Walking Man Comics Now if music be the food of love, what does that make art then? The food of passion? The food of thought? Or the food of focus? Moreover, if the art in question is of the 'stamped' variety', how are you able to re-classify this definition? Maybe my creative pal, Matt, can tell me. Because I did have a great conversation with him the other day about his great web-comic, 'Walking Man Comics', whilst defining pie with ale and some chutney.

New logo with all kinds of size

1) What are your own origins Matt? And when did you first realize that you wanted to create your own web-comic?   I remember making four-panel comic strips featuring our dogs when I was six or seven years old. Before then, and after, my Uncle Sidney would visit us for Sunday breakfast, after which he’d read me the Sunday comics, especially “Pogo” which he would patiently explain to me. Twenty years later, working in a comics store, I was introduced to mini-comics made by other employees, and by Matt Feazel, Scott McCloud, and others. When we bought our first computer, (maybe another ten years later still), and scanner, and joined Facebook, there was the opportunity to post my comics on-line.

2) What inspired you to create ‘Walking Man Comics’?   Cindy showed me how she showed movement using rubber-stamped images -- like a grass-hopper jumping. I drew three panels around her ‘drawing’ and suddenly discovered I could illustrate my own comics. I’d written two or three mini-comics for other people, who could draw, but my scripts were not too terrific, and the artists not terrifically reliable regarding finishing things. I’d carved a figure from an eraser, a man walking, and now I had a way to make up comics, myself.

Pogo Possum
3) In your own words how would you describe your series of publications? Plus why did you choose to present it on a facebook platform?   …Innovative, original, unique; as good as one of a kind, seeking to provide beauty, brevity, wit, and grace dealing with life, death, after-death, politics and other religions, faith, magic, music, the nature of Nature, and a continuous experimentation in page design. I’ve two primary, on-going series, (both now on a Very Relaxed schedule), “Musicomics” and “WM Special Presents”, the first illustrating songs I've written, the second dealing with life on a more prosaic level -- both with 60+ issues.

I’ll also add the word “persistent” to the description of WM Comics. For ten years and a month, I published a mini-comic monthly, usually alternating between “Musicomics” and “Specials.” And after about 20 years, my current project is reworking the 25-issue ‘Walking Man Comics” series, for on-line publication by -- maybe -- summer 2013.

When I first looked into other possible on-line sites, they seemed not geared to a “page format” and it was difficult to find attention. When I came across Facebook, there was the platform readily available, with a kind of automatic outreach built in. Since then, I’ve not felt much need (ignorance, doubtless) for ‘a site of my own’.

4) What song would you say best represents your comic and why?   James Taylor’s “Walking Man” for reasons I hope are obvious; IIRC, he’s even got a line that says, “and the walking man walks…”

If you mean which of my songs -- I’ve decided “Musicomics” #4, “Rainy Day” best represents my stuff, as it’s short, no extra words; I’ve used the panels specifically, here to suggest window panes; and play with effects, enlarging/reducing the size of the rain drop image to create more depth to an illustration. And, it’s a really pretty song…

Walking Man Comics
5) To me your style of illustration reminds of me art you’d find on ceramics or ancient wares. Is this a deliberate style choice? And what is it about this type of art you like so much?   I don’t have much choice of style, limited to whatever stamps are available: and then that’s limited to what’s available AND for which I can get written permission for “electronic reproduction” (includes photocopies). What I like so much about rubber-stamped art is that it puts “art” into the hands of everyone—I don’t need to be “able to draw” to make comics (and hey, as Matt Feazell’s proven, when one’s witty, stick-figures work really well, too!).

6) If you could assign a smell to your work, what odor would it be and again why?   Sage -- specifically purple Russian sage -- because it is a calming, soothing, deep, chest-filling smell and grows right outside my door.

7) Your writing style is obviously lyrical, Matt? Which I like a lot. But do you have a strong music background yourself? Singing? Playing an instrument?   Once upon a time before seatbelts, I was 'Going to Be a Singer', and then I hit a tree with a car and my throat on the steering wheel, and have been recovering a voice ever since. My parents were very big into music, my father -- an at-home pianist -- and my sister and I grew up with hours of music every Sunday morning, Fitzgerald and Armstrong, Goodman and Krupa, Lerner and Lowe, Rogers and Hammerstein, Beethoven and Sinatra. My sister brought rock and roll into the house, and I first followed the pop guys (I will not here admit ‘who’) and then the folkies and psychedelicals. After the car accident I took up guitar; have blues harps and drums and keyboards, which I play to varying successes. And lots and lots of CDs. And now I have a camera in the computer which’ll record my (ahem) singing, and provides an opportunity to add the lyrics to the video, and put them out to view on Facebook & You-Tube.

Identity War - DC / Marvel
8) How to do you feel about mainstream comic books? And do follow any of the current wares?   OK, I have just counted 33 comics titles on my top-ten must have list, although several, like Fell, Castle Waiting and Next Wave are irregularly published… A quick count finds 5 from DC &/or Vertigo, 1 from Marvel, the rest Dark Horse, Image, Oni, and Other. And, uh, well, then there’re the other 30 or so titles in the Still Maintaining an Interest list, perhaps a dozen new DC, some each Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, another Marvel, and a bunch more Other. So, a conclusion: mainstream comic books have to be particularly well written and illustrated to keep up with my choices of particularly well written and illustrated non-mainstream titles.

I sum up my discrimination between Marvel and DC by suggesting interested parties compare the companies’ Previews ads: not all DC’s characters look noble, smiling, but 99.98% of Marvel’s are snarling unhappy-looking people, and I’m very tired of people like that.

9) During your time in this creative field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Compulsion. I once tried to stop writing songs and that lasted less than a year. I have enjoyed slowing down production of comics… but… I feel bad when I’m not creative-working; feel worth/less. Sometimes comics ideas just sort of come along, or some of the anthologies I place work with -- Oh, Comics!, Banzai, Trees & Hills Anthologies -- come up with an irresistible challenge and I’m happily back to work.

People can see a lot of my work by visiting Facebook, looking for me under my name, for my comics under Walking Man Comics, and for my songs, often the songs illustrated in “Musicomics”, under Walking Man Songs.

Well, you heard the man dear reader. Go ahead. Click on the links provided or you can email Matt at walkingmancomics@comcast.net for more information. Trust me, it would open your world to a new type of tale. 

WALKING MAN COMICS - MUSIC FOR THE EYES WALKING MAN COMICS - MUSIC FOR THE EYES Reviewed by David Andrews on September 23, 2012 Rating: 5
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