Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Bleeding Cool interviews Dean Haspiel about BEEF WITH TOMATO

Hannah Means-Shannon interviewed Gregory Benton and I about Hang Dai Editions, our three fall graphic novel releases, and the late Seth Kushner at Bleeding Cool: "Edgy Indie Titles Beef With Tomato, Smoke, And SCHMUCK Land In September – The Hang Dai Editions Mega-Interview"

Here are some excerpts:

"My passion and respect for NYC is very much tactile and real and I have the bruises to prove it. And, even though every year I lose another childhood mainstay or three due to crushing rent increases and the ugly fact that NYC is becoming a bizarre maze of banks and pharmacies while bodega’s dwindle and cheap ethnic restaurants die and reincarnate into obnoxiously expensive health food stores geared to rape your wallet while thinning your stomach with the latest trends, I still hold my native hometown dear to my heart like a battered wife. Which is what I’m comfortable with because, after all, I’m a foolish writer and artist trying to tell and sell stories while living in the most expensive city of the 21st Century.

NYC may be not be the most messed up place on earth but it is the most mixed up. And, I fear that we’re finally running out of rundown neighborhoods for artists to colonize and create what made NYC cool and communal. There is no more middle class. There is just rich people and poor people and I don’t think this modern NYC is worth suffering for anymore. Is the love affair over? Never. I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. Which is why my escape from Manhattan to Brooklyn, as documented in Beef With Tomato, is even more relevant as I consider my next pilgrimage while currently on a writer’s retreat at Yaddo."

"All the stories in my memoir comix are true. Sometimes the stories take longer to write than to draw because there is a specific art to making slice-of-life comix. As the author, you have to account for your tale or it fails. But, real life isn’t always plausible. It can be excruciatingly painful yet wonderfully insane with no rhyme or reason. And you have to be able to account for that. So, there is a delicate hopscotch between what is true and what is dramatized and how to honor yet express the emotional truths. Otherwise, it can feel like a ruse and no one reads memoir to be lied to."

"I think my best stories are the ones I perform off-the-cuff. Both my parents are great storytellers, and my good buddy Jonathan Ames is an amazing orator. So, I must have learned it from them. Text relies on the reader to co-author; to expand the experience, while other mediums depend on sound or visuals, sometimes creating a seamless yet passive experience. But, it’s all about pacing and theater. When to entice and when to pause. When to…reveal. And the more you can relate to the verisimilitude of truth the more profound. I often think about what makes a comic and what makes prose or film or a song. The very same study that goes into what to visualize and what to say. It’s a balancing act. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it right but I challenge myself every time I make art while, hopefully, providing some semblance of entertainment."

"I had a tough time deciding which of my prose to put into Beef With Tomato. I’ve written a bunch of short stories and essays and I chose tales that fit the tone of the tome. Some of these stories were slated to be edited into future comix scripts. Others are only meant to be read in text form. I also perform some of them at salons and readings. Which is interesting unto itself because I might speak a sentence that can change the way the reader “heard” it when they first read it and forever alter its proposed context. It’s an fascinating interplay between source, interpretation, and what makes it canon. Is it mine or is it yours once I let it out into the world? Both."

Read the entire interview/article here:

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