The purpose of You Should Be Reading… is to shine a spotlight on self-published creators who release their work in print or digital and creators who work for publishers that don’t rank in the top 10.
We’re in a golden age of comics right now and in an age of geek none of us could have ever imagined, but with the good comes the bad. As our geek news sites become more corporate they tend to focus less on comics and in some cases less on independent creators. Which is why this series exists. My goal is to never shy away from giving a soapbox to those starting out and trying to carve a niche for themselves.
Today I am interviewing the awesome Chuck Collins. Chuck is a Cartoonist/Illustrator based in NYC. He’s worked professionally for various animation studios throughout the city over the past decade or so. He’s also worked as a bouncer in the city and as he puts it via his site. It’s had its good times and headaches…. lots of headaches. Most of those headaches turned into stories and I slapped some comedy on to it and made my webcomic BOUNCE! I’ve been doing it for two years and I’ve never been happier producing art.
And here’s a bit about the comic itself.
Welcome to the world of The Bouncer and his childhood friend Yemaya, two sci-fi and movie geek bouncers that deal with New York’s craziest bar patrons. This webcomic tackles everything from politics to relationships all through a satirical, blerd, New York lens. Winner of three 2016 GLYPH Awards including Best Webcomic, Fan Award for Best Work and the Rising Star Award.
Now let’s get on with the interview.
Marco: First off thanks for letting me interview you. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only been reading your webcomic recently. But I’ve always loved the strips you post on your personal page and think you have a fantastic art style and a great sense of humor.
So, to start us off why don’t you tell the readers what made you fall in love with comics and how you started your career in animation and how Bounce! came to fruition.
Chuck: I think the first comic I read was Spider-Man. This was back in 1981. I must have been about 6. I just loved the art. But my true love came when I was in junior high and bought my first black and white indie comic which was 2000 AD. It was so different from the traditional superheroes I knew up until that point. The art wasn’t the standard mainstream art. It was different and edgy! I loved that!
I kind of fell into animation. I was a student of Aaron Augenblick. He had just opened his new studio in Dumbo back in 2000. I interned for him and didn’t get my first paying gig until 2 years after. I learned a lot from my experience there. I moved on to other studios after that, but I keep in contact with Aaron. Great animation mentor.
Bounce! was born out of frustration and comedy. I was a bouncer for almost a decade on the Lower East Side in NYC. I’ve worked in many seedy dives bars so I was exposed to the underbelly of humanity at its inebriated worst! (laughing) I told people about my stories working in the nightlife and they thought it was funny. I got told numerous times to make a comic about it. At first, I didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t think anyone would get it. But one day after kicking out an annoying patron, I got off work and had a few drinks and designed “The Bouncer” in my sketchbook. After more drinks, I must have written about 150 ideas for stories in the bar that night. The next day I drew it up and just posted it, then it blew up my Facebook page. Been doing it ever since.
Marco: I think one of my favorite strips. Probably one of my top 3 is Bounce! S3-06 where Dragonblack slaps the melanin off the drunk Ben Carson fanboy. It had me rolling. When you started this comic strip was it always your intention to mix political humor with nerd humor and your experiences as a bouncer? Or is that something that evolved as it went along?
Also given how exaggerated the strip is does every story have a kernel of truth in it from your experiences?
Chuck: I’d say about 60 percent of the comic is based on real life conversations I’ve had with people. It’s only political because I dealt with that on a nightly basis with over privileged bar patrons. Racists, misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes… the list goes on. The more they drank, the more of their deranged doctrines would spew out of their mouths. My job was to remain intellectually and logically superior to them at all times. As a bouncer, fighting is the last resort. 99.9% of this job is psychological. So, my rebuttals were snarky and geek driven. Lol. It kept things fun. I decided to bring that to the comic. To give the reader a sense of what it’s like to ask a guy to leave for pissing in the corner, while he explains why he’s right for doing so. It’s sad for that guy, but comedy for me.
Marco: Most creator-owned comics tend to have a beginning, middle and an end. Do you see that for Bounce! or is this something you feel could go on for years? You’ve already been at this for two years if I am not mistaken.
Also given your pedigree in animation might we see something there with Bounce!? I’ve been paying attention to you on Facebook so you know.
Chuck: I’ve been thinking about animating it for quite some time. This month I’m finally taking the plunge. I’m currently writing a script for a one minute short. I have a few talented friends that still work in animation that are willing to help. Hopefully, I can get something done by the fall.
Marco: I want to talk influence. Besides your days as a bouncer what else has influenced this series? I’m seeing the Street Fighter influence. Especially with the arc dealing with Max.
And outside of Bounce! are you working on any other comic book properties? Collaborating with others? Maybe something you can tell us a little bit about?
Chuck: One of the first animated films I saw was Rock and Rule back in 87. I remembered as a kid seeing this movie inspired me to create my own characters. Years later I started watching anime and was intrigued with the fact that the stories had a beginning and end. Unlike American franchise comics that have Peter Parker being 25 years old for about 30 years. (laughing) Video games like Street Fighter and Fatal Fury inspired me to create crazy fight scenes that I never saw before. So, I try to give them tribute in my comic.
Currently I’m revamping an old sci-fi post-apocalyptic story I did years ago called Dread Society X. It’s a lot different from Bounce! I’ll announce more the further I get along with designs.
Marco: And here we are at the end. I want to thank you again for letting me interview you Chuck. It’s been awesome. I got a lot of respect for what you do but before you go this is your moment to PIMP YOUR WORK. Right here is where you passionately explain to the readers why they should check out your work and where they can buy physical (and or digital) copies of your work.
Chuck: I’m very honored and humbled that you reached out to me for this interview. Thank you!
Bounce! comes from a passion to create something outside of the norm based on my life experiences. While I think the superhero genre has a lot of great stories, a lot of the time I need a break from it. Bounce! provides an escape from that world with comedy, action, and social commentary. Everyone loves to have a drink and go to a bar once in while. So I suggest you get your favorite bottle of whiskey and read my comic. You won’t be disappointed!
You can find my weekly webcomic at: www.bouncethecomic.com
The printed version of Vol. 1 at Comic Flea Market.
Also if you want to support the production of the animation, you can subscribe to my Patreon.
And that’s the end of that. I hope you all enjoyed this edition of You’ve Never Heard Of. Don’t forget to check out Bounce! online and pledge to his Patreon if you can.
And last but not least. MAKE AWESOME COMICS HAPPEN!