Interview! Welcome Greg Fox creator of Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast!
Boo-Yah everyone! I have a very special guest here today who has agreed to an interview on Black Satin. May I present the one and only, Mr. Greg Fox, creator of the fabulous comic, Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast! Let’s all give him a hearty welcome!
A. Probably before I can remember… I think the first things I drew were animals and birds. I can clearly remember drawing reindeer when I was maybe 5 or 6, with what looked like TV antenna antlers! I always liked comics, but I discovered DC superhero comics when I was 12, and that was really the beginning….when I realized this is what I wanted to do professionally. And I’m still not sure why. Probably the combination of the artwork and storytelling and cinematic quality to all of it!
Q. Are there any particular artists who inspire you?
A. So many. Norman Rockwell, Michelangelo… and then within the comics industry, almost too many to list. Nick Cardy, George Perez, Neal Adams, John Byrne… and the list goes on and on!
Q. Why your current style?
A. I think I’m a real product of the artists I grew up liking. Although I think I add a current edge, especially with my coloring, to the look of my work. My style is not really standard “comic strip” style… it leans more towards how comic books are illustrated, which is really the world I came from. Although, I suppose there’s an element of the classic romance comic strips in my work, which unfortunately, not many exist anymore, except for Mary Worth and Apartment 3-G, and maybe a few others.
Q. What type of tools do you use when creating your comic?
A. For the actual drawing itself, I’m pretty traditional; I pencil and ink the strip on bristol board, in the standard way most comics have been produced over the past century. However, all of the color is done on the computer. When I decided to start doing the strip in color a few years ago, (I did it in black & white before that), I realized the highest quality color would be computerized. I played around with some hand-coloring a few years before that, but it never looked all that great after it was scanned into the computer. Whereas the computer-coloring, I feel, is far superior.
Q. Can you describe a typical day of creative work?
A. It can vary, depending at what point I am in my schedule. But I usually do script writing first thing when I rise, and then after breakfast, move on to penciling or inking, (or, if I’m not there yet in the process, layout and lettering). Later on in the day I’ll move on to what needs to be done on the computer, either scanning or coloring, or some aspect of promotion or website update. Usually, after dinner, is the time I devote to answering emails I get from readers. I really try to keep up with that, so as to avoid the situation that happened a couple of years ago, where my fan emails built up so much that
I had a mountain going back something like 7 mon–ths!!!
Q. What are some of your other interests?
A. Well, it used to be I was torn between my music and my artwork… in fact, during college and a couple of years after, I was more focused on making a career happen as a rock musician than in comics. But then I fell back into comics when I realized that’s really where my heart was at, (and I came to realize drawing and music are all connected… it’s all art, it’s all creativity). I’m also very into health and cooking, (some of my friends would categorize me as a health food nut, and yeah… I probably am!). I also love Vermont! In fact, I might be relocating there at some point. It’s still up in the air, but I just love being up there, and I’d like to try living there.
Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your art?
A. Hmm… good question! I think perhaps the fact that absolute terror really motivated me to become a better artist. What I mean by that is, when I first started drawing comic books professionally, I was startled to realize how much I still needed to learn. I’d been drawing comic strips since I was a kid, and had some successes in my high school and college newspapers, but… once I was drawing professionally… wow. I almost felt I was under attack from the get go from a lot of editors, critics, readers… whoever. And you know, they were right, to a certain degree. I DID have a lot to learn. And, damn… I don’t think my artwork has ever seen such a quantum leap in quality than during that first year of drawing professionally. Instead of folding and being intimidated, I kinda rose to the challenge, buckled down, and just got better. Mainly out of fear! And within about a year and a half, a lot of those same critics came to me and said, “Wow, you really improved!”. Please understand, I’m not suggesting that that is the best way to learn… and I certainly would not enjoy going through that “thrown into the deep end” process again. But at the time, it did really work for me!
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
A. It’s interesting… I think that varies for different people. For me, I like to see a story that has some uplifting quality to it. Even if it involves tragedy or sad drama, I like to see it bring some hope, some healing at the end. But I know some people like stuff that’s just more sad or twisted, with unhappy endings. Not me, though. Oh, also… for me, a lot of good storytelling comes from good characters. If you have interesting characters, good stories can flow more easily. That’s why in my strip, characters like Breyer and Price are really fun for me to write, because they’re such strong characters, and they tend to electrify some of the plotlines!
Q. So what is Kyle’s story? How did the B&B come about and why this particular setting?
A. Kyle’s story has never really been told in the strip… there have been hints about his “mysterious past”, and perhaps that he was in the rock music industry in some way… but it’s still a bit of a mystery. I would like to tell it though. Some day!
Q. Now that New York has legalized gay marriage, will we see a wedding in the near future at the B&B?
A. Without giving away too much… yes, I think you will! But I’m not saying who!
Q. Are any of the characters fashioned after you?
A. I get asked this a lot. Kyle is probably most like me, (big surprise, huh?). The way he’s into healthy living, and is a bit cautious in relationships, and not really into the club scene and all that. I think there are some aspects of myself in the other characters, too… or at least, some aspects of friends of mine!
Q. What are some of the promotional methods you use? What works or doesn’t?
A. I probably don’t do as much as I should. Facebook has truly been a blessing… there’s a strong and growing fan presence on there. Also, having the strip running in a number of gay publications across the country gets it out there for folks to see. I suppose I’d be open to suggestions on promotion from anyone who is interested!
Q. Just for fun — they’re making Kyle’s into a movie. Who do you imagine would play your characters?
A. I’ve thought about this a bit. I think my answers have changed over the years…. I know, when I first started the strip, I was thinking maybe someone like Rob Lowe or Dylan McDermott to play Kyle… although now, I think they’re a bit too old. (He’s supposed to be in his mid-thirties, and those guys are both around 50 now). I think Brad would be the most difficult to cast… I can’t really think of an actor his age, (early 20s), who looks quite like that…big, blond, muscular. Except maybe in porn! Honestly, though, if a movie were being made, it would probably be with unknown actors, and maybe that’s for the best. They wouldn’t bring the preconceived baggage with them. Of course, if one of those Gossip Girl guys wanted to be in it, I’d have a hard time saying no to that!
Q. And speaking of movies, what’s your soundtrack? Or do you work in complete silence?
A. This is actually very important to me! Having good music playing can be really crucial to producing good art…. I’ll listen to my favorite rock, (Stone Temple Pilots, Doors, Jefferson Airplane), or country music, (John Michael Montgomery, Patty Loveless). And then I’ll also listen to talk radio just for variety, usually NPR. Interestingly, when I do figure drawing, which is something I do on the side, (and is good practice for my comic art), if I have a model posing, that I will do in silence. Not sure why, it just seems to work better that way.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A. Mainly, thank you! I’m so grateful for all of the support, the many kind comments over the years, and for those who have purchased the books and who are so eagerly awaiting that second book, (yes, it’s coming soon!). Really, it’s been such an honor to feel that my work has been taken into so many people’s hearts. That’s really a miracle to me.
Q. Tell us about your current and future projects. What is on the horizon for you and Kyle?
A. Right now, I’m finishing up the second book collection of the comic strip. It’s called “Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast: A Second Bowl of Serial”, and it’s scheduled to be published sometime in 2012. It will continue where the first book left off, and contain all the episodes up until the color ones started. (The third book will start with the color episodes). This book has been long overdue… my original plans were for it to come out in 2008 or 2009, but unfortunately, my Mom got sick in 2007 and passed away about a year later, and I couldn’t really focus on putting out a book then. I recalled all too clearly the amount of promotion and touring, etc., involved when the first book came out in 2004-2005, and I knew there was no way I could do that while things were the way they were with my Mom. But the good news is, now there won’t be such a big wait between books 2 and 3. For any and all information about upcoming releases, please visit my website at http://www.kylecomics.com/ And also…. I’m going to be putting out a collection of “An Angel’s Story”, the comic strip I did in the 1990s and early 2000s that feature Steve the angel, who shows up in Kyle’s B&B every once in a while.