The Official SPACE blog

Sunday, March 1, 2009

10 Questions: David Branstetter

Let's let David introduce himself before we get to the "interview":

Hi I'm David and I make comics. My comic books are enjoyable to read an are often thought provoking. Most follow the character "Straw Man". It's about a superhero with no super powers. He does superheroish things even though he has no real abilities.

I wish I had this awesome comic bio that details my emergence to super stardom. So until that time comes you'll have to put up with this.
I've got a website too but it's like half-way done so don't be disappointed if it doesn't meet your expectations.
There. Happy?

Obviously, I was not happy, and sent David the dreaded 10 questions. Here's how he responded:

1) Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is David Branstetter. I'm about 6 foot tall. Sometimes I have a beard, sometimes I don't (It gets itchy). I live in Evansville Indiana but I'm originally from Lawton Oklahoma. I was born on June 4th 1980 and my brother was born two years to the day after that. For years I assumed that all brothers shared birthdays. I've got a BFA in Graphic Design and I'm married to my beautiful wife, Larissa.

2) Tell us about your comics.
As a kid I made up a bunch of characters that were two ideas removed from actual comic book characters, all getting their powers from basically the same source. I told myself If I ever wanted to draw a comic book I needed to create a character that was completely original. I heard the term "Straw Man" from my logic class and thought it would be funny to combine three definitions of the term together to represent one idea. It occurred to me that their weren't any superheros who had very little training, no superpowers, or a horrible physique. So I decided that "Straw Man" would use my worst characteristics and amplify them. I used to wear a coat well into April during the year. When I was a kid I used to draw circles for hands -- thus the mittens he wears. The scarf is an homage to Dr. Who (something I never really watched but was aware of us a youngster.) I put all this together to form one quirky and neurotic character. I had a friend who used to
claim that he had superpowers and was constantly testing them. Straw Man believes he has powers -- it's just that they aren't cooperating with him now. Truth is I was stalling till I figured out his real powers... and boy are they cool.

3) How long have you been self-publishing?
Straw Man has been my obsession for five years.

4) Why did you decide to start self-publishing your comics?

I knew that was what I was going to do from a very early age. I'd seen my heroes form Image Comics and I thought that anyone could that with enough talent and intensity. I didn't take it seriously until I viewed some pages of "Sky Ape" in a gallery. I said to myself "I really need to do this." Since I've been drawing Straw Man my desire to work on the "Big Two's" characters has diminished. I like the idea of self-publishing because YOU can control the outcome of YOUR future -- not some corporation.

5) Who are your main artistic influences--both in and out of comics?
When I was doing research for Straw Man I wanted to see what other artists did that was in black and white. The only thing I had was a single issue from Cerebus of "Mothers & Daughters" by Dave Sim. I became obsessed with his work and have adopted many of his credos as my own.
I'm also a huge Erik Larsen fan. The way that guy can pull a rug out from underneath a story is amazing. Erik is both consistent and a hard worker with a genuine love for comics that pours onto the page.
From a personal stand point I really admire Harvey Pekar for his tenacity. He stuck to what he believed in and gave it his all, all while dealing with personal issues and a career that went nowhere.
As far as music goes I love the Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Beck, Wilco and the Shins.
Filmmakers are Wes Anderson and Micheal Gondry. Nobody makes movies like these guys.
I'd also like to list my dad. He started a business from nothing when I was 11 and now lives very comfortably.

6) What comics do you read?
Savage Dragon, Goon, Madman, Cerebus, RASL/Bone, independent stuff --
I liked "Blankets" and "Paul Moves Out" a lot.

7) Do you have anything new for SPACE? Or are you working on anything new?
Straw Man 7 & 8 should arrive in time for Space this year. I'm doing a number of smaller projects as well. Allen Freeman's Slambang # 4 features 5 pages of true life stories. I've also got a new 24 hour comic to debut called "The Winter of '89".

8) What do you like most about SPACE? What keeps you coming back?
I'd have to say all the creative buzz. The people are great-- the customers and the creators. It's about the size I can handle too!

9) How would you compare SPACE to other shows you've done?
It's definitely the best but that's kinda of a biased view. I've only been to two!

10) Which "Gilligan's Island" castaway are you most like?
Gilligan. Just when I think I'm doing something right I screw it up. Straw Man's moto is "Sometimes Life Just Sucks" and I think that just about sums it up.

No comments:

Post a Comment