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Interviews With Jhonen Vasquez

This is the new Interview page. I previously did an interview page as an AOL Hometown page, but it was naive and looked like crap. Therefore...Lycos it is.

Interview #1

Youth Radio: What inspired you to create comics?

Jhonen Vasquez: I donít think it was a matter of inspiration. I didnít suddenly go, ďIím going to do comics.Ē It was just from childhood. I just never stopped drawing. I love writing and I love drawing and it just came naturally. I just put the pictures to my words and words to my pictures. It was just a natural evolution. Like I said, I didnít have a dream of making comics at all. I just do them. It just so happened that I got lucky enough to get them published. So nothing really changed from when I was a little kid to now. Itís just that now I get paid for it kind of.

As far as what inspires me in general when Iím doing comics: anything. Just stepping outside of my house, just the thoughts that go on in my head, reading books and being inspired by movies and video games and all the stuff that matters to me.

YR: Will there be anymore Invader Zim episodes?

JV: There will be some probably that havenít been seen. As far as any new ones, any ones that would be produced after the show was pretty much canned, probably not. I really doubt it. The show was not a big ratings success for Nickelodeon so I really doubt theyíd put the money into making more of them because it was a very expensive show for them to produce.

YR: Will there be any Invader Zim DVD box sets?

JV: I wish. I get that question all the time and Iím not the one to ask because Iím not the guy who does the merchandising. You know thatís Nickelodeon, Viacom. Whoever it is who puts out the DVDs. Paramount maybe. So I donít know. I would love to see them on DVD. I mean the shows are so great looking that it just seems perfect for it, but again, since it wasnít that great a success for them, theyíd be putting more money into something that they seemed to not like in the first place Ďcause theyíre stupid.

YR: How did you get signed with Nickelodeon?

JV: Iím guessing that some form of unstoppable evil had something to do with it. Iím not entirely sure. I just sort of woke up one day and was working for a kidsí network. It was never a dream of mine, but it turned out that way. A lot of people sort of come to these conventions, like executives, looking for the next ďthingĒ to turn into something else and thatís pretty much how it happened here. Someone from Nickelodeon called up my publisher and said, ďHey weíre interested in meeting him and asking him if he wants to do a show.Ē Thatís how it happened and I said yeah, just because I wanted a cartoon and I rued the day.

YR: What is your advice for a beginning artist?

JV: Donít take any advice. Thatís the best advice that I could think of Ďcause honestly, when I was first doing stuff, I didnít give a shit not because I thought I was some sort of badass. I just really was oblivious. I wasnít part of the comics world, wasnít part of the animation world or anything like that. It was just something I did on my own time. So I didnít know what you were supposed to do and how something was supposed to look and how a comic was supposed to be put together. I just did it my own way and didnít have any of the worries that a lot of people have Ďcause they come to me and they say, ďOh Iím trying to get my book published and I donít know if Iím good enough.Ē I never did any of that. I never worried. I never just gave a shit. My stuff could have been shit, but I didnít know and didnít care. I just submitted it and didnít really worry too much of what other people might think. So my advice is no advice. Itís not really anything I can really relate to, taking advice from people who know how to get into the business.

YR: Will you be doing anymore TV shows, cartoons?

JV: Oh God. No time too soon. Iíd love to film, but animation no. Not kidsí animation anyhow. It takes too long and thereís too many people telling you whatís right and wrong. Itís just madness, absolute madness.

YR: What projects do you have planned for the near future?

JV: Iím working on comics, sort of unnamed stuff right now. Working on some new comics. Working on some old t-shirt designs that I sort of have fun doing for older books that I never had the time to do t-shirts for. Just sort of on my own time. Painting, writing ó that stuff that Iím going to sell just for me. Just for me, just to remember what it was like because working in animation, that was my life for five years. I didnít have a life. So now I have time to do anything I want. So Iím trying not to do anything thatís going to give me a deadline right now Ďcause Iím kind of really sick of them. So Iím just relaxing.

Okee, this next one is a fictional interview that Jhonen added to the back of the JTHM: Director's Cut book.

Interview #2

Q: Ok, first off...Johnen, tell me...

J: It's JHONEN, not Johnen. Jeez, it's right here in the book, dozens of times.

Q: Okay, and how do you pronounce that?

J: Who ARE you? And what are you doing in my bathroom?

Q: Um..Im the interview person. Lets move on. tell me how you first started doing a comic book. There are alot of people out there looking for advice on how to break into this buisiness.

J: Well, first of all, you shouldnt think of it as a buisiness if youre just getting into comics. I love drawing and writing. I also love squeezing marshmallow peeps in the store. As for getting the book started, I just dropped some stuff off at Slave Labor and they likes it. Submit your work to places. Sending your work to other artists is ok, but get it to publishers especially. And if youre female, bring made, because there are some foul-ass guys working in comics.

Q: I see. So your book is very graphic at times, and is very personal. Tell me, are you as violent at times as Johnny? How much of him is in you?

J: I could write about a transvestite circus midget, and that midget would be every bit me, because he comes from MY mind, like all of my characters. What defines me as myself is the set of thoughts i choose to ACT upon, not just what I think. Johnny is a terribly violent little thing, and I am not. I couldnt imagine the level of discontent it would require for me to give in to the urge to inflict pain, or to kill.

Q: Are you a goth?

J: Must...resist...urge.

Q: Come on, if you HAD to categorize yourself, what would..Umm...Mr. Vasquez, what are you doing? Get away from...

J: GRRR! GRRR!!!

Q: YAAAAAARGGHHH!!! SHREEEEEEEEEKKKK!!!!!!!!

(enter interviewer #2)

Q: Hello, Jhonen....whats wrong with that person on the floor?

J: Nothing. hes very sleepy.

Q: Nothing? But theres blood coming out of his face? I dont think hes asleep.

J: He bleeds in his sleep! people do it all the time! Now are you going to do the interview or not?

Q: Uh..yeah, sure. Okay, so how accurate is the idea that your book is an insight into your actual life? I mean, are you as negative a person in real life as you portray yourself to be in the book?

J: I dont get it. WHAT is wrong with you? That guy in the book is JOHNNY. NOT me. Look at me, I'm living with you in the third dimension, right? so why should differentiating myself from my characters even be an issue? I enjoy writing this because its fun. I'm not trying to invade minds and communicate anything more than a story, and maybe some amusement. i hate you. everything sucks.

Q: Okeedokee. With Johnny's brooding attitude, affinity for death, and almost entirely black attire, arent you afraid of him being lumped in with all the other tall, pale, Sandman loving people he seems to rant against?

J: (resisting urge again)WHAT COLOR IS THE SKY IN YOUR WORLD? C'mere, look at this cover painting. Does Johnny look pale-faced to YOU? If theres ONE thing that NNY and I share, its that we are most definetly not pale-faced. he's more sickly yellow, beige or something. And I dont target any particular group out of hate. I think of his victims as select people, as youll find nastiness in EVERY little subculture out there.

Q: I get it. Youd rather have people read your book as a story rather than a personal diary of the artist. So...what kind of music do you listen to?

J: Why? are you going to give me some CDs?

Q: No, I just wanted to find out what you listen to.

J: Why should you care?

Q: Why should you be so guarded? Its a simple question. Stop being such a walled up prick.

J: ALRIGHT!! I LOVE JOHN TESH!! OKAY?!! YOU HAPPY NOW!!?

Q: See that wasnt so bad. Youve just got to get past the idea that your private life is your own now. Now, lets get on to...Hey, what are you doing?

J: You...know my secret, now.

Q: What? Whats wrong with you?

J: My seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeecret.

Q: BLEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGHH!!!!!

J: SEND IN THE NEXT ONE!!

(interviewer #3 enters) Q: Ah, hello, Mr. Vasquez, nice to meet y...OH MY GOD. What happened to these people?

J: sigh. They were like that when I got here. So, you have some questions?

Q: Oh, right. First one: is there any particular reason romance always fails in your stories? Love and affection is almost nonexistent in the world of JTHM, and I'm wondering where that attitude comes from.

J: Well, i would use the fact that im writing comedy in those books, thus giving me reason to take liberties with concepts like romance, romance IS comedy as much as it is tragedy. It fails in my stories because it fails in life. Its all about enjoying it while it still exists for you, and thats beautiful, but in the book, its taken to an absurd level, as most things are. Johnny tries to kill it while its just beginning to save himself from the memory of when it went bad.

Q: Youre talking too much. Do something funny.

J: Excuse me?

Q: Like in your books. you talk too much, and nothings really happening. Johnny should kill more.

J: That wouldnt be MY book then. Im doing what I love to do, and for myself first. Its lovely that other people enjoy this as much as they do, but if i started doing it for anyone else, Im sure it would show, and it would be a good thing to allow.

Q: HEY! you know that comic you did with you having super powers like that death beam? That was a lie, right?

J: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAP!!!

Q: MY ASS!! MY ASS!!! YAAAAARGGHH!!!!

J Thank you, and good night.

ahh, yes, wasnt that pleasent?

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