Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Voices from Artists Alley: KARL STEVENS

All week we're presenting the latest batch of mini-interviews with independent comic creators we caught up with at the recent Boston Comic Con. Today we unveil our chat with Karl Stevens, a writer and artist whose work can currently be seen in the Boston Phoenix. Let's see what he had to say for himself, shall we?

Now, you have a comic that’s appearing in the Boston Phoenix, is that right?

That’s correct. It’s called Failure and it’s an autobiographical comic. It’s basically about me living in Jamaica Plain and getting drunk all the time.

Fair enough. And how long have you been working on this?

Well, I’ve been doing comics for the Phoenix since 2005. The first one I did was called Whatever, which was recently published in a collection by Alternative Comics.

And how did you get the gig with Phoenix?

Well, the first work I did was called Guilty, and it got reviewed by the Phoenix. And it was right around the time that they redesigned the paper. I had been doing freelance illustration for them, so the art director asked me to do a comic that was kind of similar to that book, which was about living in Allston. And that became Whatever.

Now, you also have here a third book you’ve published, Anatomy for Artists. That’s basically a how-to art guide?

Yeah, that’s basically a straight illustration project. It’s for artists that want to learn anatomy; I didn’t write it, I just did the illustrations. The idea of the book is that you find the anatomical parts on your own body and that will make it easier to familiarize yourself with them.

Well, that makes sense. So, you had mentioned that Failure is semi-autobiographical. Were your earlier projects like Guilty and Whatever also autobiographical?

Yeah. I mean, I definitely used myself in the first strip [Whatever]. But, yeah, there’s a strong element of that, writing about personal things that have happened to me and the world around me.

And did you study art in school?

Yeah, I studied painting at the art institute of Boston and also at Montserrat College of Art.

And what kind of feedback have you been getting about your work?

Mostly positive. A lot of people seem to like it.

Do you know when Failure will be collected? I know you’re still working on it, but is there a lot left in the storyline?

Maybe in 2010 sometime. Or maybe in early 2011. It’s part of a larger book that I am doing, so… I have this literary agent now and she’s been pitching it around so we’ll see what happens.

Is Failure available to read online, or is it something you can only read in the printed version of the Phoenix?

Yes, you can read it online at the Phoenix website which is and just look in the comics section, it will pop up. Or you can go to my website, which is

And do you know what you’re going to be working on after you finish Failure?

I’m only like halfway in, so I haven’t really started thinking about it.

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