What are your major influences in comics?

Well, my eariest influence was the above-mentioned Wonder Woman stories from the early-to-mid 1940s period (by Charles Moulton and H.G. Peters), along with a lot of illustrated children’s books. Mid-period, when I actually began drawing comics, I was still enamored of science fiction, and I’m sure the whole batch of X-series, and, a bit later, Dark Knight, V for Vendetta, and the Watchmen all played a role in causing me to set my first comic in outer spaceas well as to write a terribly pretentious script.

However, without a doubt, the most important influence on my comics, my conception of what comics are and can be, and my choice to become a cartoonist, was Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (with, occasionally, their brother Mario), and, in particular, Jaime’s part. When I picked up issue #21 as a tender college freshman, it totally blew me away, and, more importantly, blew away all the limits I had known up to that point as to what could be done in comics. I instantly fell in love with Speedy (For the uninitiated, #21 marks the beginning of Jaime’s “Death of Speedy” story), L.A. vatos started to appear in my sketchbook, and everything–-it just changed. Well, that’s not totally true: I was still pretentious.

During the same period, I started reading Deadline (a British anthology), and was particularly influenced by Philip Bond along with the art style of Jamie “Tank Girl” Hewlett (though not the writing). I also picked up a book-sized anthology called Heck, which was amazing. I was particularly drawn to the Lloyd Dangle story, the early Julie Doucet, and the Mark Marek story. This probably marked the beginning of my interest in artier comics. Then came Jimbo in Paradise, the Pantheon edition of Gary Panter’s incredible, brilliant, unforgettable work.

A little later on, the Fantagraphics translation of the Sinner series by José Munoz and Carlos Sampayo was very important to me, and then, even later, David Mazzuchelli’s Rubber Blanket. Most recently, I re-discovered some classic strip comics, particularly Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates, and, finally, the brilliant work of French artist Blutch, in particular his series Mitchum (largely silent for lucky non-French-speakers like me), and Peplum, a heart-wrenching re-working of the Satyricon.