Once again, the beauty of Instagram has helped me discover yet another awesome cartoonist. I discovered Harry Nordlinger's work after scouring through other cartoonists pages, which led to the discovery of his latest project Vacuum Decay.
The horror anthology curated by Nordlinger was also my entryway into a slew of other cartoonists and was horrific and disgusting in all the right ways. After reading that book I knew I had to learn more about the mastermind behind it. Luckily he was more than happy to talk to about his work. Make sure you check him out on Instagram and pick up some of his work. Links to his stuff are at the end of the interview.
RYAN: So I discovered your work through David Moses, and saw he was a part of your anthology book, Vacuum Decay, which we'll talk about later. For others new to your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
HARRY: I'm an artist and cartoonist from San Francisco, primarily interested in horror and surrealism. I self publish my own comic series, Softer Than Sunshine, as well as doing commissions and flyers for bands/music venues/movie theaters, etc.
RYAN: What was your first exposure to comics as a kid?
HARRY: My first exposure to comics was Calvin and Hobbes, which had a huge impact on me when I was five. A year or so later I read Captain Underpants, which prompted me to begin making my own comics. My first comic, made at age six, was a super hero parody called Hyper Man.
RYAN: Who were some of your artistic influences growing up?
HARRY: I was initially very into silver age comic book art, my favorite being Steve Ditko's work on Spider-Man. When I got a little older, around twelve or thirteen I discovered indie and underground comics, and got really into Johnen Vazquez, who's cutesy goth comics were a huge influence on me. Shortly after I discovered some higher quality cartoonists, like Daniel Clowes and Charles Burns, who began to shape my tastes and aspirations through High-School. As an adult I've discovered and become obsessed with Al Columbia. He has, over the past 8 years or so, risen to the top of my favorite cartoonists list, even though he has such a minimal output.
RYAN: What was that one book that made you decide to become a cartoonist?
HARRY: Although I'd making little comics my whole childhood it wasn't until I was 14 that I read Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron. That book immediately inspired me to try and make my own full length comic, which I spent the majority of my freshman year of high school working on. It was a sloppily drawn surreal road trip comic called "It Will Get Worse." I filled up about half of my sketch book with pages before eventually abandoning it. But I've been pursuing cartooning as a craft/career from then on.
RYAN: Back to Vacuum Decay, how did that project come about? Why a horror book?
HARRY: Horror is my favorite genre, and I've always loved horror anthologies. When I was ten I discovered the EC horror line, and fell in love with Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt. When I was a little older I discovered the underground horror anthologies, like Slow Death and Insect Fear. A horror anthology is something I've always wanted to do, and after self publishing Softer Than Sunshine, and meeting other indie cartoonists through conventions and Instagram, I figured now was the time to take a swing at it! I also met Karmichael Jones (@CurseGod) who was living in SF at the time, and who had similar taste in horror and outlaw comics. Hanging out and drawing with him inspired me to attempt more collaborative projects.
RYAN: Is this a title you will continue to do?
HARRY: Yes! I've already got issue 2 about halfway finished, and I'm hoping to have that out in late July. Then aiming to do issue three around October. Hopefully I can put out 3-4 a year, if I can keep the momentum up!
RYAN: What are some of your solo books all of should check out?
HARRY: Softer Than Sunshine issue 1, my self publishing debut, is a little bit embarrassing for me now. I've improved a lot in my artistic ability, and I can't exactly say I'm proud of those drawings. Softer Than Sunshine issue 2 will be out next month, however, and I'm far more proud of that, as a piece of solo work.
RYAN: What's on your to read pile?
HARRY: Josh Bayer's Theth: Tomorrow Forever. He's one of the best cartoonists working, and I loved the first Theth, so I'm certain this one will be incredible. I bought it when it was first released, but I've been somewhat intimidated to start it. I will soon though!
RYAN: What are your preferred tools when illustrating?
HARRY: I use blue lead in a lead holder, and recently made the switch from Microns to brush pen, which has made a huge difference. I also have recently discovered traditional/physical screentones, and I love them! They've made all the difference!
RYAN: What project are you currently working on?
HARRY: I just finished Softer Than Sunshine issue 2, which I'll be releasing next month, and now I'm getting started on Vacuum Decay issue 2, which I just started drawing.
RYAN: For all the readers out there, where can they follow you to learn about any projects you might be working on?