Arts Desk

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat With ED

ED is a local small press cartoonist who works anonymously to protect his day job from any offense he may create with his web comic "Peculiar Comics." Although he's from Burke, Va., ED came to my attention when he was part of the small press show S.P.A.C.E in Columbus, Ohio. His printed comics can be downloaded for free at his website. As you can see from the illustrations here, he works in a wide variety of art styles and story genres.

Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

ED: I do a varied spectrum of work, from one-off gag pages, to minicomics, to shadowbox art pieces, to 20-something page digital publications.

WCP: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

ED: I do all of it. Whatever tools best suit the story...although, in some cases, I build a story around what tools I have available (i.e., the two page "Dire Earth" story that showed up in issue two of Peculiar Comics, where I started with eight canvases and went from there).

WCP: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

ED:1987, which meant I got to benefit from the reruns of '80s cartoons like G.I. Joe and Ninja Turtles and '90s comics-based cartoons like Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men.

WCP: Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?

ED: I live in Burke, Va., but commute Monday through Friday to Northwest near the Cathedral.

WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

ED: A major part of my "training" was a love of the medium from an early age. The other part, where I actually sat down and decided to make comics, came out of college (Virginia Commonwealth University), where I was placed in the Kinetic Imaging department; while the department's focus was on video, animation, sound, and new media, we had a fair amount of autonomy in being allowed to experiment with our own craft and style.

WCP: Who are your influences?

ED: In terms of craft, I'd have to say Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Akira Toriyama, Osamu Tezuka, and Moebius. In terms of personality and work ethic, it's my dad and my grandfathers. I know it's a total cheeseball answer, but the three of them are the most well-rounded and hard-working guys I know, and were it not for them, I wouldn't be where or who I am today. I've been extremely fortunate to have them as part of my life, both in childhood and my early adulthood.

WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

ED: I feel like this is a cop-out answer, but I wouldn't change a thing. In terms of comics and cartooning, my "career" is only a few years old. As a general rule, however, I tend not to regret things, because everything I've done, every choice I've made, has lead me to who I am now.

WCP: What work are you best-known for?

ED: I really haven't been around or out there enough to be "known for" anything, but the piece that has gotten the most positive response (particularly at S.P.A.C.E.) was the aforementioned two-page "Dire Earth" story that I did as a 3D shadowbox. I'm already planning on doing four more pieces in that style in the not-too-distant future.

WCP: What work are you most proud of?

ED: Peculiar Comics in general. I've had plenty of love and support (including tech support) from my friends and family, but content-wise, it's been two years of filling every free moment with making comics.

WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?

ED: All I know is that I want to be involved in comics as a career, be it writing for one of the "big two", or eeking out a living doing Peculiar Comics. Not that either of those things are likely, but I can't give up hope.

WCP: What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

ED: Jump to a different project. Multitasking has its downsides, but being able to work on thing while I'm stalled on another is definitely a plus.

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

ED: I think it will take the shape of the other major mediums, like music and movies: while most of what's available is digital, there will always be a place for hard copies.

WCP: What's your favorite thing about D.C.?

ED: The options for activity. Whatever you're in the mood for, you can find it somewhere in DC.

WCP: Least favorite?

ED: Traffic. My mornings are spent with I-495 and 123, and my evenings are a crawl down 34th street to the Key Bridge, followed by I-66 and I-495 once more.

WCP: Do you have a website or blog?

ED: PeculiarComics.com is the main landing page where my work and contact info can be found. There's also a Twitter feed (twitter.com/peculiarcomics), a Tumblr page (peculiarcomics.tumblr.com), and a pretentious Facebook page (it's actually called "PECULIAR COMICS: The Pretentious Facebook Page").

Thanks to Matt Dembicki for putting us in contact with ED.

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