Interview with Jim Coon conducted by Gerhard
Detached #1 isn’t your first work in the comic-book field. You’ve
also done X-Ray Nancy and the Dead End trade paperback. What
order were the projects done in and over what period of time?
Actually, DEAD END was my first endeavor. I've been working on
these characters since I was in high school back in 1984. I began
publishing the series in 1995 as a small press comic and there are
currently 23 mini comics available. It wasn't until Diamond
Distributors rejected my trade paperback that I decided to turn my
attentions to other projects. Detached was a form of anger
management and I cranked it out in six weeks. X-Ray Nancy came
next and that one took about 6 months to complete. Because I have
a full time job and I'm creeping closer to 40 I don't have as much
time to work on my comics as I would like.
Which were the easiest and which were the most difficult?
Detached was by far the easiest book I have ever done. Everything
just seemed to fall into place and the style I drew the book in just
came natural to me. As I said, I was trying to work out some
frustrations with the comic industry in general and in the process it
turned out to be the most fun I've ever had producing a book. Nancy
put up a bit more a fight, but by far, DEAD END has always been the
book that was the most difficult in terms of publishing and getting
people to look at it.
Where did you get the idea for a strip about a guy whose head gets
separated from his body?
Everyone has heard the old saying, "You'd forget your head if it
wasn't attached." That's where it came from. From there it was just
one slapstick joke after another and like I said it came so easy. I'd
be in the middle of work and burst out laughing when an idea would
pop into my head.
Any plans for a sequel?
I do have more stories involving this character, but right now there
are other stories I'd like to work on.
Your website indicates that you make at least part of your living
from doing caricatures at parties, social events and “around town”.
You also produce what you call Baby Dollz—colour pictures of
super-heroes and super-heroines as babies, along the lines of
what Jill Thompson did with The Endless as babies. Is there one
aspect of your career that’s “nearer and dearer” to you or is it all
enjoyable in the same way—the comic books, the caricatures and
the Baby Dollz?
The comic books are what I love to do. I would genuinely like to make
a living drawing and producing comics. The Caricatures are also a
lot of fun, but a lot of work! When I sit at a party or festival I'll
sometimes be drawing straight for 4 to 6 hours and it can get very
tirering. It's also a great ego boost. At comic conventions, many folks
walk by your table and look down their noses if they feel your work is
not up to "their standards". When I'm drawing caricatures, most folks
who buy them are not artistic so they are thrilled with what I do for
them 99% of the time and often comment what a good artist I am. It's
also fun drawing the kids. A lot of them get such a kick out of seeing
themselves as cartoons.
Baby Dollz are my little bitches. I bring them a long for mainstream
fans to buy so I can pay for my table space and gas. They are purely
a money maker and if I can ever make enough off comic sales the
babies will probably go away because they tend to take away time I
could be spending drawing comics.
If you could go back in time to your younger self of ten years ago,
what advice would you give him about a career in cartooning?
I'd have to go back almost 20 years and tell the boy from Cortland NY
a year and a half isn't that long a time and Dover NJ isn't that far
away. I attended the Joe Kubert School for 1 semester and left
because I was homesick and afraid of being on my own. I truly wish I
had stayed. I learned so much that first year. Perhaps I would be
further along than I am now.
What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
That comics is a tough business!!!!
You give Kati Coon credit for “assists” on the inside front cover.
What “assists” did Kati provide?
Kati helped with spelling in the book. I'm a terrible speller so it's
always good to have someone else read over the book. She has
also been my biggest supporter for the last 18 years. She has never
tried to discourage me from publishing comics. Some wives will tell
you it's time to grow up. Sometimes I think she likes the fact that I'm
still a big kid.
Do you have any plans for future comic books?
I'm currently working on a few books, two of which can be purchased
at ModernTales.com in the swap meet section. The first is a mini
comic called Super Soap. It's about a bar of soap that happens to be
in the right place at just the right time and saves the day! The second
is called The Waste. This book deals with a zombie baby causing
trouble for a group of nuns! I'm also wrapping up a back up story for
a book titled BULLETPROOF written by Jerry Smith who was the
original artist on Common Grounds when it was a small press title
called Holey Crullers.
Have you gotten any good reviews on the Internet for Detached from
comic-book websites or individuals?
Because of my own insecurities, I really didn't send any copies out
for review. Most all of my friends enjoyed my book though..