Episode 549 – Karl Stevens

Virtual Memories Show 549:
Karl Stevens

“I think of my books as films on paper, so once I got into this project, it was a lot easier than I thought it’d be.”

With MOTHER NATURE (Titan Comics), artist Karl Stevens adapts a graphic novel from an eco-horror screenplay by Oscar™-winner Jamie Lee Curtis & Russell Goldman. We get into how he wound up collaborating with JLC, the challenges in adapting a screenplay into comics and how it was sort of like directing his own movie, how he discovered his affinity for horror, and how nervous he was to show Jamie Lee his drawings of the character who’s modeled after her. We also discuss comics-making & graphomania, the long-lost comic shops & record stores of Northampton, MA, his drive to make it onto the cover of The New Yorker, and why he’s used the same pen nib for the last 30 years. Plus, we talk about the challenges and moving parts in making a biography of his father (and his dad’s insane Vietnam draft experience), how his family history goes back to the 1720s pre-America, the Artist’s Editions volumes he’s been collecting lately, why his favorite era of Jack Kirby was the ’70s, and of course, running. Give it a listen! And go read MOTHER NATURE!

(& listen to our past conversations: 2019, 2020, & 2021!)

“I have really bad graphomania: I have draw every day or else I get really ornery.”

“I approached it as a formal exercise: I have all this text, so how am I going to break this down into a comic book?”

“You know it’s right project when it really starts to obsess you & you start dreaming about it.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Karl, w/Jamie Lee Curtis & Russell Goldman at San Diego Comic-Con 2023

Karl Stevens is a graphic novelist and painter whose comics have appeared regularly in the New Yorker, Village Voice, and Boston Phoenix. His graphic novels include Whatever, The Lodger, Failure, and The Winner. He lives in Boston with his wife Alex and their overlords cats, Penny and Pepper. His new book is MOTHER NATURE.

Follow Karl on Twitter, and Instagram, support his Patreon, and find out more about his work at his Linktree page (and listen to our past conversations: 2019, 2020, & 2021).

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Karl’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Karl by me. It’s on my instagram.

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