The Michigan Comics Collective “seeks to bring together creators, retail stores, and publishers from the great state of Michigan […] to help writers find artists and artists to find writers.” The group seeks to connect writers, pencilers, inkers, colorists, and letterers in order to share talents and resources. David Andres is a founding member, and he is a writer, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer. Recently, we corresponded about his interest in comics and about the Michigan Comics Collective’s current Kickstarter campaign to publish an anthology. With more than 20 days remaining in the campaign, the project has been successfully funded. –K.M. Zahrt
Part 1: The Beginning
Michiganders Post: Do you remember the first comic book you read?
David Andres: One day, when I was ten years old, I stayed home from school because I was feeling kind of sick. That’s what I told my mom anyway. She had to go to work so my older brother, who had graduated high school already, decided to stay with me. At one point during the day, he had to go to the gas station for gas or something, and I stayed at home lying on the couch. When he came back, he gave me a comic book that he’d bought at the gas station. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic published by Archie Comics. It was quite a surprise because I never had any comics nor had I ever been interested in them. He was nice enough to get it for me, so I read it and thought that it was pretty darn good. Then I felt really guilty for lying about being sick.
MP: Are you a fan of a book, a series, or a comic strip that you feel has been overlooked?
DA: I think many comic book series have been overlooked. So much attention is drawn toward Marvel and DC who put out some great stuff, but there is so much more beyond the big two. Two of my favorites that I don’t think get enough love are The Tick and The Flaming Carrot. Also, I think we need to look back to the past. There are decades of comics to be revisited such as the indy comics of the eighties that were part of the black-and-white boom which, from what I understand began with the Ninja Turtles being such a monster success. I love the horror and crime comics of the 1950s. The art is beautiful and the stories are terrific and usually have a shocking ending. Of course, there’s also the self-published work created by our local talent. What’s great about this stuff is the wide variety of art and stories. And some of these up-and-comers are bound to make it to the big leagues, so buy their comics now and it might be worth millions later on.
Part 2: Becoming an Artist
MP: Do you remember the first comic you drew?
DA: HIM: The Lesser Known is the first and, so far, the only comic I’ve drawn. I did all of the work on it. At the time, I was alone in this comic-book-creating thing and did not know what I was doing. I was just trying to make it look like a comic book. This was before the Michigan Comics Collective had been established, so I didn’t really know anybody else that was interested in making comics.
MP: What’s HIM about?
DA: HIM is about these two fellows that meet up by fate and are struggling to discover who they are and what life is all about from their own unique perspectives. One of them has no memory of anything before the day they met, so he’s having a hard time knowing what he’s supposed to do and having to build himself from nothing. The other guy is a regular guy who has a daily routine of going to work and living a regular life. There’s some drama and some humor. I tried to make the art interesting in a way that I’ve never seen in comics before, and I must’ve at least somewhat succeeded because I get a lot of positive comments.
MP: What resources have you found useful as a comic book artist?
DA: The Internet is a wonderful tool for an artist. Many professional artists have blogs on which they talk about their creation processes. Two really good ones are The Self-Absorbing Man by Paolo Rivera who is an artist for Marvel and Temple of the Seven Golden Camels by Mark Kennedy who is a story board artist. These both have a lot of good information. Also, I was surprised at how helpful Twitter can be. There are a lot of artists you can follow that often post works in progress and helpful tips. Twitter, along with some other social networking sites such as Deviant Art and Facebook, helps you get your work out to a lot of people. There are also tons of instructional books on how to draw. I have one called Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis which was originally published in 1943.
Part 3: Michigan Comics Collective
MP: How did the Michigan Comics Collective come about?
DA: I would say it all started with a man by the name of Travis McIntire. From what I understand, he approached the owner of the comic shop that I frequent, and they talked about getting some people together to put together a book of short stories. Stephen, the owner of Coy’s Comics, invited me to the first meeting. He said some fellows are getting together to try to put together this book, and I thought that was a great idea and was very flattered that he thought of me. I had no idea how big this thing was going to be. There were five of us at the meeting, and it was decided that we should try to get the word out and see if we can get some other people involved. It just snowballed from there. It’s almost become an entity of its own, and now we couldn’t stop it if we tried. This group has blown up, and we don’t even have our first anthology out yet.
MP: Currently, the Kickstarter campaign for your first anthology is fully funded with more than 20 days to go. Congratulations. What can we expect to see as a result and what can backers get if they jump on the bandwagon?
DA: The finished product is a book of twelve short stories, around eight to ten pages each, all done by Michigan artists and writers who collaborated to make something new and fresh and totally professional. Some of the rewards we have are sketch cards, sketch covers, or 11″x17″ drawings of characters of the backer’s choosing, an annotated script from one of the stories, an “All Character” 14″x17″ sketch print including sketches from all of our artists, and your likeness included in our next anthology. And we’ll sign the book for you. We want to have an anthology every year. In fact, we already began production on the second one, and we’re still taking submissions for stories. The more people that get involved the more we can get done, so if we have enough help, maybe we can get two or three anthologies out a year.
MP: If someone wants to get involved, what should they do?
DA: Anyone who wants to make comics or is interested in helping us spread the word can go to the website or the Facebook page and contact the group. Or email email@example.com and say, “I want to make comics!” The Michigan Comics Collective is also on Twitter @MiComicCollect. We can find something for anybody whether it’s penciling, writing, inking, coloring, or lettering. We will find something for you to do. It would be helpful to show some art or a story that you’ve done so we know what you can do and what your style is to hook you up appropriately.
Part 4: Michigan
MP: If you won the lottery, would you move to a different area of Michigan?
DA: I would move to either Grand Rapids or Detroit. They both have great art communities and events. Detroit has comic book conventions, and Grand Rapids has ArtPrize. Plus, they both have great museums.
MP: Do you think the Upper Peninsula should be its own state?
DA: I love having the UP as a part of Michigan. The scenery is quite amazing, and one of our artists lives up there, so we need him to remain a Michigander.