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Interview with Jon Clark, Creator of Thin

by Héctor A on August 20, 2016

Last week, I happened to come across the solicit for Thin #1, a book written and illustrated by Jon Clark and published by American Gothic Press. Aside from being a filmmaker, he's previously done covers, interior art and writing on titles The Gathering and Tales of the Abyss. Jon was kind of enough to talk to us about Thin and about what drives him as a creator. 

- Héctor: What's the premise of THIN?
Jon: THIN is an unconventional horror story about an overweight woman who attempts a miracle weight loss cure and finds herself in a nightmare without a way out.
 
- Are you a fan of horror?
I am ABSOLUTELY a fan of horror and have been since I was a little boy. I coated my room with horror movie posters, and SPFX work. Thankfully my parents only gave me a hard time about it when my grandparents came over for vacation and slept in my bed under Pinhead, Freddy and Chucky (I got the downstairs couch). Yes, I love horror, in all its forms, movies, books, comics, images, toys. I could go on all day about this one, and I could talk to you about almost anything horror related because I just love it.
 
- Did you set out to convey a specific message with THIN?
I didn’t set out to have a specific message with THIN and I try not to approach stories that way. There are certainly things that I wanted to talk about.  But first and foremost I just wanted to tell a really creepy horror story that would make everyone squirm. But truth is I fell in love with the protagonist Doris and her plight, I understood who she was, what she wanted, and I think everyone understands what it’s like to not love your body (well, everyone I know!). I tried to stay true to how it would feel to deal with the issues that she has and perceives that she has, and if a message comes out of that, well, that’s just a gift.   
 
-You've written and illustrated some short stories before, what drove you to making comics?
I have loved comics since I was a little boy. My older brother started it. He collected, and I’d peer over his shoulder. When my mom would go to Baltimore I’d beg her to pick up a copy of Fangoria magazine from the city newsstand there (ultimately she got me a subscription) and I was way too young, but thanks Mom, will always love ya for that! One trip she went to the comic store, as I had begged her to do, and she asked them, what comic was good for a kid who loves horror? They gave her, wait for it… SWAMP THING, this is when Alan Moore was writing it. Alan Moore. WOW! That dude in the comic shop was not wrong, this kid LOVED it! And then what comes along? The book that I consider to be the holy grail of comics, BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM. Dave McKean is absolutely my hero. Those two comics gave me a vision of what is possible in comics. I aspire to one day be as good as they are. They are the measuring stick, and I’ve always come up short! 
            I don’t know if that’s answering your question so I’ll try again in another way; for far too long I’ve had dozens of stories rattling around in my head, or just sitting on a shelf, and they need to be released into the world, like a plague. Yes, like that. I have a genuine passion for telling stories with pictures. If those stories get you to feel something: fear, repulsion, joy, wonderful! I get these ideas, and for some reason that’s beyond my control, I want to share them with people. Because I like them, and I think you will too.
 
 - What were some of the challenges of working with a longer format for THIN?
The challenge of a longer format is that it’s going to take a whole lot of time! It already takes a long time and trust me I can finesse and finesse and tweak an image all day long, so it’s good to have that reminder that hey, you’ve got a lot more of these to do, get moving onto something else now. Another challenge is always finding the time, I usually have to work late into the night and early in the mornings. The third part of that is keeping yourself motivated. Working a day job, having a family, and then deciding at the end of the day to go back and work some more, it’s crazy, so you gotta love it, and you gotta believe in your story.
 
- Does the way that you approach film influence how you do comics?
Excellent question! I love cinema and came to comics in a very strange way. When I was in middle school I wanted to create creatures and special effects for movies, I’d make pencil stab wounds, monster make-ups, copied all the Dick Smith and Tom Savini makeup tutorials, shot short horror films, all that fun stuff. Then in high school I decided that I wanted to illustrate comics so that’s what I did. Then in college I changed my mind and decided that what I really wanted to do was go back to film, so I realized that hey Jon, you need to learn how to actually write a story. For years I devoted myself to that, made several films and a feature that did very well, but making films is an endless search for money, and all that time I was bursting with stories that sadly no one was hearing! That is a very frustrating place to be. So I started making comics again. It’s strange because when I look at my comics I see how interconnected those disciplines are -- I think it worked out just right, I couldn’t have found this road if I hadn’t tried those other paths, and each of those paths taught me how to navigate the road. And most importantly, people will get the chance to read and see my work! I can hand you a comic and say “here, this is what I do, this is a story that I’ve told.” That’s important to me.
 
- Where and when will THIN be available?
THIN is available now for preorder! You can go to Things From Another World at http://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/Thin-1-of-3___508675/ and preorder the first 2 issues, and I think you’ll be glad you did! The first issue of THIN has the official release date of September 7th, and should be available in comic stores at the same time, but go to your local comic store and ask them to order if they don’t have it. It will also be available through the American Gothic Press website: http://americangothicpress.com/comics/
 
 
- Thanks a lot for the interview, Jon. Everyone make sure to check out Thin #1!

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