Now what do the following four options have in common: (1) The King of the Seven Sea, Aquaman. (2) The Tom Waits song, 'Earth Dies Screaming'. (3) The webcomic, 'Crooks and Nannies'. And (4) The freedom to edit your own work. HUH? What's that you say? You don't know? Oh! OK then. I can relate. My artist pal, Jim Calafiore, doesn't know either. Yeah. I said 'Jim Calafiore'. That Jim Calafiore. Please check out this conversation I had with Jim only the other day, whilst drawing a picture of nothingness in space.

Forbidden planet

Aquaman 1) What was your pre-comic book career path, Jim? Plus what was your first published gig for one of the ‘Big Two’?   Pre-comic book, I went to art school, and after that for several years worked in graphic design at various ad agencies. I'm sorry to say that this was un-fulfilling work, which is why I tried my best to get into comic books.

My first published work was for Caliber Press sometime in 1989 or 1990. But my first work for the big two was right after a stint at Valiant. It was for 'Force Works' at Marvel -- I think -- though I might've done a fill-in for 'Aquaman' at DC before that.

2) How was it working with Gail Simone again on the graphic novel, ‘Leaving Megalopolis’? Plus what’s the biggest difference with working with her on this project, compared to the ‘Secret Six’   It's always great working with Gail; she's such a fun writer. And as opposed to 'Secret Six', we get to go a little wilder than we could at DC. Plus, it's all ours -- different pressures and rewards.

Secret Six
3) Could you give us a brief run-down on this story please? Plus how this project initially came about between you and Gail?   A lot of fans come up to both Gail and I at shows and conventions, still upset over the cancellation of 'Secret Six'. So a few months ago, I suggested to Gail that we should try something through Kickstarter (a crowd-funding website I had recently become aware of). She said sure, and sent me a couple ideas. 'Leaving Megalopolis' was the one I took to right away. We put the project up on Kickstarter, and it was successfully funded (very successfully).

'Leaving Megalopolis' a survival horror story in our own superhero universe, set in the city of Megalopolis, the "safest city anywhere" thanks to it's superheroes. Or at least it was, until a major event (which I won't reveal here) effected all the superheroes, turning them into crazed homicidal lunatics.

Our main characters are a group of humans that are trying to just get the hell out of town without dying.

4) If this novel was a piece of music, what would it be and why?   Something Harsh and nasty, just because it is. Probably something 90's industrial. 'KMFDM'? Or maybe just go a different direction; Tom Waits 'Earth Died Screaming' on a continuous loop.

5) I love your weekly online comic-strip, ‘Crooks and Nannies’. What made you come up with this strip? And what do you like about it the most ?   Crooks & Nannies is just a way for me to get all these little gags out of my head. The web's allowed a lot of people to do that, and that's the best thing about it.

I'm saying what I want to say without anyone "editing" me, but me. It's very free.

Crooks and Nannie

6) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books today?   I qualify that question to mean the first comic book I bought for myself as a kid, (as opposed to someone giving me a comic book), and that was 'Hulk 127'. He was -- and still is -- my favorite character (even if I don't read him now). But I do read mainstream books still, though a lot less than when I was younger. I catch up like a lot of people reading trades.

7) In your own words could you explain your up and coming project, ‘Apex’? Plus what are your aspirations for this apocalyptic tale?   APEX is about the ultimate hero (my universe's Captain America or Superman), looked up to, and revered as the perfect hero. But he's having a crisis of mission. He's tired, and feeling distanced from the world that has distanced itself from him. Being on a pedestal is a lonely place. It's looking at that personal crisis while a sweeping threat to the heroes in general emerges.

My aspirations are to just do something I want to do. Succeed or fail, it's all me. And I wanted to examine superhero mythos; open it up and even poke a little fun at it.

8) What piece of advice would you give to someone else trying to break into the comic book industry?   Just keep working at the craft and get in. There's so many ways now. Webcomics, Kickstarter, etc. It's a great time to work on a personal project.

Perfectly put, Jim. I couldn't have said it better myself. So what are you waiting for, dear reader? Check out jimcalafiore.com today. Go on! Scram. Or else Gail Simone won't strip and dance the Lambada for you. 

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