On my journey to get interviews I stumbled upon an old buddy of mine (Troy!), and next to him was some weird creepy dude who enjoyed drawing and writing some weird creepy stuff. Shockingly he was a really nice guy considering his creepiness! But I took the plunge and bought his series NoWhere and the first issue of Wayward! The series are awesome and he is the artist and writer of these two series, from The Simon Corporation..I give you…JSB!
So tell me about The Simon Corporation.
The Simon Corporation is a handle I work under when I started putting myself out there and doing shows, I felt like if I had a sign that said “The art of JSB,” people would be like “Well who the hell is JSB?” So if I had something more official sounding, it would help me promote myself a little better.
It is actually a reference to a movie called Session 9, it’s and an old weird horror film with David Caruso, it takes place in an abandoned mental asylum and it is just a vague horror movie reference.
Was horror your first genre you went with?
So I did little kid comics back in the day when I was in middle school. But once I started doing it really seriously, I was writing a lot of horror stories. So, horror has always been my real thing.
How did you get into Horror?
I grew up reading ghost stories, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was like my Bible, I watched a lot of horror movies when I was a kid. I’ve just always been into scary horror stuff.
Which book is the hottest book right now and tell me about it!
Probably, Nowhere because it’s the book I’m currently working on, it’s this fantasy horror story, I saw a lot of people redoing Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland in Goth or Spooky or Sexy, probably because it is public domain. I kept seeing Wonderland stuff and I like that genre of going to a fantasy world its own rules. But I didn’t want to do it with somebody else’s idea. I wanted to do my own take on Neverland, Wonderland, Oz fantasy story.
Nowhere is about a girl who’s dream world is starting to become real, I’ve done six issues so far and its starting to get a bit more surreal as it goes on.
Dreams starting to come into the real world, theres an undertone with talking about tragedy and loss that’s going to start permeating in, what if your dreams started to become self aware and tried to inflict themselves onto the real world.
How did you prepare for Nowhere?
I had the idea cooking in my head for a long time, years actually, so when I’m working on one story, I’m already kind of thinking of the next one. The hardest part with Nowhere was trying to come up with the right art style that needed to fit the narrative. I have to learn how to redraw, with each story that I do. I was really influenced by Fiona Staples artwork in Saga, its colorful and more clean than what I’m used too. I guess, the hardest part was stepping out of my comfort zone artistically.
How did you figure out that this art style fit this narrative?
I don’t know if its a conscious decision, it just feels right with this book. I’ve been doing a lot of really dark messy, kind of scratchy, I feel like if I did something cleaner, I’ve never done that before, so I liked the challenge aspect of it.
Do you have any other artists you like to pull from besides Fiona Staples?
Ben Templesmith and Ashley A. Woods, they really changed my life, that’s when I discovered that comic books didn’t have to look like comic books. Jhonen Vasquez, way different than the other two but it’s dark, Roman Dirge is another guy.
That kind of happened because before I got into comics, I used to right story stories and I came up with this idea for Wayward and felt like, I couldn’t do it justice if it was a written story, so I said “I have to learn how to draw again” and kind of get back on the bike and started drawing again and I just kind of re fell in love with art.
So what do you have planned coming up?
I have this pattern that I do a comic for print and then I do a comic for the web, if you go to my website The Simon Corporation you can see my webcomics on there. I just started a series called N’Albany, it’s basically about ghost stories in a weird town, after I’m done with that I’ll probably get back into Nowhere.
Is there any advice you want to give everybody on how to get started?
Don’t make the mistakes I made! (laughs), the best advice I can give someone, it’s not helpful but just make a comic, figure it out, screw it up and learn from your mistakes, hit every branch on the way down. The only way to learn how to do it…is just to do it.
Thanks JSB for sitting down and talking with me…he was a creepy nice guy!
You can get JSB stuff here!: The Simon Store