Name: Jeff Martin
Type of Creator: Cartoonist.
Redcoats-ish: Jeff Martin’s War of 1812
Hockeypocalypse Season 1: The Battle of Alberta
Hockeypocalypse Season 2: Line Change
HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling
Hell, Inc. #1 and 2
What was the first comic you read?
Ever? No idea. Probably something in a newspaper. I remember a lot of licensed comics (video game and cartoon licenses, mostly) and newspaper strips as a kid, with Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side standing out as influences. When I started reading comics again in high school, it was Hellboy: Weird Tales followed by The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank.
What inspired you to make comics? A specific story? Writer? Artist?
I’ve always liked drawing and writing, and remember making comics as early as the third grade, but it was getting back into comics in high school that motivated me to turn it into career. The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon was a huge influence on that decision, as it was so different from my conception of what comics were from popular culture and my childhood memories. Ennis’ Punisher run wasn’t a superhero comic, he was doing straight up crime comics, and they were blowing my 17 year old mind. When I bought the Punisher book, I had been looking for a Spider-Man comic, because my logic was based on “comics are superheroes, so I’ll start with one that I already know I like.” The Spider-Man volumes in stock happened to be slim and more expensive than I was willing to pay, which led to picking up the Punisher book, which was hefty and reasonably priced for its size. Between the Ennis Punisher run and Hellboy, which I started reading around the same time, I realized that comics were at a point where I could do whatever I wanted and it would have a shot.
What do you like about comics? What is it about them that interests you? Inspires you? Moves you?
Comics are uniquely suited to expressing an individual creator’s creativity in its purest form. One person can make a comic, get it in front of people, and have them see the creator’s vision uninhibited. If I have an idea for a story, I don’t need anyone’s permission or cooperation, I can just make it. I have no idea how people can get an indie movie made without killing at least a third of the people involved.
What comic would you recommend to a first-time reader?
That depends almost entirely on their taste. I wouldn’t generally recommend Walking Dead, but my mom fell in love with it after I lent her the first volume, and it got her into comics that I didn’t make. What I wouldn’t recommend? Watchmen. Is it great? Yes. Is it incredibly dense, difficult, and reliant on a certain level of familiarity with what the comics industry was doing prior to it? Yes.
It’s not a recommendation for first-time readers, specifically, but everyone should give 2000 AD a shot. Unless you hate fun, I guess.
As an artists, medium do work in? Pencils? Ink? Digital?
All of the above, at various points in the process. I start with pencilled thumbnails (usually on a printed copy of the script), then move on to pencilling the page traditionally. Inks are also done traditionally, then it gets scanned for clean-up and, if they’re relevant, colouring and digital lettering.
As a writer, pen or keyboard?
Mostly keyboard. I’ve recently found that writing story outlines in a notebook has been speeding up my writing process, so I’m experimenting more with that, but eventually it’s going to end up in a word processor.
What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to work? Do you have a routine?
When I sit down to draw, I start by arranging my desk. The only things that I leave on it in between drawing sessions are knick-knacks. As a result, I need to start by putting out the paper I’m drawing on, my script, my scratch pad, and any previously drawn pages that I want to use as references. I usually also have my tablet set up so I can listen to podcasts while I draw.
Do you have a set work space? Where?
I have a studio space set up in my living room with a drafting table and a few side tables for completed pages, reference books, and whatever else I might want to have handy. I also draw in public (frequently at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton) on a regular basis, so I have a portable art board for that.
Do you listen to music when you work? Other background noise?
I can only listen to music if I’m writing, but when I’m drawing I prefer podcasts or something on Netflix that I don’t need to pay a ton of visual attention to.
Getting my work in front of people who can make decisions at publishers. That’s always the toughest step, I think. Self-publishing is more lucrative than ever, fortunately.
If you had to pick one comic as a favourite, what would it be?
I change my mind on this constantly. It’s whatever the thing I’m really enamoured with at the time you talk to me is. I just picked up a Drinky Crow collection that I’m quite excited to read. Saga, Atomic Robo, and the Burnham/Schoening run on Ghostbusters, and 2000 AD stuff are all recurring mentions in that category.
What is the natural talent you’d like to be gifted with and why
You know those people who can talk their way into pretty much whatever they want? Yeah, that.
What three words would you use to describe your work?
Ridiculous. Funny. Punching.
Future projects you are working on/would like to work on
I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’d love to be working on. Right now I’m splitting time between the third Hockeypocalypse book and the sequel to Redcoats-ish: Jeff Martin’s War of 1812. I’d like to do a World War 1 book in the future, and I have a bunch of other ideas I’d like to do something with in the next few years.
You are stranded on a desert island, you must have:
Which 3 comics?
ONLY 3? YOU MONSTER.
Which 3 albums?
“Violent by Design” by Jedi Mind Tricks
“… Of Conquest” by Scythia
“The Torture Papers” by Army of the Pharaohs
Which 3 television shows?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia