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Indy Comics Showcase: Noah Van Sciver
© Jay Willson
April 21, 2009

Noah Van Sciver is an independent comics artist from Denver, Colorado, who is saddled with the same name as a famous comic book creator. As the brother of DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver, Noah’s surname attracts some attention with mainstream comics fans.

Once you see his work, however, you realize that he’s definitely doing his own thing. His comics work is strikingly different from Ethan’s.

Noah is 24, and the classic example of an independent comic book creator. His stories mock and chronicle his personal life while asking questions about the world that surrounds him. He produces and distributes these comics on his own, through his site, his two MySpace pages, and in appearances at comic conventions. The man is well-represented on the Internet. Noah’s Blammo uses an art style influenced by many of the greats of independent or underground comics, such as Robert Crumb and Chester Brown. His artwork is experimental and clever; the stories are revealing and self-mocking. It’s an intriguing mix of style, substance and subtlety.

RevSF: Tell us a little about how you got into comics. What developed your interest in pursuing the tough life of producing comics stories on your own?

Noah: Well, I just really loved Ralph Snart comics when I was growing up.

I think that's the comic book that really warped me. Maybe I was too young when I read them or something. I am just like every other comic artist, in the way that I  used to draw my own comics in notebooks when I was young, but I wouldn't show anybody! I have all these notebooks full of my own Star Wars stories.

I wanted to do my comic book the way I wanted to do it. Regardless of how marketable it would be. So, I had to self-publish it. And it's a beautiful thing.

RevSF: Give us some idea of what makes the perfect Noah Van Sciver story. When do you know that you need to put a story to paper?

Noah: If it's autobiographical, than it normally will be related to some kind of awkward or scary thing that happened to me in Denver. Maybe a homeless man was following me around or something. But, I like to do history stories as well, as long as they are little known, or have a creepy element to them.

RevSF: How do you get your work out there' Is the production of your comics your primary occupation, or do you do this on the side?

Noah: I am the working man's cartoonist. I'm like the Bruce Springsteen of comics, only I'm actually really cool. I work a job at a bakery 4 days a week. Early in the morning.  I do a lot of illustration work, and a weekly comic for Denver's free alternative weekly paper.

I get some work doing comic strip interviews for The Comics Journal, Eric Reynolds allowed me to be in Mome. I don't know, somehow I am gaining recognition even though I'm isolated from the comics world out here in Denver. My comic book Blammo is really becoming the cult classic that it was meant to be! I can't complain.

RevSF: Who are your main influences? I see a lot of Chester Brown in your work, and some Robert Crumb from time to time. Do you draw everything old school (by hand)?

Noah: Yeah, I love Chester Brown and Crumb! I like  Daniel Clowes and Darwyn Cooke, John Porcellino, etc. I do still draw by hand. It feels more real to me, you know?

RevSF: What’s coming up in your future? Any plans to work with larger publishers, or will you continue to go it alone?

Noah: My future is looking pretty bright right now, Jay. As long as people remember my name I'll be okay.  I'm working on my first graphic novel about Abraham Lincoln, which I will show to people and hopefully get it picked up by somebody. Maybe Chris Staros at Top Shelf will give me a break! E-mail him for me, will ya?


Comics Editor Jay Willson has an independent spirit that he’s been hiding from everyone.

 
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