[Interview] Farel Dalrymple – Prophet Comics

As a lifelong nerd, I occasionally delude myself into thinking that I’ve acquired superpowers. Truth be told, most of the time my faux-epiphanies are innocuous. So instead of jumping to my death in a moment of perceived super-flight, I just render myself nauseous after a hyper-metabolism delusion inspires me to eat fifty buffalo wings too many.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t disagree. I’m the type of moron that gives comic book fans a bad rap. But every now and then, my fantasies enable me to do something pretty rad.

For example, what would happen if I stopped thinking of myself as a hack-writer/petty-blogger? What if I started to believe that I could actually correspond with artists whose work I admire? And what if, in the midst of this Pepsi-drinkin’ daydream, I actually contacted someone in the hopes of sharing their words with the world?

Well, then we’d get a feature like the one I’m about to present — an interview with Farel Dalrymple.

As one of the founders of Meathaus, the creator of Pop Gun War, and one of the artists currently working on PROPHET with Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple is a comics creator worthy of respect and admiration. Despite his incredible workload, Mr. Dalrymple was gracious enough to respond to my semi-coherent questions. And this might just be the type of reinforcement that convinces that I do have superpowers after all.

Dangerous.

Punch it into hyperspace to see Farel Dalrymple’s thoughts on comics anthologies, his current work, and even Type   O Negative.

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-  At the time of this keyboard-smashing, it’s Easter 2012. What is your story at this particular place and time? How would you describe the adventures of Farel Dalrymple?

I am working on about four different projects simultaneously, trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

- The first Farel Dalrymple art I came across was You Won’t Feel a Thing from Marvel’s STRANGE TALES II, and the second piece of yours I read was The Land from THE UNEXPECTED. What’re your thoughts about comics anthologies? What do you make of the respect (or lack thereof) they’re afforded and the interest they garner for creators?

I like anthologies obviously, having helped put together 8 of them with Meathaus. I don’t know what to say in regards to the respect they may or may not garner, I personally just think they’re cool. The Marvel and DC stuff was fun but it was also mainly a paycheck. I published my own first book back in 1999 and have been primarily working on my own comics and art since then.

- Can you recall the moment in which you decided to pursue comics professionally? You’re a talented dude — what made you pursue funnybooks instead of graphic design or advertising or some other more dependable field?

I can’t recall a specific moment, I’ve loved comics and wanted to create my own for as long as I can remember. Comics may not be as lucrative of a field as graphic design or advertising, but hopefully it is quite clear that’s not main reason I make them.

-  For those readers unfamiliar with Meathaus, could you describe the collective and your role in it?

It initially started out as a group of friends putting their work out, and then asking more friends to contribute. They are mostly fun art comics, personal stories, and experiments. I have been editor, a contributor, and helped produce nearly every issue.

- Within the comics world, where do you find your inspiration? Are there any creators that’re currently blowing you away?

My biggest influences have been probably been John Buscema and Moebius. Currently I am being blown away by Brandon Graham who I am  working with on PROPHET, Tom Herpich, Matthew Woodson, and a slew of others listed on my website.

- Outside of comics, where do you find inspiration? Are you a film buff? Do cartoons get the creative juices flowing? Do you ride the bus all day, eating week-old pizza and listening to a Type O Negative mixtape you made in 1996?

I still listen to mixtapes (Type O Negative had only one good song though), watch films, TV, and eat any pizza I can get my hands on, don’t you?

- You’re scheduled to illustrate issues #24 and #27 of PROPHET.  What can we expect now that it’s been revealed that there’re countless John Prophets waking up all over the galaxy? Has Brandon Graham’s scripting officially blown the doors off the narrative hinges?

Brandon blows all kinds of door. We are working a little free form which has been an exciting endeavor. I like the format of letting each artist have his own individual take on the character.

- Do you have any advice for young creators with aspirations of making comic books? Should they do their best to live in poverty while bleeding their lives onto paneled pages? Or should they just say “Fuck it” and get boring desk-jobs that have the exciting prospect of health insurance?

Seriously? Do it ‘cause you love it. I mean do it daily, for hours and for years because you have to. That’s the pay off.

- What do you see as the greatest weakness of the comic book medium? What do you see as the greatest strength?

I really don’t know.  I just like to keep my head down and make comics because I think they are fun. Maybe that is their greatest strength?

- Besides the aforementioned PROPHET issues, what else is on the horizon for you? Any projects/appearances/ merchandise you want to plug?

I’m working on a book for First Second, called the Wrenchies. I am writing and illustrating all 300 full color pages myself, due to be done by the end of the year. After that I intend to finish my next Pop Gun War book. I am also doing a regular web comic called It Will All Hurt on the Study Group Comics website. Lots of good stuff there, awesome creators. I am also working on a YA book yet to be officially announced called Pale Fire.

- You’ve got a cool name. One of my best friends once tried to change his name to Pepsibones Krueger. If you were to choose a new name, what would it be? Something boring like John Smith?

Whatevs.

- Any other thoughts, ideas, drunken ruminations you’d like to share?

I’ve got a blog where I regularly make an ass out of myself, check it out.

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For more Farel Dalrymple, check out the following: [website] [tumblr] [twitter]