Hey everyone, today I have an interview with Eli Schwab of Cosmic Lion Comix. Not only does he produce awesome comic, podcasts and zine, but he's also the moderator of the Cartoonist Kayfabe Ringside Seats group on Facebook. It was through this awesome community, inspired by the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel, that inspired the creation of the Wizərd Zine. I was lucky enough to help edit it with him and it inspired me to jump all in on the underground comix scene. Not to mention it put me onto some awesome new cartoonists.
I figure what better way to help get the word out there, than to talk to the man behind this awesome idea. Hope you guys enjoy and make sure you check out that Zine, it's awesome!
RYAN: So we've know each other for a few months now and connected over TMNT. For those that don't know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
ELI: Yeah man! My name is Eli Schwab from Cosmic Lion Productions. I write, draw, publish, edit, facilitate, podcast, and exalt!! I’ve fused my loves into stories. I self-publish my creator owned book, MONKELION, about an intergalactic Afro Funk band on tour thought the galaxy and I harness my and many others niche loves into print. I’ve harnessed three niches so far. Three I am VERY passionate about, first, Ween, the band. Second, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and third, Cartoonist Kayfabe/the love of comics.
RYAN: You moderate the Kayfabe Ringside Seats group on Facebook. Can you talk a little bit about how that formed?
ELI: It’s kinda’ wild actually. I wrote to Jim and Ed about forming this awesome group and showing them how I love their work and how I have been able to work with a group to make these cool things, at that point I had 5 issues of the Ween Zine and 1 TMNT Zine. They got back to me and were like, “Someone got with us yesterday and started one, her name is “this” go find her!” I did and then we teamed up and started to create the greatest comic think-tank in the world!
RYAN: When did you first get into Cartoonist Kayfabe?
ELI: Day one I was there, watched the first ep the second it came out. I love Ed’s work man. Hip Hop Family Tree was a revelation when I read it. I love music and I love comics and it was both in the really dense and beautiful way. I had recently read WIZZYWIG and it also blew me away, so I was in from the get! I didn’t know Jim Rugg's work as much. I had seen it, unknowingly in the Strange Tales Marvel stuff he did but that’s it. As soon as I read AFRODISIAC I was like…wuuuuut. That book is masterfully put together. It’s like a text book of classic styles. I had no idea how he thought of that. Now I do. Now we all know these guys, and what comics mean to them, so much! Also Tom…I knew Tom before either of the guys from GODLAND. That book is amazing.
RYAN: About a month ago you put out the Wizərd Zine, which you let me help edit. How did that whole project come about?
ELI: Yeah man, thanks again for helping me! Harnessing the loves of people is what I do best. So immediately I was like, all these fans are insanely talented and I wanna’ work with them. Look at what we can all do! So I was like, “send me everything!” And not even, “go give me new fresh work.” Give me your best stuff. This is 5-10 pages for you to show the world what you got, what’s new, and who are you! Lets do it!! We voted on the name in the group, great ideas aplenty but Wizɘrd won. That backwards E does wonders!
RYAN: I blame the Zine for this Kayfabe hole I've fallen into, haha. What’s your favorite of Ed and Jim's work?
ELI: That first Free Comic Book day Hip Hop Family Tree was the first work of Ed's I saw and it hooked me. The page-feel, the look, the style, the attention to detail, it was everything I wanted in a comic. For Jim, AFRODISIAC, it’s just so great. Jim is a master of zines. His BW and SUPERMAG are amazing. His sketchbook stuff is also amazing. Of all the tools Jim and Ed have shown off on the show the major tool I’ve adopted is this 4-color Bic ballpoint pen. The clicky kind from childhood. I love it.
RYAN: Going back to Kayfabe Ringside Seats, what do you love most about this awesome community of Kayfabers?
ELI: The creativity is astounding. The deepness in these collections is insane! The breadth of knowledge. One thing that is so cool to me is someone who has all this knowledge about something you may have never heard of. People in this group possess nearly 98.7% of all the comic knowledge inherent in the universe, so…it’s pretty cool. Also, at any time of day or night, some one, two, ten, people in the group are making comics…guaranteed. At least!
RYAN: What books are you currently digging?
ELI: You know before Covid-dumbteen I was psyched about Mike Huddleston’s new book DECORUM. That was cool. I do read big two stuff. Venom has been pretty good, Silver Surfer is a fave. SILVER SURFER BLACK recently was great. Just read WONTON SOUP by James Stokoe, last thing I got from you guys at Collectors Paradise. That was amazing!! Intergalactic cooking! Love all that attention to detail. Been on a big Basil Woverton kick recently. His SPACEHAWK book from Fantagraphics is a wonder!
RYAN: Does Cosmic Lion Productions have any other projects in the works? Will there be a 2nd issue of Wizərd?
ELI: Oh yes my friend! Onward and upward. There is a fan made Image Grand Design that we have been feverously working on behind the scenes that is truly amazing. The level of art in this thing is beyond astounding. Def, issue two of Wizerd, can’t wait for that. Also I’m looking to publish some books. I have started a publishing company called “Killer Books” and I’m looking forward to publishing the most killer books, ever! Always the podcasts, Can I Thwipp It? with my dude Manus Dunbar, Nerd-Swag MC and comic-head and Cosmic Lion Radio my interviews and mix-tape podcast. Ween Zine #6 on the horizon as well.
RYAN: For all the readers out there, where can they learn more about the group or any upcoming projects you might be working on?
ELI: Search Facebook for Cartoonist Kayfabe Ringside Seats, and join. Follow the Cartoonist Kayfabe guys of YouTube too! Then for me go to CosmicLionProductions.com for all your comics needs @CosmicLion on Instagram, TheWeenZine.com and the podcasts are on iTunes or cosmiclionradio.libsyn.com canithwippit.libsyn.com Dig it!!
Thanks for having me Ryan!