Q-Ray (AKA Dr. Clint Cue) Answers SBC's Questions

Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2000
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Q-Ray (AKA Dr. Clint Cue) Answers SBC's Questions

Q-ray is an independent animator and comic artist. He has worked professionally in childrens' television animation since 1991 beginning with Walt Disney Television Australia. His comic art has been exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney, Japan and Croatia. He currently teaches traditional animation techniques at Holmesglen TAFE.

DS: What is your full name?
Q-Ray: Dr. Clint Cure

DS: Medical Dr. or Academic Dr?
Q-Ray: I'd like to get a doctorate in Animation. Maybe I could end my days as some sort of professor, wandering aimlessly around campus, getting paid to do nothing.

DS: Age?
Q-Ray: 52

DS: Favourite web site?
Q-Ray: www.spumco.com

DS: Were comics a big part of your childhood or did you discover them at a later stage?
Q-Ray: Yes, I was one of those kids who would go to someone's house and immediately dive into their comic books. I also discovered adult comics in much the same way. Bill Flowers (a comic artist from Tasmania) used to fetch stuff from Melbourne and bring it back to Tasmania to leave lying around his room.

DS: Was art an important part of your education?
Q-Ray: Definitely, though I do feel a bit ripped off. Of course, comics were not taken seriously by any art school I went to and so it's only now I'm discovering that we do have a rich history of comic artists.

DS: What was the first comic you published yourself and how did that come about?
Q-Ray: It was called Super-Chook and came about from talking and drawing silly pictures, during science class, with my friend Jamie Cornick. I drew our ideas up in art class and photocopied it in the library.

DS: Q-Ray How did you distribute your comics?
Q-Ray: Mostly through mail, I used to take them round to comic shops but I'm sick of all the walking. I'm doing more stuff over the net now. It's got it's advantages and disadvantages. I'm kind of sick of sending out all that mail as well.

DS: Which was the more important invention, the Photocopier or zip-o-tone?
Q-Ray: Definitely the photocopier. Zip-o-tone became to expensive for most people to use years ago. So I used to photocopy it out of the catalogue book and cut and paste. I don't use it nowadays. I don't like the look.

DS: What materials and equipment do you use when drawing your comics?
Q-Ray: I usually draw my pages up in pencil on A3 photocopy paper, then stick another sheet over it and ink it on a light-box with an Artline 0.6 black pen. Then I'll reduce it down to A4.

DS: Who do you see as the target audience for your work?
Q-Ray:I don't think about it. It surprises me, sometimes, the kind of people who write back.

DS: What's the most memorable response you have had so far?
Q-Ray: I've gotten a lot of letters from Christians. I carried this line of letter writing dialogue with a guy from Sydney for a while and then got sick of it. I just felt like "why am I trying to talk this guy out of his religion?" A lot of the things he talked about I agreed with so why was I arguing with someone who I essentially felt was "on the same side?" I've also got some bad amateur porn. That's weird.

DS: What work have you been doing recently?
Q-Ray: I'm getting together some animation projects, I've got an online comic called Ling, and I'm putting together some of my old stuff to bring out a small anthology.

DS: Animation can be an expensive medium to work in and labour intensive. How are you coping with this?
Q-Ray: I've still yet to find out. Still comics can be labor intensive as well. As for the cost, well I'm using some projects to fund others and computers have really bought the price of a lot of things right down. I've got pretty close to a fully working animation studio in my studio. My biggest costs occur now with sound.

DS: What comics have you read recently and why did you like/dislike them?
Q-Ray: I picked up a comic called Black and White by Taiyo Matsumto about two Japanese street kids. It was kind of weird and had a strong European influence on the artwork. I liked it a lot, great angles on the panels and stuff. It cost me 30 bucks but I want to get another one.
I also got a few mini's from S.A. which were of a very high standard, especially Mixed Grill. I went and reread a few of the Fantagraphics anthology Zero-Zero too. There's so many great artists in there. I particularly like Dave Cooper and the Sam Henderson who does Munroe.

DS: If a film was made of your life, who should play you?
Q-Ray: James Woods

DS: Q-ray Is that because he has a very high IQ or because he can be mean and nasty and get away with it?
Q-Ray: I was thinking that he's kind of normal, slightly perverted, and weird things happen to him, but someone said his characters are much too highly strung and maybe Christopher Walken would be more like me (He sells drugs in Pulp Fiction). Then again why should they be like me? I mean, look at all the bad Andy Warhols there have been, they're still fun. My life is dull, make it up, go with James.

DS: Can comics be exhibited successfully in a gallery and still allow people the reading experience which is so much a part of the comic medium?
Q-Ray: I don't think so. When you hear peoples' arguments for physical comics as opposed to online comics, they often say they like to be able to put it in their pocket and pull it out on the train. To some people it's like having a doughnut with your coffee. If you put a doughnut on a pedestal, in a cold white gallery, and were allowed to eat it, it just wouldn't be the same as sitting in you favourite chair etc.

DS: So are online comics actually comics?
Q-Ray: Do they have to be in print to be comics? If they look like a series of panels then they're comics. If they look like cheap animation then they're animation.

DS: The more I talk to people about what comics mean to them the more I thing the printed page is a defining feature, visiting a web site just can't match the ease of use and portability of an A5 mini. What's your opinion?
Q-Ray: That may be true, but a lot of comics come out in a format that you can't just "stick in your back pocket". Does that mean they're not comics? It's not unusual for comics to piggy-back some other medium, they appear in magazines, CD sleeves and on the back of cereal box's so why not on your browser?

DS: How did you get involved with animation?
Q-Ray: I got a job at Disney in Sydney.

DS: What sort of animation did the job involve? Any shows we might know?
Q-Ray: I worked as an inbetweener, you just do the drawings in between. It drove me nuts. They were doing Darkwing Duck and GoofTroop when I was there.

DS: Q-Ray How did that happen?
Q-Ray: They give you a test to do by mail then you go in and do another one, then an interview, then I got the job.

DS: I was Interested to see from your website that you are working on an animated version of Gregory Mackay's comic book; Syndrome. What's his involvement with the project?
Q-Ray: While I've taken on the role of Director, Greg is still overseeing a the script and a lot of design and will be doing some drawing and animation as well. Interestingly enough, he won't be doing his own voice.

DS: Why is that?
Q-Ray: Greg, simply, doesn't have any acting experience. Cartoonist's are often painfully shy creatures with a natural dislike of outgoing showmen types. A good attribute for locking yourself away in a room for days at a time but not so good for performing.

DS: Would you let someone else adapt your comic work for the screen?
Q-Ray: I guess I would, but I'd want to have a lot of say. Which puts me in a position where I know I need to listen to Greg, but I still want to have a lot of say over the final product. It's always good to remind yourself that a film adaptation is just that, an adaptation of an existing medium. The comic isn't undervalued by a film being made of it. It still exists by itself and works in a different way. Sometimes people expect a book or a comic adaptation to appear on screen in the same way that they perceived it. But it's a different thing and so it's treated differently. egThe Judge Dredd movie. Of course Stallone had to take his helmet off, it's a movie, he can't really hide his face the whole movie (Its the fact that he broke the law that I found out of character).

DS: Is there a strong comics community in Melbourne?
Q-Ray: There has been for a long time. Economically, it's probably at it's weakest but community wise; we get together a lot. In fact it's starting to split into different groups, some with similar interests rather than hostile opposing views, which is kind of interesting.

DS: My experience has been that the small press readership, no mater where they are, is very interest in seeing what people are doing overseas. Is that your experience?
Q-Ray: To a degree, the USA seems mostly interested in the USA. Tim Danko ran a distribution catalogue for small press a while back. All the American's on it just ordered stuff by other Americans. Spain and Europe seem to be really excited by what we do, they do a lot of Danny stuff.

DS: You seem to have put a lot of time and energy in creating a recurring set of characters with Choock, Hop and the others in what at first I thought was a contemporary Australian setting, but the hovers cars in Wang 5 suggest something else. Care to give us a basic introduction to the world of your comics?
Q-Ray: When I started drawing these kind of comics I didn't really know of anything like them and didn't really know what I was doing. The hover cars were a poor attempt to hide the fact that these stories were partly biographical and told the lives of some real people. I was trying to do a story about that period of time but also trying to make out I was writing about other people. It ended up being a kind of parallel universe I guess. I hate that and maybe one day all go back and redraw all the cars. But I also wanted to accelerate the technology in some of the stories, so I needed to hold that whole world together.

DS: Q-Ray Where is Wang set?
Q-Ray: It's a suburb of Melbourne.

DS: What is the worst title for a comic that you have ever seen?
Q-Ray: Captain Koala, you just know it's going to be bad.

DS: Race relations is a common theme in your work. Is that because you think racism is prevalent in Australian society?
Q-Ray: Racism is prevalent in every country. There's just been a focus on Australia lately. I do think it's needed though. But a lot of my stuff came from the group of people I hung out with at the time. If you mix with a lot of black people race issues will come up. It's obviously very important for them. When I went to Sydney, however, I found myself mixing with mostly white people, they were more political than the group in Melbourne I knew so that was kind of weird.

DS: Did the reconciliation march make you hopeful for the future of race relations in Australia?
Q-Ray: It's all good and everything but Sydney isn't where the worst trouble is anyway. Its the kind of violence and intimidation of hate groups in the bush that really has to be brought to light. And the kind of effects that mining has on aboriginal(and anybody really) culture that has to be looked at. I do think land rights is making a difference.

DS: Can comics make the world a better place?
Q-Ray: Can they make it any worse?

You can Contact Q-ray via:

PO Box 612, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia

His web site: http://www.fatkid.com.au


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