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By 5 December 2014 | Categories: news

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Joe Daly is certainly one of our favourite local comic book talents, with the strangeness associated with his work making for some awesome reading. We cornered him for a spot of Q+A.

TechSmart (TS): Please provide a brief description of yourself and the work/titles you’ve been responsible for.

Joe Daly (JD): I was born in London 35 years ago, but I grew up (since the age of two) in Cape Town, South Africa. I studied film animation for two years at college and now I’m making comics and graphic novels. My published books are Scrublands, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, and the Dungeon Quest series, which include three volumes so far. [Available on Comixology here]

TS: Your comics are not the usual superhero fare that people might be used to. Nor is the drawing style. Do you find that some traditionalists find it difficult to relate to your work?

JD: I’m not sure how some traditionalists relate to my work, I don’t have all the data on that. Since my style in some ways relates to old comics like Tintin, Dick Tracy and others, I suggest some comic book traditionalists can relate well to my work. I was influenced by superhero comics as well as underground comics. I suggest that Dungeon Quest bridges the world of underground comics and mainstream superhero comics quite well, although some people might not always be sure of what I’m doing.

TS: What would you say are the influences behind your work?

JD: I try to pull techniques and ideas that are useful from as wide a field in comics as is available to me, so earlier on I looked at French and Belgian comics like Tintin, American superhero comics like Spiderman and Batman, British comics like 2000 AD as well as British children’s comics, like The Beano. Later on I got into alternative and underground comics, work by people like Daniel Clowes and Robert Crumb, I also enjoy old timey comics like Krazy Kat, Dick Tracy, Popeye, Little Nemo in Slumberland and others.

TS: How did you develop your own style?

JD: I experimented over many years trying to draw in all the styles I found appealing, and then started to refine what styles worked best for me. I also realised that perhaps I wasn’t amongst the best technical draftsman in the world, which I’ve tried to use to my advantage. I will sometimes emphasize things that look wrong or awkward instead of trying to mask them. This has generally worked to my advantage because it gives my work a particular character and that awkward tension between right drawing and wrong drawing is perhaps what makes it interesting to look at.

TS: Favourite publisher?

JD: I’ve have two publishers I’ve been predominantly working with, Fantagraphics Books in the U.S.A and L’Association in France, and I admire and appreciate both of them very much, and they’ve published all my work, so in a naturalistic sense, they’re both my favourites. If I had to pick a publisher I haven’t worked with it might just be Drawn and Quarterly in Canada.

TS: What would be the next step in your comic book career?

JD: My next step now is to finish my current long form comic, Highbone Theatre, and get the book out. I’ve been serialising the work first as a free to read webcomic (bit.ly/highboned), which has been a recent experiment for me. After Highbone Theatre is done I hope to be able to work on Dungeon Quest Book Four.

All images courtesy and copyright of Joe Daly.

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