Arts Desk

Meet an SPX Cartoonist: A Chat With Roger Langridge

Roger Langridge is a New Zealander who lives in England, but cartoons for United States comic book companies. His small press comic Fred the Clown has kept him coming to SPX for years. He's probably now best known for his recent run on the Muppets, but he also recently wrote a critically successful Thor series that Marvel cancelled prematurely. Roger's Fin Fang Foom "monster"' comics for Marvel are particular faves of mine and he's recently launched his creator-owned Snarked!, based on Lewis Carroll's characters. Last month, he won a Harvey award as the best writer for Thor: The Mighty Avenger, once again showing that art and commerce don't always mix well. As a special SPX tip, Roger draws sketches (such as the Shadow one pictured) and sells his original art, both ridiculously cheaply.

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

Roger Langridge: Mainly I write and draw funny comic books intended for a general audience, which is to say an audience consisting of both kids and adults, although over the past couple of years I've dabbled in writing some more straightforward adventure stories for other artists to draw.

WCP: What work are you best-known for?

RL: Over the last couple of years my profile got a bit of a boost due to my involvement with the Muppet Show Comic Book and Marvel's Thor the Mighty Avenger, so I guess it's probably those two these days. Before that, I guess it would have been my self-published comic book Fred the Clown.

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

RL: A bit of both. Although I still draw everything in pencil and I still ink with a brush, there are a few more steps these days where the computer is involved, as my pencils are very small and I blow them up to ink them, printing them out from the computer in light blue so the pencils won't reproduce. And I'm lately toying with a few pieces created entirely digitally, just to see if I can do it as much as anything, though I don't see myself giving up paper and ink any time soon.

WCP: Can you tell us a little about your books that you'll have with you at SPX?

RL: I'll be there with Boom! Studios, who will be launching a collection of older material of mine called The Show Must Go On. I'll also have copies of the preview issue of my new series, Snarked!, and I believe there'll be a limited-edition Snarked! print available as well.

WCP: You've attended the Small Press Expo in the past—do you have any thoughts about your experience?

RL: I've attended a bunch of times in the past, and it's always a fun show. It's a nice size, great atmosphere, not too big, very comics-focused (which is not something you can take for granted these days), and you get a great mix of established professionals and hobbyists and everything in between. And there are always tons of great books there that you can't get anywhere else; the minicomics alone usually double the weight of my luggage.

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?

RL: I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of people I only ever see when I attend a show in the US, as I'm schlepping over from London, UK for this. I've been traveling for the past several weeks, so I'm not 100% caught up on everyone who's going to be there, but I know there'll be plenty of friends to catch up with.

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

RL: It's hard to say right now because everything's in such a state of flux. If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say Marvel and DC will switch to movies, TV and merchandising entirely and let their print departments quietly die away, leaving the medium to those of us who actually regard the comics as the point, the end product, rather than a stepping stone to other media. And we'll watch our readers grow old and die, leaving comics with the kind of audience numbers poetry now enjoys (not that that will stop us!), with the exception of a few wildly successful webcomics, which seem to be to the current generation what newspaper strips were to our grandparents.

WCP: Do you have a website or blog?

RL: Yes I do! You can find me at http://www.hotelfred.com

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.

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