Welcome to Self-Published Spotlight, a regular interview column where I will be highlighting self-published comics and the creators and small print publishers who make them.
The beauty of self-published comics is you can make them anything you want and usually are the sole, complete work of one individual. So what you usually get is a totally singular, unbridled creative creation. Brian Judge’s CRIME-KILLER is such a book. Outlaw in both style, humor and attitude, CRIME-KILLER will make you laugh hard. It’s both a parody and an embracing of grim and gritty comics. Anyway let’s let Brian take it away and explain his comic!
Monkeys Fighting Robots: First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Brian. How are you holding up in this new normal?
Brian Judge: Doing as good as I can! As a recent college graduate, I’ve been spending a lot of my time working on my comics while I continue to leech off my parents like a parasite. So yeah, doing good!
MFR: So, for those folks who don’t know your work, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your comix?
Judge: Yeah. I’m Brian. I draw stories about goblins who drink their own pee and a bunch of violent superheroes living in Big Dick City. Also diary comics
MFR: Yeah, Crime Killer is what first caught my eye on your Instagram account. I think you posted like a picture of a stack of Crime-Killer books and somehow that ended up on my feed. I had to have it.
Judge: Oh yeah! You’re talking about the Crime-Killer complete comic compendium!
MFR: And when and how did you create Crime Killer? And for our readers, who is Crime Killer?
Judge: I came up with the idea for Crime-Killer during a party with some friends. We were all drinking and having a good time and I drew a little comic about a superhero fighting a mugger on a piece of scrap paper. I wanted to keep it short so I had the guy use a giant fist to blow a hole through him while he curses about how much he hates his job. I thought it was funny so I used that as the storyboards for the first crime killer comic. After the first story, I wanted to make more. It’s easy for me to get burnt out on a project but Crime-Killer was always fun to draw. Crime-Killer is anger incarnate. He’s the vengeful angst-ridden superhero who hates his job just as much as he hates crime. Crime-Killer is here to kill your crime!
MFR (laughing) The book made me laugh so much. I love the filthy language and hyperviolence. I also love the layouts. The simple square panels add to the humor for some reason.
Judge: I’m glad you enjoy it! I’m the type of weirdo who laughs at horror movies during the bits where the 7 ft maniac cuts a teenager in half with a giant chainsaw. It’s so ridiculous, I wanted to capture that feel.
MFR: You also sent me a couple of mini-comics, Barbo (which has to be the smallest comic I have ever read) and The Untitled Willow Fan Comic. Both of these are very different from CK. Can you tell me a bit about these two?
Judge: I like to challenge myself with every comic I do. Crime-Killer was about loosening up with my art. BARBO is a short story set in the Grublins universe. I wanted to try my hand at world-building with a grand fantasy universe about shitty goblins enslaved to humans. I’m not really into fantasy stuff, more of a sci-fi guy, so I tried making a story I would be interested in. I made the willow comic as a weird test. I was getting into diary comics and I wanted to see if I could make an entire book about one subject matter. Naturally, I chose to write about my experiences playing the NES video game adaptation of the Ron Howard cult classic “Willow” starring the dude who was the Ewok in Star Wars.
MFR: (laughing): Going back to Instagram, you use Instagram not only to promote comics but as a format to publish them as well, something I have started to see a few cartoonists do (Like Ben Marra). What makes IG such a great tool for cartoonists?
Judge: IG let’s comic people connect to each other. I love making comics and I’d still be making them even if I wasn’t on Instagram. The fact that you can include up to 10 images in a post means to me that I get to tell the internet a 10-panel comic. That’s a cool power, y’know? I’ve met a ton of amazing cartoonists through IG. This is where we can share our work.
MFR: Oh definitely. There’s a huge community there. Like The Cartoonist Kayfabe crew.
Judge (laughing): Also, I just wanna say that I’ve been using Instagram to publish comics wayyyy before Ben Marra started his series. I mean I doubt he even knows who I am let alone follows me, but y’know. (laughs). Oh and Oh yeah! Kayfabe’s amazing! They’re also instrumental figures in the growing comix culture.
MFR: Your art style reminds me of underground comix, mad magazine and outlaw comics
Judge: Thanx! I get that a lot.
MFR: Who/What are your biggest influences? Like what made you want to make comics?
Judge: All the basics. Kirby, Ditko, etc. I’m really into comics In general and I get really influences by whoever I’m reading right now. I’ve been really getting into Savage Dragon which I used as inspiration for my recent Buzzkill comic. Easy answer: I took one comic art class in high school. My teacher was a guy named Chris Kemple. He is what makes me want to draw. I should say Chris Kemple is a comic artist himself. Red Vengeance is his book and it is one of the most fundamental things to me as a cartoonist. He made that. If he can do it, so can I.
MFR: I love Savage Dragon. I buy any issue I see I don’t have. I just re-read volume one too!
Judge: Oh yeah! Savage Dragon is flipping GREAT! I’m on vol 2 of the archives.
MFR: Oh and I love Buzzkill and thanks for the sketch!
Judge: Yeah dude! I’m glad you dig it!
MFR: What are you working on right now?
Judge: Man, I got like 5 projects running at any given moment. I’ve got a daily series going on right now that’s driven by user suggestions. I’m making a collage book creating a new narrative out of existing comics, I’m working on a story about Pac-Man, and I gotta do a backup story for Buzzkill for when I put it to print. The user suggestion one is called Afterlife Adventure. Every day I post a 10-panel comic that serves as the latest chapter to this ongoing story of a guy called Billy Texas trying to get into Heaven. Right now he’s talking with a giant bee to take over the afterlife.
MFR: Yeah! I was reading that and am glad you brought it up. What a great concept. And where else can people find your work?
Judge: Outside of Instagram? Not much. I’ve got an online store (oneandonlycomics.bigcartel.com) and I’m included in a few comic zines too like Milk and Honey Comics.
MFR: Well thanks again for chatting dude. That was fun!
Judge: Yeah dude! I had a good time!
You can check out new daily work from cartoonist Brian Judge on his Instagram.