s just a, it’s a dope ass thing. And so I’m always, I’m always just trying to make the product as close to something I would want, you know?
So I think [00:31:00] that’s, that’s where maybe I even have the freedom to breathe and think that way as opposed to where you’re doing a big tube book and literally like, they won’t publish fan art because they don’t want. To give the graphic designer more to do in a letters column type of thing, or like it’s, you know, like they’re so bottom bug about things.
So it’s like, Oh, you only get one page because we need all these pages for ads. So stuff like that, where I just get to breathe and think outside of the box and you know, not really like, not really worry about certain things. But I have fun with both. I think they’re, they’re, they’re two different muscles in my brain or in my body.
And they’re, and they’re two different kinds of joy, you know, I like, I also take it as like an exciting challenge when you’re like, okay, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. And you can’t do this, but tell a great Batman story and I’m like on it, boss.
Casey: That’s awesome. So, so. I had no idea that [00:32:00] you, that you illustrated up until I was reading your bio.
I just knew that you had written, you know, some stuff for X-Men. Were you like classically trained in, in your art or is it is it something that you came about, you know, just how did you go about, you know, starting on your art stuff?
Sina GRACE: I got really gnarly advice in high school from a business guy at top cow.
And he was like, don’t go to college for art or writing. You can learn to do that on your own. You should go and study business so you can be your own businessman and your own manager. So I went to college, trying to be in. Economics major was like getting CS and DS in all of those classes. And then and then, you know, it took a writing class and got like the easiest day of my life and was like, I should just apply to the writing program and got in.
But with the art stuff, no, it was, I always just sorta taught myself and then like [00:33:00] looked online and would watch people draw and sort of figure out. Like, Oh, what pen did they use? And, Oh, this, that and the other. And the only classical thing I did was like, I knew, I knew that there were corners that I needed to really work on.
And so I did go to the community college in my early twenties and I took a figure drawing class and I took a perspective class. And, and both of those were really instrumental in just in terms of like, again, learning to like, not be afraid. Of drawing something you don’t want to draw and like learning to draw it and learning to figure it out and learning to cheat it.
And again, back to the internet now with like YouTube, there are so many tutorials to figure out how to do anything. And it just, you know, you do have to invest a little in yourself in terms of like, okay, well you might have to buy an iPad or you know, a tablet to get this drawing app, but once you have it, you know, That’s like next level.
So that’s that’s yeah, I, I haven’t, I I’m not [00:34:00] classically trained. I I’m. So I needed, I do need to take a color theory class because I feel like it would be a good next step to like, actually know how to color rather than what I’m doing now, which is like, I find swatches. I like, and I mess around until it looks good.
Casey: Well, I mean, I’m looking at your artwork and how you you’re solid, man. You’re solid. I do have a quick question to ask. My wife and I are big fans of Jenny Lewis. I saw that you you do artwork for, for her stuff. Yeah. How did that come about? That’s that sounds like a pretty cool gig.
Sina GRACE: I am also a really big Jenny Lewis fan
Sina GRACE: came from being a fan.
I am again, another LA thing was I just. I love dry, low Kylie. That was her band before she yeah. And like this is how far back it goes. Like I interviewed her for my high school newspaper and was [00:35:00] always just sort of semi in touch. I was one of those fans that would always, you know, like wait to talk to her at the end of the show type of thing.
And then I’m just telling the long story we by circumstance happened to be on the same flight to the UK. I was going to visit my sister who was studying abroad and she was going to play a festival and I’d finished reading this gigantic Chris ware book. And I didn’t want to lug it around London.
So I gave it to her with a doodle inside and and at the. And of the trip. Like I just sent her an opening, like, sorry, I didn’t make it to, you know, from Glastonbury, like, I didn’t realize like how fucking far that was. She was like, Oh, do you want to do a comic for us? Like your drawing was so cute. So I did this, like Railo Kylie comic that they gave out at a, at a Halloween show that must’ve been like 2004, I guess.
And then we didn’t talk much, you know, she got super famous and I. Went through my twenties. And then through [00:36:00] Instagram, I did some, I, I posted a sketch of her drawing of her something and she found me, no, it was Twitter. And we reconnected and then I started doing some stuff for the very end of her Voyager tour.
And it just kept going and kept going. And I think, I think what really makes it work and why. You know, again, like the gift of, of getting to keep collaborating with someone I super love is that I super love her. So I’m able to, like, I think it’s, it’s what you’ve been asking is like, you know, how do you look at this thing as a fan and then make it a thing?
And I, I am a fan, so I can listen to the music and be like, well, this is what I would want as a fan. Like this is, you know, this is the t-shirt I would want, or this is the piece of merch I would want. And, and yeah, it’s great. And we have a few more cool things coming out, I think. And and yeah, again, it’s like, Whoa, what the hell, David?
Like what, you know, like again, cause yeah, I was a super big fan and Now [00:37:00] it’s like, you know, it’s like whenever her new albums come out, it’s like, okay, like, I’m going to go I’m going to go see Jenny in this city and take a friend, like, you know, it’d be a cool friend to take a friend to see her for free.
So what yeah, what a gift, you know, and again, it’s, it’s all just sort of like passion, dedication respecting boundaries, but also, but also putting yourself out there, you know what I mean? Like, I, I think if you’re wasting, not you specifically, but if folks are wasting their time sending Nudie pics on the DM, like they’re not using the DM, right.
The DM needs to be for like making deals, like, you know, like, I feel like so many.
Casey: Let me take a note down real quick. Hold on. I’m joking.
Sina GRACE: Like, like yeah. Nudie, pics, Slack, like strike through. Business deals check.
Casey: I thought I’d just was bad at lighting.
Sina GRACE: It should be a picture of a contract. [00:38:00]
Casey: That’s some damn good advice
Sina GRACE: just yeah. And also, especially now everyone’s trapped at home. All of your heroes are trapped at home. They got nothing else to do. You don’t know, you know, like who, and also, you don’t know who actually is in charge of their social media and who’s looking. And even if they’re not the ones looking, it could be their business manager and their business managers.
Need to look like they’re doing their jobs, so they need to bring business ideas. But, you know, you, you, you, you cast a lot of nets and sometimes nothing comes up like yeah. I’ll, I’ll give an example of like, when nothing happened is like I got into that musician, Orville Peck in the middle of the testing.
And I was like, I don’t really like something. I don’t like as much. So I just, you know, I blind wrote his management team and I was like, Hey, this is me. I’ve done this art. If you guys want to do something I’d really love to, he never wrote back that’s okay. You know, but. For any one time that that’s happened.
I’ve had two times where something did [00:39:00] happen or they did write back, but nothing, you know, panned out it’s, it’s just, you got to get a cast nets, got to get used to being rejected or ignored or forgotten about. And then, you know, find the balance of when you got to ping someone. There’s no, you know, there’s no, there’s no real rhythm that you can expect.
You’ve just kinda gotta like play it by ear every time and sorta. You know, do a vibe check and see if you’re aligning. I dunno, I’m losing my train of thought.
Casey: No, that’s okay. I feel better knowing that you didn’t get a callback from Orville Peck because both Jeff and I messaged him about possibly coming on the show.
I wrote like this long light. Message like, ah, you’re kind of like a superhero and, you know, I think people could see you know, as good what you’re doing and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And nothing. So, but it was probably also a really terribly worded message.
Sina GRACE: I think he’s like David Hasselhoff or [00:40:00] he’s like pretty big here, but like huge in Europe because like, Oh yeah, if you go on that website, there’s like nine different email addresses, like for international booking for international press for like, you know, like international inquiry for Canadian, this, for Canadian that like, it’s like, I, I think he is.
Way way bigger, internationally than, than maybe we see here. Cause like I like, you know, like I, I still, I feel, I it’s, like you said, I think a lot of American listeners are still sort of trying to figure out what the heck he is, but yeah, I dig him. I think he’s cool. He was surprised. I was supposed to see him in may.
I had a ticket to see him in Las Vegas and that ticket got rescheduled to May, 2021. So we’ll see. Yeah,
Casey: he’s actually my, I have a five-year-old and a ten-year-old and they both liked the the Hilda television show on
Sina GRACE: Netflix.
Casey: And he did like the theme song court for the new [00:41:00] season, which my wife is excited here.
So so I don’t know if Grimes still has a song on that. But anyway, yeah,
Sina GRACE: that’s tight. I’ll have to listen. It’s so sick.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. It’s as, as a parent, like anytime your kid is. Watching a show that, you know, you know, is going to probably be annoying and you hear like something, you know, relatively cool.
You’re like, Oh, okay. I can, I can hear this like five times in a row and not lose my mind about it. So it’s always nice to not be annoyed.
Sina GRACE: I get it. I get it. My nephew liked minions, so I get it.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. We actually Interviewed, the guy that wrote the minions film, he also did the secret life of pets movies.
And he was such a nice guy and yeah, and I was kinda like, Hey, what’s it [00:42:00] like Having your your characters being co-opted by boomers who are generally on a right-wing stance is like pretty weird.
Like you see like the weird. Texts or messages from your aunt on Facebook with a minion and like talking about why they should lock Hillary up. And it’s like, that was like four years ago. Why aren’t you it’s
Sina GRACE: so, yeah. And no, it’s just it’s it’s it’s funny. No, it’s yeah. I mean, but we can leave it at exactly that where it’s like, that was four years ago.
Casey: Cautiously optimistic about how things are going to shake out just another month in good Lord. Yeah.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. We’ll see. You know, I mean, I, yeah, I just, I, I all, I, I think most everyone can admit that some stability would be really [00:43:00] nice. No matter, no matter what side you’re on, like. I’m just I’m over the rollercoaster.
And, and I just want some stability, like, you know, and, and I think it it’s funny cause you know, like leading up like, Oh, it was even a rollercoaster just getting to like pick Biden, you know what I mean? And, and honestly now I’m like, I don’t, I don’t even like, I don’t even need all the revolutionary ideas.
I just want someone to kind of like. Keep the engine running, you know, like and running towards
Casey: I can regroup. Yes.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. Like I kind of don’t, I don’t need Bernie Sanders right now saying like, let’s throw, let’s burn the book and start from scratch. Like I’m like, no, let’s just like. Let’s just kind of keep this thing going for four years and then we’ll figure it out.
Like, let’s just get mellow guys. Like, can we all just take a chill pill? Like, I feel like that’s what Biden is, is just like, can we all look at him as a chill, chill, chill pill? Like even if you call them sleepy, Joe, I’m [00:44:00] like, that’s okay. That’s okay. Yeah.
Casey: I don’t want a president on, in, in the news, like all the time.
I want him to do his job and shut the hell up.
Sina GRACE: Yeah. Yeah. Like I’m, I’m good. I don’t, you know, it’s like, I don’t need Kanye. I don’t need Trump. Like I just need, yeah. I need like a little bureaucracy might be nice right now. So long as it’s like addressing all the pressing issues, which I think, you know, that’s the nice thing about Biden is he is like, You know, like a politician, like he does, he, like, he likes to do this crap.
So anyway, we’re probably like steering. Oh yeah.
Casey: So can we, can we talk about some, some of the stuff that you’re working on now?
Sina GRACE: Yeah, sure. I mean, sorry, I just dropped something. Yeah, so I’m we’re wrapping up, getting it together at image comics. It’s my lovely special angel book that I would really love everyone to read.
It’ll be collected in March. And it’s just a really cool, it’s a [00:45:00] cool book, like with a capital C, like I was talking about it earlier today and it was like, you know, it’s a book about friendship by a bunch of friends. Who are, we’re all working together and being really hands-on and, and strike an ego away from the equation to capture that vibe of being in your twenties when you’re really leaning on your friends.
And it’s like socially incestuous And you wouldn’t have it any other way, you know, that type of thing. So that, that comes, that, that is wrapping up now and collect in March ghosted and LA is going to have its third volume, you know, in final volume for now come out in the next month or two. I don’t know when I think it might’ve been.
And moved a little bit because of COVID. That read only memories book I brought up earlier it was supposed to be collected, you know, at some point this year, but COVID happened and ID IDW decided to regroup and, and plan for sort of like a larger, [00:46:00] bigger splash collection. I believe closer to the release of this.
Like it’s based off a video game or it’s in the same universe of this video game called 20, 64 read only memories. And they’re going to be releasing a SQL next year. So I think we’re timing it to that. And, and that book was really cool and it just sucked that like, You know, it, it, it was building and then, and then COVID happened and the fourth issue just didn’t come out for like three or four months, even though it was in the can.
And you know, the collection got stalled. So I I’m really trying to remind myself to be like, Oh yeah, you got to tell people about that book because it was a cool ass book. Like it was this, it’s a weird Saifai. Cyber punk, no war story about this, a lesbian PAI in Santa Cruz. And it like, you know, it’s like thinking about like tribal beach gangs and the future, like, and robots have sentience and they’re, you know, [00:47:00] they’re citizens, they have like the legal citizens.
So what does the world look like when a robot has rights? So it’s some cool ass shit that, you know, some real nice, like deep Saifai cuts. So that will come out next year. Oh no, I really was. Yeah. I mean, they’re all out now. You can buy them on your own. You know, your Kindle or Comixology or whatever.
But you know, I love, I love, I love physical books, so, and I love having like a sexy bookshelf of beautiful, fixed spines. So it’s like, you know, I’m okay to tell you to wait until the train.
Casey: And physical media is, is just, it’s good to have something to hold and actually. Holding your hand. And also I have this problem where I read in bed and if it’s a book on my phone, I’ll drop the phone on my head and that shit hurts.
So much better. Yeah.
Sina GRACE: We don’t need you hurting that face. No way.
Casey: I’m ugly enough as it is now.
Sina GRACE: I mean, I haven’t seen your face, but I’m going to say no, that’s not true. If, [00:48:00] if someone, if someone, if someone wanted to make babies with you, that that means you ain’t that ugly. So she wouldn’t want to put more ugly in the world.
That’s all I’m saying. So, so yeah, you’re not ugly. But yeah, don’t drop, don’t, don’t get any bumps on your head from, from the phones.
Sina GRACE: yeah, and then some DC stuff and, and I, and I, I’m only not saying what they are, because like, I literally am such a ditz and don’t know when they’re coming out or like what books they’re coming out in.
But they’re cool. Like, I, you know, I have a short story here and I have like a longer story there and another story over there. And everyone at DC is super cool. They’re super cool people, you know? And they they’re, they’re really, really like invigorated, you know, like there is, there’s a passion that I love and, and So I’m excited.
I’m really excited. And the DC characters are, are so much fun. I, I always would get scared of how thick [00:49:00] the cannon and the continuity is with, with everyone. But I’ve been able to find these pockets where I don’t have to be like, and then when I did this on earth to like, well, that affected my relationships, you know, it’s like, I’ve, I’ve been able to kind of be like, yes, I know all that stuff, but like, I don’t want to like, Paralyze the story with, you know, like super boys, like third clone that like is now like roommates with crypto and Sonesta, bro.
I wonder if that actually is a story, but anyway, to be paralyzing,
Casey: sometimes having to navigate all of that continuity,
Sina GRACE: that was what was brilliant for me about Iceman was like, I. I was already next man reader, but like, I’m a bad fan and I will literally skip books if I don’t like the artist. So I was going in and trying to reread these runs, you know, like front to back and what was so liberating is like, I was looking at it and I was like, damn.
[00:50:00] Ice man has been in the background. He like never says anything of consequence. He’s very rarely had a noteworthy storyline that like, you need to like, remember I picked up both of his mini-series, they were both like fucking filler and about nothing. And that’s, you know, it’s not to ding on the writers.
It’s just like, I just, you know, I feel like, yeah. And so that was great was like, and then I even use that to the characters. Like the larger identity of him that he’s like intentionally hiding in the background that he’s intentionally not wanting to be front and center. Cause he doesn’t want anyone to see him.
Cause if they look at him, if they pay attention to him, they’ll know the secret he’s been hiding, you know? Cause that’s a very real thing. You know, when you have something in you that you don’t want other people to know about, it’s like you, you inadvertently hide in plain sight.
Casey: Did you use. During the the nineties, there was a run where the white queen had somehow died and like her consciousness got transferred to [00:51:00] to Bobby Drake.
And she basically was living in his body and. She amplify this powers, but also when, when he kind of regained himself, there was such a violation that he had felt by having someone else controlling him. You, you use that a little bit of that storyline did, did you not for, for
Sina GRACE: your eyes? Yeah. I wanted to touch on that from the get go, but in the first series, the first run Emma was like, Over there doing something.
And they were like, no, you can’t use them. And then when I came back, I was like, Emma’s up to nothing. I want her, Oh, she was like on the run. And so it really worked out, you know, for her to have to go to Bobby and need him for help with her brother and for him to finally have the, like, you know, the, the guts to stand up to her and, and also be like, you know, why did you never out [00:52:00] me?
You know, why did you never say anything? And she’s just like, Cause that’s like, that’s such a, like what, like you’re a waste of time. Like why would I do that? That’s you know, and then also, you know, she has this passion because her brother is also gay and has been like brutalized by his father both physically and emotionally with Oh, what are those camps called?
Yeah. Yeah. Like fucking awful. Yeah. And so it was, yeah, I did use that. I really love, I really love them. I think that they, that Bobby and Emma have a lot to, to offer each other. And I’ve heard that they’re still using Christian grey and that’s Christian grey Christian Frost. And that’s great too, you know, and, and it’s cool.
Yeah. It’s, you know, and again, it’s cool. Like, I was really happy that I got to Talk about that stuff, you know, in the book. And I got put that stuff in a comic and and I got to have it go my way and I was really happy. [00:53:00] Like, you know, I think it, I think it could have been like a little bit of a longer story, but I had other stuff to do, you know, like I had to do with Spider-Man and his amazing friend story.
So yeah, but anyway, yeah, it was, it was fun. It was fun. And it was, yeah, it was cool. Yeah. It was cool to kinda like find all these like. Tiny moments, you know, especially like Bobby’s just different friendships and relationships with each of these characters and, and, you know, throw a nod to them and, and, and give fans like that moment, like, yeah, this
Casey: dude read those books.
Cool. So is there anything else you want to promote before we head out? Anything else we need to look out
Sina GRACE: for? I would just say buy comic books, support comic stores, if he can, like, I know money’s tight for everybody. And so, you know, I guess with that in mind, when you do treat yourself to something, when you do have a spare $10 or spare $15 you know, just think about taking that to a comic store [00:54:00] that’s, you know, that’s all who’s your local.
I am polyamorous. I do not like to I do not believe in comic store monogamy. But so I go to a couple places in Los Angeles. I go to golden Apple comics. I go to secret headquarters. I go to Heidi ho comics, which I used to work at in high school. Yeah. Yeah. It’s so, I mean, they have new owners now, but they it’s funny.
They’re like, Oh yeah, we still have, we still give you the employee discount. And I’m like but yeah, so And I’ll go to any shop that that is open and, and, you know, like, Oh yeah, collector’s paradise. I always go there, but they’re kind of out of off the beaten path for me, but I always, it, I, it sucks cause like I can’t help, but not like go into a store.
And like, I’ll always be like, you gotta, you know, you gotta at least throw 25 bucks when you’re in here, you know? And then. The fear is like you say that, and then you spend 50 and you’re like, wait, had to put that on a credit card, whatever,
Casey: figure it out later. Yeah. Yeah. [00:55:00] It’s there is a local shop.
It’s, it’s a mixed tattoo parlor and comic shops. And I’ll take my daughters occasionally. And th they haven’t been in a year cause we’re, we’re keeping, we’re wrapping them in bubble wrap. We’re keeping them away from everybody. But you know, until all this crap’s over with at least. But my five-year-old was sitting on a bench.
I was helping my ten-year-old look for a comic. And my five-year-old was sitting next to this very heavily tattooed lady with the Mohawk and the lady just starts busting out, laughing, and I run over there and I go, what happened? And the lady said that apparently my, my five-year-old passed gas.
Sina GRACE: Then
Casey: she looked at her and said better out than in. So yeah. Yeah. That was our our local comic shop adventure stories. Cena fucking thank you so much for coming [00:56:00] on. Anytime you want to come back on by all means, let us know. I love talking to you, man.
Sina GRACE: Ditto, thank you for having me. And whenever I start my podcast, I want you on I hope I never do though, because look, no, but it’s a full-time job.
Like, you know, you guys, you guys come correct. You are business folks. I appreciate you. But thank you. And yeah, next time I have sort of like a, a big long-term project. I’ll I’ll be like, all right, we gotta do this. We gotta have another hour long session and hang out and catch up on all things. So.
Casey: And have a good holiday, stay safe and wash your hands,
Sina GRACE: man, please.
Well, I will always, you don’t press me. If you, if you just look at my Instagram, every like four posts is like, God damn, and people please wear a mask.
Casey: I was in target earlier and you just lose faith in humanity so quickly.
Sina GRACE: It’s it’s funny, man. It’s yeah, it’s there. It’s that’s all. I’ll say it’s there.
People are just there’s foolishness there’s foolishness. When there doesn’t need to be a stop with the foolishness people. [00:57:00] Vaccines aren’t here yet. Exactly. It won’t even be here when this airs, so we can be good, but anyway, yeah, I’ll talk to you later and thanks for having me see it and take it easy, brother.
You too. Goodbye. Bye bye. And I’m actually I’m gonna hang up right now because I have to pee. Cause I drink all this water.
Casey: Get out it, man. Don’t don’t see
Sina GRACE: it. It’s great talking to you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye-bye.