Animal Planet’s “Monster Week” begins today, and AiPT! Science has decided to join in on the fun, with a slightly more skeptical viewpoint. Click the “MW2018” tag down below for more, all week!
“Monster Week” makes for a great time to celebrate all types of monsters — literary, film, folklore and pop culture in every form — and not get funny looks like you might the rest of the year. Sometimes when dealing with monsters, things get a bit freaky.
Really freaky. And when it does, “Who ya gonna call?” No, not those guys. Nobody knows “freaky” better than cosmic comic book creator and amazing artist Andrew Pawley. From paper monsters and his trippy GalaXafreaks comics, to his new kick-ass Cthulhu Kids, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, we gear up for “Monster Week” with the illustrator that is worthy of his own mythical legends.
AiPT!: We have so much to discuss, but I obviously have to ask the basics because we’re dying to know — when and how did you first discover your artistic talents? How long have you been making comics?
Pawley: I’ve always drawn. And I’ve always drawn comics! I can remember copying characters out a British comic called The Beano when I was pre-school. Growing up I was fortunate to have parents who didn’t force me into an academic mould (I was a very lazy student!), but encouraged me to follow my interests.
AiPT!: Where did your love for sci-fi come from? What are some of your favorites of the sci-fi realm?
Pawley: Again, it’s family thing. My older brother turned me on to so much when I was [an] adolescent, including reading/movies and of course music! Sci-fi is by far my favorite genre. Favorites? A few key moments would be finding Secret Wars #1 at my local newsagents when I was about 8-years-old! That blew me away! I was also very lucky to grow up at the same time as that great flourishing of “mature readers” comics. I started with [Alan] Moore’s Swamp Thing and grew along with Watchmen, Dark Knight, Arkham Asylum and all that great first generation Vertigo stuff. Was a great era!
As for films, of course classics like Alien and Star Wars, but also weirder numbers like Delicatessen are really cool.
Too many books to mention but I’m really enjoying The Broken Earth trilogy at the moment.
AiPT!: One of the largest and most dynamic characters of yours is named Captain Yeah! and he’s had some crazy and awesome adventures. It’s no cosmic mystery that your self-described “freaky” artistic style is heavily influenced by The Flaming Lips. Can you talk a little about their impact on your style, Captain Yeah! and other influences that have helped to shape your skills?
Pawley: The Lips are a massive influence on me for a number of reasons. The music is incredibly visual and the themes of intergalactic cosmic reality and the existential crisis of existence run through all my work. [Frontman] Wayne Coyne’s visual art is also totally far out and he is always breaking boundaries. But the biggest way they influence me is the “can do” attitude. If a few weirdo bums from Oklahoma City can make it, why can’t I? They preach a philosophy of “just give it your best shot,” and that comes me up!
Another big influence of mine is the San Francisco underground scene, specifically the work of R. Crumb and Victor Moscoso. I kind of try to imagine what these guys would create on a Wacom!
AiPT!: You do more than just illustrate and make comic books. How did you get into making paper toys and animations?
Pawley: Well, the biggest factor is that I don’t watch TV at all. So I like to make my own entertainment! I’m starting to knock on a bit now and when I was at Art College, Photoshop, etc. wasn’t available, so I had to teach myself. The animations and 3D modelling is an extension of that idea. I was producing art for various bands and animation came as a natural progression. It’s great fun and of course extended my skills set for when I have to produce Kickstarter videos and the like.
AiPT!: Your new Kickstarter campaign with super cool writer Peter Duncan, Cthulhu Kids, is 90% funded with 19 days still to go! That’s pretty amazing! This comic pays some serious homage to the Lovecraftian Mythos and features the children of the traditional Lovecraft entities. Can you give us a glimpse into the kind of world that is set up for these naughty little creatures?
Pawley: The premise of the comic is based around the question: “What would a Lovecraftian school for naughty offspring of Mythos characters look like?” The story takes place mostly at The Miskatonic Academy for Outer Entities — the most exclusive school in the multiverse for the children of Elder Things and Outer Gods!
Peter, the writer, is a keen Mythos fan, and I’ve always loved Lovecraft so it was great to team up on this project. It’s very much homage not only to Lovecraft but also the anarchic school kid comics of our youth, where the kids always get one over on the teacher.
Issue #1 is a set of short stories where Kid Cthulhu, Sydney Shoggoth and the rest of the gang get up to a whole heap of trouble. My favorite story is called “The King In Yellow,” and [it] tells the story of Teach and his awful class of kids trying to put on a play of that Mythos classic, but [they] accidentally send the whole audience insane!
AiPT!: Were there any major differences or challenges in illustrating Lovecraft Mythos [rather] than your own psychedelic characters?
Pawley: Yes! I’m very much of the mind to keep evolving my style and approach each project with a suitable artistic response. Before working on this comic, Peter and I created a couple short strips for his excellent comic anthology “Splank!” These shorts were much more in the GalaXafreaks vein, but I wasn’t convinced they worked as well as they could. This time around, the drawing is a lot more in flow with the narrative, and that allows me to pay attention to facial expressions and visual gags.
AiPT!: This isn’t your first run-in with monsters. Would you consider yourself a monster enthusiast?
Pawley: Hell yeah! I love pop culture and I love monsters. Fifties Hollywood monsters are the best! Campier the better.
AiPT!: The UK is known for having some of the biggest “monsters” of all time. It’s the backdrop for vampires and werewolves, one of the most hilarious zombie movies of all time, and even a ghostly sasquatch was recently reported. Do these types of creatures ever stand a chance at making it into Andrew Pawley’s amazing wormhole universe?
Pawley: That would be great, wouldn’t it? Peter and I are working out a story where the Cthulhu Kids play some sort of gross sport and play inter-school leagues with characters like Norse Gods and classic monsters.
AiPT!: You seem to really love pizza alongside your cosmic reality. Do you think the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot would like pizza more? Could either of them like pizza more than you?
Pawley: I’d put my money on Bigfoot being the biggest pizza lover. However, I’d love to share one with either, so long as I get the last slice!
Fifties monsters, The Flaming Lips, Norse Gods, pizza with Bigfoot and Nessie? Andrew Pawley is pretty much a mythical creature in his own right. While I’m not sure I would dare to take that last slice from Bigfoot, I am definitely sure you should check out Andrew’s kick-ass art in general and the Cthulhu Kids Kickstarter in particular. There are many levels to pledge at various amounts, with tons of groovy backer-only surprises along the way! Yes, he will make you a Lovecraftian character, hand paint you a cute little Cuthie, or send you instructions on how to make your very own paper characters! What’s not to love?