Andrew Drilon (“Pericos Tao“) is one of the most respected komiks creators in the country today. His latest mini-comic, “Supermaker” has garnered praise from creators such as Chris Roberson and Jeff Lemire. He talks about the inspiration for the comic here, but I still wanted to know more. I asked the always busy Andrew if he’d be willing to answer a few questions about “Supermaker” and he graciously agreed:
So yeah, I feel that once that “rule set” is established, you can extend it forwards and backwards with your imagination, giving the impression of a life outside the actual story, which allows for things like sequels and fan fiction. However I do like the thought that they exist somewhere in the second dimension, living lives outside our purview. It’s a romantic idea that I tend to obsess over.
It was originally designed to run in monthly 8-page installments for three years. The first “season” would have been a year, clocking in at around 96 pages, with the whole thing running to almost 300 pages. I had a ton of ideas for it–the overall stylistic theme being rampant references to (and reflections on) all the superhero comics I grew up reading—all anchored in this “real” cartoonist’s story. I wanted to do a “Supreme” or “End League”-style work, which usually starts out being derivative of other stories but evolves into own thing. I love Barth and Borges and Burroughs, and I think there are lots of ways to do metafiction comics that we haven’t seen before. In the end, though, I decided to just cut out the body and leave the heart of it–that sentiment expressed in those 8 pages, which I think is the most important aspect of the story.
I know you’re working on a longer work at the moment, but most of your other published work is short (but sweet). Is this because you prefer shorter stories, or because of external constraints?
Practically speaking, doing short comics is a lot easier on my hands, my schedule and my wallet. I’m not the fastest artist out there and I’m not getting paid to make these, so the short form is really where I’m most comfortable. The best thing about it is that it allows me to explore a lot different styles and genres, giving me things to put into my bag of tricks, which I’m having to use a lot now that I’m working on a graphic novel.
The captions were rendered in the manner of Dan Turpin’s interior monologues in Final Crisis, and the superhero dialogue near the end has slight allusions to Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and Flex Mentallo, with the “unnamed direction” and all that. There’s a lot of Morrison in this one, because he’s been one of my biggest influences growing up. Clearly the superheroes are all analogues of different characters—there’s a Swamp Thing, a Sailor Moon, a Punisher, a Flash Gordon, a Werewolf-by-Night (a tip of the hat the popularity of werewolves in Zudacomics), and more. Promethea, The Authority, Miracleman—there are a lot, even in those few pages. I didn’t have enough space for it, but even the main character was going to be kind of a Joe Matt or Lewis Trondheim-like“creator-as-character”. The references were there to add another layer of enjoyment to the piece, but I tried to make it so that you don’t need to get them in order to understand the main story.
The story is somewhat open ended. I know that you mentioned that you’ve intentionally made it shorter, but is there any possibility of a sequel at some point?