Arts Desk

When Comics Return: A Chat With David Malki!

Regular readers of the City Paper know that comic strips and cartoon illustrations disappeared from the paper a couple of years ago. Now they're back.  David Malki!'s steampunk-influenced Wondermark appeared locally in The Onion until that paper dropped its comics months ago. It's one of my favorite web comics, and I'm glad to see it in print in the city again. Malki! answered a few  of my questions.

Washington City Paper:
Can you describe your strip for a new reader who has never seen it?

David Malki!: Wondermark is a modern comic strip that's made entirely out of illustrations from Victorian-era books. It looks like something out of the 19th century, but it's actually a collage from images I've scanned and manipulated myself. Each day presents a new and different scenario, so there's no continuity, but the strip can be about anything at all, and is frequently surprising. It will sometimes be ridiculous without warning.

WCP: How long have you been doing it?

DM: I'm closing in fast on eight years of creating regular Wondermark comics. I started as a lark while working at an advertising agency, and now I actually own my own book publishing company. The strip and I have taken each other a long way.

WCP: What other type of cartooning or illustration do you do?

DM: I design books for my publishing company, as well as art pieces like greeting cards and posters, most of which are related to Wondermark but not always. I also occasionally make custom Wondermark pieces as private commissions for readers.

WCP: What do you think the future of comics will be?

DM: The future of comics will be a single giant Garfield panel that everyone can type their own name into, and it will follow them around their house reading the newspaper to them while they eat breakfast, and read the sports scores to them in the car. Later, at work, it will follow us everywhere, even into meetings, and project itself looming onto the wall of the bathroom stall, reading random articles from Wikipedia out loud. It will be inescapable.

WCP: Will you be attending SPX this year?

DM: I wouldn't miss it—I've been attending SPX every year since 2006 and I've yet to have a bad time. Truly it is made of wishes and
miracles, or at least my part surely is.

WCP: Do you have any favorite things about D.C.?

DM: I have been known to spend entire days in the Library of Congress looking up funny old newspaper articles about beards. Thank God for this critical national resource.

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