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Interview Hans Rickheit

You create webcomics. What are the main differences between old style comics and webcomics?

Although my comics appear regularly on the web, they are intended to eventually see print. I don’t personally think of them as “webcomics.” The only difference to me is that webcomics tend to be exclusively read and “published” online.

How do you foresee the future of comics on the internet?

At the time of writing this, my enthusiasm for online comics is pretty low. My attitude may change in the future. Publishing comics online doea not generate very much money, and I tend to view online publishing as a sort of hobby. I wish it were otherwise.

I am very skeptical about the future of online publishing in general - not just for comics. With each passing year, it appears that people are losing their ability to form coherent sentences or express themselves with anything above a monosyllabic vocabulary. The excessive use of acronyms and cute emoticons hint to me of an Orwellian destruction of language. People are celebrating their own cretinization.

I suppose that I should take heart in this. As more of the populace becomes increasingly illiterate, the greater the demand for stories that combine words and pictures.

What sort of experience would you like your readers to have while reading your comics?

Naturally, I think every person who reads my comics should experience a life-changing, senses-shattering rapturous epiphany. Ideally, the streets nationwide should be glutted with naked, jubilant readers collapsing in catatonic orgasmic bliss. Instead, my comics mostly inspire vague shrugs and perplexity.

What is the status of comics/graphic novels in the US?

It depends on your definition of “graphic novels.” Whenever I look at the NY Times list of “Best Graphic Novels”, all I see are repackaged collections of crappy superhero comics. The real graphic novels that were drawn and conceived as single, solitary reading units are often overlooked and dismissed as oddities. Superheroes and movie marketing stil reign supreme here in the states. Going to a comic shop in the US is like visiting a library, expecting to find a wide array of genres and subjects and finding they only have crossword-puzzle books.

What contemporary artist(s) (any art form) should be more famous?

Many of my favorite cartoonists stopped drawing comics ages ago, so I shall have to restrain myself from listing them. Among those who are actively drawing: Jeremy Baum, who produces grand, hallucinatory scifi dreamscapes;

Liz Suburbia, a master of the form, lots of grit and humor in her work.

Kevin Mutch is making a wide array of inventive comics. His Moon Prince children’s serial is fantastic.

Ellie Skinner draws some heart-wrenchingly beautiful stuff. I particularly like her Missing Monday series.

Lastly, Matthew Van Dinter is churning out a very rewarding humorous monster-epic called Uneath which I heartily recommend.

I could generate a much longer list that could go on for pages, but I think these fine people should be getting a lot more recognition for their excellent work.

Also of interest: Interview-Mahendra-Singh

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