JUST THE FACTS
Born: Hamilton, Ont., 1976
Currently living in: Carlisle, Ont.
Job held before becoming a professional illustrator: Lift operator at a ski hill and newspaper delivery boy
Favourtie comic book creator: Sergio Aragones and Dave Sim (OK, that’s two)
Grew up reading: Whatever comics I could get my hands on
Mainstream comic book character he’d most like to be: Spider-Man!
JUST THE ANSWERS
FEATHERTALE: Can you describe your career as a comic book writer for us in five words?
BLAIR KITCHEN: Perseverance, infancy, outlet, rewarding, floccinaucinihilipilification.
FT: Excellent. Now, what made you decide to break out on your own with The Possum?
BK: After being in animation for a while, I really needed an outlet to do something that I had complete creative control over, and something that I owned. I’m grateful for the “work for hire” stuff that I’ve been doing the last 10 years or so, but at the end of the day, you are left with nothing but a portfolio, or an animation demo reel. It dawned on me one day that when I’m 50 or 60, I will most likely still need to make money, and cranking out artwork for other people just to put food on the table is not what I want to be doing in my old age. If I’m to spend my latter years working, I would want to be doing something that I love, and if that’s going to happen, I need to start laying the ground work now.
FT: How has the self-publishing thing been going?
BK: I keep telling myself that nothing worth doing comes easy, and self-publishing is no exception.
FT: Where did the idea for the comic come from?
BK: When I was in the tenth grade, a friend and I were doodling when we probably should have been paying attention to the teacher. We were attempting to come up with the lamest super hero that we could. This super hero had no super strength, or special abilities, other than the fact that he had no vital signs. He would get beaten up and play dead, and then when the bad guys checked him for any signs of life, they would right him off as dead. When their backs were turned, he would make his attack and the beatings would happen all over again. I drew a picture of this hero in a sketchbook and put it away. Ten years later, I discovered my old sketchbook, and when I saw the picture, it made me laugh, so I redrew The Possum as he now looks.
FT: Clark Kent is a mild-mannered reporter. Peter Parker is a dorky photographer. How would you describe The Possum’s alter ego, Stuart Spankly?
BK: Spankly is who me and most of my friends were when we were in high school. He’s a dorky teenager, living at home with his parents, dealing with the everyday stresses of being unemployed and having no living expenses. He’s also an aspiring self-publisher, who happens to be publishing a comic called “The Possum”, and spends a good deal of his time at the local comic shop, where we often meet his arch nemesis, Steve Tacola.
FT: The Possum #1 begins at a comic convention. Spankly is hoping some big shot might recognize his genius. Is this drawn from your life?
BK: No, but maybe my life is slowly turning into Stuart’s. When I drew the first issue, I hadn’t actually been to a comic convention since I was 12. Since then, I’ve been to quite a few as an artist, and sadly, I can relate to Stuart much more now. Just walking down artist alley feels like you are walking down the “alley of broken dreams.” People walk by without giving our books, that we slaved over and poured all of our sweat and tears into, a glance.
FT: What would you like to see happen to the comic?
BK: I have a humble goal of getting enough issues for a trade paperback. After that. Then maybe I’ll work on the animated feature film, done in the traditional hand drawn and painted background animation style of course, and maybe a TV show, that holds up to the old Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny shorts, after that. Do you know anyone who owns a TV station and is interested?
FT: What’s the oddest request a fan has ever made of you?
BK: I’ve signed body parts, drawn sketches of midget Mexican wrestlers pile driving a guys crotch (with his pants on of course), but I’m still just baffled when people want to pay me actual money to buy my comics.
FT: Do you mind finishing this sentence: “The Possum walks into Stan Lee’s office and . . .”
BK: “. . . he asks Stan what his inspiration was when he created Batman . . . then his pants fall down.”
FT: Sounds like a late night supper with our publisher.