Q1: Hi Henry!
Who are you? (Or who do you think you are?)
Who are you? (Or who do you think you are?)
This could take awhile. I think I’m Henry Zeo Covert ( http://strangeothers.blogspot.com ). I’m pretty sure anyway. I’m a writer (fiction, metafiction, comix and web comix, articles, essays, journalism, film and pop culture reviews and criticism), award-winning artist (comix and illustration), occasional musician, rabid collector, loving husband, and aspiring polymath. My writing has been published in Dark Discoveries (columnist, “Re:discoveries”), Astonishing Adventures Magazine (columnist, “The Many Worlds of Wold Newton”), Shock Cinema (movie reviews), Video Eyeball (feature articles, columnist (“Home Video Notebook”), film and zine reviews, one cover feature), EYE Magazine (feature articles, book reviews), Terminal Brain Rot (movie reviews; collage/ layout/ design for a piece called “Jazz Deaths”), Creative Loafing (columnist (“Paper View”), one cover feature article on Heroes Con), Indie File (columnist (“Indie Film Film”, “Scratch Comix”, “Deep Jazz”), movie, music, and zine reviews, interviews with Roy Thomas and Neil Gaiman [cover feature interview/ article]), Zineith (a eulogy for William S. Burroughs; collage/ layout/ design), Musicomet (columnist, “Video Autopsy”) and the Myers Park High Newsletter. I was interviewed by Richmond VA’s Style in 1998 regarding filmmakers Michael D Moore and Dika Newlin. My “Jazz Deaths” piece was reprinted last year in Slam-Bang Comics #4.
My artwork has appeared in the magazine Farmerphile (accompanying a previously-unpublished short story, “The First Robot”, by award-winning sci-fi author Philip Jose Farmer). Several of my Farmer-inspired works (art, essays, and metafiction) can be found on the web on the following sites: She Never Slept: “Philip Jose Farmer and the Genesis of Wold Newton” by Henry Covert; Introduction by Sarah L. Covert at: http://sheneverslept.com/newsandreviews/archives/1874 ;
The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe: “Fallen Stars and Mutants Rising” by Henry Covert at: http://www.pjfarmer.com/secret/contributors/fallenstars.htm; The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe: “A Post Facto Analysis of the Denton Affair (C.I.A.L.D, Section X): Section 2: Dossier on Main Participants of Denton Affair (‘Riff Raff and Magenta’, and ‘Columbia’ Sections)” by Henry Covert and Dennis E Power at: http://www.pjfarmer.com/secret/marvelous/defacto.htm#particpants; and The Wold Newton Universe – Fan Art Page: “Doc Savage”, “Lord Greystoke” and “The Shadow” by Henry Covert at:
I am a member in good standing of the Comicbook Artists Guild (CAG) and the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society (NWNMS). I have 15 years experience in multi-media retail – selling, ordering, and penning recommendations for CDs, DVDs/ VHS, books, magazines, and comix. I wrote, created, and designed “Snow Leopard”, a comix story appearing in With Honor, a manga-style graphic novel anthology edited by Shawnti Therrien, on sale Winter 2010. I’m in charge of promoting the book’s publication, and have created two Facebook forums on Facebook; a CAG NING Network group; and, with Shawnti, an internationally distributed print ad for Dark Discoveries # 15. I also penned an article on the genesis of With Honor for CAG’s upcoming newsletter, edited by Marvel Comics freelancer Robert S. Sodaro.
Win Scott Eckert’s recent CROSSOVERS: A Secret Chronology of the World contains a ‘Special Thanks’ credit to me, as well as my research on Wolverine, the Van Helsings, and Twin Peaks and its associated occult and pulplit references. This two-volume tome ties together fiction from all media and genres into an exhaustive timeline steeped in the Farmerian Wold Newton Universe.
I co-produced (with Michael D. Moore), co-conceived, and co-starred in the music video for the song “The Darkness” from the Point Blank album by The Marksman aka the Marquis (Mark Baranowski). Mark and I are currently in discussions for my wife and I to join his film production team, On Mark Productions. Musically, I’ve written and recorded solo; as a member of the band Chiaroscuro; and with my own occasional project Entropie Frograt & The Apocalypse Flowers (which has an official page and selections from the album ‘1231’ on Last.fm). The first Entropie Frograt video, ‘LOLITA 93’,
can be viewed on my YouTube Channel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrB_jrKOO_I .
I’ve written and developed numerous comix treatments and scripts in the last three years. Beyond “Snow Leopard”, I plan to debut three of them over the next year as web comix: Purple Rooms, will be hosted by Sarah L Covert’s site, She Never Slept, at:
(http://sheneverslept.com). I’ll be unveiling Prima Materia, a series for Shawnti Therrien’s Immortal Gothic site, at: http://www.immortalgothicangel.com/immortal-gothic-online/. I’m currently at work on a web comix series for Pulp Metal Magazine that I’m extremely excited about as well called Iron Creek. I’m also hard at work on a massive article for PMM on my favourite musical act, Black Sabbath, that will approach the history and work of the band from (hopefully) a fresh and perhaps controversial angle. With singer Ronnie James Dio’s recent death, the piece is taking on new perspectives.
I am happily married to Sarah L Covert -creator, editor, award-winning writer, and webmistress of She Never Slept. Sarah has worked on low budget film productions and coordinated the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Oregon for several years, among numerous other projects. After our current respective projects wind down, we plan to realize our ultimate creative venture together.
Why draw comics? Who are some of your influences for putting ink to paper?
Why draw comics? Who are some of your influences for putting ink to paper?
Actually, writing comics is my main interest, rather than illustrating. But I’ve always drawn my own comics in solitude and was drawing comics as a child (however badly) long before I was seriously writing them. My childhood dream was to move to New York City and draw for Marvel. I gained a good bit of art education, in college and independently. I still love to draw and to create art, but I’m much slower than when I was young, and I feel I’m still knocking off the rust of a decade’s long retirement.
I’ll be illustrating at least a bit of my web comix series, depending on how hard it may be to find the right artist for each strip. Being an artist who writes but has others draw their stories does have advantages – first off, I insist on designing all of the visual elements of my characters and the worlds they inhabit (This is also helpful in avoiding the kind of creative contention that often leads to “he said she said” threats of litigation down the road; I create and design my universes – hence I own 100% of the copyrights on them). Sometimes I will lay out parts, or whole pages of a particular sequence, explaining my vision to my collaboraators(s), but also letting them bring their own flair and dynamic to my poor man’s Kurtzman doodles. I collaborated with Albert Luciano in this manner for “Snow Leopard” and was very pleased with the results.
Some of my influences for drawing comics? As far as specific artists who’ve influenced my work, when I was a child it was Kirby and Ditko, the Buscema brothers, Jim Starlin, Rich Buckler, George Perez and John Byrne (whose work I really, really dislike now). In my teens Walt Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Totleben, and Frank Miller opened up new vistas for me, so to speak. Miller hasn’t remained on that list over the years, though.
By my early 20s four groups of artists changed the course I was on, and they all still have a direct influence on my art. The first were the entire EC Comics’ line of artists, but most especially Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, and Wally Wood. Second, I picked up most of the 70s black and white Marvel magazines and rediscovered the amazingly lush and gorgeous work by the so-called ‘Filipino Wave’. I’ve since followed all of the artists in that group, especially their work for Warren. Esteban Maroto, Rudy Nebres, Tony Dezuniga, Vicente Alacazar, Alfredo Alcala, and Enrique Romero are standouts, but they are all amazing.
European artists whose work was published in Heavy Metal or by NBM caught my eye and hel fast to it – Moebius, Druillet, Bilal, Serpieri, and so on. Lastly, the 60s/ 70s apex of underground comics has completed the completed warping of my artistic sensibilities (much for the better). Robert Crumb is among my favourite artists period, but I also enjoy Spain Rodriguez and Greg Irons, and let us not forget Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, and Val Mayerik – all faves of mine – came out of or produced work for that scene.
Q3: & do you look to other comic writers for your influences or are your tastes further afield?
Definitely further afield these days. The comic book writer who has always influence me the most is the late Steve Gerber. He has since I was a small child and continues to. Grant Morrison has come the closest to having that kind of impact on me in more recent years. Harvey Pekar’s work has been inspiring to me.
But mostly my writing influences lie outside comics. Philip Jose Farmer is my all-time favourite author, and his fiction and non-fiction definitely inform all of my work in some way or another, though I write nothing like him. Other non-comics writers I’d cite: Nabokov, Burroughs (ER and WS), Stapledon, Lovecraft, even the venerable soap opera scribe Doug Marland imparted a few lessons on byzantine storytelling.
In recent years film has had the most effect on my storytelling, and even occasionally music. And finally, all my work is autobiographical in at least some small measure.
Q4: What, if any, are the limits of writing & drawing comics & where does the medium surpass others?
I think you can do certain things you can’t do in any other media.. time and space dislocations via closure between panels (or “the gutters”). Film is of course the closest medium to comics in these respects… comix creators from early manga to Johnny Craig, Kirby, Eisner, Colan, Steranko, Gulacy, and Miller – all have cited film as an influence, and it shows in their highly cinematic layouts. There’s so much overlap between the two media of late with an endless spate of films based on comic books. With today’s effects, movies can finally depict nearly any image conceivable, an edge where comics had historically trumped film.
Q5: Is there a message that people could distill down from your artwork?
I suppose my worldview, so to speak – hopefully without being too heavy-handed, though that can be cathartic.
Q6: You’re going to be working an e-comic for us at PMM (of which we are tingling with excitement), give us a clue to its story …
I’m excited too. I’m filling some slots for artists to assist me in the coming weeks, but I’ve completed the initial scripts and some layouts. the e-comic is called Iron Creek, and the first story arc, is tentatively named “Iron Creek Elegy”. It’s definitely in Farmerian and Lovecraftian territory. Each arc will be set in a different timeframe but there is an occult thread weaving it all together and also linking it to my other 2 other web comix. It can be pretty obscurantist, but I don’t think anyone will need too much prior familiarity with the characters and concepts, though if they do, I think they’ll have a field day. Hopefully anyway. Readers can follow all 3 interrelated series to see the entire mosaic, or read the arcs or titles as stand-alones if they choose.
Basically, if someone enjoys Farmer’s Wold Newton cycle; The League of Extraordinary Gentleman; Win Scott Eckert’s work (Crossovers, Myths for the Modern Age), the Tales of the Shadowmen anthologies, and/ or The Cthulhu Mythos, they should dig Iron Creek.Q7: What other future projects will you be working on?
Well, more Iron Creek is up ahead. I’ll be signing on as a full-time minion (reviewer) at She Never Slept, and starting a retro-genre column there, as well as the aforemention comic Purple Rooms. I’ll possibly be illustrating solo on a web comic for SNS next year, called “Austerity”. I kind of created it just for Sarah. Prima Materia, third of the tryptych of current titles, will be hosted by Shawnti’s site. And finally, promoting the hell out of Snow Leopard and hopefully continuing her saga somewhere, sometime in 2011. I owe her; she’s been good to me. Hopefully Albert Luciano will available to work with me on it again on it.
Thanks for the chance Jason Michel!
His blog is here : http://strangeothers.blogspot.com/