ULTRAPAROLE

Kile Baker
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A KYLE BAKER interview

by Antonio Solinas

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This interview originally appeared on Rorscharch, an Italian webmagazine distributed weekly via email

Kyle Baker is a master illustrator and writer, with a cutting and refined sense of humour. He is one of the most representative artists in the world wide comic medium. He has won two consecutive Eisner Awards: in 1999 with "I Die at Midnight" and in 2000, with his recent controversial story "Superman's Baby Sitter". Kyle Baker has also authored of several multimedia projects that allow him visual and narrative experimentation. Kyle Baker represents a perfect synthesis of what we want from a good comic.

More info about Kyle Baker at his home page: http://www.kylebaker.com

 

 

Most of your recent work, from Break The Chain to You Are Here, has got a very "New York" feeling. Do you get inspiration from people you know, to create your characters?

Certainly. The character of Noel was pretty much based on me. I lie all the time. I was born in New York, and still live here.

You have worked (and you still work) for other media, but you still seem very keen on the comics world. What is the aspect that you prefer about working in comics?

The freedom. Nobody tells me what to write or how to draw. Only an idiot would dare tell Kyle Baker how to make a good cartoon. Hollywood and the magazine world are full of idiots. They water my stuff down and make it unfunny. But I have a family to feed, so I let Hollywood and the mags do what they want to me. Besides, just because a movie's full of idiotic clichés and not funny, it doesn't mean it won't be a success. Look at the most successful Hollywood movies. Do you really think they're the best movies?

Lately, you have worked mostly on graphic novels and "literary" stories more than on comic books. Would you like to do something more "mainstream", as a regular series, for some time?

No.

Is there any character or book that you would like to do?

I'm currently working on a graphic novel based on the Bible's King David.

Most of your material is considered ground-breaking, and you have been awarded with several prizes (congratulations for the last Eisners, by the way). What do you think is your best work so far?

Thanks for congratulating me. I'm really pleased with YOU ARE HERE, and I really like the new book I'm working on. I think the new book's my best yet. I'm still studying and learning and practicing. I'm getting better.

Have you got any regrets about your comic career? I'm thinking about Break The Chain, that was an excellent comic. What happened?

BREAK THE CHAIN was very experimental, a comic book packaged with a read-along hip-hop audiocassette. I don't think anything like it was done before or since. Whenever I do something new and different, there is no way to predict what will happen. That's why people keep doing the same old thing. It's easy to predict how a new Spider-Man book will sell. Marvel had no experience marketing to hip-hop fans. The creators of the project, Marshall Chess, Kris Parker, and I went with Marvel because nobody else wanted to publish us. The only way we got Marvel to go for it was we did it without being paid, and the production costs were out of our pockets. We just wanted to get it made and distributed. They were made, but only 25% of the print run was actually distributed. The rest of the books sat in a warehouse while Marvel tried to find a distributor with record store connections. It never happened. I don't know what happened to the books and tapes, they were probably destroyed. But a few people got to see it, which is better than nothing.

http://www.fandom.com/comicsWhat are your current projects?

I've got three movies in the works right now, and one TV show. The chance of any of them getting released is impossible to predict.

The "KING DAVID" graphic novel will be out next summer. It looks awesome! 160 pages full color. It's an epic. Sex, violence, a heavily armed violent child who beheads thousands, and God Almighty Himself. My favorite part so far is when young David, a little boy, the world's toughest soldier, presents the king with TWO HUNDRED PHILISTINE FORESKINS! A KID DOES THIS! I didn't make this up, it's in the Holy Bible, Samuel 18:27. This book's gonna flip a lot of censors out, but what do they want me to do? Rewrite the Word of God?

Do you know anything about the Italian comic world? Is there any Italian author that you like?

I like Mattotti!

This is our trademark (scary!) question. Name three comics a real fan should read...

YOU ARE HERE by Me, FAMILY MATTER by Will Eisner, THE BIG FAT KILL by Frank Miller.

 

 

 

 

 
   
[december 2000]

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