Noah Van Sciver is one of the brightest stars in the alt-comics world, weaving uncomfortable and intelligent narratives that aren’t afraid to shine a light into some of the darker corners of human interaction. He talked to us about drawing and storytelling.
Noah Van Sciver is contributing to the Broken Frontier Anthology, created to celebrate the magic of creator-owned comics. Check our Kickstarter campaign and please share it with your friends on social media using #BFanthology. You can find Noah on Twitter @NoahVanSciver.
Can you give us a quick summary of your work to date?
I began self-publishing my work in 2005 with a bunch of mini-comics, which became my comic book series Blammo, which I’ve kept up since 2007. My graphic novels are The Hypo, Youth Is Wasted, Saint Cole and Fante Bukowski.
What can you tell us about your upcoming story in the anthology?
It’s just a B-movie in comic form. Featuring mole people.
We’ve called you a ‘neo-underground’ cartoonist in the past. Do you feel that kind of legacy in your work or your style? How would you describe your style?
I’m okay with the “neo-underground” thing. But it’s weird because all I’m doing is telling accessible stories with my comics. Stories that are easy to understand. Why that has to be compared to old comics all the time is actually pretty sad when you think about it. Why is it so old-fashioned to tell stories in a narrative art form?
A lot of your work shines a light into the murkier corners of male attitudes and behaviour. Is that a conscious choice or does it just emerge through the stories you want to tell?
It’s not conscious. It’s just what comes out when I write. I try not to think about it too much to be honest.
Your diary comics – eg I Don’t Hate Your Guts – suggest that the physical act of drawing is very important to you. Could you tell us what that process means to you?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Why do I draw? I think it’s about dumping out all of my feelings. It’s a way of dealing with the things in my life. I actually can work out things or problems I’m having through writing. It’s very healthy. I hope it will at least help me live longer.
Apart from the upcoming BF anthology, of course, what is the one bit of your work you’d recommend to a new reader?
I think Youth Is Wasted (Adhouse) is a good entry into my work. It collects all of my favorite comics that I’ve done so far.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Too much stuff. A humor comic book called Cheer Up (Hic & Hoc), a book on Johnny Appleseed, and I have a story in a few other anthologies, including the new issue of Dennis Eichhorn’s Real Stuff.
And finally – what ‘frontier’ would you like to break through with your comics?
I just want to continue working and improving as always. Getting better with each new project is the goal!