Explore Complexities of Life W/ New Indie Comic WEATHERCRAFT
Explore The Complexities of Life
Newsarama discussed Weathercraft with Woodring, including the differences between Manhog and Frank, silent comics, and the mindset to creating those amazing surrealist images.
Newsarama: Your profile has really skyrocketed over the past few years, with incredible acclaim for The Frank Book. How has the experience been for you?
Jim Woodring: Well, I am of course grateful when people like my work. I wish I were better at things like keeping up with correspondence, keeping in touch with friends. I’m perhaps too focused on my work.
Woodring: You mean, do I try to draw better now that I have something to live up to? If I could draw better I'd be doing it by now. I suppose it does create pressure of a sort but it's not much compared to the pressure I put on myself. And I avoid reading reviews.
Nrama: Weathercraft focuses mostly on Manhog, whose life seems to bottom out very early on. Yet when he hits bottom, he seems to lose all his cares. What drives this journey?
Nrama: Despite being arguably your most famous character, Frank plays a fairly minor role in this book. Were you looking to do something different within his world, or is it simply a case of this particular story required a certain focus?
Woodring: This is Manhog’s book. He’s a more interesting character than Frank in a lot of ways. He’s deep, whereas Frank is bottomless.
Woodring: It’s hard to describe how one does that. Having fun with the mind, mostly. Trying to think of visually fun objects that seem to have voices. Checking to see if what you’ve drawn has a charge, and erasing it if it doesn’t. Of course it only works if someone “remembers” it.
Nrama: Do you find certain advantages to working in pantomime rather than dialoguing the book?
Woodring: There is a certain purity in a pantomime comic, a nobility innate in the form. It has the virtue of requiring much more effort to draw, because you have to show everything. And of course no translation is necessary.
Woodring: Not in the slightest. I was motivated by an offer to publish my comics if I would draw them. Besides, I was never into superhero comics. Gil and Jack drew like gods, it goes without saying, but I couldn’t entirely relate to what they were doing. And they didn’t like the new work I liked – the Hernandez Brothers, Pete Bagge, Clowes. This was in the mid 80s. But they were both great guys and I learned a lot about life from them.
Nrama: What are you working on now?
Woodring: A new 100-page Frank book called Congress of the Animals. Manhog does not appear in it.
Weathercraft is now available from Fantagraphics.