Meet a Visiting SPX Cartoonist: A Chat With Alexis Fajardo
SPX is a good show for children. Many creators do comics that are appropriate for them, but not something that you can just pick up at the neighborhood bookstore. Alexis Fajardo's Kid Beowulf is in that category, and I'm looking forward to buying his books (for myself, although I might let my daughter look at them).
Washington City Paper: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Alexis Fajardo: I do an all-ages graphic novel series called Kid Beowulf. It's inspired by the epic poem Beowulf (with a twist) and follows the adventures of twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel across different lands and mythologies.
WCP: What work are you best-known for?
AF: I've been working on Kid Beowulf for a few years now; the first book, Kid Beowulf and the Blood-Bound Oath was released in 2008, book two, Kid Beowulf and the Song of Roland, came out in 2010 and I'm wrapping up book three, Kid Beowulf vs. El Cid, which will be out in 2012.
WCP: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
AF: A combination of old school pen and paper and digital: after I write out my scripts I pencil the pages on bristol board, ink them, and then scan in the pages on the computer where I do the finish work in photoshop: dropping in halftones, word balloons and sound fx. The pages then get compiled by my publisher for print.
WCP: Can you tell us a little about your books that you'll have with you at SPX?
AF: Kid Beowulf is an ongoing graphic novel series, very similar to Bone, Asterix, and TinTin; I'm a big fan of classic cartooning and storytelling and like to bring those elements into my own work. The Kid B. saga follows the journey of 12-year-old twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel from their childhood into young adulthood, leading toward the original Beowulf and the ultimate confrontation between Beowulf and Grendel.
AF: Though I'm originally from the east coast, I'm now based in the San Francisco Bay Area and look forward to returning to SPX, it's always been a fun indie-driven show with some very talented artists showing up from all over.
WCP: What are you looking forward to buying or seeing or doing for this year's event? Or who do you want to see, to catch up on old times, or to have a fanboy/girl experience?
AF: I enjoy these shows primarily because I get to introduce new readers to my work and hopefully get them hooked on it! These shows also give us cartoonists a chance to reconnect with friends who meet on the "con-circuit" throughout the year; Keith (K Chronicles) Knight, Raina (Smile) Telgemeier, and Carla Speed (Finder) McNeil are just a few friends who will be attending SPX this year.
AF: I have family based in this area, so it's just another reason to visit. My least favorite thing about DC is that ridiculous relaunch they're doing —sorry, couldn't help the comic-book gag.
WCP: What monument or museum do you like or wish to visit when you're in town?
AF: I'm looking forward to seeing the MLK monument!
WCP: What do you think will be the future of your field?
AF: I think the big question these days is trying to figure out the balance between digital distribution and the traditional print/publishing world. There's definitely a place for both the trick is figuring out a business model that makes sense for the artists and the consumers.
WCP: Do you have a website or blog?
The Small Press Expo takes place 11 am–7 p.m. Sept. 10 and noon–6 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda. $10-$15. spxpo.com.