While at Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, I had the pleasure to chat briefly with Roger Langridge, creator of Fred the Clown and the Eisner Award-winning Snarked!
I spoke with the former Muppet Show cartoonist about his current projects -- a return to BOOM! Studios with The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow and his creator-owned Abigail and the Snowman -- what he likes about SPX, and what awesome comics he found at show. He came up with a doozie!
Brigid Alverson: Why are you here at SPX?
Roger Langridge: SPX is the first American convention I ever came to, in 2000.
What book were you debuting there?
I wasn't! I was in the country with my wife, and we were visiting New York together, and we thought we would work in a trip to SPX while we were here. We came just to see it and to check it out and see what it was like. I was at that point working on Fred the Clown as a webcomic, and I showed it around to a few people, and it really fired me up to do self-publishing. The next year I was planning to debut Fred the Clown at SPX 2001, and of course that's the one that was canceled because of 9/11. But that got me self-publishing, which is pretty much why I have a career today, I think.
Are you still self-publishing?
I'm doing a little bit of self-publishing. I've got a couple of minicomics, nothing substantial, really.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished working on The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow for Archaia. That's an adaptation of a Jim Henson screenplay, and it's coming out next month. I've just started working on a comic of my own, called Abigail and the Snowman, for BOOM! Studios, and it's a four-issue series that's gong to be collected into a book when it's finished. It's about a girl who makes friends with a yeti — she meets a yeti in the park.
It's an all-ages book?
Yes, that's right. That seems to be where my audience is these days.
Is your self-published work more adult-oriented?
I guess so. My kids like it — there's no swearing or nudity in it. There are things that go over their heads.
That's the sort of thing I liked to read as a kid — adult books, even though I didn't get some things.
I think if you read things by Carl Barks, which are ostensibly for children, there are layers to it that I get now as an adult that totally went over my head as a child.
So what are you psyched about at the show? Are you looking for any comics?
I had a walk around before the doors opened, and I have seen a few things I would like to get. Pikitia Press at the moment has a collection by a New Zealand cartoonist whose work I've always liked; his name is Barry Linton. The collection is Lucky Aki. Barry is kind of a legend in New Zealand cartoonist's circles; he's an inspirational figure. It's been very difficult to get him to actually agree to get anything published for years, and Matt Emery, who is the publisher of Pikitia Press, managed to convince him. He's got not only this but he's got a second volume of this coming out, and a collection of some of his older stuff.
Is this something you read as a kid?
Not so much as a kid but when I was in my late teens, early 20s, when I was in New Zealand and trying to get myself known a little bit. I picked up every zine and locally published comic I could find, and Barry was a big, big presence in those. Like I say, he's an inspirational figure. I suppose he's our Robert Crumb. The stuff I am familiar with is quite sexy, very grounded in the environment—it had that New Zealand, South Pacific feel to it — and beautifully drawn.