K. Thor Jensen Chats With SBC

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2000
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of K. Thor Jensen Chats With SBC

So, anyway, I was asking around, trying to find something new and worthwhile in the world of small press to read. she said to me I picked up K. Thor Jensen's Gag Reflex at SPX and really liked it. I took her advice and sure enough Thor does some nice work. I decided to ask a few questions....

Darren Schroeder: What is your full name?
K. Thor Jensen. The K stands for something secret.

DS: Age?

KTJ: 23

DS: Favourite web site?

KTJ: www.portalofevil.com

DS: Were comics a big part of your childhood or did you discover them at a later stage?

KTJ: Big big part, I was named after the Marvel Comics character. I still have the issue of The Mighty Thor that was on the stands when I was born, my Dad saved it for posterity. Comics are in my blood.

DS: Was/is art an important part of your education?

KTJ: I don't have any formal art training, a fact that is constantly upsetting to me. The visual aspect of my comics is the thing that I am most consistently disappointed with and working to correct or hide.

DS: What was the first comic you published yourself and how did that come about?

KTJ: I had gone to a signing at Fallout, Seattle's best comics shop. Jim Woodring, Pete Bagge, Julie Doucet, Mary Fleener. I got to thinking about mini comics that night. The first issue of Posthumous Warnings was drawn that very night, xeroxed the next day. I was 16.

DS: Where did the title come from?

KTJ: Honestly, I don't know. I think it's just two words that I liked that went together somewhat ironically. I liked the connotations of being warned about something after you were already dead. I was still reading a lot of Vertigo crap back then so there was an element of pretentiousness to it as well.

DS: Was there much interest in your early comics from the other kids at your high school?

KTJ: Not at the start but by the last few issues (#14 which had a color cover,#15 which was the last one) I had established a little fan coterie and wasselling about 100 copies to my classmates.

DS: Is there any common theme to your work?

KTJ:Mistakes. I like writing about good people who do bad things, whether by intent or accident. My autobiographical comics usually follow that theme as well, except I'm not good people.

DS: What is the worst mistake you have made?

KTJ: I'm not going to answer this question; there's too many.

DS: Do you think people have the freedom to choose to be good or bad people?

KTJ: Yes. Uh, yes. I'm no Calvinist.

DS: How did you distribute your comics?

KTJ: Badly. Some stores carried them but I blew off sending them to distributors or whatever (I was only in my teens and knew no better).

DS: What is the worst experience you have had with printers/photocopiers?

KTJ: Photocopying comics sucks, especially when you're doing the 64-page giants that I was in high school. I used to be too poor to actually pay for the copies so I'd make about 1000 copies, tuck them into my pack and dash like a maniac from the copy shop. Once a guy chased me nearly a mile through Seattle's industrial district.

DS: So comics are worth risking trouble with the law for?

KTJ: Yes yes yes yes! Or at least if you're a 17-year-old with little respect for personal property. I'm a bit slower now so I don't know if I'd try that anymore.

DS: What materials and equipment do you use when drawing your comics?

KTJ: I've progressed from sharpies on note paper to all sorts of crap. It really depends on the work; I'm still enjoying experimenting with lots of different tools.

DS: Who do you see as the target audience for your work?

KTJ: People who like to read and my immediate family.

DS: What comics have you read recently? Why did you like/dislike them?

KTJ: I'm reading a lot of Manga like most cliched American cartoonists were three years ago. Adolf by Osamu Tezuka was great, 1500 pages of perfect comics storytelling.

DS: If a film was made of your life, who should play you?

KTJ: A combination of claymation and puppets.

DS: Are the people who call comics art out of their minds or what?

KTJ: No, just deluded that anybody else will accept that. Comics aren't art, or literature, or music, or anything. They're COMICS. Let's make that mean something.

DS: From the work of yours that I've looked at I get the idea you have a very black sense of humour. Do you think this is a fair comment?

KTJ: Yeah, that's fair, although I'm also an impossibly misty-eyed romantic and stuff, too. I'm a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a fluffy buttermilk pancake.

DS: What is the state of the comic community in New York?

KTJ: It's different than Seattle, I am very hermit like so I don't schmooze much which seems to be a big thing here. I'd rather be at home trying to draw my comics than out drinking and talking about them.

DS: Did your interest in comics have any part to play in you getting your new job as Comics & Animation Editor for UGO?

KTJ: Oh, yeah. That was the deciding factor, my passion for the medium.

DS: Why is much of your work is created for display on the web?

KTJ: It's not, honestly. It just sort of ends up there. I did a weekly "A Short And Happy Life" strip for a year and a half in the Stranger, a free weeklypaper in Seattle, but since then, print work has been scarce.

DS: What work have you been doing recently?

KTJ: Lots of grandiose failures. Every time I talk about an "upcoming project" I fuck it up, so I'm going to keep mum at the moment. Short pieces in "Top Shelf: Under The Big Top" and several issues of Roctober magazine.

DS: How did you get involved with doing work for Top Shelf?

KTJ: I am friends with Tom Hart who was in the first issue; I sent a short story,"The Robot," that was printed in #5. Brett Warnock is one of the most supportive guys in comics, and I thank him for allowing me to soil his pristine pages with my doody.

DS: They seem to be a mover and shaker in the world of alternative comics at the moment, how have you found them to deal with?

KTJ: They're a great new publisher, I hope that they last a million years. They're really committed to putting out as much good work as possible

You can contact Thor at kthorSTOP-@-SPAMrocketmail.com
or via: PO Box 250593, New York, NY 10025, USA.

If you have any questions, post them to us ))HERE((

Related Links

Thor's Homepage.

Thor's Sketchbook Auction

Thor mixes it up with the world's worst interviewer.

Thor's Bio.


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