Interviews

Artist Jim Mahfood on Moving to L.A., Drawing Tank Girl and Spiderman, and Coming Back to Town for Phoenix Comicon

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What are some of your current projects? I have two of my biggest books of my career coming out this summer. First one is called Los Angeles Ink Stains and it's a collected volume of all the Ink Stains strips I've been doing the last few years. Its something I've done on my blog for the past few years and giving away for free. It's an autobiographical comic strip about my life in L.A., my travels, and all the crazy shit that has happened. So after three years we're finally collecting them and putting them out into a book. It comes out on June 20.

Is Ink Stains the continuation of Stupid Comics that you did for Java? Yeah, totally. It's sort of the evolution of Stupid Comics, exactly. I actually talk about that in the Ink Stains book. Like, Stupid Comics was great and it was a lot of fun, but after a while I felt like I had said everything I'd wanted to say about social commentary or satire or politics. It seemed like a lot of my fans like my autobio stuff most.

Why did you start doing Ink Stains? Living in L.A., it's just so interesting and weird here that I just decided to start documenting my life out here. I started it at the end of 2008 since I didn't have any work coming in after the economy crashed. And I wanted to keep busy, so I just started doing this strip and giving it away for free and on my blog. And it worked. It caught on and I got this whole new audience for it and people started hitting me up for work again. It was just this cool, weird thing.

What's your other upcoming comic book? And the other book is a Tank Girl comic, which comes out on July 18. It's a three-issue miniseries called Everybody Loves Tank Girl and I got to draw the whole thing, which is a pretty big honor for me. It's like one of the main books I was influenced by as a teenager and as a guy in my early 20s putting out my first independent comics like Grrl Scouts. Its cool that its come full circle where I was able to do the book that I was sort of borrowing from, which was Tank Girl.

Anything else in the works? I'm also working on a cartoon for MTV. I'm doing something for the relaunch of Liquid Television. So I'm finally gonna see myself animated after forever trying to get a show living out here in L.A. It's called Disco Destroyer and its like a 70s, totally tripped out exploitation thing with rock 'n' rollers and street gangs and hot chicks in muscle cars. Titmouse is animating the show and I'm drawing it. It's pretty cool.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.