Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat With Liz Suburbia
Liz Suburbia's got an introduction on her website that's hard to improve on: "My name is Liz and I make comics. I used to not swear but now I don't shave my armpits and like givin’ the stink eye. I live in Fairfax, VA, work at a comic book store and live with my husband and our two dogs."
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Liz Suburbia: I have an online graphic-novel-in-progress called Sacred Heart, and a Xeroxed miniseries called Cyanide Milkshake. I also help coordinate a small anthology called Puppyteeth.
WCP: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
LS: I'm pretty bad with computers, so I try to do as much of the work with pen and paper as possible and just use Photoshop for cleanup. I've started practicing my digital colors but I can't do anything too fancy yet.
WCP: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
LS: 1984! Child of the Reagan era.
LS: I moved to the area towards the end of high school because my dad was military, and just haven't left yet. I used to live in Alexandria (where Sacred Heart is based) but now I live further out in the boonies, in Fairfax.
WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
LS: I took art classes in high school and college, but those were more traditional studio courses; the real meat and potatoes of my comics-making abilities really came from reading and imitating a wide variety of comics.
WCP: Who are your influences?
LS: Too many too list them all! A good start would be to mention Los Bros. Hernandez, Brandon Graham, Carla Speed McNeil, Ross Campbell, Paul Pope, Jamie Hewlett... I'm also really influenced by punk culture and YA fiction.
WCP: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
LS: I wish I'd started earlier, and had the focus I have now at an earlier age. I feel like I'm trying to make up for so much lost time!
WCP: What work are you best-known for?
WCP: What work are you most proud of?
LS: Ha, whatever I've done most recently, probably. I'm still at that stage where I'm growing and changing and getting (hopefully) a little better every day.
WCP: What would you like to do or work on in the future?
LS: I'd like to keep Sacred Heart going through the four volumes I have planned for it, and I'd like to keep putting Cyanide Milkshake out on a regular basis, just to stay sharp. Really more than anything I'd just like to never stop making comics, and to create a body of work I can feel good about.
WCP: Will you be at SPX? Where can one buy Cyanide Milkshake and Puppyteeth?
LS: I will definitely be at SPX! I'll be tabling with my friends Matt and Kevin Czapiewski (they're brothers). I'm still working on setting up a place to buy CM online but will have copies at SPX for sure; you can buy Puppyteeth at puppyteethcomic.com/ !
WCP: What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
LS: I doodle a lot, trying to get all the bad crap out so the good stuff has room to grow. I also re-read my favorite comics and put on some good music to get religion and get pumped up about things again.
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
LS: Good question. Digital comics are probably gonna get a lot bigger, but I hope there'll always be print comics, even if it's in a more diminished capacity.
LS: Our beautiful thriving punk scene, and our big beautiful swamp trees!
WCP: Least favorite?
LS: The traffic, the sprawl, the snotty sense of entitlement that so many folks around here seem to have.
WCP: What monument or museum do you take most out-of-town guests to?
LS: The National Art and Portrait galleries are always impressive. I used to take all our fantastic free museums for granted until I went to New York and had to pay 30 bucks for a small tour!
WCP: Do you have a website or blog?
Thanks to Matt Dembicki for putting us in contact with Suburbia.