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CHECKERS' ASYLUM - CLOWNING WITH COMIC BOOKS

Checkers’ AsylumNow, depending on your perspective, do you think that most clowns are crazy, or do you think that most clowns are fun? So go on, tell me which one you are? Crazy or fun? Or better yet, heroic? Just like the clown featured in the following graphic novel created by my mate, Jarrod Elvin. Want to know more? Then please check this out...





1) What are your own origins, Jarrod?   I was born and raised in Canberra (the Australian Capital Territory) and I lived in the US for a brief time during my childhood. While there, I visited Disneyland, Disney World, the Epcot Center, and the Magic Kingdom, which I believe inspired me to take up drawing on a regular basis. In fact, it inspired me so much, that when I went back to Canberra again, everything felt quite dull in comparison (to me, it was a place of Politicians and Public Service, neither of which I was interested in). So I sunk into my imagination and spent my time drawing and making stories.

Checkers’ Asylum
2) What inspired you to create, ‘Checkers’ Asylum’?   For a long time, I had this idea of an insane superhero living (or trapped) in a dark place, but I had no real storyline apart from that. I liked the idea of having bright and colorful cartoons juxtaposed against the dark and gritty atmosphere of reality. I also had an idea of a twisted artist that made his art from the bodies of his murder victims. All these ideas were separate, but I brought them all together (and others, which I won’t reveal due to spoilers), tweaked them a little, and made a story from it.

Now, where my media inspirations are concerned, 'Checkers’ Asylum' primarily came from the movies Se7en, The Crow, and Cool World, along with the artistic style of the Spawn comics.

3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   It's a dark, zany, and tragically insane story about a superhero who fights cartoon hallucinations within a gritty, urban, and dark environment, with the intent of tracking down a macabre serial killer. In his mind, Checkers believes he is a superhero, or he desperately wants to be one, despite not having any powers, big muscles, or tight-fitting spandex. It is based in a reality where superpowers and superheroes don’t exist, so it’s not really so much a superhero comic, more of a psychological thriller.

Checkers’ Asylum4) What song would you say best represents this graphic novel and why?   Ooh, now that was a tough one to answer! Although, after some much-needed deliberation, I did manage to narrow it down to alternative music produced in the 90s, like Marilyn Manson, NIN, and so on (for that dark and gritty feel, often accompanied by a similar music video), only to arrive at ‘Forty Six and 2’ by Tool. Not only because of the 'moody atmosphere' that accompanies the music, but in addition to this, I also think the lyrics lend themselves to the story 'Checkers’ Asylum' is trying to tell. After all, in a vague sense, they do speak of crawling through oneself in order to reveal a greater truth (yet I could be wrong).




5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Well, Dwayne Johnson would be just great for promotion, because everyone loves The Rock. But in all fairness, I think Tim Burton or Marilyn Manson would be better suited to promoting my book for fairly obvious reasons.

Checkers’ Asylum
6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor?   This was my first graphic novel, so I must have learned a lot from it, even though I might be too ignorant to acknowledge that fact, ha! Seriously though, I learned that it is completely possible to create a full-color graphic novel (all by myself), and that comic books are a great medium to tell a story with full creative control!

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   I think my love and passion for it has kept me going. Even at times when that fades, I think to myself, ‘Well, what the hell would I rather be doing with my life?!’. As I don’t see myself being happy doing anything else.

8) If ‘Checkers’ Asylum’ had a motto, what would it be?   Well, the tagline on the book states: ‘He’s not your average superhero… but who is these days?’. However, I now think that's a bit too vague, so perhaps something along the lines of, ‘Insanity is just a matter of perception’!

And on that note, I'd like to thank Jarrod for telling us about his graphic novel, 'Checkers’ Asylum', before encouraging you to have a look at his website, facebook and instagram pages. Or better yet, why not pick up a copy via comixology.

CHECKERS' ASYLUM - CLOWNING WITH COMIC BOOKS CHECKERS' ASYLUM -  CLOWNING WITH COMIC BOOKS Reviewed by David Andrews on March 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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