Many of the comics that I’ve featured and creators I’ve talked to lately have had a connection to Hic and Hoc, a new publisher that I confess I hadn’t heard of just a few months ago. I’ve been so excited about the small press’ output that I thought I ought to talk to the guy behind this project, Matt Moses. Matt talked to disastercouch about being one of the cool kids, Cathy, and the importance of head shops for the future of indie comics. Read on for the full interview.
disastercouch: What gave you the idea to start publishing comics? What was the first book you put out and how did you connect with that first artist?
Matt Moses: I’ve been reading comics on and off for as long as I can remember, but really got into the small press stuff about six years ago and dove in head first. I think I decided to start publishing because I wanted to be a member of the cool kids club and I can’t draw for shit.
Pat Aulisio was the first person I approached, if you can call it that. I had read the first issue of Bowman, published by Box Brown’s Retrofit imprint, and loved it. I saw Pat at Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival in 2011 and asked him who was doing the second issue. He said he didn’t know, and I blurted out, without thinking, “I’ll do it.” And that was that. My life has been in a downward spiral ever since.
No, I’m a total mess. I don’t have any vision, no sense of common themes or uniformity. If anything I want to be the ESP-Disk of comics.
I’ll also be putting out a limited run book by Amy Jean Porter about spiders. She’s done mostly fine art and illustration work, including for McSweeny’s.
I was in final negotiations with Cathy Guisewite to do a series of hardcover books reprinting the entire run of Cathy but I got outbid by Fantagraphics. That kind of hurt.
That is such a tough question, although I think ultimately it’s an easy answer, and the answer is no, at least not solely as a cartoonist.
And I have no idea how to make things better. Printing is expensive, shipping is expensive, travel and the cost of tabling at conventions is super expensive.
It seems like the last time independent cartoonists were making money with any regularity was back in the glory days of the undergrounds, when comics were being carried by head shops across the country. So perhaps in order to have an economically sustainable model we need to have more head shops.
Cool interview! If your local headshop is out of comics, you can buy Hic & Hoc Comics online.