MATT HIRST: Thank you for doing this. These interviews are one of the great perks I get for volunteering for Staple.
DEAN TRIPPE: Thanks so much, man. Means a lot. And no problem! Happy to do it.
MH: You have had a lot of really good interviews, and of course, many great discussions in your own podcasts with Scott Fogg and Jason Horn. Are there any questions that you are surprised you have not been asked?
DT: No one’s really wanted to go too deep on my sick rap skills, but I suppose my album’s been out of print since 2004, so maybe folks today don’t even remember.
MH: Something Terrible can be counted among a number of moving survivor accounts. What I feel differentiates this work is the expression of living with a sense of fear and stigma at being a potential abuser. That seems like an experience that has seldom been shared. Have you found other narrative accounts since you published it that impress you, for this kind of expression or for other reasons?
DT: I hear from folks who’ve had similar experiences multiple times per week, but yeah, it’s rare for folks to come out about being sexually abused and get heavy into the fear and stigmas that come with surviving such crimes. The one that stands out to me came before Something Terrible, David Holthouse’s account of plotting to murder his rapist, presented in TAH episode 425, Slow to React. ( http://www.thisamericanlife.
MH: Your mini-comic Something Terrible reached millions of readers. Movies made from comics (not just super hero genre) have made millions and won international recognition. I don’t see that level of awareness towards the direct market comic book. What do you think comic book publishers could do better or differently to get more awareness?
DT: The biggest issue that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind is ACCESS. Every gatekeeper at all levels of the industry should be welcoming to new talent, diverse ideas, and folks just getting into fandom. If you want an industry that can thrive in the 21st century, you have to look beyond the 35-year-old, videogame-playing demographic, and comic shops themselves, have to get way better. There are plenty of excellent shops in the country, but I hear from people all the time who have negative experiences at the only LCS near them. We’ve got to welcome everyone, treat everyone well, and hope each person who enters into our world finds a place where they’ll be safe.
MH: You studied comics in college; what would you say are the top five fiction comics every aspiring comic book creator should read to learn the ins and outs of the art form?
DT: I’ll just list some of my favorites for brilliant visual storytelling: Brubaker and Cooke’s Catwoman arc, Mignola’s Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Other Stories, Morrison and Quitely’s We3,
MH: Are there any of the other guest that you are looking forward to meeting at Staple 2015?
DT: Oh, dude, everybody! It’s a great list. Too many friends I haven’t seen in too long. I’m so happy to be coming back to Austin. I’m psyched to see Babs Tarr, Jess Fink, Kate Leth, Timothy Doyle, Robert Wilson IV, and so many more of the cool kids of comics world.
MH: Do you have any new projects you are willing to hint about?
DT: I’ve got a teen fantasy revenge story and a bright and shiny superhero book in the works. Hoping to have both of those up this year.
MH: This last question may be crazy, but I have been thinking about this for many years now and I think you may have some great insights -- maybe even some answers? Why do we form such a personal attachment to characters who are: 1) Owned by corporate entities (DC, Marvel, etc.) 2) Largely brought to us by hundreds of creators who give up any ownership stake and control over any innovation 3) Radically removed from the creators and contexts of their generation?
DT: Epic tales have inspired and connected with individuals in our mundane lives for as long as there have been storytellers. When civil rights preachers in the South used stories of the Israelites to express the feeling of a coming promised land, they were using old tales to explain a modern condition. And to instill hope, because we know stories have resolutions, of one kind or another. The fact that our modern corporate landscape has found a way to turn creativity into a capital engine is certainly weird, and at time destructive, but it doesn’t affect the power of poor artists and writers pouring their hearts and minds into fantastic tales, and honestly, has the side effect of allowing creators to collaborate across generations, improving upon earlier drafts, refining or refocusing ideas over decades. The good ideas stick. The bad ones fall away. Our heroes are bigger than their corporate caretakers, so even when there’s a bizarre misstep, of marketing or malice, our characters endure.