Recent hire, RJ Casey, hails from the town of Chicago but has been out Seattle-way for awhile as an editorial intern working with editor Kristy Valenti and is now working at Fantagraphics on foreign rights and FU Press. Please welcome RJ into our weird fold as we ask him a few questions.
What other jobs/experiences have you had in comics? What's your background in (non-comics?)
I started a small publishing behemoth with Eric Roesner called Yeti Press. We've been wheelin' and dealin' comics, graphic novels, and anthologies since 2011. I also taught elementary school for five years in the suburbs of Chicago. All this after I double majored in English and education at Hope College in Michigan.
What was the first comic you read?
Silver Surfer #54 was the first comic I ever read, but I use the word "read" loosely. It was more like scanning the pages for action before I could decipher the words. The Silver Surfer and Rhino fought in a zoo!
What was the first comic that made you want to write, react, something?
Artists like Dylan Horrocks and Roger Langridge always make me laugh and think, but I'm going to take it back to Bone by Jeff Smith. I was a struggling student in early grades and I learned how to read, quite literally, from Bone. I still reread it at least once a year.
What can you recommend to Fanta readers?
I'm a sucker for humor and gag comics, so I'd say don't sleep on the Virgil Partch, M.K. Brown, and Charles Rodrigues collections. Being a Chicago-born basketball junkie as well, I'm always telling people about Bull on Parade.
Weirdest Fanta experience so far?
Every time I go into the basement archives is a new adventure. I'm either finding a cool, old Kevin Huizenga mini or a nest of dead spiders.
Favorite way to wind down?
Watching a NBA game or taking a walk around Green Lake with my wife.
Whiskey or coffee. Or whiskey and coffee.
What projects do you have ahead of you outside of your job?
Yeti Press has a fun group of releases available this summer, which includes 4 books and a webcomic. I also update my art appreciation blog called "I Like That" everyday.
Best part of comic conventions?
That tired, slap-happy daze that inevitably occurs after too many hours on your feet and "being on." Just you and your friends spouting ideas and opinions about comics. I dig those shared experiences.
Favorite place in Seattle for food or public place?
Wayward Café has something called the "Biscuit Mountain" on their menu, so they're obviously on the list. Green Lake is my normal stomping ground and I love going to Storm games at the Key Arena.
Thanks for answering my questions, RJ, now GET BACK TO WORK.