THE SHAKY KANE INTERVIEW (PART 1)
Yeah, what he said! Very heartened to see Mr. Ellis giving props to Shaky Kane and David Hine's soon-to-drop new series The Bulletproof Coffin last night. 'Course, I'm completely biased here 'cause I love Shaky dearly both as a fan and a friend.
Some weeks - nay months! - ago (I can only apologise, for Kektime is both lumpenly granular and glacial) I asked you kind folks to send in your questions for Shaky to chew over. This seems a very appropriate time to finally roll out the answers (done in a sort of quasi-mid-60's Marvel letter-page fashion).
First up is Mark (age 8) from Northern Ireland, who asks: "What have you been up to since Black Star Fiction Library?"
Shaky: "First out my e-mail bag is a question from Mark, who hails all the way from North of Ireland up there in bonny, bonny Scotland. Thanks for asking, Mark!
"I often get asked the same thing. Just what do I do when I’m not grappling with an HB pencil, laying down the graphite to spin out a yarn that I know is going to knock your tartan socks off?
"Well, the truth is, Mark, sometimes I like to play at being a regular guy. In fact, I get my biggest kick out of just walking around with nobody even knowing who I am. Sure, being Shaky Kane has its advantages - I’d be lying to you if I said otherwise! - I get free parking at Cribbs Causeway and, why, I even get to see great drawings free of charge way before they hit the stores!
"But you know, I like to think that there’s a little bit of Shaky Kane in all of us and that each one of us has a very special role to play to play in this 80 Page Giant that we call life."
Reader Matt Badham (age 9) of - well, I'm not entirely sure where he's from - asks: "Looking back, how do you feel about your 2000 AD and Megazine stuff?"
Shaky: "Very kind of you to ask, Matt. I remember it fondly, I did the best job I could, and, as far as I know, they didn’t get a single letter of complaint. And I made sells for the company and that’s what it’s all about.
"But you know, Matt, I’ll be candid with you here: the way I understood it, and it's probably still true today, a comic book artist is only as good as the script he’s given. A lot of fellows around today like to call themselves writers. Well let me level with you: the greatest writer who ever lived was one H. G. Wells and that’s a fact. They broadcast his stuff and people ran out into the streets in a blind panic. I saw an old lady get shoved under the wheels of a tram. I saw it happen with my own eyes. Blind panic. Now these fellows today call themselves writers. Well, most of them couldn’t write their own obituary.
"You know what would have been a big hit in 2000 AD? Voodoo Romance. Voodoo Romance...or anything mentioning Haiti with a hint of Romance and it would have flown out the stores.
"Only nobody asked me, so: screw them. Their loss."
Reader Emperor (aged 113) from, er, Mongo...weighs in with three questions:
1. Any chance of reprints of your early work (like those from Deadline and Escape)? Looking at the samples of your art for The Bulletproof Coffin, I can see there will be more converts to Shakyism and getting hold of your early work is tricky.
2. Reading the interview with David Hine on Broken Frontier I was very introgued to hear about your channeling of Jack Kirby - has that continued? Is there any more you can tell us about it? Any other unusual things happened to you along those lines?
3. Is the Shaky Kane Zone gone? It seems like someone has nicked the domain - is there a new offiical site? And, you know, the other usual questions: What next after this, etc? But I'm sure you are going to ask them anyway. Cheers for the opportunity and I look forward to reading the interview..."
Shaky: "Here you go, Emp...
"1. I get asked that very question a lot. And you know what, Emp? - I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some enterprising publisher isn’t looking at my past portfolio right this moment and saying, “Heck, we could really clean-up by publishing this old Shaky Kane stuff”.
"But, you know something? Its not anything I’ve ever worried about. I like to live in the here and now.
"In fact I’m working on a brand new book, THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN, out on IMAGE in summer 2010, and believe you me, when the COFFIN hits the newsstands, why, it going to cause a sensation" Its going to make Watchmen look like The Flintstones the movie. And you can quote me on that!
"2. I take it that you’re referring to the “Hand of Kirby” quote.
"Now this isn’t my personal opinion, this is a verifiable fact. Jack Kirby happened to be the single greatest artist who ever lived, EVER.
"And you know, the way I figure it, if the comic buying public - and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for all the support they’ve given me over the years! - if they can see even a glimmer of that magic in my work, then I have done my job, and I could die happily confident of my place in Valhalla.
"3. You know something. I can’t make heads nor tails of this computer stuff. Where I come from you buy yourself a sheet of Bristol board, a 2B pencil, clear off the dining room table and, boy, you’re in business.
"You see, Emp, comic books are the medium of the common man. You don’t need a fancy degree and a heap of overpriced hardware to draw the funny papers. Anything else is just an ostentation. It's unhealthy and it's un-American."
Ade (age 4) from, uh...can't quite read the handwriting here, Ade...sorry! - asks: "Can you draw me a cyberman?"
"Well, actually I can, Ade, and unlike a lot of so-called artists I can draw just about anything else you might want, and - if I may add - in a very unique style:"
Make good choices!