RV: Do you think "Ariana" will ever be in color?
John Smallwood-Garcia: I am considering repackaging Ariana as a slim Graphic Novel, since I have only a few copies left over from selling at APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco, but I really need to look at the color as a means to advance the story, not just a way to make it look pretty.
The business side of me also needs to look at how to do the coloring efficiently and how well a color version would be..
RV: Where does the title Ariana come from?
JSG: It really just comes from the sound "Air" in the title, because the story is about deep seated feelings, intuition, things that are always there and that we depend on daily, just like the air that we breathe.
RV: Were do you see this comic being in five years?
JSG: Some days I see it still sitting on my drawing table or in a computer file, as I fret over a line of text or line of inking.
Other days, I feel it would make an excellent film like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Studio Ghibli Films or any of their other fine films. There are many elements in my storyline that people will relate to on a subconscious level as I've touched on a lot of Jungian Archetypes in the story.
RV: Do you have any other comics you have worked on?
JSG: I've submitted work to SPX (Small Press Expo), worked on a San Francisco Detective story (http://smallwood-garcia.com/7thson.html) like Basic Instinct, done a lot of pro bono work for non-profit organizations (http://smallwood-garcia.com/news.html), and I am within a couple about a dozen pages of a full-color painted graphic memoir ("Faith". No sneak preview of that until I'm done and happy with it) .
RV: Have you had any training as a writer or artist?
JSG: I attended the College of Arts In Oakland/San Francisco, CA studied Illustration and Design, and before that at the University of California, at Berkeley as studying English.
RV: What advice do you have for someone trying to create their own comic?
JSG: Do what you want to do and don't try to mold yourself to fit the current style. Write the stories you want to read and draw the scenes you want to see. And then try something that you feel is way over your head and take the challenge. Do your best, because at the end of the day, you are the one that has to live with your work.
RV: Which artists do you admire?
JSG: Do you have a week so I can tell you? There is a lot to be learned from all the people working out there. I was amused to reread one of my Ariana pages and to see a 3 panel sequence where a Neal Adams House of Mystery story crept into my subconscious story telling style (the one with the little blond girl and the statue of Pan). ---The short art list of inspirations include Neal Adams, Barry Windsor Smith, and Bernie Wrightson. The writing list includes Steve Englehart, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Mad Magazine.
RV: If you could work on any other comic which one would it be and why?
JSG: I'd like to travel back in time to work on some of those 60's & 70's books that started changing the way comic stories were told. I'd like to inspire some other fanboy like myself to go out there and make a difference. If it were something modern, it would have to be something to inspire, not the grim & gritty, like the parts of the Ultimate Avengers where the characters are fighting against overwhelming odds, not where they're insulting France for the punch line of a joke.
RV: Where does your inspiration come from?
JSG: My wife and family and whatever it is that lies within us, good and bad, at the core of the human experience.
RV: What comics do you read now and did you read as a child?
JSG: Ultimate Avengers, Batman, Ultimate X-Men now and Avengers, Batman, Dr. Strange, Master of Kung Fu, anything I could lay my hands on as a kid. I became hooked when a cousin got out of the service and gave me his comics. I read every one of them again and again until the covers fell off and then I'd tape them back on.
RV: How can someone contact you?
JSG: email firstname.lastname@example.org
RV: Any last words of wisdom?
JSG: Do what you fear to do. And then remind me to do the same, because we all have to face the blank page.