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Geoff Grogan talks LOOK OUT!! MONSTERS

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At the New York Comic Con we were introduced to creator Geoff Grogan and his wonderful comic, Look Out!! Monsters. In this artistic masterpiece, we follow the Frankenstein Monster who is drawn on top of a canvas consisting of newspaper snippets.

We spoke with creator, Geoff Grogan, about Look Out!! Monsters.

The Big Bad Wolf: Can you tell us about how this book came to be including the grants that you received for it?

Monsters comicGeoff Grogan: I started working on "LoM" in the summer of 2001-as a continuation of a series of large collages I had done inspired by James Whale's "Frankenstein". I wanted to do a one-of-a-kind artist's book and the tabloid newspaper seemed an appropriate surface to work on-given that I had been using newspaper in the collages already-and its size was reminiscent of the monster magazines and b & w comics from Warren and Marvel I loved as a kid. I had only done the cover when 9-11 happened-and pretty soon the work was overtaken by the enormity of that event and the mood of those days following.

About half-way through the book--after the vomiting scene--I had reached a point where I had to break away for a bit. I couldn't deal with it anymore ---and I began work on a series of new collages. These were-unbeknownst to me--just as informed by the events of 2001-2003 as the book--but I felt I didn't have an adequate response to the narrative I had laid out--and so I worked on other things and waited for the right inspiration. That came in 2007---I was working on my graphic novel "Nice Work"--when I started to see a way for "Look Out! Monsters" to continue--using a variety of collages and paintings related to the subject that I had been doing since '01. I realized that the story had been acting itself out in my work all along--I just couldn't see it. So once I began to put it all together--I realized it had to see print---and knowing that to do it justice I needed some kind of funding I applied for the Xeric grant for self-publishers.( www.xericfoundation.org ) I was awarded a grant in the Fall of '07 and the book was printed in 2008. So this was a 7-year project.

The Big Bad Wolf: This book featured an amazing display of artistic skill. Can you tell us about the process that went into creating the book?

Geoff Grogan: Well-as I said, it was a long process. Generally I work in mixed media--and I use alot of media sources-newspaper, magazines, etc. I worked directly onto a copy of the NY Daily News--ripped up some of the paper, and glued panels together on the pages. Then I drew on top of the collaged panels with pencil, brush and ink wash. In other areas of the book-I collaged images from the NYTimes-ripping up the paper and drawing with the black areas of the newspaper--literally making lines from little ripped up pieces of black newsprint. In yet other places I used acrylic and relief--sometimes on canvas and other times on paper. Some of the images in the book are in actuality quite large--5' or 6'- so I might not work on a drawing board but on a studio wall-and because of the size of the images there was photography too. And then it was all put together digitally in the end.

The Big Bad Wolf: Inside the book, Frankenstein is right along side socially relevant horrors. Can you give us some insight on how you came up with that? Frankenstein art

Geoff Grogan: Well--the monsters of our imagination have some basis in reality. Karloff's "Frankenstein" is an iconic image for a reason--even more so than Shelley's original -it speaks to us on some level we intuitively understand. Often we respond to real-life horrors by manifesting our fears in creatures of the imagination--a defense mechanism I suppose--but I also think these monsters reveal some essential truths about our culture. Maybe it's weird to say this--but "The Monster" is a being of collage-corpses sewn together like fragments of fabric ---and collage is a 20th century art form--an art of fragmentation that has some roots in industrialization and assembly-line manufacturing, processes that the dada-ists often noted gave birth to the mass-produced death and devastation of two world wars--and then the many wars since.

Frankenstein--Karloff's Frankenstein--was a movie monster of the period between the wars. A movie creature that arose in response to one war, foretelling the coming of another. And we're making our Frankensteins still--in the real world as well as in art.

But perhaps even more to the point-- I was making the work with the newspaper, literally ripping it up and drawing with it--and so in a very real sense the content of the papers after 9-11 was in some ways determining the imagery that arose.

The Big Bad Wolf: So it took seven years for this book to finally be printed?

Geoff Grogan: Yea, the length of the Bush administration.

The Big Bad Wolf: Is there any chance that we may see a Look Out!! Monsters 2?

Geoff Grogan: It's doubtful. I think I said what I have to say. But -I love working this way--it's my preferred method of making comics-and movie monsters are a potent source of material-so never say never.

A book such as "Look Out!Monsters" is an expensive project and I could never have done it without the generous funding of the Xeric foundation. In order to do it again I'd have to find similar funding --or a publisher interested in pursuing the project. I'll continue to make the art -that goes without saying-but there are a few hurdles to getting it into the public eye.

frankenstein comicThe Big Bad Wolf: What are you currently working on?

Geoff Grogan: I'm working on a very different project--the graphic novel "Nice Work" (www.niceworkgraphicnovel.com)-about Johnny Cat, a stand-in for Frank Sinatra in 1960-who gets involved with mobsters and the Kennedy administration. It's a mini-film noir--so I'm still mining movies and American pop culture for my inspiration. And I love Sinatra.

The Big Bad Wolf: Where can our readers find out more about Look Out!! Monsters?

Geoff Grogan: www.lookoutmonsters.com --you can see more about the book and order it as well--and be sure to check out the blog and my gallery to see more of the artwork in its original form.

In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about Look Out!! Monsters?

Geoff Grogan: It's not likely you'll find the book at your local shop unless they keep a big stock of indy material--so go ahead and order from my site. I hope fans of Comicmonsters.com enjoy my take on the monster--I think I can safely say that it's different from any interpretation you've seen before. And thanks Rob, for the privilege to speak with you and your readers.

The Big Bad Wolf: Thank you for your time, Geoff! This is a monster comic unlike any I have seen before!

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Published on: 2009-02-12 (3196 reads)

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