An Interview with Cartoonist Marc Hansen

I have done a lot of interviews with great talents. This interview is no different from that perspective, Marc Hansen has great talent as shown in his unique works Ralph Snart, Weird Melvin and Doctor Gorpon. But this is still different than all those interviews. I am a fan of the work of Marc Hansen, and his work affects me. Why? I do not know. All I know is that I made certain to subscribe to CBG when his title Weird Melvin was run as a serial comic there, and he made me laugh all the time. I have always believed in humor as medicine for pain, and while my life is good, I am a happy person, his work helped me in times of pain and difficulty. Therefore, I am grateful to him, and wish to thank him here for that.

Alex: Where are you from, are you married, do you have cats, kids?

MH: I'm from Michigan, divorced with a 14 year old son. I have a British Shorthair cat.

Alex: How did you get into creating comics?

MH: Just by chance. I was working at an advertising art studio in Chicago when I was introduced to Tony Caputo (publisher of NOW Comics) who was, at the time, an art director working a few blocks away. I'd always been interested in comic books and newspaper strips. At the time I was more into trying to get syndicated. I had no idea or thoughts about breaking into comics.

Alex: What life events are the most influential in the development of your being a creative talent?

MH: There wasn't any event(s) that made me want to be a cartoonist. I was just attracted to comic art and telling humorous stories from a very early age.

Alex: Whose artwork would you say inspired your own?

MH: John Stanley and Harvey Kurtzman. They were two of the funniest men in comics. Kurtzman had a tried and true technique for composing stories and developing gags which I still use.

Alex: Why do you tell stories in the genre of humor? Are you a "funny guy"?

MH: I wouldn't say I'm a funny guy, but more of a very cynical and irreverent person. I've never thought that comics were something to be taken too seriously, which is why I take the humorous side. I think it's hard to write good humor though. It's a lot harder than writing straight fiction, which may be why not many do it. There are far more expectations with humor than other types of fiction. Timing, pacing and delivery is at critical as for a stand-up comic. What's funny and what's not funny, etc.

Alex: Will there be more projects coming out from you from the new NOW Comics?

MH: No. The "new" NOW Comics is on it's last legs -- it's brain dead but still on a respirator. NOW doesn't have much of a future with no money and a line-up consisting of Vespers, Vinny the Bug Man and Mirrorwalker.

Alex: Ralph Snart is a journey into nuttiness, what is he, an avatar of chaos? A metaphor of some sort?

MH: Ralph is the personification of hypocritical excess -- the typical American. His life is one of extremes. He's also a lovable dumb ass.

Alex: Your work at Now V.1 and V.2 with Ralph Snart had sales numbers unheard of today. To what degree would you say that those wild sales numbers were a result of NOW's newsstand presence, the absence of other similar titles either in Newsstand or Direct Market, and/or a new generation of comic book readers who had not seen the type of story before that Ralph Snart was?

MH: A lot of RSA comics were printed, but that doesn't mean they all sold. The newsstand had returnables, so who know how many initially sold through. However, it was mostly the newsstand sales that gave RSA the good numbers. When something is available, and people can find it, if they like it, they'll buy it. Maybe the fact that there weren't a lot.