“The Outside Talk”

Has anyone else noticed how little Hawk has the ability to pick up on social cues? Steve is obviously feeling a bit rejected when Hawk forces him into this threeway date with Girl. And who could blame him? Hawk is smitten, but Girl is noticeably aloof and a zombie hunter.

I was recently speaking with Jason Brubaker (creator of reMIND and Sithrah) about my comic. He asked me a very important question:

What makes your story different? What makes it worthy of printing as a graphic novel?

I have been thinking a lot about this. I think that my story is different because it is definitely presenting the old school buddy comedy in a very different way. When I was 15 I was heavily influenced by the work of Kevin Smith. At that point he had only made three movies – Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy.

As a 15 year old living in small town on the east coast I instantly became smitten. Amongst the raunchy jokes and the comic references were very smart stories about relationships. Dante and Randall, Brodie and T.S.,  and Holden and Banky were these templates that helped be understand my own relationships with other men. I was raised by a generation of men that kept their mouth shut about the way men should relate to other men. Smith helped me understand, in a very simple way, that I could have a complicated relationship to other men and that could actually be channeled into art.

My early days of storywriting always dealt with relationships. Actually, as long as I remember, I have always liked watching the part of TV shows where the relationships were being given character. I hated plots, as they were always predictable, but those moments where characters were bored and would ask each other questions that revealed who they were as whole people – that’s the stuff I always enjoyed. In a lot of ways Hipster Picnic is a monument to my love for the relationship driven drama/comedy genre.

What makes Hipster Picnic different from the dramedies that have influenced me? I spent a lot of years being derivative of the fiction I consumed. I wanted that hit of a comic, so I felt it had to be Clerks. What I didn’t understand back then, that I do now, is that I can never make Clerks because that is a movie about Kevin Smith’s life – not mine. I can only create a story that rings true because it is peppered with my life.

I am 31 now and I have actually lived a bit. I have traveled and lived on different sides of the world. I have been touched by really important relationships. At 15 I could not have known how important those simple relationships were, and now I do. Even more importantly, I know which parts of those relationships are the most important and because of that I have a story to tell.

That is a long way of answering Jason’s question. The short answer: This is a story that needs to be told because it is my story.

In the next couple of months I will work on better answers to that question. I will talk about my other influences. Do you have a question for me? Throw it in the comments! I would love to hear it.

Song for the post:

“The Only Living Boy In New York” by Simon & Garfunkel