In the world of
AN INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN WAGNER
ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN 1994- by Andrew Goletz
Wagner began the saga of Hepcats back in college while doing a daily
newspaper strip featuring the main characters who would eventually appear
in the Hepcats comic. If Cerebus is the self publishing wonderdog and Bone
is the self published rising star; shooting from obscurity to the
mainstream, then Hepcats is the proverbial middle child. It was promoted
in successful self published books, but no one seemed to be buying the
damn book, which was a shame for Martin and a loss to the readers who were
missing out on a wonderful story.
AG: What is Hepcats about?
AG: How did Hepcats come about?
AG: Why use anthropomorphic characters?
AG: Are the characters and events in Hepcats based on personal experiences?
MW: Most of
AG: Hepcats is set up as a 100 issue series. Do you have the entire story planned out or is it just a rough idea?
MW: Only up
to issue #39. I donít have it all planned out because, as a real life
series, I want to leave room for experiences in my life yet to come that
may make for good stories.
AG: Why self publish?
AG: What can be done to give Hepcats the recognition it deserves?
MW: I guess
itís in the hands of the fans. Word
of mouth is the single most powerful tool, followed by stuff like this;
interviews and such. One thing I could suggest is that every fan who is
really fanatical about Hepcats should buy two copies instead of one, and
make one a loaner.
AG: What can retailers do to help?
MW: I think
there is a certain breed of retailer who is predisposed to support
alternative material and Iím currently in the process of working with as
many of those people as I can find to do Hepcats promotions suited to
their individual stores.
AG: Whatís the biggest obstacle keeping titles like Hepcats from achieving the success of a Batman or X-Men?
MW: The fact
that a majority of the comic fans are boys 12-17 who prefer superhero
stuff to alternative stuff. Every store has some open minded adult
customers, but I donít think those stores do much to reach them with
adult alternatives. I never had any illusions going into this that Hepcats
would ever meet X-Men type sales.
AG: Youíve been very outspoken in your criticism of the Big Two, particularly Marvel. What accounts for your hostility?
exists to serve itself as a corporate entity first and the needs of the
artists second, if that much. Chris Claremontís unceremonious dismissal
from X-Men after 17 years, the war with Jack Kirby over the return of his
artÖthese things have gone very, very wrong with our sense of values in
todayís fast moving corporate society. Comics are product, sales are
charted to determine market share and readers are consumers.
AG: With the formation and success of Image and
other independents like Dark Horse, do you get a sense of a revolution
coming within the industry?
donít see Image as being so much a revolution as a big ego trip on the
part of a bunch of superstar ex-Marvel hacks. Where artists are concerned,
I try to live and let live. I learned long ago that the only way Hepcats
is going to get anywhere is to not care what sort of craziness and petty
feuding is going on in the industry. By concentrating solely on Hepcats, I
will make Hepcats succeed.
AG: What are your interests? Your recommended reading or viewing?
Eyebeam, Cerebus, Love and Rockets, Jab, Tantalizing Stories, Hate, Usagi
Yojimbo, Cages and Bone. Movies: Anything directed by John Woo.
Copyright©2000 Andrew Goletz