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An Interview with Comics Creator Jared Axelrod

Jared Axelrod
Photo of Jared Axelrod, by J.R. Blackwell.

A few weeks back, I hadn’t slept well in days, and I came up with and posted the following:


Want to talk about your upcoming project release? Well cool! We might do that! Or I could spend several minutes asking you about what you see in specific directions, in the room you’re in! WHO KNOWS?!

I know a few people working on things, but this goes out to Anybody on my friends list.

BUT BE AWARE BEFORE YOU SAY YES: I am VERY serious about this being completely chaotic. I’m VERY tired, w/ a shit ton to do, & need to keep my mind active.

ALTERNATELY! Anyone can interview me. About what? WHO KNOWS! I got lots going on. Same goes for my answers as my questions, so… Yeah.

[ad#longpost]Two people took me up on my offer, while I still had the steam, wit, and coherency to actually do anything with them, and I’ve two more folks waiting for the next time I feel sleep-dep’d and chatty, so expect a few of these, in the the coming weeks.

First up, we have Mr. Jared Axelrod, “an author, an illustrator, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that he’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. He is a founding member of the daily flash-fiction website 365 TOMORROWS, and the writer and producer of two science-fiction podcasts, ‘The Voice Of Free Planet X’ and the serial ‘Aliens You Will Meet.’ He is not domestic, he is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.”

Here’s what Happened when Mr. Axelrod Consented to this insanity:

Jared Axelrod: Let’s do this! I am ready to be sleep-deprived-interviewed! Is it cool if we do this via Twiiter? I’m out and about.

Wolven: “Is it cool…” he says. OF COURSE it’s cool! For the record, what is your name, quest, and favourite color?

JA: Jared Axelrod, to tell all the stories taking up space in my brain, and red.

W: Also, if memory serves, you just got the advance copy of your “Battle of Blood and Ink” [Now Available At Retailers Everywhere–also Amazon]. Tell us a little about how that felt and, if possible, describe the experience in some kind of non-cupcake-related pastry metaphor.

JA: Amazing. I still breathe heavy when I hold it, it’s so exciting. It’s got Library of Congress info in it! How cool is that? Like being presented with a stack of pancakes after smelling them all morning. Except by “morning” I mean “6 years.”

W: Masterfully done. To switch gears a bit, what’s the main principle of story telling, for you? Beyond “Tell Good Stories,” of course. What I mean is, do you have any Particular Type of thing you want your stories to accomplish in the world?

Battle of Blood and Ink: Fable of the Flying City

JA: The reason I write is to tell stories that aren’t in the world already. That aren’t saying something that I feel needs to be said. This is why I’m not really interested in writing Batman despite my love for the character. There’s plenty of Batman stories already. Just by me putting them out there, they are filling a hole that I saw in the world. Beyond that I also like them to be entertaining. Stories are different. BATTLE OF BLOOD & INK is about community involvement. WAY OF THE DODO is about not letting others define you. COMRADE COCKROACH Is about the what is takes to succeed, after a lifetime of failure.

W: I like that idea. It’s a good ethos for story creation. New topic: Look 4 inches in front of your left foot: Describe what you see. I’ve been a big fan of your Comrade Cockroach comics, actually. I love the determination and the will that character embodies.

JA: My bills and tax info, snug in their files. He is such a fun character to write. Again, he came out of a hole I perceived in the universe. Somehow, the concept of Batman has moved from “man who is good at everything” (my favorite) to “man who doesn’t give up.” OF COURSE he doesn’t give up. In 70 years of stories he’s lost, what? Once? Why would he give up? Why wouldn’t he think he’d win? Clearly it would be more interesting to see someone who doesn’t give up despite constant failure. And thus sprang the Cockroach!

W: Right, and even in the face of the kinds of things which OTHER people would regard as defeat, he’s like, “Nah. Temporary setback.”

JA: Exactly. He’s never had a failure. Nor should he. I don’t want to read a Batman story where he loses. That has no appeal to me. Which is one of the many, many reasons why UNDER THE RED HOOD is the worst animated Batman film. But I digress. #CmonBlackMask

W: That answers perfectly 1 of my next 2 questions, (Where does Comrade Cockroach come from?). So 2) What’re taxes like for you? As a creator, I mean. Are they just a necessary evil? Or are they something you can use to remind yourself of What You Do?

JA: My day job takes care of most of my taxes, but I make sure to save a good chunk of my fiction money for the ones that apply to that. I should really get an accountant, because it’s becoming more and more complex with each year. Last year was the first year I put “Writer” on a secondary income, and that was pretty awesome.

W: I had what I’d guess is a similar feeling when I got accepted to my 1st international conference. Like “it’s Really For Real, now.” Shifting topics: What music are you listening to, right now? Do you listen to music when you write/make comics?

JA: My wife and I have been in a sad place recently, so there’s been lots of Adele and Tom Waits in the house.

W: I read about that. I’m sorry for your loss. There’s not much that helps you inhabit & work through a Down Mood like Adele & Waits

JA: Everything FABLES OF THE FLYING CITY-related was written listening to the 2 Guy Ritchie SHERLOCK HOLMES soundtracks. Movie soundtracks are the best to write to. INCEPTION. TRON:LEGACY. RAVENOUS. GANGS OF NEW YORK. All the BATMAN movies. Also, P.O.S.’s “Never Better” album. Usually lyrics are distracting but I’ve listened to that album so much, I know them all anyway.

W: Kind of an “inhabiting the epic” idea?

JA: The whole point of film soundtracks is to elevate the mood. Which is very useful if the mood you’re writing is being elusive. Plus, if you’re writing something historical, it’s nice if someone else has done the period sound research for you.

W: Good point. What’s the most interesting sound you associate w/ “Fables of the Flying City?” What do you hear when you think of it?

JA: Why, gainscwa‘s theme, of course. Especially the end with the plane noises.

W: Hah! Of course. Well, we’re going to pull this to a close, so 1) Where else can people find you? 2) Favourite Lovecraftian horror (and why)? & 3) Anything else at all you want to say?

JA: 1) and

2) Shuggoths, natch

Photo, 'Yes, That's Definatly A Shuggoth,' by Kyle Cassidy.

3) This has been great. We should really do it again.

W: Agreed! Mr. Axelrod, if you ever find yourself in Atlanta–say, around Dragon*Con–let me know. We’ll do this in person. ;)

JA: Fantastic!

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