Trash Mutant Interviews (TMI): Yale Stewart
- by Ninja Ross, 14 November 2012
TRASH MUTANT: Your webcomic, JL8, presents famous DC characters as 8 year olds which shines a whole new light on their personalities. Where did the idea for JL8 come from?
YALE STEWART: The idea came really randomly. Basically I was bored one day and the idea of a young Clark pushing kids on the swing set and into the stratosphere popped into my head. That kind of broke the dam open, and all these other ideas came flooding in, and all for a variety of characters. Eventually I started weaving them together, and that became JL8.
Has DC Comics contacted you at all about it?
DC hasn't contacted me, no. There are editors and creators over there who are aware of it, though.
Speaking of which, Neil Gaiman was obviously pleased with his cameo. Why did you choose to include him? Any plans to include other creators?
Since the teacher is Julie Schwartz, I thought it would be fun to have other notable figures in DC history pop in from time to time, and who better to run a bookstore than Neil Gaiman? It just seemed like a natural choice. I do have ideas for other creators showing up, but it's more of a "that would be fun" type of list than fully fleshed out stories in my head. I'm not going to put anything in there that doesn't happen organically.
What’s your opinion on DC comics’ current books and the new 52?
Honestly, I don't really have much of an opinion on it because I don't have much time to read comic books these days, which really depresses me. I read the first few issues of "Animal Man" and that was really awesome, and I've read most of "Batman," which is also really enjoyable, but beyond that I haven't touched much.
What has inspired your art style? What made you want to get into the comic book business in the first place?
All kinds of stuff has inspired my art, from comics to cartoons to video games to fine art. Most artists will tell you that just about everything inspires you. Some stuff more than others, obviously, but yeah. As for what made me decide to pursue comics? I love drawing, and I love telling stories. Seems like a pretty natural career choice.
JL8 has become quite popular since its launch. How did you react to the success?
Shocked. Haha. I don't know. It's something I'm still sort of processing. I mean, I know there are people that like it and all, but to me it all feels very...detached. Like it's not an actual thing that exists, the fandom. I don't know. It's really strange. Hopefully I get better at believing it.
You've mentioned that, besides comic books, music is a big part of your life. What music do you listen to? Do you play any instrument or sing?
I listen to all kinds of music, but pop-punk and indie-pop will always hold a special place in my heart. I like upbeat, lighthearted stuff that still retains a semblance of intelligence and craftsmanship. I make no bones about the fact that Blink-182 is one of my all-time favorite bands. But, that being said, I have like...60 different Led Zeppelin CDs? Lots of bootlegs of live shows that I was able to obtain. Classic rock, indie, underground hip-hop, electronica. Whatever really catches my ear.
What do you do when you’re not working on JL8, commissions, smoking cigars and listening to music?
That's...pretty much all I do. Seriously. Haha. I guess attend conventions? Maybe play some video games? I feel like my life is pretty much eat, sleep, draw these days. I'm certainly not complaining, mind you.
After reading through your Twitter feed, I have noticed you’re an incredibly friendly person and you seem to enjoy interacting with fans and critics. Is it difficult to maintain that level of niceness with everyone? There must be at least a couple of people who get under your skin!
It's incredibly difficult. Haha. Most of my closest friends will tell you, I'm kind of the token a-hole of the group, so they're all quite proud of me that I've managed to maintain a fairly inviting online presence. And it's admittedly something I'm really proud of myself for. It takes a lot of effort to not fire back at someone that might say something hurtful, but I've gotten pretty good at it, I think. It was a conscious hurdle I've strived to overcome, so I openly admit that I'm pleased with myself for how I've handled it.
Not to name-drop, but I studied at the feet of the master while living with Tradd Moore (of Luther Strode fame). Tradd's one of my closest friends, but also one of the most charming, all-around nice guys in the world, and I don't mean that as hyperbole. Living with him in college really taught me a lot about how to interact with people, even when they might be rubbing you the wrong way.
What future projects do you have planned? Anything involving Marvel characters or any from other publishers?
Well, speaking of Tradd, I've actually got a back-up feature in each issue of The Legend of Luther Strode, coming out this December from Image Comics. It's a six-issue series, and each one will have a little one-page back-up from me in there, as well as a bunch of pin-ups and stuff from some incredibly talented people. The comic itself isn't too shabby, either, so check it out.
Aside from that, I'd like to get back to working on my creator-owned comic, "Gifted," because it's getting some pretty positive response from the few people that've bought copies from me.
All that, and just keep crankin' away at JL8.
Big thanks to Yale Stewart for answering our questions! If you haven't yet read it, make sure to check out JL8 right here. You can also 'LIKE' the comic on Facebook and follow Yale on Twitter!