CXC – Hello Magician’s House! We are so excited to have this opportunity to get to know you a little better. We’ve been big fans of your work around here for some time! Thank you so much for joining us today.
MH – I’m super stoked to get to talk to you guys and gush about what an important platform ComixCentral actually is. I don’t know of anywhere else that actually gets indie comics the way that you guys do.
You’re 100% about the freedoms of the creators, you bend over backward to support what they’re doing and you have categorically come down harshly against all manner of censorship issues which have cropped up since you’ve opened your doors.
ComixCentral has really shown me everything that I need to see in order to recommend them to people who might be unsure about where to shop their product. At a different time it may have been Kitchen Sink Press, Fantagraphics Books or something like that, but now, in this age, I have no doubt that the place to be is ComixCentral.
Since you guys came along, it’s like indie publishing excuses don’t exist anymore. You’ve thrown down the gauntlet and said, “Oh you have an idea that you want to express in comic book form but it doesn’t fit the mainstream market? It’s too rough, too short, too experimental, too controversial? Well, we’ve got you.” You’ve put the all-talk people on notice. It’s sort of like, “Ok big girl who says she’s out to make comics… now what’s your excuse?”
But those excuses, they’re plentiful, aren’t they? “Oh, I want to succeed at comics but something’s stopping me; my finances aren’t straight, I have family duties which eat into my creative time, I don’t want to work at it too much and neglect my self-care.” Dude, if you’re an artist, making art is the only self-care. It should tear you down. Art should destroy you. Every time you approach a page you should be a bomb exploding. Afterward, worry about picking up whatever’s left of you from the floor and reshaping it up to do it again.
CXC – So you don’t have much patience for those not taking their own destiny in their hands it seems.
MH – Yeah, a theme comes up immediately with me that I completely dismiss complainers and excuse-makers. If you’re not willing to literally give your soul for whatever it is that you’re after then we’ve got nothing to talk about. We’re operating on different levels. I came into comics from a delinquency background so my frame of reference for artists was skewed toward the self destructive edge of the spectrum. It was amazing to find out just how soft the people in comics actually were. Doughy tykes who wouldn’t last five minutes in a real world situation building stories off some TV that they’ve seen and still complaining about the process and their personal despondencies. Meanwhile I’m looking at them like, “Are you for real?” If your dream is to make comics and you’re finding excuses why you can’t squiggle lines down on paper, go ahead and freaking kill yourself. Life isn’t going to get any easier for you at this point. I mean, I never find reasons to quit. I never have things about which to complain. I only find more and more motivation to push harder and burn hotter. I just want to crush my enemies, humiliate my critics and die on my feet while moving forward.
CXC – Do you feel like that point of view separates you from the “Comicbook” crowd?
Now, haha yeah, I feel like that alienates me from the herd, certainly. When you add on that I’m not big into fandom, I hate manga, never seen Star Wars, have no clue about video games or Dungeons & Dragons… it all starts to add up that a big chunk of the standard experience is going to zoom past me, you know? That’s just the palette I’ve been dealt. All those aspects of comics just get lost on me but there is something else at work in them which I’m very much interested in exploiting. It’s the subliminal danger that they pose.
Comics used to be a dirty word. Comics were smut. They were at the very least a brush with some subversively-motivated minds. They were hurried, and in that quickness the damaged brains of the creative team shown through the cracks. Like a game where you blurt out the first thing on your mind and you’re horrified at what you unconsciously said. That’s comics for me. And for others, too. Game recognizes game.
Take Doktor Geraldo. You talk to that guy for five minutes and you realize that he’s a madman. You’ve met this guy, he’s a menace, isn’t he? His every idea is so loaded in ways that will completely unbalance you. He let me creep up into his world for a minute and he told me that he liked my drawings a little bit. Well I, naturally, was crazy about his throwback unidentifiable concepts and writing. He offered that we should collaborate on a completely original concept at some point and I agreed but my drawing schedule was slammed for the foreseeable future. He didn’t skip a beat. He said, “Ok then I’ll draw it and you write it”.
This is the world in which Geraldo lives, haha. I’d never written anything so he had nothing on which to base this gamble. He’s well known to illustrate in a very primitive artistic style, so this whole suicidal concept was simply going to be an exercise at baring our necks to the critics. Each of us taking the things at which we excel and instead doing the opposite. It was a jarringly original proposition. He had no idea what kind of story I’d be asking him to illustrate. He’s a guy who dives in first and looks for water on the way down. It certainly got my attention, so I messaged him back immediately.
Let Geraldo’s enthusiasm be known. No roadblock can be built which will hold this guy back. Never is he anything other than exuberant about the potential of comics. Here I was intentionally making the story as self-damning and radioactive as I could conceive. And yet he had no problems with the two of us using our weakest skills to create the unsaleable.
CXC – What do you mean by unsaleable?
MH- Unsaleable because the comics community is famously strident in that they take themselves far too seriously. They love to climb up onto their cross and yell out to the crowd about how they’ve been given such a raw deal. Victimhood is very much the fashion of the day. It might be completely lost on them that Kirby obviously occupies a great deal of my constant brain power if his 100th birthday was something rolling around in my head back in March. I knew to count on the predictable reactionary tantrum for a besmirching title like Fuck Kirby piggybacking the occasion, no matter its content.
I told Geraldo that nobody was going to publish this. Nobody was going to get near it for fear of the galled backlash from all the shriekers who themselves only know that it’s Kirby’s birthday because Marvel told them a day before in order to sell them their own comic books. So props to ComixCentral, again. We did Fuck Kirby before we did Dildo Boy Origins so I wasn’t yet convinced at just how truly committed you guys were to staying consistent on your position that everyone must retain the power to sink or swim under their own merit. Personally, if I could turn this interview around on you for a minute, I’d love to know how this concept of creative freedom became so important to you in the first place such that you’d take it to extremes like this to stay in step.
CXC – Haha! Yes. We believe strongly in freedom of expression and have put our “money where our mouths are” so to speak. If you’re going to stand on a soap box and take a stand for free speech, you better be willing to back that up with action. We are very proud of our no-censorship stance.. which is probably why we love your work so much!
Like I said, game recognizes game. I’m always here to sing you guy’s praises not because of things that you’ve said but rather the things that you’ve done. I regret that I’ve had to turn down a few of your creator spotlight segments but I got banned from Facebook and couldn’t participate. That’s one of the reasons I ended up launching my own website. It became apparent to me that if I was going to continue popping off with inflammatory views then I was going to need a place where they couldn’t throw me out. “Comix Voodoo Hayride” is now my own little corner of the universe where I get to talk to whomever I want and say whatever I think. I like highlighting the extreme personalities, whether or not I agree with them. I’m drawn to bad apples. I gravitate to the self taught and the self made. I don’t care if you’re a good witch or a bad witch just so long as you’re indomitable. It’s just the taste I developed due to my background.
CXC – Now that you bring it up, would you mind telling us a bit of your origin story? We’ve heard from Doktor Geraldo it’s very unique.
MH – I haven’t clued you into any of that yet, have I? Well, let me give you the nickel tour of the last thirty years.
My mom was a runaway rambunctious beauty queen, my father a convicted mad bomber who’s doing life without parole. Growing up I was familiar with comics but they weren’t the center of my world, magic was. When my mother remarried an African Obeah man it gave me pretty much the keys to the kingdom; anything I wanted to know, I had access.
I was painting a lot of freight trains at the time and eventually started riding them. One day I just never rode back. I was fourteen.
If you’ve never ridden a freight train before, they’re sooty and everything about them is designed, from what I can tell, to hurt you. And they’re loud. So loud that conversation is useless and you’re left to your own interpretations of what the hand-etched symbols on the interior of all the cars mean. The symbols were always there. You could see them in the dark. I could see them with my eyes closed. With my background I was quick to assume them to be an unknown magic inscription and I fancied the trains were crisscrossing America, clandestinely feeding the country like a circulatory system with these sigils. They influenced me to no end. A whole lot later I found out that they were what people call Hobo Signs.
I met other kids painting trains. I’d stay at their houses. If they were into comics I would eat up their collection but the issues were always fragmented, diverse and sporadic, like channel surfing. I found work in haunted houses, that led to some modeling, I worked a cash register at an all-night sex store. Comics were germinating in my head all this time but I had far too much ground yet to cover. Too many walls to bomb. I got locked up a lot. And I escaped a lot. I cut off every ankle monitor ever put on me, got back up on my feet and hit the road again.
I was eventually institutionalized and finally remanded to some unknown extended family deep, deep in an undeveloped swallowing forest in Georgia. It was like no place I’d hitherto been. It was a real detour for me. I found out that my grandfather had been this legendary Hitori Hanzo type character; a mountain man living in cryptic hermitage while hand-forging these widely-sought blades with components he gathered from the forest, skeletons and antlers.
Having nothing to paint on and nothing to paint with while being isolated in the forest really dialed me into the history of the soil. Haha, the frequency of all those ghosts in the ground. So I started drawing and found that comics were calling distantly to me out there from the future like a time-traveling dog whistle. Now I’ve been drawing for three years.
CXC – Wow. Just wow is all we can say! You really must write an autobiography at some point!
Now, you say you’ve been drawing comics for 3 years. Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects you’ve worked on?
MH – I’ve gotten to work on a lot of books that you can conveniently find right here on ComixCentral like Project Shadow Breed and Dildo Boy Origins. You can catch me at magicianshouse.com which I update several times a week. I would invite you to see the pernicious ten page mini-comic Fuck Kirby for yourself and stamp your size eight shoes around angrily if need be.
CXC – Wonderful. Thank you so much for this candid and fascinating look into your work and the woman behind the art! We’ve enjoyed your story immensely and look forward to all your future endeavors. We have a feeling you’re going to be making some huge splashes and waves in the coming years!
Alright, it’s been great talking to you and we’ll do it again soon.
And with that, we’d like to thank Magician’s House again for joining us. You can find out more on her website, connect through twitter or right here on ComixCentral.