Jason Love Interview


DM) How did you start in on your cartooning career?

JL) Unlike most cartoon panels, I buy the drawing for "Snapshots" on a work-for-hire basis (meaning I own everything). I have been through five illustrators now and spent more than $5000 on the artwork. I presently employ a gentleman named Jeff Law, who freelances for Disney and myself. I expect him to be with me until I die. Or until I go nuts--whichever comes first!

DM) Where are you being read now (especially by the 500,000 people!)?

JL) "Snapshots" currently appears in two dozen newspapers (mostly weeklies), including four in my neck of southern California. Those newspapers account for 250,000 viewers. "Snapshots" also appears at over 100 sites on the Internet by way of my daily.gif at my site. By the hit counter maintained by Conk, we see that it gets about 200,000 hits per day. The rest, of course, I rounded up so that you would think that I'm a somebody.

DM) But will too many comics simply "flood the market"?

JL) Yes, there will no doubt be a rash of new comics, and to be frank, many of them will be really bad. But if the GOOD cartoons gain the exposure which they have been denied in hard copy, justice will be served. There are a lot of terrific, deserving cartoons out there waiting for an audience, and the Internet has provided it for them. The cartoons that lack in quality will have to be a jungle through which editors will have to fight to get to the good stuff, I suppose. Maybe I should have begun this answer, "Once upon a time..." (It's so long)

DM) Do you think that this will be the new wave of publishing cartoons?

JL) Yes, Dominick. I really do think that the Internet holds new promise for the frustrated race of cartoonists out there. It is so unimaginably difficult to become a syndicated cartoonist in the outdated world of newspaper comics that it's a wonder there are any cartoonists at all. The Internet provides a forum for cartoonists that simply did not exist before. I am hoping that comic series which are consistently funny get a chance to appear before the people. After all, the comics page is only so big.

DM) Where do you get your inspiration to draw the comics that you do?

JL) I am inspired by my own smallness, which I try to keep in mind at all times. So many people get lost in the details of their own lives, their own egos that it makes for infinite comedy. I also take Prozac.

DM) What do you mean by "buy the drawing..."? You don't do the drawing yourself? How does the illustrator's role fit in with yours?

JL) No, I am probably the only cartoon writer in the world who does not do the drawings himself. I purchase them from local illustrators, which is expensive and scary. I really believe in what I'm doing, however, because these THINGS - these "Snapshots" come to me so naturally. The illustrator accepts the "written counterparts" for the cartoons and sketches out what he thinks it should look like. Then we argue for a while until it looks the way I see it in my head. It's fun, actually.

DM) Then are you truly a cartoonist? If not, then what would you call yourself?

JL) I am a writer; I have always been a writer. I relinquished a generous scholarship to UC Santa Cruz to become a writer, and that is what I still do. In addition to the cartoons, I am writing 12 separate, non-related books (mostly humor) and a column for the local paper called "There Goes the Neighborhood." It is my plan to publish these books in the wake of the "Snapshots" success, so you will find in this panel depth you would never imagine. I also am a copywriter for an ad firm in Van Nuys, California, where I do mostly clever little script from high-profile print ads. Fun stuff.

DM) And how is the book coming along? When and where will it be released?

JL) The book looks beautiful! The cover bears one of my cartoons, which depicts a woman in a shopping facility picking up a box from a stand that reads, "Buy this or you'll die." I love the subtlety of this joke, for she isn't even looking in the direction of the stand as we take the snapshot. Yes, subtlety is the key to my success. I am going to prove the power of understatement.

DM) So what do you do to relax?

JL) I am still learning how to relax, to tell you the truth. I exercise four times per week, which doesn't LOOK like relaxation, but it is. I play hockey, soccer, softball, and tennis on a good week. I won't be able to truly relax until I know that everyone knows about "Snapshots."

DM) Where are you from (born, raised, schooling)?

JL) I was born and raised in Thousand Oaks, California. I went to school in neighboring Newbury Park (Newbury Park High School) and went to college at UC Santa Cruz (that's in Santa Cruz). I love it here, but I sure long to travel. I lived in Bornholm, Denmark for six months, one of two eye-opening trips to Europe. There is no better way to grow up than to travel the world and see how other people live. It makes you realize that the whole world is not what happens just outside your doorstep. If we're lucky, it saves us from being swallowed up by the details of our own lives.

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