Friday, October 16, 2020

It's Here: Matt Bowers Signs Copies of Memphis No. 2

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 1:00 PM

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Memphis-based comic book artist Matt Bowers released the debut issue of his Memphis comic last year on 901 Comics’ Bad Dog Comics publishing label. The series — written, illustrated, and lettered by Bowers — got off to a good start. But, as is often the case with independent ventures, fans found themselves waiting for the series’ second issue. That wait is over. Bowers and Bad Dog Comics released Memphis No. 2 Wednesday, October 14th.

The second issue of Bowers’ Bluff City-based series is an evolution. The art and character design is excellent, and the action is nicely balanced. Plus there's a fight between a woman who's shape-shifted to become a panda and a hulking android called a Warbot. What more could one ask for? Memphis owes much to alternative comics of the ’80s and ’90s (Love and Rockets, for example), but there are shades of more mainstream titles as well. Lady Omega looks a little like X-Men's Storm, and there's a resemblance between Memphis’ Pigeon and X-Men’s Archangel. Killjoy would have been right at home in Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. Overall, though, Bowers is making something new in Memphis, albeit with loving homages to other works.

Bowers will sign copies of Memphis No. 2 at 901 Comics Saturday, October 19th, beginning at noon. I spoke with him about the new issue, plotting ahead, and producing in a pandemic.

Memphis Flyer: As always, the art is incredible. Is it a challenge laying out pages, or does it just come naturally to you?

Matt Bowers: Both, actually. Some days it's a breeze and other days it's like I've never drawn before. The key is to do it anyway. You can always correct your mistakes later. But I lay out each issue all at once in very loose, rough thumbnails. Almost stick figures honestly. At that stage it's more about pacing and figuring out what's going to work, layout-wise.

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Who’s your favorite character to draw?

Probably Pigeon or China Monroe.

Working on a story that’s told in installments must have its own challenges. How far in advance do you have the story planned out?

I actually have the first 50 issues plotted out. As I complete each issue, I come up with new ideas and sometimes lose interest in others so I'm always updating. Issues No. 1 and 2 were originally meant to be just one issue, for example.

Gaps between publications are pretty standard for independent comics, but what would you say to the people who are used to the Netflix business model? You know, being able to binge a whole story in a night.

I sometimes save comics up and then read several issues at once. A lot of modern comics work better that way. Memphis No. 1 and 2 should work well if read back to back. No. 3 is a stand-alone issue, but there will always be ongoing subplots in every issue.

What’s it like creating during a pandemic?


It was tough at first. I sheltered in place with my family back at the beginning for about three weeks. I feel I was shell shocked the first couple of days but then eventually realized that I needed to take advantage of being at home. So during the remaining time at home I was able to finish the pencils and inks for the next issue of Memphis, issue No. 3. Working on pages was definitely better for my mental well being than obsessing with what was happening with the pandemic.

Did you have plans to go to any conventions that had to be put on hold?

I was going to do MidTown Con in May, I think but that eventually got canceled. Bad Dog Comics had plans to attend Dragon Con as a group but that also couldn't happen.

You’re two issues into your partnership with Bad Dog Comics now. How is it working with Shannon Merritt?

Shannon is great, but I’m used to doing everything myself with the digital versions of my comics. It can sometimes be frustrating, but overall I am very happy with the process. Shannon and Gabe DeRanzo have done a lot for my comic that I couldn't have gotten done on my own.

Bowers will sign copies of Memphis No. 2 at 901 Comics Saturday, October 19th, beginning at noon. The comic is available at 901 Comics and will be available at the Memphis Made Brewing Taproom and Crosstown Brewery next week.

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