What’s up everybody! Welcome to the penultimate day of a series you’ll only see here on The Beat. Tomorrow, Dark Horse is publishing the enigmatic Chuck Palahniuk’s new collection of short stories/adult coloring book, Bait: Off-color Stories for You to Color. To countdown, we’ve got a reader’s digest style (yep, carbon-dating myself) questionnaires answered by some of the artists who worked on the book. It all leads up to a very special interview with author Chuck Palahniuk on Tuesday.
Today, I’ve got the man with one more Emmy award than most creators in comics. He’s drawing the covers for the highly acclaimed Jessica Jones series and about to put out another volume of the immaculate Library Editions of Kabuki. While he’s not drawing one of the stories in Chuck Palahniuk’s Bait, he did contribute something just as special which you’ll see below. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the privilege of bringing to Beat Manor the incomparable David Mack.
Apologies in advance to David Mack.
COMICS BEAT: What was your first experience with Chuck Palahniuk’s work?
DAVID MACK: I saw Fight Club the film, the night it came out in 1999. I saw it at the theater again the next day.I was incredibly inspired with it and felt a connection with it. I searched out the origins and author and bought all the books Chuck had written. I read them all on a train in Paris. There is a photo somewhere of me reading Chuck’s early books on a Paris train.
Then to work with Chuck on Fight Club 2, and now this, is a great honor.
CB: All of the artists I questioned stated the Fight Club movie. Another David, Fincher must have had his ears burning all week.
What does it mean for you both personally and professionally to be comics first Emmy winner?
Well in this case, the important thing is that the show Jessica Jones won an Emmy. It is amazing that it is based on the comic book that we did 15 years ago. Bendis, Gaydos and I. And that now it is a popular TV show and that I was able to work on the opening titles. And then for that work to be nominated for the Emmy is amazing. The music score of the opening titles won the Emmy. Am I the first comics professional to be nominated for an Emmy? I think Bill Sienkiewicz may have been also.
I returned from the Emmy experience not long ago. It was incredible to connect with so many creative forces there.
It’s been an epic year. It comes on top of my work for the State Department in the former Soviet areas this summer, as an Ambassador of Arts and Story with the US Embassy and teaching storytelling to children in the settlement camps on the Georgia borders.
CB: Sienkiewicz has a daytime Emmy nomination, but I’m drawing a blank if he won.I will cover my bases and say you’re the first person in comics to win a PRIMETIME Emmy for working on a show based on a comics character. Speaking of Jessica Jones…these days you’re known for such surreal watercolor work like the new Jessica Jones covers. Was it a step out of your comfort zone as an artist to turn in a line drawing of Chuck that in a way is supposed to be unfinished so we can color it?
I love working in ink, and I love working in line… that said, yes, it was very different designing the image to be only finished when it is colored by someone else.
First I drew the image in ink, and I felt like it had a very good likeness to Chuck.
But then I deconstructed the image by adding many more lines in it, to give the readers and colorers more coloring oppertunities.
Our insightful Fight Club 2 and Bait editor Scott Allie made sure to remind us to think of “coloring opertunities” for the readers. And that was what made this so different. Designing it to be as interactive as possible.
Scott was a great editor to work with on Fight Club 2 with Chuck and on this, as he is able to give the right notes in an economy of notes.
I felt like those extra lines segmenting the drawing of Chuck’s face were deconstructing the likeness in just ink, but they were adding coloring oppertunites for the readers, and it was being designed to work when colored rather than as an ink drawing likeness.
There was a certain amount of going out of the box and out of the comfort zone for that. In that it is only completed when others color it, and it will no doubt be colored in many different unpredictable ways.
CB: If Chuck asked you to draw a nude portrait of him would you?
I tend to draw nudes from life on a regular basis.
Chuck has some of my art of nude drawings of my cats hanging in his bathroom.
CB: What advice would you give to the average reader of Bait coloring David Mack’s author photo of Chuck?
Buy two copies. Make one as realistic as you can. Make the other as ridiculous as you can.
Don’t be shy. Make some bold choices.
CB: Alright you’re Tyler and this is your fight club. Pick two celebrities or fictional characters to throw hands and who wins?
DAVID MACK: What about Chuck and F. Scott Fitzgerald?
CB: Finally, before we get to what Chuck has to say about this new collection tomorrow; do you have a favorite memory of coloring?
I have a memory that stands out. The one that comes to mind is I was five years old in first grade. The math teacher Mrs. Deaner said that after we do the math problems we could color a coloring page of a cat that she passed out.
After I finished the math page, I turned the coloring cat over and began drawing on the blank side of it. She asked why I was doing that. I said I wanted to draw instead of coloring the cat. She then insisted that I color the cat.
Then she came back while I was coloring the cat, and told me that I made a mess of it and ruined it.
I couldn’t wrap my head around that very well as a young kid, why she would say that.
I asked my mother why she would have said that, and my mother said that maybe it was because most people tend to color their lines in the same direction, and many of my coloring lines went in a variety of directions and perhaps the math teacher was not used to that.
So please, feel welcome to color in all the directions you like.
CB: Thank you DAVID MACK! I hope this wasn’t too painful for you. Everyone be sure to check out the fourth Library Edition of Kabuki when it comes out in November and check out David Mack’s contribution to Bait: Off-Color Stories for you to Color, this surreal author’s photo of Chuck Palahniuk then pick up the book tomorrow.