Interview: Joseph Remnant Pt. 4 [of 4]

Categories:  Interviews


We wrap up our interview by discussing the importance of starting small, the pitfalls of the music industry, and promoting Cleveland after the death of Harvey Pekar.

[Part One][Part Two][Part Three]

A lot artists seem to be skipping the short form work these days, graduating from art school and then getting started on their graphic novel.

Yeah, that just seems completely crazy to me, though. I think I tried to do that for like five minutes and then realized that creating a graphic novel is one of the hardest things you can do. And if it’s the first thing you do… Maybe some people can do it. I don’t know. It seems insane to me. I’m still getting the grasp on writing something. It helps to write short stories before you try to contain everything in a really long narrative.

What was the initial concept for that abandoned book?

The story that’s in Blindspot. The Ace Goddard story.

The rock star.

Yeah. I was trying to do that as a whole graphic novel and almost instantly realized that I had almost no idea what I was doing, and needed to practice by doing short stories. So I started doing it in segments of stories. I’m still going to be doing that in Blindspot #2. I was originally going to start working on it after Cleveland, but I started working on something else. So that’s something that will be done in little segments in Blindspot from now on, that I may or may not put in a book. For me, it’s more of just a fun thing to do. There’s just endless material of the music industry that you can make fun of [laughs].

Sure, and you’ve got endless source material at home from that.

Yeah, my wife works in the music industry, and I live in Los Angeles. Last night we got tickets to Frampton Comes Alive.

He’s doing that live?

Yeah, and I only know, like three songs, but if you get free tickets to the Greek Theater, you go. The whole scene is pretty funny [laughs].

It’s fitting—you’re writing a story not so much about a rockstar as a has-been rockstar.

Yes. Which is infinitely more interesting than a rockstar in their prime.

For me, I originally wanted to be a musician, but I loved writing songs, but everything you have to do to make it as a musician is just horrible—dealing with club owners, trying to book shows, touring. To me, unless you’re huge, it’s just a horrible life.

Your brother’s in a band, right?

Yeah, my brother’s in a band called Southeast Engine, which is kind of an alt-country band.

Has that been a source of material, as well?

Not so much, because they actually have integrity. It’s a source of material in that I know what they have to do and how difficult it can be. I’d much rather sit at a drawing table than trying to be in a band these days.

You’re still doing autobio work for Blindspot.

Yeah, there will probably be one autobio story, but I want to move away from that. I want to still use autobiographical stuff in fictional stories. I don’t want to be locked down. Even the autobio stuff that I’ve done, it wasn’t really autobio, I was just using myself as a character.

Locked down to the truth?

Yeah, I guess so. I love Joe Matt and everything, but I don’t want to be locked down to the truth. That seems so limiting.

I don’t know you that well, but from what I do know, I don’t think you’re really a Joe Matt character.

Yeah. I would never want to reveal that much about myself. If I did, I’d hide it behind some other character.

You did a Pekar panel at Comic Con.

Yeah. That went really well, because Joyce [Brabner] was there, and their daughter Danielle was there, and Joyce gave a really good speech, and Joyce told some really great stories about Harvey. There’s a story about Harvey reading Harry Potter, which was really funny.

That was the first time we showed the cover of the book, and we showed a four page preview. All that stuff is up on the Pekar project site, as well. So, there’s that and APE, and I’m going to go to all of the shows next year, after the book comes out.

Is it strange doing that promotion with him gone?

Yeah, it’s a little weird. When the Pekar Project thing was out, it was cool to have Harvey at that King Con event. It still doesn’t feel like my book. I’m just the illustrator of it. So it’s weird to be the face of the book for another guy who isn’t here. It’s a sad situation.

–Brian Heater

One Comment to “Interview: Joseph Remnant Pt. 4 [of 4]”

  1. Rick Parker | August 26th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I’d say, if the finished book is good– and I have no doubt that it will be, Pekar IS there in spirit. And that’s quite an accomplishment, I think.

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