Jason Shawn Alexander
Kenric and Big Haas got to sit down and chat with the incredibly talented Jason Shawn Alexander! The talk about his artwork, his newest comics, a virtual con he ran and so much more! Also due to work schedules Steve The Robot filled in on the intro tonight.
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Steve the Robot does his best, but he found scotch tonight so watch out.
[00:00:00] Kenric: alright guys. We’re back in today on the show. You know, there’s a, there’s option for a TV show for an amazing comment called Philadelphia. Maybe you’re a big fan of that. I don’t know. maybe you really ramped up for spawn 300 and you saw all the hype around it that it could be this cover.
It could be that cover. What’s going to be the inside. No, I don’t know. Maybe you were okay. But if you are one of those people that love that stuff. Then you’re on the right channel today. Cause right now we have Jason Alexander. Thank you so much for coming on, man.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Thanks for having me.
Kenric: Yeah, dude. So it’s been a crazy year for you beyond the COVID.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yes.
Kenric: You are all over the place.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yes. I thought January, I thought I had basically started the year doing the most hardest. Work and month that I was going to have, and everything would be coasting right [00:01:00] from that point forward.
That means you’re super busy because for some reason you didn’t want to make any money and you became a comic book artist. So that’s a good day.
Jason Shawn Alexander: So
Kenric: Jason you’re from Portland, Tennessee, and I always got to ask because that’s the unknown Portland. Yeah. You know, everybody goes, Oh, you’re from Portland, which one? And they say, which one? Meaning Maine or Oregon. So how often do you get that? A question?
Jason Shawn Alexander: hardly ever. Cause I, I hardly ever tell the truth.
I just tell people I’m, I’m from a little town North of Nashville.
Kenric: And then I guess, yeah, that’s like me. I’m from a little town. That’s West of Seattle called Bremerton, but we don’t ever say permanent cause no one knows what you’re like, what are you talking about? I just say I’m from Seattle.
Jason Shawn Alexander: There you go.
Kenric: So how is everything going? What do you got in the pipeline today? [00:02:00] Let’s get anything new out there for you.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Oh, well, now I should have checked if I could actually have, told you that
Kenric: you got secret stuff in the sauce.
Jason Shawn Alexander: We do. We absolutely do. We have a, we have a surprise coming out at the, fo in issue seven of Philadelphia. Cool. and, Rodney and I have. have we have green-lit two other projects, comic projects to work on together.
Jason Shawn Alexander: and so that kind of stuff, I just can’t go into what those are.
Kenric: I think that’s enough though. just to wet the whistle a little bit for people. I hope so. Yeah. So Kyla Delphia TV show, man. How excited are you for this?
Jason Shawn Alexander: It sounds amazing.
Kenric: I mean,
Jason Shawn Alexander: I’m more just, I’m kind of, it’s funny, like, as you get older, you have maybe a different perspective and now just fascinated about what the [00:03:00] process is going to look like.
I would like to get into production and kind of start checking on that side. yeah. for filming TV and all that kind of stuff. So it’s exciting for me, but, all I can really kind of focus on is really the comic. So
Kenric: that’s what you can control right now. Yeah. Yeah. How much input do you have a lot of input into the writing as well, or just the storyboarding and then you’re storyboarding mixed with the writing can kind of converge.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I really I’m, I am a genuine fan of Rodney’s, scripts. And so I, I love the guy’s words, so I, so like I’m starting on issue eight right now, a little bit late, but I’ll get there. but, it’s right now that I’m getting to dive into the script and really just enjoy it. if there’s.
Anything, I kind of add to it is if there’s something visual, I can add the characters to kind of give them to kind of flesh them out a little [00:04:00] bit more around the edges. and it’s just pacing and storytelling things that we kind of combined forces on. But for the most part, you know, I dig his words and then I just try to make those,
Kenric: you dig his words.
I love that dude. You worked on spawn for how many issues, like 30 some issues.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I stopped at 26,
Kenric: 26. I was close. I was close. But you did the, the now famous 300 issue? Correct. And what was that like? Because there was a lot of, shrouded mystery around it online.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Was
Kenric: there was, cause I remember reading many an article because I’m 45.
So I remember when spawn came out, I remember sitting in line waiting for it. I remember McFarland Spiderman run. Amazing. I collected the amazing Spiderman when McFarland was drawing it and then the Spiderman. And then when he left to do image and came out with spawn, you know, it was a huge deal and [00:05:00] he lists lives in Vancouver.
So a lot of, There is plenty of spot. You want to get a spot. Number one, come to Seattle. Like every single comic book store here has like 20, 30 copies and it’s, but it’s like one of the greatest anticipated comics of all time. And so I remember sitting in line waiting to get that book and then just ferociously reading it as it came out every month.
And now it’s up to over 300, which is crazy to me. You know, because Spiderman at that time was in the three hundreds and it felt like Spiderman came out a hundred years ago. At that time. Now I’m looking at it. It’s like the same amount of time, you know what I mean? So I was like, Oh my God, it makes me feel old.
But the same time, is he’s become such an iconic character. I got to know what was it like working with Todd and working on that book.
Jason Shawn Alexander: that was, that was a dream come true. That was, I told him I was Todd was the first guy I ever [00:06:00] ate.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Like, I, again, I’m kinda really thankful. I got to meet him in my forties.
Kenric: I know what you mean.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I never, in my twenties,
Kenric: I probably would have liked. Blubbered and not being able to say anything and be like, just stupid. You know what I mean? Until you realize that people are just people.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah. And I told them over the couple of years that we were doing it together, but, but yeah, he was the first guy that like, I mean the dynamic, like I loved all those guys, you know, Lee and light-filled and those guys,
it just seemed like everything just. Popped right off the page and it blew me away.
and that was a fan of like Eisner and stuff like that. And so I liked just the kind of more slightly cartoony exaggerated stuff. but the, yeah, I thought when I was first asked to do spawn, I [00:07:00] thought I was, I thought I was being pranked.
Kenric: Oh, absolutely. Hey Jason, we want you to check this out.
What do you think about doing spawn, but shut up, get the fuck outta here.
Jason Shawn Alexander: And I’m like, fuck.
Kenric: Oh, that’s awesome.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I think said it as I was typing, I was like, and that’s literally all I wrote.
Kenric: How, what do you think, did he tell you what work you did that said, yeah, this is the guy I want to do this.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I did, I did another book through image called empty zone. And Todd is obviously going to be more prone to, to finding guys in image and you know, those kind of guys. So, yeah, he said he saw that and, the horror aspect of it was something that he wanted to bring.
[00:08:00] Like he wanted to really, at that point started gearing everything toward the movie and like,
Kenric: Yeah, the
Jason Shawn Alexander: horror a horror thing. Right. so he’s like, so cool. You’re gonna piss off a lot of fans. I’m like awesome.
Kenric: but your artwork is so, so good, dude. You got so much detail in there and the work, your work with shadows and especially the black and white stuff that I’m seeing online. Man telling you, I knew who you were, but I didn’t know your work. Like I do. Like after it, looking through the stuff, knowing that you were coming on, you know what I mean?
Cause you know, someone’s coming on and you kind of deep dive more into what’s going on. What they’re all about what’s going on. And it was like do far and away. Some of your Batman stuff just blows me away. I was like, what.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah.
Kenric: I know Jeff has quite a few questions, so I’m gonna let him take over and just kind of lead us down a
Jason Shawn Alexander: path. All right. very cool. [00:09:00]
Jason Shawn Alexander: All right. So my question I was gonna ask, or I had asked, is that if I read it correctly, you became a father this year. how does that, how has that changed your life? I became a father for the second time this year.
Kenric: That’s awesome.
Jason Shawn Alexander: That’s cool. And, I it’s funny. You think you have a kid, so like that part, it’s going to be pretty much that, but no.
The second one adds a whole different world. Sure. So w it’s absolutely exciting. now I have a little boy and a little girl now. How has it changed your perspective professionally? Cause I thought it was interesting. I was reading Philadelphia because I killed Duffy very deep roots.
Kenric: The father son connection right
Jason Shawn Alexander: now.
Now that you’re a [00:12:00] father, you said you just had a
Jason Shawn Alexander: Does that change how you approach Philadelphia or you’ve got insights into it as an artist or part writing that was inspired by being the father now. No, it just makes me work fast,
panic writing. Everything has to be double time now because I gotta get home. I got to help to put the kids. Well, I think it’s interesting that so you left spawn to continue with Philadelphia. Philadelphia started in November. Hello? Did you still were working on fun around that same time period, weren’t you?
Yeah. As a matter of fact, January is what I planned for my busiest month. Oh, pardon me? yeah, January, I wound up doubling up. I did my last issue of spawn and the first and I finished the second issue of, you know, second or third issue of Philadelphia in the same [00:13:00] month. I always, I knew I was going to hand the Baton over to the, you know, kill Adelphia.
And so I had already told Todd, you know, a few issues out that I was going to take off. I just wanted to get it like a good 25 issues under my belt. Yeah. when you work on something like fun, obviously that’s a common book that we sit around for 30 years, you know, there’s a stability to spawn that, you know, it’s going to continue.
Excuse me, no end to spawn as a series. Is there, did you feel a certain kind of pressure
Kenric: or nervousness
Jason Shawn Alexander: of moving to focusing on Philadelphia that, you know, may or may not have the same kind of guarantee that a spawn comic book does? Oh, always anytime you’re going to jump from a, you know, a franchise to a, you know, create our own introductory thing.
Like, but it, you know, it’s a huge. Yeah, it’s a scary leap, but, you know, I, there was two years on spawn and a lot of those [00:14:00] fans came over and I started, you know, throwing out the idea of Philadelphia and like hinting at stuff. And it seemed like a lot of those guys were going to follow me onto other projects.
So that part. That part, it kind of gave me a little bit more confidence in the leap, but yeah, inevitably I, it’s just the project. Like when I read the script, when Rodney would pitch it to me, I would still stop around the, founding fathers part. Yeah, I, you know, it’s still be like what I was like, all right.
I believe it. Okay. And then I read the script and I’m like, God damn it.
and it works so well. I, you know, there was, I don’t think I had another, I didn’t have another option. I was like, I got to jump in and a full bore on this. Now,
Kenric: when [00:15:00] you’re
Jason Shawn Alexander: working with, Rodney barns too, who is the writer? how I think I’ll be asked a little bit, how is the creative process with YouTube?
Because once again, mr. Ronnie Barnes is also, a very strong writer. And as an artist, you have say in the storyline.
What was the question? Oh, in the storyline? I, no, honestly the creative process kind of goes with, he gives me, a rough plot about what the whole arc is going to be. I say, that sounds awesome. And then he tends to be the first script and I typically just call or tell him that. Awesome.
The only thing that, like, I’ve been catching certain things on lately, or just little details, you know, just like, Oh, this actually doesn’t look this way. I’m going to have to draw this scene a certain other way, you know, just like, because
Kenric: this one.
[00:16:00] Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah. Like, you know, I get it like you’re writing and you’re going up to calc, but then I have to wind up researching parts of Philadelphia and I’m like, Oh no.
Jason Shawn Alexander: no Philadelphia. it’s such a, I mean, I was reading it. It’s such a dark story. Once again, with vampire didn’t like the end reach and the complex relation between the father and the son. And spawn is such a dark character. Are you drawn to it? Like you are drawn to horror stories or because you, your background, artists, writers are coming to you with ideas that tend to be Harlem, which is like as the chicken or the egg muffins coming first,
I’m drawn to it. I, I I didn’t realize I was. Predominantly a horror artist. I didn’t, I just, cause I, I do a lot of fine art and so, and it’s definitely dark, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it horror. but yeah, it, since, yeah, it’s not like they’re, they’re calling me up to draw X-Men or anything like [00:17:00] that.
it tends to be mostly or dark kind of stuff and no, I love it. And I know it’s not horror, but it goes back to like will Eisner and that stuff like comics that can really evoke an emotion, like, you know, a real emotional response. And I love, she wrote comics and I love that kind of stuff. And I can get choked up and really involved with them.
But I like every panel to be tense. I want to keep the reader on the edge. Like I’ll study just storytelling because. As much as I just want to draw the cool shit. I really want to lead the reader as much as possible. Like I want to make it as cinematic as an experience, reading a comic, like a that’s the part that really just turns me on and, and horror tends to just give me more avenues.
Well, the only thing that was interesting about, reading Philadelphia, it feels like [00:18:00] the Adelphia. Definitely has some political overtones to it, especially in the first issue. When you’re talking to, with the preacher and idea of taking you the things of that nature. Do you feel Philadelphia is an allegory for politics on some level or is that kind of, It’s just my reading too much into it.
I think there’s a certain, there’s the level of politics that keeps the story grounded in reality, where we can, where it’s fantastic with where it’s fantastical with things like vampires, but also, you know, it deals with. A class, it deals with race and it’s not, these are these things just as abstract thoughts.
These things are what we’re dealing with, you know, every day. so I think it’s something that’s, it’s timely, but I think it also, helps keep the story grounded and people kind of believing it more. Well, it’s kind of a couple of years back, maybe going back 10, maybe 12 years. I did an interview [00:19:00] with a, professor of comic books.
I can remember the university was in Florida and the guy was a professor and his degree was in comic book. And what he said was we had discussion about zombies and vampires. What he said was vampires are popular when the economy is strong, zombies are popular when the economy is bad. And I kind of follow his, interested in how vampires do function and fun.
You know, I guess the idea of there’s a fucking blood draining others. And I was wondering if, how you viewed the importance of like empires in our culture and while your story does resonate right now. Cause it does, it has proven popular. I don’t have to being a TV show is going to become even more popular.
I liked that allegory. I think we’re actually the, What are the fish swimming upstream though? I think I’m in a very bad economy. I think Philadelphia is with vampires. I think Rodney has found a way to make that play what I’ve never seen with them, pirates in which, and what they always kind of pull with zombies [00:20:00] is more of a class differentiation.
And he’s actually pulled that off with vampires. So this is a. This is the disenfranchised. This is the people that have been forgotten. These are the people that have been stepped on. And now all of a sudden there’ve been given ultimate power, you know, and it’s, you know, do they follow this other person or do they go crazy with it?
And it’s yeah, I just, I get overwhelmed, like with, I really think it’s a remarkable series and I, and when you get to like, Break it down to politics and class warfare. I think that’s pretty cool. Yeah. And I like that. I think that’s one of the things I found that was very thrilling about is that it’s like, you literally have, like the president of vampire and I thought it was fascinating for a line to go through.
It was not only that, but then, I mean, you know, I’ve dry. [00:21:00] It has to be grounded, have to try to make up some believable, fake history. And then I go and look at John Adams. I’m like, all right, show me my sexy vampire villain.
And you see John Adams who just looks like a white haired version of the penguin. And I was just like, Oh no, So it took some time to figure out how to pull them up. I think it was common. I think one thing that you also did was very cool is that at the back of the issue, when the issues of you had your pages of your process of art from the early phase, and then kind of like your development of it, I thought that was such an incredibly cool thing to do for your fans.
And Kyle was wondering what your thought process in doing that? Like, was it trying to be like demonstrating. How your art works. Was it supposed to be like entire artists or did you just think it’d be just damn cool for us to go? Oh, damn. that’s how it looks, you know, that’s how it works. I think much like with movies, I think it’s, I think [00:22:00] a lot of, people that are just kind of coming into comics, they don’t have a, an understanding of how these things actually get made.
So I, you know, I kind of wanted to show that to new people. I’ve always been inspired by when they, like, they used to do that with the old, they used to put the scripts back in the sand man trade paperback, and I would love to see the script versus the pages. And I would love to see process and as an artist that always inspired me.
So, I think we all, I think on every level we kind of all like making of stuff and, and especially since. it was through Philadelphia that I transitioned to digital art. And so it was interesting to show, like figures in a new way and layers. And, I think I’m also a little fascinated with the, with the process right now.
It’s still relatively new to me. Well, like that this would be cool. I think I’m an inspiration who, what artists did inspire you. And in your style. [00:23:00] Oh shit.
That’s a long list
Kenric: to see a little Bernie writes it in there.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Oh, absolutely. like it’s pick the category, you know, there’s a couple of, you know, ink guys and fine art, like Ricola Bruin and those guys that I try to pull into it. there’s Ralph Steadman easily. anytime there’s the manic inking happening?
yeah, the shadow guys, you know, Kelly Jones, Tony writes them.
Kenric: Kelly Jones was awesome. We just had him on Oh yeah. Yeah. He was great. He stayed on for three hours.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I would, I have to admit, I think I would actually still, I would fanboy over Kelly.
Kenric: Oh, he’s awesome. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.
He really is. He’s coming back on. We’re going to, we’re going to do a conversation about the universal monsters and why their movies were so important to pop culture. Oh,
Jason Shawn Alexander: that’s [00:24:00] fantastic.
Kenric: Yeah. And then we’re going to do another show with him while he’s agreed to this. So hopefully it happens. Fingers crossed hope.
I’m not shooting myself in the foot where we’re going to take an issue of dead man from his run on, in DC. And we’re going to do a DVD style commentary track with it, where we’re going to read the comic book, paid for page and go over with Kelly, what he was thinking and why he did the things he did page for page.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So keep a look out for that one. We can do that with Philadelphia. We’d love to do that with Philadelphia. Not even kidding you and Rodney on and do a DVD commentary track with Philadelphia. We’d be all in.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Oh, there we go. To those pages where it’s like an army of empire.
Kenric: Good. Jeff. Hey, did you take any, influence from. Ben temple Smith?
Jason Shawn Alexander: No, VIN. And I think we kind of came up around the [00:25:00] same time.
Kenric: Yeah. What is that? 30 days of night was so popular when he was drawing it, you know what I mean?
Jason Shawn Alexander: You know, he and I share very, a lot of the same influences.
Kenric: Yeah, he’s awesome.
Jason Shawn Alexander: And, we’re, I think at the time he was working, he. He kind of started, it felt like he was doing some spawn stuff with Ashley Wood. Yeah. And I think he was pulling from there. And I was at the time working in the studio with Kent Williams and I was doing a lot of the more painting kind of stuff.
Kenric: I’m actually purchasing Philadelphia.
Number one on eBay right now. Because I missed it. I’m legit. I’m legit and confirm and pay for a Philadelphian. Number one, first print cover a key Netflix series coming soon. Isn’t that funny?
Jason Shawn Alexander: That’s really cool. Jason, well, what I can do actually is send you the link from Kevin Kelly, doing the interviews to your assistant, and I’ll tell you if you want to watch them, you’re listening to them.
[00:26:00] You’re more than welcome to. I would love it. Thank you. Yeah, no worries. So to go back to your Philadelphia for a second, I saw some, at least what I thought was extremely cool. I don’t know, as someone who is as successful as you, if it’s registered or not, but I saw that Chris rock and Jordan PO comment on Philadelphia about how great it was.
Did you see those responses? How did that feel like your Chromebook book is awesome.
Well, it is awesome. So they were right.
no, I was thrilled that I, it was both. I think it was kind of weird seeing the names because it was things. Names, not typically in comic books being printed on my comic book, Chris rock.
Kenric: Huh? That’s the one that I would, I think I would have freaked out that Chris rock knows my work and likes it.
[00:27:00] I think I would have been like, Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.
Cause I always think of that. You ever see that movie? I’m going to get you sucker. Way back in the early nineties and Chris rock was on it. And he does a whole thing where he’s got, he goes into the, the rib place and he’s like, well, how much can I get for just one rib, just one room. And I lose it.
And every time I see it, that’s all I think of is that scene. And he pulls out that wad of like $2,000 and hundreds. Can you got changed for a hundred and the only ones, one rib, Oh my God. I think that would have blown me away though, having him say how much he enjoyed my work. I think I die.
Jason Shawn Alexander: It was nuts. it was
Kenric: surreal. Huh?
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah. Sorry. None of that stuff makes sense to me. The, how L I like Philadelphia started, you know, kind of start it off. with a bang. And so it was neat. [00:28:00] I mean, you still be so fanboy out about this stuff. I mean, you’ve been so successful and you’ve been, award-winning, you know, you’ve had your artwork in galleries, sort of Sonian you still keep out about these things so much that you still feel like you did when you first started in the industry, when someone praises you’re like, Oh my God, I can’t believe I got that.
Or that’s overtime. Do you feel like you kind of got to kinda like, not numb, but you kind of just. You accepted that, you know, you are that guy now? No.
Kenric: that’s fun.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I may not get, as exasperated or something is that used to, but, but when I see someone commenting or responding or tweeting or something like that’s. You know that I absolutely look up to or respect. Absolutely. It gives me like, you know, the, yeah, I’m never going to pronounce it.
Right. the guy who drew death, Chris Pachala Oh, [00:29:00] yes, yeah. I can pronounce it right. I can pronounce nothing. Right. I’ll take you. I’ll just preface it that way. Everyone, once in a while, he’ll retweet or comment on a thing that I’ve posted and. And his shade, the changing man was so important, to me that I just I’ll still be like bad ass.
Kenric: That’s cool.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Now here’s the question. Did you get more excited thing? You’re calm books on the comic book rack, or seeing your art in the gallery. It’s like,
Kenric: Oh, that’s kind of
Jason Shawn Alexander: a, both. there’s an absolute love each time I see it, one displayed, but two, I, you know, I love the freedom and the versatility of fine art and getting to really express yourself in a way that’s not literal, that you can just kind of go nuts in their days.
What came first and to see that display
Kenric: fine art or comics. Yeah. And then how do you go about, [00:30:00] marketing yourself in fine art?
Jason Shawn Alexander: it’s I mean, there’s just a lot of shmoozing, a lot of who, you know,
Kenric: I have a very good friend. Her name is Molly Dilworth and she does a lot of art shows.
she’s an amazing artist and. Google actually hired her to do the face of do the tops of times square. So she did a whole aquatic theme and she does a lot of, I don’t have, I don’t know, fine art, you know what I mean? I don’t know the lingo. I don’t understand how to ex you know, when you’re looking at something, I’m not gonna be able to tell you anything about it, except for, I think it looks cool or not.
You know what I mean? But she does a lot of lines, a lot of color. it’s. it feels very modern then than say, you know, a painting of a picture of somebody, right. Hers was always very esoteric and in a lot of ways, and she did this like aquatic style theme. And, Google actually hired her to go to the top of buildings, times square, the whole thing, [00:31:00] and basically create this aquatic theme thing.
So when the Google satellite went over, they saw Molly’s artwork on all of the buildings. for this. Yeah, for like this half mile square radius, it was crazy, huge and everything. And she started here in Seattle. I met her when she was going to the university of Washington getting an art degree and then she finished there and then she got her masters out of NYU.
But when she was here, she all, what she always did was, like you said, a lot of smoothing of who, you know, she would go and rent. Restaurants out for the night, you know, or we had a couple friends that had, small like winery, like wine tasting venues and downtown, and especially in Capitol Hill, this is in the late nineties where it was still cheap enough that you could do that right now, because like now everything is so astronomical there.
It’s ridiculous. I mean, it’s kind of sad. the arts, the gay population. And it’s just no better way to put it. [00:32:00] And the arts have been pushed out of Capitol Hill and it used to be, you’d go there and have a great time and see tons of people. And that’s where like Pearl jam and Soundgarden and all these amazing musicians came out of.
And now all, and because it was cheap to live there, but you were still like, right. Yeah. To downtown Seattle, but now like all the yuppies and the Amazons and the Microsoft have moved in and they all wanted to be where all these fit, you know, where all this stuff happened and they’ve raised their rates so much, you know, a studio apartment 1997 went for like $600, that same studio apartments going for like 4,500 now.
And it’s like the amount of time compared to inflation doesn’t match, you know what I mean? But she would go and she would rent these places out. And then she would put all of her art she’d worked for a year and a half creating all these different art pieces. And then she put them in and she’d sell out almost every single time.
It was crazy. And she was still in school doing that, you know? And that’s how she, yeah, she that’s how she [00:33:00] made it. So that she’s the only person I know that is in the fine art realm. And has done the things that I think are interesting, but I haven’t really met anybody who quite did it the way she did it, you know?
And so I’m always curious when I do get a chance to talk to somebody like you, that has gone on a different level. You know, how did you even get into that? And, you know, do you have any advice because we’ve talked to other artists that go, I would like J H Williams, the third, do you know him?
Do you know his work? He wants to get into fine art. He was on our R a show just last week. his episode has to come out yet, but him and I were having a conversation and we talked about that. He would love to get into it, how to get into it is the hurdle.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s, it really is.
It was, it was schmoozing. It was group shows and trying to get your leg up that way. And, yeah, inevitably I, you know, I wound up getting, you know, someone bought a painting from a show and that person owned a [00:34:00] gallery and their gallery picked me up and there. And I was fortunate then at that point, because.
They would then push and promote my work, raise the prices and handles that. So really at some point you’re, unless you’re just gonna like print out restaurants, it’s like that, like you want that gallery that is going to really invest that time into
Kenric: yeah. What inspires you when you go to do fine art? I mean, do you, I mean, it sounds weird to hit see when you go to do fine art because it’s fine.
Art is what you make it. Right. So. When you sit down to say, I want to create some gallery pieces. Ha w is there a certain inspiration that comes from because, or do you take things from pop culture and comic books that you do today and incorporated into them? Or do you do something wholly different?
Jason Shawn Alexander: It’s oftentimes it’s in the sketchbooks it’s playing around. it’s something that comes up. You know, [00:35:00] I would like, I need to do some paintings. I need to do some paintings of this. And so then it just kind of goes from there. But, yeah, typically like, since I’ve kind of put that part on hold for a little while.
Jason Shawn Alexander: and really focused on comments for the last couple of years,
Kenric: which is
Jason Shawn Alexander: awesome.
Kenric: Well, you know, comics is such a weird medium because you know, when you’re a fan of comic books, Especially once you’re, if you’re an adult fan of complex, that means you’ve been a fan your whole life, and you’re going to continue to be a fan.
And sometimes the movies that are coming out, you would think would really bolster comic books. And it really hasn’t, you know, not the way you think it would have, you know? And so having people of your caliber, wanting to be in comic books, loving comic books is a big deal because, to me, Comic art is fine.
Art. You know what I mean? I feel that stuff beyond just like, I know, [00:36:00] amazing fantasy 15, the original work that Ditco did, you know, those are preserved in this, not the Smithsonian, but the, what do you call it? Their PR the government is preserving them. Right. So someone says they’re there.
Yeah. Thank you. And I feel like there should be more in there for certain things and it’s, and there’s certain styles now, a certain, especially from different decades that are iconic, like Spiderman 300, that’s an iconic cover that will, you know, people know as soon as you see it and now you see somebody just mimicking the body language on a cover and you’re like, Oh, you’re you still think Spiderman 300.
Jason Shawn Alexander: No, it’s true. And I, and that’s the thing like it was, I still, people, you know, other artists will ask
Kenric: like, dude,
Jason Shawn Alexander: you showing galleries, you know, these conventions and they’re like, why the fuck did you come back to comics?
[00:37:00] Okay. I want to tell him like, Oh, you obviously never tried to. You know, work in fine art. It’s just as infuriating. Is it cutthroat on a lot of levels? it’s just that level of, that it’s just a lot. It’s a, there’s a lot.
Kenric: Okay. let me ask you this.
Jason Shawn Alexander: It has, its has its cons, but there’s just something absolutely amazing about, I think I just have a narrative nature in my art or whatever that yeah.
I always, I love telling stories. I love telling stories, visually comics, just man, it really fucking does it. Like I’m enjoying like occasionally painting for another gallery show sometime in the future. But I just, yeah, I like going page by page making comics.
Kenric: Yeah. I thought that, you know, I love talking.
Right. And I love telling stories and little snippets and then go in, you know, and go into the things I like building. You know, you want to build [00:38:00] that the stuff around it. So it’s like, there’s a complete understanding, you know, I, you know what, my, one of my favorite movies is a big fish.
With, Oh God, who’s
Jason Shawn Alexander: the Tim Burton
Kenric: one. Yeah. and the way Albert Finney is lying, but not lying throughout the whole thing and telling a story. And those were my favorite people. The people that can tell a story and go through and make you smile at the end of it. And I think comic books and comic art has that ability that not every, like I can watch a movie and be like, yeah, take it or leave it.
but when I find a comic that I really love every there’s so much that goes into it. I just, I don’t know. My heart goes out to it.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah, unlike cinema, like it forces you to pay attention. You can always look away, you know, in cinema, but you’re not going to move forward unless you’re looking at it.
Kenric: Right. Thank you. Yes. That’s the analogy I’m looking for. Exactly. [00:39:00] But I haven’t. So here’s a question for you though.
Jason Shawn Alexander: every little nuances is taken in, you know, so that’s what we hope
Kenric: you just wanting to always want her to know. When you watch TV, you watch movies. They always show the art gallery curator to be the snobbish pretentious.
Douchebag. How true is that in life?
Jason Shawn Alexander: Well, 50 50,
Kenric: really? I always figured it was like this. They can’t be this. Like, they can’t be like this. Who would want to buy a painting this person.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I’ll give it probably more of a 70, 30 on the 30 for the huge bags. I said most curators have been fairly kind and down to earth individuals.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s what I figured.
That’s like, we talked to so many people, especially in the art world and we haven’t really met ver I mean, there’s been some [00:40:00] that are some, you know what I’m saying, but more often than not. The most genuine nicest people you’ll meet. So it’s just kind of, yeah, it’s kind of funny. Sorry, Jeff, go ahead.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah.
and the painters I know, or, you know, we were all just building our own, you know, when I was with this, my previous gallery, there was a few of us, me and Kent Williams and another painter, Robin LA. And we were all pushing our own work, but it was just, yeah, we were all just hanging out and just.
Yeah. it’s fun to watch the movies. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I always, I teach English, high school. Okay. most of the writing, and I always have had a theory. And when we teach you when I spreads and when I do my writing and teach writing, is that to be a good writer, let’s say going to be a comic writer or a novelist or a poet, you need to do all of it.
Well practice all of it to be good at any of it, because it’s all kind of [00:41:00] intertwined. There’s always something in another John or medium that helps you become better in the others. Now I assume the same is true in art. So does being a gallery fine artists, how did that make you a better comic artist and how does a comic artist make you a better gallery artists?
That’s a tough one.
It’s easier to answer the former. I, when I bring in my, the fine art it’s bringing in, I would say mediums and textures that typical comic readers don’t normally see. and so one, you kind of get to elevate the look of something like, Oh, this is something different. Like the page itself is art as opposed to just scene by scene.
but that instead, I don’t know, there’s a lot of the same compositions. There’s a lot of the choices that I would make in fine art works that I’ll choose for pages and things like that. It just kind of has a [00:42:00] different aesthetic to it. Yeah, comic wise, to find out it’s funny. I’ve always worked both tandemly I like, I would draw comics, I would draw mini series of something and then be like, alright, I’ve got to paint.
I just inside, I need to paint. And then I’ll paint a show. And then when I’ve done that, I’m like, I really miss drawing comics. Now just jump back to the other. And I would bring this kind of. You know it when I just, when I’m looking and working in comics for too long, without painting or without being exposed to that world, I tend to start kind of, I don’t know, getting tighter, getting a little bit more stricter with my almost becoming more comic booky in a way.
and it’s fine. There’s just guys that do that stuff so much better than, and me and I start getting there. I’m like, but I don’t even like this. What is this? And I realized I need to go back and I need to hit my sketchbook some more, or I need to paint some more because, [00:43:00] you know, I want to bring, it’s hard to kind of, because I still work from models for every panel.
I still try to make everything. As artful as I can or is, you know, I try to put everything I have into every, so is the art world, the fine art world. Is it more critical than the comic book world? You think part of looking at art and whatnot, it’s a different kind of critic.
I have never seen anybody like, you know, cutting out. Action figures of the Kooning or anything on Twitter, like comic books, comic book, people seem to be a little more critical. I was just going to
Kenric: ask you is more critical. I bet it would be the comp,
especially when you’re messing with the character they love.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Absolutely. You know, and that’s the thing like with the, you know, there’s a couple of more franchise characters [00:44:00] that I would definitely like to dabble in before. You know, I did my farewell, but right now I’m just so into doing the creator own thing.
and you know, and people seem to dig, you know what, Rodney and I are putting down. So that works. So, how far along are you? Philadelphia, how long has it planned for and being because of the TV show now, is it now? It means, did you have any plans that you’re going to end a series at this number, but now because of the TV show, you’re gonna have to extend it because of the interaction with the TV show or the expectations?
No, it was always intended to be ongoing. we just wanted to make, we wanted to really establish this storyline because I don’t think there’s much. I really don’t think there’s much like it in comics. Nice. And so we just wanted to stay with it. So, you know, I think the first three arcs, possibly further plotted out, but yeah, the intention is just to keep going.
Kenric: like it. I [00:45:00] like it. So I got my number one coming. Can I send it over to you and get it signed?
Jason Shawn Alexander: Absolutely
Kenric: sweet. And you can put to Kendrick because I don’t get rid of my comic books. And so when I go get them signed, I always have them personalize it. Perfect, because that means more to me.
I think that I can get like, be a spectator and get all this stuff. It doesn’t work, man. I’m. So, you know, cause I just collect what I love, you know what I mean? And so if something is good and then, okay, cool. But most of the time someone goes, Oh, you want to trade that? No, for me to let go of any of my books, I got a ton of them now.
So I’m like, I really do need to go through and get rid of some of them, but it’s hard. So, yeah. But when it comes I’ll, I’ll, I don’t know how I can get it over to you. Maybe we can get your address off the air and send it over to you.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah, absolutely.
Kenric: That would be awesome.
Jason Shawn Alexander: We can do that. I’m just gonna raise my hand and say, I want one too.
Kenric: Well, you got [00:46:00] to get, you got to buy a book.
Jason Shawn Alexander: I have them. I have.
Kenric: Oh, well, there you go then. So
Jason Shawn Alexander: I send them on my entire house is literally wallpapered with autograph comic books from the creators of Philadelphia.
Kenric: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
So Jason, we’ve been on for about an hour now. I just want to say thank you so much for coming on. I hope we can get you to come on again and have more discussions about just comic books in general and what’s going on in your life. And, hopefully maybe we can get you back on when Philadelphia actually, if we can get that DVD commentary, like we mentioned earlier, that would be amazing.
only if you’re able to though, don’t feel obligated because I’m asking you why we’re recording, like seriously don’t, you know what I mean? You can tell me to fuck off anytime you want.
[00:47:00] Yeah. I will not take offense cause I get it. but we would love to have you come back on sometime you are a hoot to talk with, man. Oh,
Jason Shawn Alexander: absolutely cool. Yeah. Just edit out all the stupid stuff and then we’re good to
Kenric: go. I know we’re leaving it all in. No, I’m kidding. We’re going totally. Yeah. Edit out the bad stuff.
Jason Shawn Alexander: You know,
Kenric: I’m going to replace every time you said, fuck, I’m going to have, I’m going to edit in Rodney. Oh that Rodney off. And I told him to Rodney off.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Yeah. Oh my God.
Kenric: that’d be kind of funny actually,
Jason Shawn Alexander: right?
Kenric: Sound a little eighties. That’s tubular. This is radical. So. All right, man. Well, thanks guys. Thank you so much for coming on. Hey, before you go, do you mind giving us a bumper, say I’m I’m Jason Alexander. You know, artists on Philadelphia and you’re listening to spoiler country.
If you’re not comfortable doing that’s okay too. cool. Yeah, [00:48:00] anytime you want. We’re ready.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Okay. Hey, this is Jason, Shawn Alexander, and I am the artist on Philadelphia and you are listening to spoiler country.
Kenric: Nice. I got to ask him before you go, and I’m not gonna put this on the show. How much shit you get for your name with Seinfeld?
less now. Oh, that’s
Jason Shawn Alexander: good. It is his fault that I had to start going by all three names.
Kenric: Yeah. Well, I could imagine because Jeff goes, Hey, Jason, Alexander’s coming on. And of course the first thing you think of, I was in the pool. I was in the pool, you know what I mean? And I was like, no, wait.
He’s like, no, the artist’s on spot. And I’m like, Oh cool. You know, red. And so I had to ask, you know, I didn’t want to ask you like, in the middle of the interview and have you go, what a Dick, I can’t believe you asked me that. But I just was like, man, I got, I had to know is, did you, do you get. You know, I could imagine in the nineties that it was just ridiculous.
Jason Shawn Alexander: There were, I would get older women [00:49:00] to show up at shows that had copies of duck,
Kenric: man. No.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Because they legit thought that this small town in Tennessee, you got Jason out
and instead they would see my like green Mohawk gas sitting there.
Kenric: Oh my God. What it was, what was the look on their face when they saw that?
Jason Shawn Alexander: Disappointed.
Kenric: Oh, that’s so they start laughing or do you like, did you know, as soon as you saw, then you’re like, Oh, I know what that
Jason Shawn Alexander: I did. Like, Oh no, it’s me.
Kenric: Are you doing any cons when they come back?
Do you do cons when they come back
Jason Shawn Alexander: as a matter of fact? No. I’m not sure. You’re not sure, but. But, because the, San Diego, when I’m doing, an online thing next weekend,
Kenric: right? For ReedPOP or for, San Diego Comicon for me. Oh, well, let’s talk about it right now, real quick. Cause we can insert that in and then, we can [00:50:00] do an expert on all of our social media and our website to tell people about it.
Jason Shawn Alexander: So cool. Yeah.
Kenric: So, so I want to set it up. So Jason, you have a San Diego comic con thing coming up next week. Why don’t you tell us all about it?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I do. It’s called comic on and, I’m doing four days of online live streaming, through YouTube, the same weekend that San Diego was supposed to be. Yeah.
so next, next Thursday through Sunday. I will be doing, portfolio reviews online or live. I will be doing art demos, live and panel discussions. and so all of these, the schedule and everything is up on my website, which is studio jsa.com. you can just go into news and that it has all of the, information perfect.
But, yeah, we’re going to have, guys like Rodney and. My friend, Gerard, who has a web comic called [00:51:00] Darby that has a ton of followers. and, yeah, then I’m going to, you know, probably rip people to shreds on portfolio or views on YouTube.
Kenric: Nice. I love it. You shouldn’t
Jason Shawn Alexander: yeah, so we’ll get, like I taken commissions and all this other stuff.
I’m basically just trying to make it like a booth. Yeah, for four hours a day, I’ll be doing live stuff on different, you know? Oh, wow. And then, at the end, it’ll end Sunday night with a live Q and a fireside single-malt chat.
Kenric: Oh, I love it. That is cool. Right on. Yeah, we’ll get that out ASAP. Cause that’s cool.
Well, I’ll try to get it out by tomorrow. and get it on her social media and our social media presence. Isn’t the best, but our website is kicking it. So we get 50 to 60,000 visitors a month on our website. So we’ll, you know, we’ll definitely get it across on that. And then, and we reach about 2000 people a week on Facebook, not a lot, but it’s [00:52:00] growing, you know what I mean?
So it’s good. It’s awesome. Yeah, we’re trying, I have dreams of quitting my day job, but you know, their likelihood is probably not, but you know, I can really dream that it’ll happen. That’s what I want to do. Yeah, dude, this is, I have so much fun talking with you. You know, and people of your elk than I do doing like, cause I do, program management and it’s like the most boring job in the world.
You know, I have like 30 years employees that report to me, you know, there’s like 70 projects and it can be challenging at times, but it’s only challenging because somebody was an idiot and didn’t plan. Right. Right. You know what I mean? So it’s like really boring. This is a lot of fun. We have a ton of fun doing this and we’re at a Johnny.
My CO’s too. Couldn’t make it tonight. actually we’re creating a comic book right now and Jeff just released a comic book called Malik, the reigning devil. And yeah, [00:53:00] so we’re all trying to do some different things and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun. And so we’d rather be working on this and building our website.
Then working for somebody else, you know, I think that’s one of the things that it’s always cool when we meet people. Like, you know, especially when you got to do it for image and its creator owned. It’s amazing
Jason Shawn Alexander: people.
Kenric: Did you say you’re taking commissions?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I think there’s only one left.
Kenric: Okay. I was going to say, we should do your price list.
We can throw that in. So people want to go to JSA studios.com and, check out your commissions then when we can maybe push that out. But if you only got one left, I imagine it’s going to go fast.
Jason Shawn Alexander: we’ve been fortunate with that one that I put out the list. So it’s all, I’m like, we’re going to re relaunch or we refocused everything on Twitter and everything tomorrow.
But, but yeah, for fans that are artists, I still have Saturday and Sunday open for portfolio reviews and they’re free. I’m not [00:54:00] charging.
this stuff is free streaming live on YouTube.
Kenric: You went on the portfolio reviews. Or do you try to keep them? I don’t want to hurt their feelings too bad, or do you like, dude, you need to find a new job
because I think if you like tell them, you need to find a new job, dude. your views would probably skyrocket.
Who do we have? is it,
Jason Shawn Alexander: we’ll see what happens?
Kenric: Who was the guy? Who’s a really well known curmudgeon. It’s Harold shaken. Harvey shaken. What’s his name? Jeff. Oh, Howard shake. Shaken. Yeah. Yeah. You know what he did for a it’s funny, because I only know this story. Cause I just talked to him D to J H Williams.
He went and, he’s a huge shaken fan. Right. and he went to this, Comicon, I think it was WonderCon actually in LA and said, Hey, can you look at my stuff? Cause his buddy had told him, you need to go. He looked at your stuff that he liked to eat. He told you to come and Howard told them, [00:55:00] no, you don’t want me looking at your stuff, dude.
I’m going to be really mean you don’t want me to go? no. I really want you to look at it. And he starts looking at it and he goes, this sucks. This is okay, this sucks. This sucks. But then J H is really well known for the weirdness that he does. Right. It’s got a very different type of eye and he goes, well, why’d you do this?
And he had answers for reasons that he did the weird stuff. And shaken was like, he loved this. He loved his answers and grabbed him, took him over to the DC booth and then yelled at the DC booth at the top of his lungs in a crowded room that DC needs to hire this kid. And that he’s ready to go. Why is he not working?
And then he said, it took him another 80 phone calls to DC after that whole thing, after getting introduced by shaken for it to actually anything to actually happen. It’s not enough. It’s so weird, man. How people break? Yeah, it’s weird. I can tell you some other ones from people sometime like Jerry Ordway story is phenomenal and, yeah.
[00:56:00] So, all right. I can talk for hours. So Jason, I’m gonna let you go. I’m going to talk your ear off.
Jason Shawn Alexander: thanks for having me again.
Kenric: Oh man. Thank you so much for coming on. Seriously. I hope you want to come back Alright, thanks Jason.