Chip Zdarsky: Laughing Away Tears
There's a lot to laugh about when it comes to Chip Zdarsky, creator of the comics Prison Funnies and Monster Cops. He's a champion of snacking, a lover of wood and will raise up his fists at anyone who says "comics just aren't funny". Chip started the comic Prison Funnies as an outlet to the horror he witnessed during a 30-day stint in the Barrie jail. He has since moved beyond this tragic experience and is trying to help people see the laughter behind the tears.
He is part of a group show happening this Thursday April 7th at the Gladstone Hotel called SpeakEasy. It's an event that happens 8 times a year on the first Thursday of the month that allow creative professionals to network and share ideas. This Thursday's SpeakEasy is the Comic Show. It features work from 12 Toronto comics artists.
I spoke with Chip Zdarsky about things he likes to talk about.
What is your first memory of comic books?
First memory? From what I recall, Dad was trying to manually stimulate mother with a rolled-up copy of Action Comics #165 while I was in the womb. I vaguely remember an image of Jimmy Olsen playing the classic Grover game of Near/Far with me and thought the young man with a shock of red hair looked a little queer. So, I suppose that was my first memory of homophobia as well.
What inspires you the most?
Long walks that end in strange beds, the cold feel of a Beretta 92F in my hand, deadlines from lovers, a brand-new Windsor & Newton S61L-2 brush with a point so fine you could stab God in the eye with it.
What interests you about prison?
Every prison is like a microcosm of a very bad society, which is fascinating. You break the rules outside and you end up in a situation where there's a whole new set of rules that have nothing to do with the place you came from. Also, drawing rows and rows of cell bars is very relaxing.
Do you think you should donate unsold copies of your comics to prisons? What about sending an autographed copy to your favourite criminal?
From what I've heard, the folks that enjoy my comics the most, besides fucking nerds, are correctional officers. I'd much rather send prisoners collections of Garfield to take their mind off their surroundings. Fuck that cat is fat.
Who's your hero? and Are you anyone's hero?
I suppose American actor Vince Vaughn is my hero. So charming and so effortless I almost always enjoy whatever movie he's in. You can tell that he just does shit because he knows he'll have a good time doing it. I really respect that. I can't possibly imagine anyone thinking of me as a hero. I did once save a woman from a house fire, but it doesn't really count since I caused the fire by trying to smoke her cat.
Describe in detail your first sexual experience.
"It's the year 2028 and robots are our cold masters. But one robot, XL400, has noticed a squat, middle-aged man who doesn't fear his master, but rather seems quite...interested."
Cheese doodles snacked directly out of crevices.
What is next for Chip Zdarksy?
I helped put together an anthology, Comics Festival!, for Free Comic Book Day this year which has a little Prison Funnies/Monster Cops story in it as well. I'll be doing a couple of signings that day (May 7) at the Silver Snail and the Beguiling with a bunch of other, better, people. If you feed me a cheese doodle out of a crevice I'll give you a free sketch.
Prison Funnies Issue 3 is "forthcoming", says Chip. Please send him an email reminding him to follow dream.
"Chip Zdarsky is a multi-media engine of desire and the creator of Chip Zdarsky's Prison Funnies and Chip Zdarsky's Monster Cops, obviously."
SpeakEasy Comic Book Show
Thursday April 7th
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen West
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