Please tell us, what were your motivations for creating Oswald Chronicles for Dream Weaver Press?
JD: The impetus to create Oswald happened when I was working professionally as a writer in the mid-nineties. I was writing anywhere from three to four books a month, but I worked fast and would have a great deal of down time, so I needed and wanted something to fill that time with. Oswald became that thing.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
JD: It was early on. Probably around the age of 8.
Wow! When did you begin to publish?
JD: I started self-publishing in the early 90’s. I was a huge fan of the indie boom (which eventually became the black and white glut) of the mid 80’s. It was this explosion of books that made me want to create my own books.
You have a strange, cool way of weaving realism into your work. Is your choice of animal-like, anthropomorphic characters at all a reaction to the popular comic superhero style?
JD: Are you saying Oswald is not a super hero? I’m just joking of course; the main reason is that the market is over saturated with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great superhero comic from time to time, but when you’re looking at The Big Two specifically it becomes one big messy soap opera for middle aged men. The only real difference is that these soap opera characters drop cars on one another regularly. I also feel that much of what’s done in the mass market is done with little or no heart.
There’s plenty of stosterone in those books, but very little heart, and one without the other leaves me listless and wanting more. I love seeing guys bash each other over the head now and again but give me books like Sandman, Fables, Unwritten, and Lock & Key and I’ll leave those costumed kids every time.
You’ve recently made the switch from print media to Digital Reader. Why is that?
JD: It’s an experiment. When I first started we were all print, because that’s all there was and we loved it and we still do. All of our books do eventually end up in print, and I’m working on a Kickstarter campaign to get the first Oswald trade in print. A few years ago I saw the rise of the webcomic and just like the indie boom of the 80’s I said “Yea, that’s something I want to participate in.”
How many projects do you have going right now?
JD: Currently I’m working on The Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails. Those two projects are taking up all of my time at the moment, but I have about a dozen other ideas screaming in the back of my mind that wish to get worked on. If things go well, maybe we’ll see some of those sooner rather than later, but rest assured they will come.
With The Oswald Chronicles you have managed to create a collective of some really unique characters. From Oswald to Diane, Ordith to Dofon etc. How long did it take you to mentally conceive each one?
JD: Minutes, and I hate putting it like that but it’s true. When I first came up with Oswald he wasn’t supposed to be the main emphasis of the story; he was just supposed to be some enigmatic little mouse in the center of Manhattan telling these strange stories. The first story I wrote with Oswald in it, The Park Avenue Mall War, is the story about Diane, who only comes out during the day. She has a war with Ordith, who only comes out at night. This creates a strange dichotomy in Oswald’s life, since he’s friends to both of them. As far as the conception of each character, I’m the type of writer that just jumps into a story and whatever happens, happens. I needed a troll. I needed a warrior fairy. And I created them. They happened to be Diane and Ordith and I liked them enough that I kept them around. Then at that point it’s my job to continue and build on them and their mythology; who are they? where are they from? what motivates them? etc. I don’t really take a long time to carefully construct each character; instead I give them all stories, or rather I let those characters whisper their stories in my ear and I allow them to build themselves.
Who is the artist?
JD: The artist is the awesome Jade Gonzalez, but there have been others, like my good friend Matt Lundsford, and the greatest artist I know because I sleep next to her every night Daphne Lage :)
Where do you find the time?
JD: Over several years, one painstaking line at a time. Also, I always try to write my stories with a sense of history, even if they don’t have one at the time. But it’s always there and if you tell the story and you let it guide you, you’ll find it. At least that’s how it works for me.
Have you noticed the market changing with the success of so many indie publishers such as IDW and Fantagraphics?
JD: It’s something I’ve seen, and been hoping for, for a long time. And, as someone who’s never sought work at either of The Big Two, it’s gratifying.
It seems like there are many more options for self-publishing by digital means these days. Can you see the digital publications taking over the paper presses?
JD: I think that they will one day overtake a majority of the sales in the market, while print will be relegated to the true hard cores within each fan base, as higher-end collectibles for showing off to friends and family and so forth.
How have your fans been responding your own digital foray?
JD: It’s interesting being so close to the people who are actually consuming my work. Before I would get the odd letter from a fan here and there, or at a show people would come up to me and say how much they like my work. But now they can just let me know if they approve or disapprove right on the spot, and I love it.
Will The Oswald Chronicles be an ongoing series?
JD: The Oswald Chronicles, just like Tall Tails, has an ending, but getting there is going to take some time. There are a bunch of aspects to Oswald’s life that I’ve only barely touched upon. Like his second and third lives and how they impact his current one.
Sweet. Keep it coming. Do you believe that there should be more books geared toward children?
JD: I read plenty of books when I was a child, and I think that there’s plenty of material out there for everyone, you just have to look for it. Now if we’re talking exclusively about comics, I may be the wrong person to ask: as a kid I was reading Son of Satan, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and Frank Miller’s Daredevil. So the whole Archie, Micky Mouse comics thing always left me a little cold. But I feel there’s plenty of room for everything at all levels, and so long as it’s done with honesty and care, bring it on.
by D. Goines Aug 12.2016
The Oswald Chronicles