Welcome to my 'zine tree!

Here in my studio, I've got this wire-y thing hanging above my computer desk chock-full of paper goods that have kept me curious.

Instead of filing one thing away when I wish to add something, I've decided to do these features about some of the creators' works on the tree.

There's a little bit of everything up there - some photography, some stickers, some floppy comics, but most of it is cartoon and comics art and all of it is independently produced.


Tell me a bit about your interest in underground comics and how that connects to your filmmaking.

JK: I guess what draws me to the underground comix is their irreverence, accessibility, creativity and expressiveness, but also, the movement itself is a great story!

When I first started making documentaries, Terry Zwigoff's Crumb was among a handful of documentaries that was a major influence on me.

In the process of making a documentary about Baltimore low-budget filmmaker Don Dohler, I met and interviewed underground cartoonists Skip Williamson and Jay Lynch. After finishing the Dohler documentary, I went on to make a documentary about Skip (featuring Jay and others) called Pigheaded, which will premiere soon hopefully.

>>See trailer for Pigheaded >>
AG: S O R R Y C O M I C S, your autobiographical web comic from which your practice grew, existed in digital form first. Why this switch to paper?

Early on, I was just so focused on the making of comics and I knew paper distribution was a lot of work for a smaller audience. With the internet, I can share the work quickly and even get some feedback. I was most interested in honing my storytelling skills then, so I just decided to focus on creating comics and forgo publishing anything until the urge struck. Then in early 2015, I read a bunch of things like Mineshaft magazine, Noah Van Sciver's Blammo, Box Brown's Number 1 and was finally intrigued enough to publish.

I liked how a comic book with disparate types of comics within could still be thematically connected, like an album. And how the larger body of work can also have little thematic connections here and there.

 I just started to crave that next level of challenge. I had a bunch of material developed, but from two different places, so I decided to simultaneously create the first two issues of a comic called EXIT.

AG: There are two film-related comics in this issue of EXIT – one about the 1986 film Heavy Metal Parking Lot, and one about your personal history with a drive-in theater. Both the film and venue are lost to time, but specific to Maryland. What compels you to offer these sorts of histories?


JK: Well, both comics are included because of the specific time and place they reference. All the material in EXIT #2 takes place in Maryland and spans a long period of time, but they all have the most overlap during the period of 1986-87.

The cover is an homage to the 1987 Topps trading card series Dinosaurs Attack, which I first saw on my grandparents' property that year. I also included some Wacky Packages-inspired paintings and a self-portrait as a Garbage Pail Kid, although I named mine Trailer Trash Kids. Each of the pieces throughout the book makes thematic connections to the overall series. For example, the comic about my child drive-in experience reveals many of the influences to a comic featured the first issue of EXIT.
>>excerpt from EXIT #2; The Rise & Fall of Sonny Morrison:
AG: The comic about your grandfather Sonny (who is deceased) is a great story. While the description of his life and illegal activities is borderline invasive, it’s not nearly as humiliating for you or some of the people you’ve included as characters in your work from the past. What’s with the classiness??

JK: I certainly do not mean to come across as classy, and if I have, I apologize completely. I still intend to humiliate myself and others hopefully again sometime soon. Also, I don't see my grandfather's story as invasive. I'm proud and excited by the story, warts and all. I want to tell autobiographical and biographical stories that have the same meat a fiction story might have. And just like I inherited the crazy mountain man gene from my grandfather, I also inherited his legacy. I didn't ask for it. It was given to me.

Visit John's website and blog>>

John's Twitter>>

Support John's work by purchasing the EXIT #2, among other things>>