Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of The Blame! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the stories?
Jon Aye: The Blame is a collection of experimental short stories I have produced over the past year. The stories are character studies that explore interactions between people: mothers and sons, friends, colleagues.
BD: How would you describe your creative process in bringing these stories to life, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences in terms of the characters and tone?
JA: I explored a number of storytelling approaches here. Some stories were quick ‘gag’ strips: funny ideas that came to me quite quickly. I might write these down on my phone or thumbnail them quickly before drawing-up a more ‘polished’ version. There are a few stories that belong to the same world, a kind of ruined dystopian setting that I imagined as a backdrop to a family drama, and I played around with fleshing out some of the stories that might exist in this place. Some of these were written in script form first, as the dialogue flowed easily. There are also some stories that come from a more satirical or critical vein. They either present character observations or attempt to draw out certain public personas to an absurd - but perhaps still logical! - conclusion.
Visually, Italian Topolino and Braccio di Ferro comics of the late '80s and early '90s are a big influence, particularly the work or Alberico Motta. I was also reading a lot of Osamu Tezuka and other Gekiga authors at this time. I also love the work of Jiro Bevis, and he was a great inspiration when it came to playing with a digital style that can - as one reviewer has described it - deny a sense of authorship at times. I like that effect, that idea. For line work and colour I moved a lot between illustrator, photoshop and procreate, trying to do whatever felt fun and interesting.
BD: Do you hope to expand these stories into additional comic compilations or series in the future?
JA: There are some stories and characters I’m planning to continue working with, particularly Steve the Screenwriting dog.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
JA: I’ve just completed a series of 8 illustrations for The Believer Magazine, and these can be found in the latest October/November issue. It’s a great privilege to be in the magazine, and I had free reign with themes and ideas. I’m very happy with how the illustrations turned out.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about The Blame and your other work?
JA: There are similar themes in most of my previous books. You can check these out here and buy copies at my online store.