This week I get the pleasure of asking a friend of mine 20 Questions. Bill Grapes, aside from having one of the best last names ever, is an incredible artist. Bill's style is a incredibly detailed. he enjoys flowing arcs and curves that define the shapes of his work. The thing about Bill's work that is frustrating to see, is just how much better his impeccable linework is when he immaculately inks it... and that is when he is not creating tonal work which is a different level of superb. He currently lives in Cincinnati and I don't get to hang out with him as often as I would like.
On to the questions...
As you know, I like making maps and I like people's personal geographic stories... This is not your first rodeo, you know how the geographic story goes... Question 1: What is your personal geographic story.
I'm going to do this fast to get the most honest answers (I'm already lying). My geographic story starts in Northern Ohio. Within an hour of Cleveland. We moved to Cincinnati when I hit middle school. Pretty boring stuff. Right out of school I got the travel bug. Spent a good amount of time in Blighty and a very small amount of time in Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Almost sounds like I was in the military. Great experiences that helped me grow as a person and an artist. If it wasn't for those crazy Fins I probably would have had any idea how to decorate my house
Interesting. Since I have been to you house, I have seen your decor style... I would classify it more as mod than Finnish minimal, but I will entertain that thought. So, since you have lived in so many places, Question 2: Where would you want to live if there were nothing to hold you back?
If this was a few years ago, I would have said San Francisco, but I've heard it's been overrun by the San Jose crowd. If money were no object (if that is what we are saying here) I would say London. I speak the language mostly. It's not that far to the US or Europe. Also, some pretty great curry can be found there.
I cannot stand the smell of the spice curry. It is difficult for me to be near Indian food for long. I know that this is a personal issue and has nothing to do with the overall quality or enjoyment of others for Indian food. Please, dear readers (or deer readers, I don’t know if you are corvine quadrupeds who have learned to read and connect to the internet) do not send me comments about how I may not have had the right Indian food. It is just not my game.
Okay, the long awaited Question 3: Cake or Pie? Which kind specifically, and why?
Now the hard questions. Is this some sort of psych eval? Tough choice. I have favorites from each category. My grandmother's coffee cake recipe is pretty unstoppable but I my great aunt made a deadly butterscotch pie. I will go with pie though. I can't fight something that you can put sweet potatoes or cherries into. Also, I don't care what the name implies, cheesecake can be considered a pie to me.
It only gets more difficult from here. I am sure we will get into boxers or briefs... that came out wrong. Anyhoo... I like how you think. Cheesecake is a custard pie. Mmmmm cheesecake.
I want to hear more of this butterscotch pie you speak of Question 4: How does a butterscotch pie come into existence and how can I get a gluten free version of that?
It's pretty simple to make and if you can have a gluten free crust it should be easy. It's best with a whipped top (like a chocolate creme pie). It's an old southern thing. I'm surprised you didn't run into it down south.
I was in pecan country. If there was a sugary pie, it was pecan. I had two pecan trees in my backyard. In fact, I shelled soo many pecans in my childhood, I am pretty sure my family broke some child labor laws. If anyone else in the family liked butterscotch, I would make this.
So, you are a comic book artist guy, and can do the drawing really well. Question 5: When did you realize that you were good at drawing?
I'm not going to say I'm good, yet. That sounds like I'm faking humility but I'm not. I have a level of quality that I want to see consistently and I have yet to get there. I'm close but not there yet. Hopefully, it is a sliding scale that gets harder the better I get. The biggest challenge recently was figuring out how to draw women.
I think you may be parsing things a bit critically. There is a difference between being good and seeing where improvements could be made. There are always improvements that can be made, but, you, good sir, are good good at the drawings, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Question 6: What specifically are you working on right now to get yourself drawing women better (I need to do facial studies... I need to do that soooo badly).
I'm a harsh critic, what can I tell ya? For drawing women, just like anything else, you just have to draw. For me, it takes me seeing something that makes me realize how something is constructed. I usually see a geometric shape and I realize I can use that to make the drawing process easier.
There was a visual organization class that i did when I was an undergrad at Kent State. For that class we had to take panels from Golden Era comic strips and abstract them into a minimalist geometric expression... to do this we had to do 50 studies of each of the 3 panels. It was an interesting exercise in finding the internal geometry of the images. It was surprisingly interesting. Everything falls back into geometry.
Question 7: Do you default to angular shapes like triangles, rectangles, trapezoids, etc... or more rounded shapes like circles, arcs, ellipsoids, etc...?
Cheeky, oh so cheeky. Ellipsoids for me, just because it is fun to type and say ellipsoid.
Question 8: So when you are not drawing, what fills your down-time?
When I'm not drawing? There is a time I'm not drawing? I waste time watching TV. But I try and draw while doing that. Daredevil is soooo good though. I also enjoyed Man in the High Castle. Also, family stuff and volunteering.
The second season was excellent. Netflix's Marvel properties have been killing it. I think they need to be doing more to integrate them into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. There doesn't need to be major interactions, but some Hawkeye time might be interesting. The Netflix series should also be a bit more connected beyond the Night Nurse. If nothing they should mention events in each of the series. Something like in Daredevil Season 2, a news item saying radio host Patsy Walker was involved in a mob action down by the docks, or in Jessica Jones, some reference to the multiple explosions in Hell's Kitchen from DD season 1. There just isn't enough cross pollination between the series.
Question 9: What Marvel B/C-list property is ripe for the Netflix series treatment?
Agree. A simple mention doesn't do it. I liked seeing Carrie-Anne Moss in DD season 2. I would settle for characters passing each other on the street. It might be a cool Tarantino moment. Say in DD Jessica Jones passes Matt Murdock on the street. No interaction. An Easter egg. Then in Jessica Jones the same scene is shot and you get to see where Jessica was, etc when it happened. No big cross series tie up needed.
As for B/C list titles? Any X or FF-related connection is right out. So no Wyatt Wingfoot. I see the Punisher easily spinning off. Werewolf by Night might be cool. If they did a Chambers of Secrets deal it could be an anthology/series testing ground. Might be cool.
I think a Moon Knight series could be fun and I would be interested in seeing a Nighthawk series... That one could go crazy dark and be the first series that ended with the main character's death. There's your dark and gritty.
Question 10: fill in the blanks. I find that I am mostly ______. Others find that I am mostly ______.
I find that I am mostly a pie man. Others find that I am mostly a cake man.
People do not know you at all then
Question 11: do you have any mottos, credos, mantras, or personal philosophies?
Several. "Gotta Eat," means I do what I have to (legally) to feed my family. "It's not about me," helps me try and keep balance in my existence. "Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been," is a good one that needs little explaining.
The ones I typically trot out are "Don't let the fuckers get you down" and "funny over nice," but those are a little glib. The one I am dealing with right now "It is hard to change because change is hard."
Question 12: Why are there 12 inches in a foot? That makes no sense to me at all.
For the same reason there were 240 pence in a Pound until 1970. Old English shit. Crazy.
English/Imperial weights and measures are completely loony (different than the 1 Canadian Dollar coin though)
Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals in your life right now?
Other than going to church? : )
Church rituals will do. I kind of miss the ritual of religion... I don't miss the dogma though.
You are a musically knowledgeable dude. With the recent losses of Bowie and Prince, Question 14: What are your favorite Bowie and Prince songs?
For Bowie songs, there are a couple. You've Got a Habit of Leaving and Can't Help Thinking About Me are great early tracks. Far better than his first album. Hunky Dory is my favorite Bowie LP. Prince is a bit more elusive for me. He is like Morrissey. Great ideas and a few brilliant lines then a few terrible throw away thoughts. I liked how he combined Little Richard, Hendrix, and New Romanticism (long after Duran Duran/Spandau Ballet left it). When You Were Mine is my favorite Prince song. The Color Purple cast tribute version of Purple Rain was pretty stunning.
Interesting. I would have thought that Prince would have been a bit more in your wheelhouse. I knew that Bowie would be in your catalog, but I thought that the funk that exudes off of Prince would be within your milieu.
I just realized that I love the word "milieu." Question 15: Is there a word that you absolutely love that is a bit outside the norm?
I am fond of "Habib". I love that it usually is used in a racist way to make fun of Arabic people but its meaning is "darling" or "Sweetheart". Stupid racists.
I think, by definition, racists are stupid. Dumb racists. Anytime a person places that much power and attention into something that cannot be changed, dumbification happens. I think were are in the midst of The Dumbification of America, but I wonder if everywhere is constantly in a state of apparent dumbification.
Question 16: Where and when do you consider to be the dumbest moment in history?
Dumbest moment in history is tough. It's like any goal, the bar is continually getting raised. Possibly the First Nations allowing European's in the Americas.
Well... If the archeological evidence in Newfoundland is any indication, the first time the First Nations saw a European they did not exactly welcome them with open arms. The Skraelings put their foot down and kicked the Norse out, according to some sagas.
Question 17: We sitting near each other at Cincy Comicon this year?
If the past couple of year are any indication, yes.
Time for the student to become the master... Question 18: What question/s do you have for me?
For your wedding you chose to reflect your ethnic heritage. Did you go full Scottish?
By full Scottish, of course you mean I got totally pissed and unintelligibly cursed at everyone, right? Then the answer is "No." If you mean "Did I wear a kilt without my skivvies?" Then the answer is also "No." I wore a respectable blue boxer brief.... and the garter, like a boss.
Question 19: What did you take from these 20 Questions that you did not bring with you?
I never considered that I was bi-desert. While picky, I can be happy with either pies or cakes.
I bet you would even eat a pie baked into a cake... fence sitter.
Question 20: So what's next for you? Be as literal or figurative, as short or long term, as concrete or vague as you want to be.
Currently I've got freelance and commission projects that keep rolling through. In addition, I'm still working on the next installment of Fyre-Dragon.
Well, that was certainly fun. Will, you are the best. Please follow Mr Grapes on twitter, Instagram, and his art blog as well as his Deviant Art account. You should also buy his book The Infernal Fyre-Dragon. It is stupid amounts of fun.
Little Man is 13
Sweet God Almighty, Little Man is 13
How the hell did that happen?
For his birthday he decided to celebrate by having an asthma flare up
He hasn’t had one of those for about 5 years
Well, Sunday night/Monday morning was spent at the ER awaiting a steroid script
Not the best way of welcoming in his teen years
Got home from the ER at 7 am and then was at work by 10 am
I think it would have been great to sleep
Alas and alack that was not to be
So, Little Man is 13
I feel old now
Have a great week everyone