Great Taste, Les Filling? A mini-interview with Les McClaine

Les McClaine gets a kick out of sharing his dirty laundry with the world. An up-and coming creator with impressive academic credentials, including two years at the Pilgrim Church Nursery School in Lexington, Massachusetts, Life With Leslie‘s Les Maclaine has journeyed to Savannah and back (yeah, he’s done college, too), and is now one of those rare few who can claim to be making a bit of money drawing sequential art.

Working at Newbury Comics, and with his comic Highway 13 being published by Amaze Ink/SLG Publishing, he could certainly be doing worse. If he was, though, he’d let you know in his journal comic in a heartbeat.

How did you first get started in comics?

LES McCLAINE: I’ve always been interested in comics, ever since I can remember. I was fortunate to grow up near a library that carried a lot of strip collections and even paperbacks of comic collections.


Who were your early influences?

McCLAINE: My earliest influences were Charles Schulz, Hergé, and Albert Uderzo, who drew Peanuts, Tintin, and Asterix, respectively. Those were the first comics I read, due to large collections of them at my local library.


What inspired you to start a journal comic?

McCLAINE: It was really an afterthought when I relaunched my website, although it’s become the main thrust of it since. I’d been reading James Kochalka‘s and Drew Weing‘s journal strips, and I thought it would be a fun exercise.


What keeps you doing your journal comic?

McCLAINE: Largely, I think it’ll be fascinating for me to read in a few years, especially the last couple months where I’ve been really depressed. Also, people seem to like it, and I’m a total sucker for attention.


What do you think makes your comic different from the other journal comics out there?

McCLAINE: It’s a lot more sloppily drawn. I think, though, that that’s part of the directness and honesty of it that I get comments about all the time. I think it’s that honesty that really sets it aside.


What’s your favourite journal comic? Why?

McCLAINE: I guess it’d be Drew Weing’s. He’s got a great comic timing, and he draws real swell. We actually went to college together, and have several mutual friends, but I never really knew him. It’s interesting to read about a life that tangentially connects with mine.


Do you have other auto-biographical stories? Which ones?

McCLAINE: I did an extremely embarrassing short story about a girl for an anthology in college back in ’98. I’ve got another extremely embarrassing story that’ll be appearing in the True Porn anthology this summer. I’ve got a tickle in the back of my head for an autobio short that’s sort of an outgrowth of the Life With Leslie strip that’ll be appearing on my site as soon as I have time to draw it.

Leah Fitzgerald