In Auburn, Washington, a ten year old boy with spina bifida is getting a chance to be a super hero in his own comic book. Joseph Hernandez, father of Joey, has written his son into Joey the Lil Genius where his wheel chair transforms into an armor suit! Characters based on family and friends assist in his adventures. The comic will be distributed in schools, hospitals and therapy centers.
I contacted Jason Dube, artist on Joe the Lil Genius and owner of Scattered Comics Studios, and he was kind enough to agree to an interview.
JI: How did you become aware of Joey the Lil Genius and what led to your decision to contribute your time?
JD: I run a comic book studio, called Scattered Studios, where we create comic book projects for clients. Joseph Hernandez approached our studio for a quote to produce his comic book “Joey the lil Genius”. After learning more about his idea to create a comic book to benefit disabled children and his son’s spina bifada condition, the decision was made to do his initial first issue free of charge. The colorist, Stacy Raven, also agreed to do this before presenting Joseph with our intentions.
JI: Have you done any similar charity work in the past?
JD: There have been a few smaller charities such as the Toys for Tots coloring book which were given out at my annual art charity drive I do for Toys for Tots.
Also did a small piece for the “Aid for Aiden” charity which was a lot of fun.
JI: I had read on your website that you describe your work as Manga with a European influence. How does this surface in your art and make it different from traditional Manga?
JD: Well, I think my style has some anime/manga elements in it. I watch and am a fan of so much anime shows it’s hard not to be influenced by it. I love to emphasize the large eyes, exaggerated poses and actions, and I can’t forget the speed lines. But I am a diehard Chris Bachalo fan and am very influenced by his amazing sequential work. And on the other end of that, I love the simplistic style of Andi Watson and take some of his insights into my style. So, though I am self taught, I subconsciously learn from them.
JI: The sample images show a Manga-influenced design that feels appropriate for the content and subject. Can you elaborate on what elements make the style a good fit for this comic?
JD: Well, the main characters are the kid characters, so I decided on drawing the kids more exaggerated so that they stand out. They are the ones with the biggest eyes, and super deformed bodies. The heads are huge, along with their hands and feet. Of course I try to make them super cute too. It’s just a really fun cartoony style to draw.
JI: You founded and run Scattered Comics Studios as an independent artist in Sacramento. How did that come about and what sets Scattered Comics apart from other independents?
JD: Scattered Studios came slowly into being about a year after I began working as a fulltime freelance comic book artist. The workload coming in was more then I could finish quickly by myself. Bringing in another colorist to help me, I soon found I was able to take on more projects at a time. I soon expanded the studio bringing in a variety of artists and colorists so that any client would be able to select the best artistic team for their project.
Scattered Comics is my publishing company where we publish about 6-7 different titles now. Under this imprint we create comics about the supernatural, dreams, teenage romance and angst, fantasy and horror. What sets these titles apart from books other publishers are doing? I can tell you what we strive to do with our books, and that is tell stories that mean something to us. Most of the titles come from real life situations, as well as personal beliefs and fears. So we hope by doing such close reflections of ourselves through comic stories and the characters, we will be able to really reach the reader and touch them with the storyline. Having someone out there be able to relate to the characters in our books is what motivates us to keep creating. Now, I can’t say other indie publishers out there don’t do the same thing since there are so many and creative companies and it’s impossible to know what all of them are producing, but I think that is what our little niche has become with our books.
Thanks, Jason, for taking the time for this interview! Stay tuned to Comic Booked for more interesting artists and comic book coverage. An interview with Joseph Hernandez is in the works.
Thanks for reading!