Friends of the Fiend 20: Rex May
Writer/cartoonist/gag writer, Rex F. May is also the prolific, and very funny, cartoonist, Baloo, you'll find more of his cartoons on his website, Baloo Cartoons.
CF. Okay, what are your current projects, anything exciting in the pipeline - that you can tell us about?
RM. Trying to make the transition to working on the net, trying to find cartoonists to collaborate with (I'm a gagwriter, too — mainly a gagwriter, in fact), gearing up for retirement from my government job in 86 days, trying to hit the ground running. Meanwhile a comic book is coming out from Big Head Press.
CF. Did you always want to be a cartoonist, and set out to become one, or was it a gradual process?
RM. I did when I was a kid, forgot about it for many years. Started writing prose for National Lampoon back in 74, got a copy of Writers' Market, saw that cartoonists needed gagwriters, and started doing that. Soon I had a few hundred gags nobody wanted, so I drew them myself and started selling.
CF. The work you do at the moment, can you tell ussomething about the process?
RM. I get up at about six every morning, sit down with a stack of clips, and, in front of the Cartoon Network or something, write till I have 35 gags. That takes an hour to an hour and a half. I draw when I get around to it. Rest of the time trying to market this stuff.
CF. I know you've been asked this a million times, butwhat tools do you use, and what format do you work to?
RM. Flairs on half sheets. I used Koh-i-noor Art Pen, like Stephanie Piro, until all of mine wore out.
CF. Is the cartoonist a proper artist? I mean, doescartooning have the same cultural impact as some otherartforms, in your opinion?
RM. Sure, more than a lot. We range from doodlers to fine artists.
CF. Is there any other area of cartooning you'd liketo work in, if you can find the time?
RM. Always ready to do something syndicated. But for that I want to do the writing, not the drawing.
CF. Who were your major artistic influences?
RM. Bob Thaves, Dave Holle, Sergio Aragones, Thurber, Bob Zahn.
CF. Who was/is your favourite cartoonist/writer, of all time?
RM. Gosh. Will Eisner, I suppose. Favorite writer... Terry Pratchett.
CF. There's a lot of talk about a new 'paper-less future' and 'newdigital reading habits', do you think this will affect cartooning,at some point.
RM. More than we can imagine.
CF. If you had the time, and you were helicoptered in to work on anything you chose, any publication, strip, panel, character, book, show, what would you like to work on?
RM. I'd like to be on the Benny Hill Show. Alas, too late.
CF. Is there anything you'd rather be?
RM. Not "rather", exactly, but I could've been a linguistics academic.
CF. Thank you for visiting with us.
RM. Mia plezuro!