Q and A

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What was your first experience with comic books (or comic book culture) and how do those early memories influence your current interests and role at Albatross today?

JEFF

I had an on and off again love affair with comics when I was younger. Like most youths I liked comic book characters, but more the idea of them rather than their published work. It wasn’t until the Ninja Turtle craze that I started to get comics on a regular basis from the Cub Foods grocery store in the next town over. Whenever I had a dollar I would get a 99 cent comic to which Dad would constantly state, “There is sales tax. This isn’t enough.” My blank stare would usually be my only response. Dad, however, did get the last laugh when he felt after a time that these comics were not the best influence on a young budding country kid and stopped paying my sales tax (i.e. stopped letting me buy them altogether). So, from elementary school all the way to 7th grade I did not get any comics. Until…

I became friends with a fella by the name of Chris Graunke who rekindled my love for comics as well as matured my tastes from TMNT and Archie books to Hulk and X-Men at Marvel. I then found myself at Cub Foods looking at their limited comic selection again while Father did the shopping as a parent should. Paging through I noticed one clear thing — I had missed a lot over the past few years. I skipped a good piece of the comic book boom of the 90’s, and I felt a little cheated.

When the old man finally came to get me, I looked him in the eyes like a man and told him how it was gonna be. “So…ummm…you think I could get these?”

As he took Incredible Hulk 451 and a Hulk/Pitt crossover from my hands to look them over, he replied will a slow drawn out “…Sure. You have cash for them?” I dug deep into my bag of tricks and pulled out the old sales tax blank stare, putting my all into it because I didn’t have any money this time. Not sure if it worked or Dad just really wanted to get the Hell out of the store, but I got them. For free. From my Dad.

It’s been years of comics and fun since then with Chris, then Nolan in college and Moose and Ayla in the years since school. I’m really happy that we have been able to come together and pool our love for this craft into what is now Albatross Comics. My hope is that someday a young boy will want one of our issues from a grocery store…because I put it there.

 Nolan

I think my experience with comics is quite standard. My interest in comics began as a kid but unfortunately they were relatively too expensive for me to afford. So, I would usually end up with one book a month and I would read the poop out of that one book. I consider myself to be a self-taught artist because I would take my favorite page from each comic and draw it over and over until I was able to recreate it from memory. This has definitely made an impact as one of Albatross’ artists today.

Chris

My first experience with comic books that I can remember, or better stated, that I remember the clearest, as it gets all a bit mish-mashed on a jumbled timeline the further back I try to remember, I believe was a set of three issues of G.I. Joe when it was published by Marvel. I believe it was purchased in a set of three at Pamida by my oldest brother on a summer vacation at my Grandma’s house. I remember liking G.I. Joe at the time, probably because my brothers and cousin liked it (I eventually transitioned into a Ninja Turtle kid). Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and the B.A.T. Troopers were probably my favorite. I watched the cartoons. I had some action figures of my own. Great battles were won and lost in the basement and on the stairs and in the potted plants throughout the house. I eventually got my hands on those comic books, and wow, that was a whole different experience from what I was used to.

The story arc introduced the SAW Viper, he smoked cigars and wore purple body armor. This guy was a bad guy. He was something new. He meant business. I remember in those pages he killed one of the Joes, and that was a pretty big deal for me. He didn’t fire a corkscrew arcing missile only to have the Joe eject from the plane before explosion. He mowed ‘em down with a big ass machine gun and an evil grin. That was pretty big. And a couple panels earlier that doomed Joe ran headlong to his death, throwing his dog tags to his buddy before his sacrifice. That was pretty big too.

This comic book upped the ante. The drawings were cooler than the animation. The heroism was grander. The villains were more cut-throat. The stakes were higher. The story continued and each issue did not end with me knowing that knowing was half the battle, it ended with me not knowing what would come next.

The comic book took a format and idea that I already liked and notched it up to a whole ‘nother level. That’s probably what I take from that experience and try to bring to my role in Albatross…I also still like ninjas and robots.

 Moose

First of all, I grew up in the middle of nowhere.  Seriously.  And when I was young, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  We often went to visit my aunt and uncle in a suburb of Saint Paul, MN.  One day while we were there, we went to a grocery store and as usual I wandered off (the man with the candy and trench coat is a different story).  I found myself next to the magazines and there on the bottom shelf were some books with amazing covers.  One of the books was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and goddamn I had to have it.  Goddamn I had to have it!  My mom bought it for me and I read the hell out of that book.  I didn’t know what an Eastman and a Laird were, but I knew I loved that book.  It was a greasy, tattered wreck after the number of times I flipped through it.  Just wrecked.

Today, I have much better access to books.  I know who artists are.  I know who writers are.  I know where the man with the candy and trench coat is.  I wash my greasy hands.  But I still see some covers, flip through some books, read a dust jacket, and goddamn I have to have it.  Goddamn I have to have it!  The guys at Albatross have done and are doing some amazing work.  We all get bogged down with life, so the creative work we do sometimes slips.  Sometimes it doesn’t get done.  We all need that irritating little voice pushing for results and creating deadlines.  That’s my role.  I help push the creation process so we can produce great books.  Because when it’s good, goddamn I have to have it.

Guilty Conscience

This is the debut comic from Alba­tross enter­tain­ment. A one shot detec­tive story.