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Floro Dery Interview


[ Floro Dery ]

This interview with comic book artist Floro Dery was conducted by Director Sebastien Dumesnil via email during the editing of Adventures Into Digital Comics. This interview is a part of the second set of interviews, which means that Floro Dery was asked to answer questions accordingly to the final cut of the movie.

Can you tell us about your background?

I am a comics illustrator, cartoonist, painter, designer, screen director, and a mathematics professor with a Ph.D. To see more details go to http://hometown.aol.com/kuest144 and click on the link "about the artist".

In the film, we discuss the nature of comic books. Can you tell us what, for you, a comic book is? What are the strengths and ideas you like or intend to explore?

To me comics are a visual medium. I believe there should be more of an emphasis on adventure type stories with less emphasis on violence and more emphasis on the story itself.

Marv Wolfman told us that ten years ago, there was not even one comic book store in Wyoming. What do you think of the distribution channel in the US? Do you think that comic book stores are good ambassadors of the medium?

The comic distribution has gotten quite bad in the U.S. Before, there were so many comic book stores and even supermarkets sold comics. Nowadays, there's practically less than one store per city. Comic book stores are partly good ambassadors of the medium. Right now I think the internet is the best.

There is a debate about the nature of the growth of comic book sales in the early 90s and the subsequent recession. Would you qualify these events as a boom followed by a crash, or an aberration followed by a "back to normal" situation? Why? In the case of a boom followed by a crash, do you feel that the small press was hurt during the same period?

I believe that there was a boom in comic sales and then a crash. When I first came to the US there was a wide variety of comics, adventure, romance, action, etc. Nowadays, there's only violent superhero comics. Because of that the small press was partly affected.

In the film, Scott McCloud says there are more golfers in this country than comic book readers. By right, we should be able to sell comics about golf, but it's not happening. Do you feel there is an issue of diversity going on?

I think there is an issue of diversity. US comics need to have different stories as I pointed out earlier. Comic writers and illustrators need to direct their work towards more of the US population's interests. For example, I for one do not enjoy reading mindless superhero comics. I like down to earth adventure epic type stories. If they don't do that, it'll still be considered just a child's hobby.

Nowadays, would you say that printed comics are for kids, for grown-ups or for everyone? Is there a stigma attached to the pamphlet?

In the US, comics are still for kids because the story ideas are still too simple and reused. If the level of the stories are raised then by time the stigma will go away.

Do you think that it is now easier for kids to find printed comics or to find webcomics on the Internet? For you, what is a webcomic? Why would people read them?

It's easier to find webomics. To me a webomic is basically a comic just posted on the internet. Webomics are like the comics section of the newspaper. It's free so people would want to read webomics.

In the film, artists like Patrick Farley and Cat Garza say they make webcomics because publishers would not touch their work, because it's too offensive, different, etc. As an example, Patrick talks about his Apocamon webcomic, a Manga style rewriting of the Book of Revelations. Do you think that the Internet could be the next logical step of the comic book for artistic or business-related reasons?

Yes, webomics are the next possible step for artistic reasons. I believe it's just a matter of presentation to make it easier to view. Maybe just 2 panels per page?

Shaenon Garrity, author of the webcomic strip Narbonic told us that she can do more complicated stories because her readers have access to the archive. Thus, she can create stories with a big chunk of continuity. Do you think that the Internet offers more possibilities for such reasons?

Yes, the internet is capable of storing so much stuff.

Finally, do you think that the tactile experience of holding a book in your hands is necessary to the comic book reading experience?

Yes and no. Yes it is necessary to have the book in your hands because it's easier on the eyes. No, because it's more convenient and there's no expense to read comics on the internet.


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