Paige Braddock has been doing Jane’s World forever. Well, since 1998–which is about the same the thing for a strip that began life on the Internet. Jane made the jump to pamphlet-style books a few years ago. She’s now also made the jump to manga-sized collections that are beginning to pop up in all kinds of bookstores that had never previously carried a Jane book.
Part one of this interview was all the serious stuff about writing and drawing Jane; Part two is a pretty free-ranging, chatty interview–Braddock riffing on her influences. We could have pared it down to the bare comic-related essentials, but it seemed a shame to cut out the feel of a chat with the lively Braddock. We talked about Jane’s prospects for the big and small screens, Braddock’s favorite TV shows, and the comics she reads and the artists that inspire her; we even got the low-down on her new comic collaboration.
I would really like to, and I’ve had some interest from people. When I was in Greece at a comic convention recently I had a writer who was interested. I have to admit, I feel like kind of a newbie in that arena, and I don’t really know what to do next. I’m kind of just sorting through it all now. I would love to do an animated thing.
Like the 15-minute Adult Swim toons?
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, too. But I don’t know, I don’t know what the best thing to do is, I don’t know if live action is better, or if it’s better to try and do one of the cable networks, or just TV, just do a whole big old movie? I guess I’m leaning more towards series. I think I watched way too many sitcoms as a kid. You know, I still enjoy ’em.
What do you watch now?
Well, my favorite show right now is Battlestar Galactica. I’m one of millions, huh? (laughs). Love that show. I’ll tell you a really funny story: I was at a little comic convention in Austin, and one of my readers came up to me and he said, “you know, I just to tell you, Buffy’s over, you know, you need to move on.” I was a huge Buffy fan, and I love Joss Whedon, loved Serenity, Firefly, love all his stuff. Just love his sense of humor. So I said to this guy, “Dude, have a heart! What else is there? Tell me something that’s good to watch, and I’ll watch it.” He says: “Battlestar Galactica.” Okay! So I get home, rent the first season, and now I’m totally hooked!
Did you watch it all in one weekend?
Oh my god, yes! And I was so stressed out, because it’s so intense! And the pilot, the miniseries is just great. So I’ve got friends of mine who don’t even like scifi totally hooked on it now. I download episodes to my laptop, and I have to make a visit to my grandmother, and I think that’s what I’m going to take with me.
You mentioned Ariel Schrag; she also wrote a couple episodes of The L Word, which is a cable show…do you know it?
Yes, but I’m way behind.
Her show was good, I thought, but not as good as the one that Angela Robinson wrote and directed. You’ll know it when you get there, because she does this…she has a tendency to do these really fast-paced shows with a lot of split screens, with like people all simultaneously talking on the phone and cutting into phone calls. You’ll recognize it right away. It’s the funniest episode. The humor kind of came back into this season. Last season was really just kind of heavy, I thought.
A lot of people turned on that show last year; I heard a lot of: “I’m only watching because feel like I have to, to support it.”
Exactly. Whoever the writing group was, they sort of lost their way last year.
You talked about your readers; I’m also curious who you read. I noticed in one part of the three-volume Jane’s World…Compendium?
(Laughs) Omnibus collection. But I call it the Jane Brick.
There’s a meta moment poking fun at the look of women in comics: A supposed guest cartoonist makes everyone much more, hmm, enormously endowed…
Jane says there are already enough D-Cups out there, and she mentions Terry Moore, and Gilbert Hernandez’ character Fritz Martinez…
Yeah, I like his work a lot. I like both those guys. The stuff that I read, though, that I look for in comic shops…I love Darwyn Cooke, and I like Bruce Timm—I’ve actually been buying back issues of stuff they’ve done. I love when they do Harley Quinn breakouts and make it really comical. I just bought a used copy of one of those really old collections of a bunch of that stuff.
It is, very cartoony. Darwyn Cooke’s stuff, when he did The New Frontier stuff, I love that. And, what else? Oh, I read Y: The Last Man religiously. Oh, and yeah, I read Terry’s book [Strangers in Paradise], which he’s about to finish, you know. He’s at the end.
I’ll be sad to see it go.
I know, but I have a feeling he’s going to do something after that’ll be good, so I’m excited.
You have to respect someone who knows when…
What about these authors’ work inspires you?
They remind me to change perspective in panels, and to improve my design work. Stylistically we’re really different, but. I think some of those guys are really good at, for want of a better way to say it, design.
I’m actually working on…Jane’s World is so, such a personal work, you know, one woman’s take on the world kind of thing? I really wanted to branch out and use some of what I’ve learned in Jane to do something else. The problem with starting a title and keeping it running–which I’m sure Terry Moore would tell you, too–you have to stay in whatever style you start with. If say, halfway through you say “Wow I really wish I’d done this with a brush instead of a pen, you’re kind of stuck.
So I’ve really been wanting to do something that will look totally different and can be drawn in a totally different style, and so I’m working with this writer friend of mine, he lives in San Francisco, and we’re doing a science fiction comedy that’s going to be out at the end of the year. It doesn’t look anything like Jane. I mean, it looks like I drew it, in that some of the facial expressions and the way people interact in conversation are probably going to feel similar, but it’s drawn with a brush instead of a pen, so it’s going to feel a lot more graphic, a little bit more real realistic.
Is his name…uh…a secret?
Oh yeah. (laughs) No, his name is Jason McNamara. He’s done a few books for AiT/PlanetLar. First Moon is the one he just did, which is about werewolves. There’s another book he did about a girl who, every time she wakes up, she’s in a different life, and I’m drawing a blank on the title. [I’m partial to our book, though, because I feel like he really nailed it. [Ed.’s note: it’s Continuity Paige was thinking of, also from AiT/PlanetLar. Also, Braddock adds that both these books are admirably illustrated by Tony Talbert.]
That was the other thing: I sort of felt like I needed guy’s sensibility, so he sort of brings me a little more to the masculine, and I bring him a little more to the feminine, and we meet somewhere in the middle. And I think it’s good, it’s a really good mix. The book is called The Martian Confederacy. We’re going to publish it under Girl Twirl, even though it’s not…I mean, technically, Jason is a guy. But it’s still a humor book, and it still has really strong female characters. Actually, it has a trio of characters, one of which is female, one’s male, and one’s a bear. It’s sort of like…I’ve been jokingly saying that it’s Serenity meets The Dukes of Hazard.
You mentioned Joss Whedon again…have you picked up his new Buffy book?
Would I know what was happening?
It takes place about 100 issues since Season 7 ended. Xander’s her watcher, and he’s got an eyepatch. That didn’t happen in the show, did it?
That didn’t happen in the show; trust me, I know that show. That’s my visual radio, when I’m inking I have the old episodes of Buffy on in the background, because it’s just funny to listen to. But I couldn’t write and listen to it, though.
Anyone else you’ve discovered lately?
I do sort of pride myself about find people in Artist Alley who two years later are all popular. Like for example, I never know how to pronounce his last name, but Doug…TenNapel? His most recent book’s Gear,with, you know, the cats, and the robots.
I know who you mean. We recently reviewed Gear, and I have no idea how to say his name.
Oh good, is it on the site? I’ll look for it, because I just picked it up. I bought it just because it’s description on the Diamond site was just so hilarious. And since I work for Peanuts, I’m also paying attention to licensed characters, and I’m in McDonalds a few weeks ago, getting a coffee, and I look up and there’s this character called Catch Scratch. And I’m thinking, why does this look so familiar? …do you know about this already?
He has a character that he’s licensed to McDonald’s. So imagine when you’re look at this Gear magazine, a more cleaned up version of the cats that are in that story are now in Nickelodeon Magazine, and on Nickelodeon, although I haven’t seen the animated version of it, called Catch Scratch.
I haven’t watched Nickelodeon since Ren and Stimpy went off the air.
I haven’t either. I actually started subscribing to the Nickelodeon magazine because I was feeling a little bit out of touch. So, yeah, I’m excited for him, because I like his work, and here’s somebody who I think was sort of an indie now who now crossed over into the mainstream. But his artwork even on this McDonald’s promotional stuff looks very cool.
Fricking McDonald’s Happy Meals, for crying out loud!
Thanks so much for your time.
I probably just went on and on.
Sometimes it’s good to get past the serious stuff and get to the…
The juicy stuff!