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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Are you still doing stuff for Marvel Comics? The last time I worked for them was two years ago when I did a short Spiderman story. I haven't worked regularly for them since then.

What was it like being able to draw a character as iconic as Spiderman in your own style? It was definitely a huge thrill. That's the stuff I grew up on as a kid as far as comics go. To be able to leave any mark on it was rewarding and exciting.

You've done so many types of comics during your career. How come? I like doing a bit of everything, variety is cool, but writing and drawing my own stuff that has to do with music and all the other shit that I'm into, that's my favorite. I did two issues of Kick Drum Comix, and it was all music-inspired stuff with brand new characters that I created, and I had a blast doing that. I've just given myself the freedom to have fun and do whatever the hell I wanted, and that usually results in the best product.

Have you enjoyed being a comics artist for as long as you have? Yeah, but it's just that comics aren't appreciated in this country the way they should be. There's a whole generation of kids like me that are doing all this kick-ass work, but comics are considered a "low art" in America. We have to rely on this loyal cult following to keep the business going.

What your opinion about the current state of comic books? The production quality is so high on them today. The coloring, the paper...It's all really high end. It's almost like they're trying to match all these comic book movies that are coming out. People should be reading comics instead of these brainless sitcoms on TV.

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