Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 86 - RICHARD CLARK
COMIC CREATOR - RICHARD CLARK
"The harder I worked, the luckier I got" Richard Clark, comic book writer, artist, illustrator
ABOUT RICHARD CLARK:
Richard Clark has never fit into a specific role while becoming a writer or an artist, and that is why he has done so many amazing things. He joins the show to talk about his career in comics and beyond, writing and drawing for titles like Batman, Happy!, The Boys, and House of Gold and Bones, which he did with Corey Taylor of Slipknot. Plus hear about how he worked with HBO on projects with Dennis Miller and George Carlin, and details on his newest creator owned series, Star.
ON THIS WEEK'S COMPANION TV SHOW:
This is the last show before Dustin and Jeff head to LA for a week. So the boys break down some of the details about their trip and what to expect. Plus a very special Science Segment with retired astronaut and artist, Nicole Stott, talking about the new crews for the Boeing and SpaceX vehicles. Thats not all, get a sneak peek at the next two weeks of podcast guests, Nicole Stott, and actor, musician and Blue Man, Jordan Woods-Robinson! Plus The Roast, Birthdays and new details about the next few mug releases from The World's Strongest Coffee Company.
DEATH STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week meet Sean Chai, a fan of Death Wish Coffee and he did something unique with his wedding and Deneen Pottery. Meet Sean within this week's show:
Speaker 1: Let's kick this off, Richard. I want to dive right into-
Richard Clark: An empty pool?
Speaker 1: Yes, an empty pool.
Richard Clark: C6 injury?
Speaker 1: C6 through 7, like around there.
Richard Clark: Shit in a bag for the rest of your life.
Speaker 1: Yeah, it sounds like fun.
Speaker 3: Oh, experienced, huh?
Richard Clark: What do you think that is on my hip right now?
Speaker 1: Oh, man. No, what I want to do is I want to talk about what you've got going on right now. It's something that you've been pouring your heart and soul into, and it's right behind us right here. Star.
Richard Clark: Hi.
Speaker 1: Can we talk a little bit about this character? Because I'm so intrigued.
Richard Clark: We can talk a little bit about her, and we can talk about how she's two years late. Yes, everybody in Kickstarter land, it is making me crazier than it is making you. She is a product of my twisted, goofy filter viewing the pop culture landscape. She is the evolution of our current trends in pop culture and what it means to be an international media sensation and a pop culture personality, and she's chock full of super-violence and teasing the audience. I don't want to be too ... I don't want to give you the standard, yucky advertising pitch: “She's fit. She's fun. She's a super-genius adventurer!”
Speaker 1: Give me your elevator pitch!
Richard Clark: Exactly. I don't want it to be that canned, but she's what a William Gibson novel would be shot through a prism of George Carlin humor and printed on Wacky Packages.
Speaker 1: Ah, okay.
Speaker 3: It sounds like ... wait, so she's like a pop star or like pop culture star, but she's also a violent vigilante?
Richard Clark: Yes.
Speaker 3: Okay.
Richard Clark: She's an unwitting vigilante, by the way. Oh, shit. I actually gave that away. You will see that as the story plays out. She doesn't intend to commit acts of justice; it just kind of falls in her lap that the justice that happens also coincides with making herself even more popular and more viewed. She is what Kim Kardashian would be if given super-athleticism and a super-genius brain and unlimited ... well, Kim Kardashian does have unlimited financial resources, but ... she's Lady Batman with a “look at me” selfie stick.
Speaker 3: Huh. So what ... where did this idea come from?
Richard Clark: I was taking a nap on the couch in July ... 2008? 2007 or 2008. I was just kind of absolutely over-stressed out, overworked. We had a young child, and I was out of my mind working. My wife was out working during the day, and I was staying home with our daughter and just resting on the couch, and this picture ... not quite that picture, but this picture popped into my head. What would it be to have this super, hypersexualized-looking female adventurer in an Old West setting? What would that be like?
Well, it would be kind of like the Kim Kardashian, Kardashitard, “look at me” paradigm that was, again, in 2007, just kicking off. This device had just hit the market when I just started thinking about, “What's the eventual outcome of something like that?” I didn't see selfie sticks, but you kind of saw it coming. Ten years, 11 years later, I've got a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, and at the end of this calendar year, she will be in people's hands and hopefully on store shelves.
Speaker 1: Talk a little bit about this process. You're wearing all the hats in this, correct?
Richard Clark: Correct, even though I'm obviously not wearing a hat and I have no hair.
Speaker 1: When you attack a creative process like this, are you looking at it from a script perspective? Are you looking at it from an artist perspective? Are you constantly warring between the two?
Richard Clark: I see that all of a piece. I see a completed product. I have an impression of a completed product in my head. I did well enough in school, from English classes perspective. I was one of those kids who was okay at school, so I wrote well mechanically, but that doesn't necessarily immediately translate into being a good writer of stories and prose. From this general impression that I had of this completed piece, I had some holes that needed filling in my abilities, so I went back to a virtual school for filling in some of the gaps I had about how to write effective prose, how to craft a story, soup to nuts. I remembered all the basics, because again, we all got the same thing in school. It was either a three-act or it was a five-part: introduction, rising action, climax, denouement and conclusion. We had all that stuff.
You know, that's just off the top of my head from stupid English classes everybody had. How do you do that from scratch, though? Especially when you've got something that's just kind of an impression of a story, an impression of a world-building thing? You go to school and you actually write it down. This is the process you go through, and then you learn that and make that instinctive and hopefully [inaudible 00:06:22] that whole thing so it's not just a cookie-cutter, you know, “This is my introduction. This is my character. This is my character doing things. This is the exciting climax, and this is how we outro.” You hope that it's not that codified. The market will tell me, at the end of this year, if I am cookie-cutter or if I actually did take enough of that in to just do it instinctively.
Speaker 3: How much did the education help?
Richard Clark: A lot. Having a process to forget the process is ... it's indispensable. Drawing and painting comes kind of second nature after a certain point in training. You guys are fairly fit. Skateboards?
Speaker 3: Me?
Speaker 1: I used to skateboard when I was a kid.
Richard Clark: Okay, you would go and you would learn the mechanics of being on a board, and you would learn the balance and all this and all that. Then the next thing you know, you're not even thinking about it. You've ridden a bicycle.
Speaker 1: Yeah, same thing.
Richard Clark: You're not thinking about this foot and that foot; you're just like, “Oh, yeah, I learned the mechanics, so I can go and do this and I can actually turn and hit the brakes and all that.” You hopefully learn to craft a story in that same fashion, where you learn the mechanics of it and you have them committed enough instinctively that you just do this part, and you do it interestingly enough that it, again, is not, “This is my character. This is the cookie cutter.”
Speaker 1: Right, right.
Speaker 3: You don't want the process to kind of interfere with the story, right? But you almost want to hit that zen state of ... that flow state, right? Flow state they talk a lot about with athletics, but it's the same thing with creation. You don't want to think about where you're going to put that brush; you want to feel what that's going to be like.
Richard Clark: It just goes where it's supposed to go, because this is the part where that goes.
Speaker 3: Right, yeah.
Richard Clark: I didn't want to say “zen” because, you know, if I'm out here talking about, “Well, my process is very zen. I want to learn it so I can forget it-”
Speaker 3: And you break out your crystals, buddy?
Richard Clark: Oh, and just pretentious asshole. Shoot me in my own car.
Speaker 3: I guess I'm the pretentious asshole.
Richard Clark: No, no, someone else can say that, because it is the kind of thing-
Speaker 3: Well, you can stay “flow state” without being pretentious, right?
Richard Clark: I don't know. I think I just got my hipster card sitting next to you hearing the words “flow state.”
Speaker 1: It's great to hear that, you know, you're constantly learning. You're constantly honing the craft that you thoroughly enjoy. I love to hear, especially from creatives, what set you on that path. Where was it in your life where you wanted to pursue comics, where you wanted to pursue art, let's even say?
Richard Clark: Well, wanting to pursue comics and wanting to pursue art pretty much happened at exactly the same time. I was about three years old. My mom makes the joke, “You've always wanted to draw ever since you could hold a pencil!” Well, yeah, kind of. When you're young, particularly in art culture at that time ... I'm quite a bit older than you gentlemen. In the early '70s, superheroes were on. You know, it was the Super Friends. It was the Justice League, all that stuff. You had comics and you had paper. I even remember getting the vinyl albums of Spider-Man stories. I mean, that's ... all that.
Speaker 3: That's cool.
Speaker 1: That's awesome.
Richard Clark: It was crazy, but that's how superheroes were back then. It was just all in your face, and I was just always drawing and wanting to draw superheroes and all that. Eventually, based on what comics ... mainstream comics were. As I was growing up, some of the stories you tend to leave behind when you leave Tom Swift behind, or the Hardy Boys, you know. All of that you start to shed as you start getting older and heading into high school, and then boom, I'm 16 and there's Blood by J.M. Dematteis and Kent Williams. There's Moonshadow by, again ... that Marc DeMatteis sure knew where to go and find some artists.
The Dark Knight Returns dropped then. Batman: Year One dropped a year later. Daredevil: Born Again, with Mazzucchelli and Miller, again, same year. All this stuff was happening ... Watchmen. Watchmen happened. All of a sudden you're thinking, “Well, you know, I'm kind of done with comics. What the hell is this?” And of course, Sienkiewicz was doing everything that I knew I wanted to do, which was, “You've got painting ability. You've got real, capital-A, grown-up Art ability, and you're telling superhero stories in these super crazy, stylized and exaggerated circumstances, but yet you bring it in every now and again just to really nail it down and tether you to reality.” It was ... Elektra: Assassin changed the world for me.
Speaker 3: So this whole new avenue of the comic industry opened up that kind of fit your ... I don't know, your mentality of art.
Richard Clark: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Speaker 3: That's really cool. Did you dive right in at that point?
Richard Clark: Oh, yeah. Went off to college a couple of years later. Learned how to paint and draw from life, and fell in love with guys like Degas and Sargent. Even Jacques-Louis David, you know, and the hyper-exaggerated neo-classicists and all of that stuff, which fit heroically with comic book ideals. Then all of a sudden this son of a guy comes along named Alex Ross, and he changes the game again too, doing Andrew Loomis-inspired natural stylizations and drawing superheroes into it. It's like, “Well, son of a gun. Now I can't do that because somebody already did that.”
Speaker 3: I remember when I had started reading like the first ... my first hyper-violent, hyper-realistic comic books. It was like, “I didn't know comic books could be like this! This is fucking cool.”
Richard Clark: It was.
Speaker 3: That probably attracted you to it, too.
Richard Clark: Geof Darrow was very much like that. Geof Darrow's work with Frank Miller was crazy.
Speaker 3: Yeah, I remember I used to get the Aliens comic books. Those were insane, just blood and guts pouring out everywhere. I was like, “Holy crap, they could do this?” It was just so cool.
Speaker 1: Bringing it back to Electra: Assassin, I remember I read that as a child too. It was just like, “I can't believe I get to read ...” I would hide it from my parents. Not that they'd ever look at my comics anyway, but I was reading a comic about a murderer, an assassin. It was just like ... it was like, “I can't believe I get to do this.”
Richard Clark: And doing a bad-guy job, yet being the good guy.
Speaker 1: Of course, yeah. To this day, one of my favorite- [crosstalk 00:13:41]
Speaker 3: I love that. It's like the ... it's not quite an antihero, just a hero that doesn't mind getting dirty.
Richard Clark: That's an ... she was 100 percent our typical antihero, 100 percent. It's very similar to the premise Stephen King had, you know, once upon a time. He said, “Could the guy in a high tower ever really be the good guy?” That question turned into The Dead Zone.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and I think he answered that pretty well. I want to kind of fast forward a little bit. You've gotten to work on your creator-owned stuff. You've gotten to work with some great people, [inaudible 00:14:23] I'm talking comic book industry, but your career ... you seem to have this air where you take jobs that you love, and you've gotten to do some incredible stuff with that.
Richard Clark: That's all smoke and mirrors, because I've hated every single thing I've ever done.
Speaker 1: I guess that's a good way to- [crosstalk 00:14:42]
Richard Clark: No.
Speaker 1: But I mean, I want to talk about, like, is that ingrained in your psyche? Is it like, “I want to say yes to these things,” or do you actively go looking for these things? Do they kind of come across your desk? I'm talking about some of just the amazing art that you've been able to put out there for-
Richard Clark: HBO and ...
Speaker 1: For HBO, for-
Richard Clark: Wall Street Journal.
Speaker 1: Yes, yeah, for Wall Street Journal. For that kind of stuff.
Speaker 3: What did you do for HBO?
Richard Clark: Two things. I painted a Dennis Miller image that turned into an animated ... they animated the actual character that I painted and ...
Speaker 3: Oh, that's cool.
Richard Clark: With his voice, and it became a promotional commercial for one of his stand-up specials. Then, back in 2001 ... I might even have that in here somewhere ... I painted a caricature of one of my biggest heroes of all time, George Carlin.
Speaker 1: Yeah, I love that.
Speaker 3: That's so cool.
Speaker 1: I'm going to sync that into this show so that everybody can see that, because it's-
Richard Clark: Okay, cool, then I won't look for it here, because it will look like shit on this, but his 2001 HBO special was called “Complaints and Grievances.” Up till ... We did all the art and all the design and all the stuff. I was working on staff at an ad agency as their in-house illustrator when I painted that and art directed it. We finished the entire campaign in July for a show that aired in November, and until September 10, 2001, that show was intended to be called ... we had posters printed, all of this. It was intended to be called “I Kind of Like It When a Lot of People Die.”
Speaker 1: So Carlin. So Carlin-
Richard Clark: And then September 11, 2001 happens, and ... “Maybe we're going to change the title of that special.”
Speaker 3: Wow, it almost seems like it was obviously directed at it, but it just had nothing to do with it. That's so crazy.
Speaker 1: It's just George. I mean, I can hear him in my head doing that bit, you know? Like, “I kind of like it when a lot of people die.”
Richard Clark: “I kind of like it when a lot of people die.” That entire chunk of his special changed that day.
Speaker 1: Right.
Richard Clark: He was touring that. It was the central thesis of the show that became “Complaints and Grievances,” and he had to shift gears and fill some new stuff in. “I kind of like it when a lot of people die.”
Speaker 1: Crazy. So, you didn't have to change your work for that, did you? Or-
Richard Clark: No, no, no. We just swapped title treatments out.
Speaker 1: Titles out, yep. Yeah.
Richard Clark: But to get back ... I'm sorry, I kind of went far afield.
Speaker 1: No, that's great.
Richard Clark: Jobs tend to find me, by and large. I advertised my illustration stuff to the broad world: editorial, advertising, [inaudible 00:17:44], et cetera. In a way, jobs find me, because I kind of sowed some seeds. In comics, a lot of jobs found me by way of having friends. I'm pals with a mutual friend of ours, Ron Marz. Very good friends with Darick Robertson and have done a ton of work with Darick just because, oh, we're buddies and our sensibilities line up together.
Speaker 1: I love the work you've done with Darick.
Richard Clark: Thank you.
Speaker 1: It's some of the best stuff out there. Find that work, everybody. I'll put that in here, too.
Richard Clark: Yeah, we did the first five issues of Harbinger Renegades for Valiant. We did a lot of Batman stuff together for DC. Felicia Day's The Guild, the one-shot, Vork, for that character. That was fun. That was our first job together, actually. I chipped in on some of The Boys, credited and uncredited, where he needed help, and just ... I colored Happy!.
Speaker 1: Yeah, I was going to say ... I was waiting for you to bring that up.
Richard Clark: Please excuse me.
Speaker 1: Which is now a critically acclaimed television show out there.
Richard Clark: A banana-pants television show.
Speaker 1: I like that. I think they should put that on the tag line: “It's banana-pants!”
Richard Clark: Well, they can't have it, because she gets that.
Speaker 1: Okay, okay, I love it.
Richard Clark: Yes, at one point she will walk out wearing banana pants.
Speaker 3: I don't know what banana pants are.
Speaker 1: You wait, and you will.
Richard Clark: You will find out. Oh, you'll find out.
Speaker 3: Hey, Siri.
Speaker 1: Hey, Siri!
Speaker 3: What are banana pants?
Richard Clark: They are trademark and copyright Richard P. Clark.
Speaker 1: Oh, yeah, right.
Richard Clark: 2018, all rights reserved.
Speaker 3: She wants me to read.
Speaker 1: Yeah, we aren't reading about that. Well, I think that's a good ... I talk to a lot of creative people, on this show especially, and I think that's a good outlook to have is, like, you're not ... obviously, you want the work. Obviously, you're looking for work, but you're not out there beating down the doors and being a door-to-door salesman with yourself. You're putting yourself out there, but you're hoping-
Richard Clark: Sometimes you are.
Speaker 1: You're hoping that the jobs are coming to you.
Richard Clark: You hope. Again, you sow some seeds. You sow the fields and all of that, hoping that some of that stuff comes back. I've literally had 10-year-old postcards generate new jobs, because an art director just went and posted it up in his or her cubicle, and it just sat there and, “Oh, you know what? Finally, a job for that postcard.” That happens, but I might be a little more successful if I was out there pounding the pavement to get one specific type of thing. The other drawback is that I do a lot of different things.
Speaker 1: Right.
Richard Clark: So you've got the George Carlin caricature where his head's all big and expanded and he's red and he's angry and he's pointing and all that, and then you've got her, which is still exaggerated, but a very, very different sensibility. Currently, I'm working on an institutional job that is all photo retouch, photo illustration, graphs, charts, information architecture, and consulting on how best to tell a story through charts and graphs and data maps. Part of my thing is that, if a job comes my way, I will find a product that fits your needs.
Speaker 1: I think that's rare in this industry, because so many people are like ... especially ... let's talk comic book industry. So many people go into this industry being like, “I want to write for Batman,” or, “I want to draw Wolverine.” You know, like, “I'm going to tailor my career to work for Marvel, or, “That's where I'm going to get pigeonholed,” and I think-
Speaker 3: Yeah, but if you miss the mark, you're totally unemployed at that point.
Speaker 1: I think it's refreshing that you're like, “I can be the peg that can fit whatever hole you're going to give me.”
Speaker 3: Do you think being that ... What's the word? I don't know, I'm just going to-
Speaker 1: Versatile?
Speaker 3: Versatile. That's exactly the word I was looking for. Do you think being that versatile lends itself to be creative ... I don't know. What do I want to say? Like, does doing realistic art help you be more creative doing comic book art?
Richard Clark: Yes.
Speaker 3: And vice versa.
Richard Clark: Mm-hmm (affirmative), very much. There are pros and cons to having a broad base. On the one hand, having a design sensibility and a design background, I can actually pull up printed materials and say, “Well, you know, I actually rebranded all of A.A. World Services pamphlet line, and this is my bona fide. This is actually in print. Was paid to do it,” when I criticize how something looks in a layout. “Oh, I didn't know you did that.” “Well, I did, and that's why ... I'm not speaking out of just some kind of academic bullshit nonsense; it actually is experience.” On the other hand, the drawback to that is that there are designers who do nothing but that kind of extraordinarily high-end design-
Speaker 3: And they're specialists.
Richard Clark: And they're going to be excellent. One of my big heroes, a personal friend, Nate Piekos of Blambot. Extraordinary designer. Go to blambot.com, b-l-a-m-b-o-t.com. He's an amazing designer and an amazing letterer, and those two skills overlap that, you know, he just thinks ... he breathes design. I can't do what he does. I can do up to a certain point and get you to a good plateau if you need a B-level job in design. If you need an A-level job in illustration, that's something that I'm more tailored towards, but would I be a better specific type of illustrator if I had done nothing but that? Perhaps, but I also would have had fewer jobs.
Speaker 3: Yeah, so you're kind of like the Swiss army knife of artists.
Speaker 1: The Leatherman.
Speaker 3: Exactly.
Richard Clark: And it's on my [inaudible 00:24:10], because- [crosstalk 00:24:11]
Speaker 3: Like, you're not going to use that for self-defense, but you can cut something.
Richard Clark: Or I can cut a person. You know, just, “Hey, hold on a minute while I find the one that does it.”
Speaker 1: “Let me find that knife. Hold on, it's in here somewhere.” [crosstalk 00:24:21]
Speaking of a lot of the jobs that you've done, one that I really wanted to bring up, because I know a lot of our fan base are fans ...
Richard Clark: Uh-oh. Uh-oh. What did I do?
Speaker 1: You probably know where I'm going to go.
Richard Clark: I don't.
Speaker 1: It's the work that you did with Corey.
Richard Clark: Ah!
Speaker 1: For those of you who don't know, Richard and Corey Taylor from Slipknot did a book together. This is what's interesting about the world that we live in now, where ... and I'm sure we can all attest to this. When we were young, we would get made fun of for liking comic books and being into that industry. Now, it seems everybody wants to be a part of the comic book industry.
Speaker 3: The modern-day comic book nerd's gripe.
Speaker 1: You'd never think that Corey Taylor, the singer of this incredibly intense metal band Slipknot, would also want to do a comic book.
Richard Clark: Do comics.
Speaker 1: And then-
Richard Clark: A comic book? Do a whole series!
Speaker 1: A whole series, House of Gold & Bones, which is incredible. I'll put that up here as well. I wanted you to-
Richard Clark: I'll find the selfie at some point-
Speaker 1: I wanted you to talk a little bit about how that came to be. How did you get connected to that?
Richard Clark: Blind anus bullshit luck.
Speaker 1: Yeah?
Richard Clark: Total blind anus bullshit luck, and I swear to God I've got a picture of Corey and me together from- [crosstalk 00:25:31]
Speaker 1: Well, again, if you can find it later, I can put it up in here, yeah.
Richard Clark: Yeah, there's a picture of Corey and me together for a VH1 benefit we did. Corey had written a small prose piece, and that became the springboard for a concept album for his other band, Stone Sour.
Speaker 1: Right.
Richard Clark: Since it was written as a prose piece and it became a concept album, it was very narrative. He said ... you know, he was already a published author ... “I want to get this out into the comic book universe,” because Corey is a legitimate, no-doubt, has a collection that daunts a lot of people's collections, honest-to-God real collector of this stuff.
Speaker 3: Wow.
Speaker 1: That's awesome.
Richard Clark: Oh, he's crazy. It's crazy.
Speaker 3: I'm not surprised.
Speaker 1: And he's got the money to do it, too, so I'm sure he's got a nice collection at this point.
Speaker 3: “I want that. I have it now.”
Richard Clark: Well, I'm sure Corey is doing rather well for himself. However, he has a couple of split marriages, and, as anyone who's been through that ... I have not, thank God ... will tell you, it doesn't matter how rich you are; them motherfuckers is expensive.
Speaker 1: Yeah, why do you think he's got a couple bands?
Richard Clark: Exactly. Why do you think he's been-
Speaker 3: Keeps him motivated, though, you know?
Richard Clark: He's been on tour for 18 months nonstop.
Speaker 1: Exactly, exactly.
Richard Clark: Internationally on tour for 18 months, nonstop. Them motherfuckers is expensive.
Speaker 3: I sometimes feel like we do these things to ourselves to keep ourselves motivated. Like, maybe if he didn't have a couple of divorces, he wouldn't feel the need to be-
Richard Clark: I don't know.
Speaker 3: ... as hardworking-
Richard Clark: No, honest to God-
Speaker 3: It's almost self-sabotage leading to more success.
Richard Clark: No, no, no. Sabotage has nothing to do with it; it's just ... Life is what it is.
Speaker 3: For sure, for sure.
Speaker 1: So where does this luck come in? Where do you come into this picture, then?
Richard Clark: Well, I was working with Darick on a number of projects, and Darick was one of the people that they had pitched, because, you know, Corey's shopping around this idea: “I want to do my concept album as a comic book tie-in.” Went to a couple of publishers. Dark Horse had the best total package available for Corey's book, and was brought to Dark Horse by a fellow named Aub Driver. Friends of friends ... Aub worked in ... he's a crazy metalhead. Worked with public relations for record companies. You know, friend of a friend; turns out Aub's doing PR for Dark Horse. Just friends of friends. Connections get made. Networking.
Darick was one of the guys that they wanted to consider for this project. And Darick's, “Well, you know, I'm actually a little busy with this, but my friend Rich, he's actually quite good. Here's a collection of his stuff.” I was one of 10 people that they pitched to Corey when Darick couldn't take the job, and Corey's just: “That guy. That guy right there.”
Speaker 3: Oh, that's too cool.
Speaker 1: That's so cool.
Speaker 3: What do you think it was that attracted him to your work?
Richard Clark: I know the specific pieces. It was pitch and presentation advertising stuff I did for Fringe. There were a few drawings and renderings I had done, and he said, “That guy, the guy who did that. That's the guy.” We became coworkers. We became friends. We've done a few projects together since, including a charity project for VH1's ... Shoot. I will get you the name of it, but it's a VH1 charity project.
Speaker 1: Yeah, they do a lot.
Richard Clark: Yeah. Their foundation had a big auction thing, and Corey brought me on to customize a Gibson Les Paul, Corey Taylor style.
Speaker 3: Oh, that's too cool.
Richard Clark: He's a really, really, really great guy. He's an even better guy than he is a successful, internationally acclaimed rock star.
Speaker 3: He seems like it, which is surprising, because usually dudes that successful don't need to be nice, you know? He seems like a really cool guy. Do you go to Slipknot shows now when they come around?
Richard Clark: I've been to Stone Sour twice.
Speaker 3: Nice.
Richard Clark: I haven't been to a Slipknot show yet. As I get closer to 50, it might be a little bit beyond me at this point.
Speaker 3: I got to tell you, you have to do it.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 3: You have to do it. I had the pleasure-
Speaker 1: It's an experience. It's [crosstalk 00:30:09] incredible.
Speaker 3: ... of being in the photo pit for a Slipknot show. It was top 10 most incredible moments of my life.
Richard Clark: I believe it, and when you're as close to 50 as I am, you can tell me you're going to go and subject yourself to that.
Speaker 1: Yeah, but you know Corey. You could be on the side of the stage; you could have a nice little cushy spot; you don't have to worry about all that ...
Richard Clark: I try not to do that. Seriously, I've tried very, very, very hard, hopefully successfully, not to be the guy, “Hey, man, can you get me into-”
Speaker 1: Right, right. And that's the way to be.
Speaker 3: That's good, man. That's probably why you got the job in the first place is because you're respected, right?
Richard Clark: And I try to be respectful.
Speaker 3: Exactly.
Richard Clark: I want to actually back up to one of the points that you were bringing up, that Corey seems like a good guy. You actually paraphrased something that I've said for years now. Corey is in a position that he ... the kind of success that he has had, he doesn't have to be a genuinely good guy, but it reaffirms my faith in humanity that here's a guy who's at the pinnacle of his profession, doesn't have to be a good guy, but just is because it's the right thing to be. He's one of those guys that, when you meet him, you get to know him a little bit, he will actually affirm your faith in human beings being a force for good, because he's a good guy and there's no need to have to be a good guy.
Speaker 3: It's so important to have people like that out there in this world. It's so cool.
Richard Clark: Is this where I get political and I start talking about the current political climate?
Speaker 1: And beep!
Richard Clark: Exactly. Put up a great big black censor box.
Speaker 1: I do want to bring it to this point, though, and this is the point we get to on every show.
Richard Clark: Uh-oh. Goodbye.
Speaker 1: No, it's ... again, I want to bring up that ... I feel like it's refreshing to hear from someone like you, who's a creative in the industry, who actively wants to get any job that you feel you can fit into, not the job that you're looking for, per se. You really just love to work, to put the work in. What fuels you to do that? What fuels you to want to continue to make art and to be creative?
Richard Clark: I got a mortgage and a family. I hate to be that crass, but ... on the one hand, I'm very self-motivated that when I have time to do my own thing ... that's how she ended up in the universe. For me, the idea of retirement is not having to take jobs. I will die with a paintbrush in my hand, in all likelihood, unless I'm killed driving down the road somehow. I really doubt that-
Speaker 1: Well, just keep a paintbrush [crosstalk 00:33:03] your steering wheel.
Richard Clark: I hope not to do that, but the universe is fractal; it's not binary. I digress. That being said, I hate to make it sound so crass, but there is a component of, I do have responsibilities. I have head of household responsibilities. I've got a wife and a daughter. I've got a dog and two cats. We've got fish. I've got four acres. I've got all this ... got car payments.
Speaker 1: But, I mean, that's a good thing to ... you can say that it's crass, but it's not crass. You're a responsible person. You want to provide for your family, and you're lucky because the way that you get to do that is something that you thoroughly enjoy.
Speaker 3: That kind of leads me to this thought. If you had a job offer that was a little bit more money, but you didn't enjoy it as much, would you take it?
Richard Clark: I do it all the time, and I'm not even being cute about it. There are jobs that I take that are ... these are job jobs.
Speaker 1: Just ... Yeah. Punch the clock; get it done.
Richard Clark: This is a job that I have to do.
Speaker 1: Draw the line.
Richard Clark: Get in there and just grind it out. Yeah, because it's ... we're in a coffee place. I'm going to grind it out.
Speaker 3: That earns you 10 more K-Cups, sir. Cha-ching.
Richard Clark: Ah, what a douche-nozzle. But truthfully, yes, there are some jobs ... I am very fortunate in the sense that I pursued something, I'm working adjacent to something that I always wanted to do since I literally was a little kid, and, at times, get to do the exact thing I wanted to do since I was a kid. Good fortune? Holy shit, yes. On the other hand, “The harder I worked, the luckier I got” is a phrase that exists for a reason. I am nonstop. Mike's episode, just a few episodes ago ... not trying to toot his own horn, he wakes up at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning. I'm an hour later. I'm 5:30, 6:00. I'm working, often time, until 11:00, 12:00, literally working. Sometimes, falling asleep when a deadline is real bad, I've had the paintbrush fall down and fuck up my drawing.
“The harder I worked, the luckier I got” is true in a lot of senses, because I don't ... I'm not good with idle time. Just sitting around not having something to do, it's just like ... I get a little antsy. It's just, you know, “I can only play so much Candy Crush; fucking give me something to do.” I have a house that's broken. I need to fix it. I'll go outside and I'll build a cabinet, because I need something to do. I have that kind of nervous ... I have to be doing something all the time, and when you channel that and direct it towards your profession, good things tend to happen because you're always focusing energy and trying to get something back out of it.
Speaker 1: I hear lots of that. I think that's a really good thing.
Speaker 3: It got me pumped a little bit, I won't lie.
Richard Clark: Fuck yeah! Let's go do it!
Speaker 3: I'm going to come back on Monday and crush some work. I'm going to crush it.
Richard Clark: Why wait till Monday? You have some stuff in your own personal life you could ... go and tear down a wall and build it back up.
Speaker 3: I'm going to wait until Monday.
Speaker 1: For our viewers and listeners, let's end this by talking about what you can talk about with what you're working on now. With Star, I want to put up what I can for that and to be following you, because that will be coming out by the end of the year.
Richard Clark: Hell yeah!
Speaker 1: You said you had some other irons in the fire. Can you talk about any of those [crosstalk 00:36:47]?
Richard Clark: I can, but before I get to that, I want to point out something that, “Oh, aren't you a clever dick.”
Speaker 1: Okay. I like clever dicks.
Richard Clark: Did you really, did you really, post Stoya as episode 69?
Speaker 1: You're the first person to say that out loud, and I want to commend you for that.
Richard Clark: Did you really do that?
Speaker 1: Yes, we did. But it wasn't on purpose!
Richard Clark: Was she a good sport about it? Did she know?
Speaker 1: She didn't know that it was going to be ... actually, I didn't know, when we recorded it, that it was going to be that number, because-
Richard Clark: Episode 69 for someone who began her public life as an adult film star?
Speaker 1: Yep, as an adult film star. Honest to God, and this is the honest truth, that was the luck of the draw.
Richard Clark: I call bullshit!
Speaker 1: You can call bullshit [inaudible 00:37:32], but we-
Speaker 3: That's the way the chips fell, man.
Speaker 1: We recorded that weeks prior.
Speaker 3: We made no changes to our plans to make that happen. We had no idea that it was going-
Richard Clark: Isn't that hysterical.
Speaker 1: And the way that the numbered episodes go is, it's every episode with a guest, but sometimes we have what we call Before You Dies, which are like our spectacular episodes when we do like going on the road or something like that. Those aren't numbered, but those are still in the list.
Richard Clark: In the queue, yeah.
Speaker 1: So it will push numbers back. Never in a million years did I think it was going to happen, and when we premiered it that week, the whole office applauded. When we premiered it that week, they're like, “Great job!” I was like, “I didn't do it on purpose!”
Richard Clark: So they did say that, and I'm the first person to point it out on-
Speaker 1: You're the first person to point that out.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Speaker 1: That's excellent. I'm so glad. I'm so glad that that happened. That's so good.
Richard Clark: Aren't you a clever dick. [inaudible 00:38:23] so cute. Anyway, she and I have a lot of mutual friends, so I'm going to make sure it gets back to her.
Speaker 1: All right.
Richard Clark: That she finds out that “I was on episode 69!” She's going to come and cut you.
Speaker 1: She might. She might.
Richard Clark: She's going to come and cut you.
Speaker 3: I still have scars from the first meeting, so ...
Speaker 1: She might.
Richard Clark: She's a remarkable human being.
Speaker 1: Oh, yes, definitely.
Richard Clark: Remarkable human being. Speaking of remarkable human beings, I guess the episode right before is Emmy winner Dean Haspiel?
Speaker 1: Not before you, no. We're going to put him out way before you, because we don't want to make any parallels.
Richard Clark: Well, exactly. It's-
Speaker 1: But yeah, no, Dean has been on the show.
Richard Clark: He's excellent. I love Dean.
Speaker 1: I've got to say-
Speaker 3: I love Dean, yeah.
Speaker 1: One of the great things about this company, and also this show, is that we have no fear in wanting to talk to anybody out there in the world, because I thoroughly believe that anybody can have a good conversation. But one of the things that is near and dear to my heart is the comic book industry, and I ... for those of you who might not know, I actually was a consultant for Death Wish Coffee, specifically for the comic book industry, before I ever worked for the company, because they wanted to break into that industry in a very organic way, which we've done now. We were the official coffee of New York Comic-Con last year. We've come out with a couple of our own comic books, and I absolutely love getting the ability to talk to people like you, like Dean, like Ron, like all these people.
Richard Clark: Amy Chu. Steve Orlando.
Speaker 1: Amy Chu, yep.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Richard Clark: You're lousy with comic book creators.
Speaker 1: I love it, and I can't wait to continue.
Speaker 3: Jim Starlin.
Speaker 1: Jim Starlin, yeah.
Richard Clark: You guys got Jim?
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 3: Two days ago.
Richard Clark: Stop it. I'm going to guess you went to him, and you didn't make him-
Speaker 1: No, no, he made time for us.
Speaker 3: Skype.
Speaker 1: That dude is busy.
Richard Clark: Of course he's busy!
Speaker 1: Yeah, no, we got him over the phone, but a great, great episode as well.
Richard Clark: Jim is a really good guy. Yeah, interesting fellow.
Speaker 1: One of the things ... I mean this with the most sincerity I can, even though you're going to think I'm bullshitting you. I've been wanting to have you on this show-
Richard Clark: Well, thank you.
Speaker 1: ... for a very long time, because I really, thoroughly enjoy your work, and I am so honored that I get to call you a friend.
Richard Clark: Well, thank you very much.
Speaker 1: And what's great is, it's so weird, but where we live around upstate New York, there are a lot of creatives that live around here. I mean, you're a couple hours away, but it was so great that we were able to get you in person. The conversation is always better. It's always better to be able to talk in person.
Richard Clark: Oh yeah, 100 percent. And I'm entertaining as fuck!
Speaker 1: Hell yeah.
Richard Clark: Hell yeah!
Speaker 1: We did get derailed, though. I want to talk about what you're working on now.
Richard Clark: What am I working on?
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 3: Besides being entertaining.
Richard Clark: Oh, that's always the first order of business. Currently, I'm working on that private commissioned job that I was telling you about, the data maps and all that. If that turns into something that is out in the mainstream world, I will let you know. Currently, as it stands, it's a bit of an academic pursuit by a private individual who is an artist, photographer and philosopher. Really, really, really interesting fellow, and, oh, by the way, he's also the guy that commissioned me to do a personal birthday present for President Clinton.
Speaker 1: Which I'm going to ... I wanted to talk about that at the end, too. I'm going to put that here too. That was amazing.
Richard Clark: I've got ... my work is in the private collection of President Bill Clinton.
Speaker 3: That's so crazy.
Speaker 1: And he loved it.
Richard Clark: Crazy? It was-
Speaker 1: He loved it.
Richard Clark: Loved it. I've actually got the letter that states how much he loved it, hand-signed by a living president.
Speaker 1: So cool.
Richard Clark: And a good one, not like ... He's not orange. Anyway, he's silver. He's more of ... he's silver these days, if you've seen him. I'm working on that job right now, but in addition, this year is split evenly between that and working for another one of our heroes, as I see up on the wall there, John Carpenter.
Speaker 3: Oh, cool.
Speaker 1: What are you doing for ... Can you talk about that?
Richard Clark: Fuck yeah! Oh shit!
Speaker 1: Okay, what are you doing with John Carpenter?
Richard Clark: I've done all three volumes of John Carpenter's Tales for Halloween Night, the anthology series, available at Storm King Comics. Look them up online or at Amazon. Storm King Comics.
Speaker 1: I'll put a link up right here.
Richard Clark: Hell yeah you will!
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Richard Clark: His wife owns his production company, Storm King Productions. They have their own comic book imprint, and it's stuff that is either written by or licensed by or in the same vein as John Carpenter's work. Currently, they're focused on the sci-fi side. After doing three volumes of Tales for Halloween Night, I'm doing a five-issue limited series called Twitch.
Speaker 1: Ooh.
Richard Clark: Ooh. That's going to come out at the end of the year, same time Star is going to come out at the end of this year. This five-issue limited series is written by Duane Swierczynski. He's an extraordinary writer, a very good friend. And there's a charitable thing that I'm going to talk to you guys off pod about, and maybe we could put in some links.
Speaker 1: Excellent.
Richard Clark: Again, just blind anus luck, I worked with Duane on an anthology horror series. He got contacted by Sandy to be part of Halloween Night, and three Halloween Nights and a five-issue limited series, and I'm friends with Sandy King Carpenter.
Speaker 1: Crazy.
Richard Clark: It's crazy.
Speaker 1: Crazy.
Richard Clark: I'm working on that, working on this private job, and there's one other project, aside from Star, that's coming out this year. I'm busy.
Speaker 1: That's excellent. It's good to be busy.
Richard Clark: It beats the alternative.
Speaker 3: Agreed.
Speaker 1: For fans of our show and fans of you, what-
Richard Clark: I have fans?
Speaker 1: Yes, of course you do!
Speaker 3: Two of them right here, buddy.
Richard Clark: Okay, that makes sense.
Speaker 1: What's the best way to find out what you're doing, to follow you?
Richard Clark: Follow me on Twitter.
Speaker 1: Excellent. I'll put your link on here, too.
Richard Clark: Yep, zipyrich. That's z-i-p-y-r-i-c-h.
Speaker 1: Excellent.
Richard Clark: Because someone had the double P, zippyrich. Like, one follower, following 10, with the little egg, and I can't get it.
Speaker 1: Ugh.
Richard Clark: Anyway.
Speaker 1: It's all right. It's all right.
Richard Clark: Go to zippystudio.com. That's z-i-p-p-y studio dot com. It's got my Facebook and Twitter links, or you just go to Twitter.
Speaker 1: Perfect.
Richard Clark: Because I'm always railing about some nonsense, and occasionally posting pictures.
Speaker 1: Very entertaining. Richard, I cannot thank you enough for joining us on the show today.
Richard Clark: I cannot thank you both enough for inviting me. This was a hell of a good fun.
Speaker 3: Hell yeah! Cheers, brother.