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Cat Garza Chats with Neal Von Flue

cat garza chatted with Neal Von Flue this past March about Neal's webcomic work to date and upcoming projects. Neal is a prolific writer and artist publishing comics on both Ape-Law and opi8.

catgarza: hey neal!
nvonflue: Hey cat!

catgarza: have you ALWAYS been into comics??
catgarza: when did it start...
nvonflue: Yeah i guess so..
catgarza: since you were a kid?
nvonflue: I was a Sgt Rock buff as a kid.
nvonflue: still am i guess.
catgarza: kewl
catgarza: i used to like those
nvonflue: not untill later did i start with X-men and all the Marvel stuff

catgarza: but when did you first start drawing comics?
nvonflue: like a year ago.
nvonflue: LOL
catgarza: wow
catgarza: right
catgarza: ok..
nvonflue: seriously, well my first real comics page was about a year ago (where I finished a whole page/story).
catgarza: but your work is a LOT different from either of those early exposures..
nvonflue: yeah I spent alot of time doing fine art.I wanted to be a painter.
catgarza: and art?
catgarza: ah
catgarza: ok
catgarza: so.. outta high school...
nvonflue: but disliked the gallery scene.
catgarza: right on
nvonflue: so i decided on comics. So i didn't have to b.s. people...
catgarza: ok
nvonflue: yeah right...!

catgarza: but was there an art education in there...
catgarza: or were you just pursuing fine art on your own?
nvonflue: i'm fairly self taught. i didn't take any art till college. And then it was mostly on my terms. I fell in a with a great crowd and set of teachers.
catgarza: did you graduate with an art degree?
nvonflue: no i never took any regular classes...
catgarza: ah
nvonflue: just about 5 years of art stuff.

catgarza: and the computer stuff, then.. when did you first [start] "painting with pixels"?
nvonflue: my mom got me my first computer. a 486...Around 94 or so
nvonflue: i did alot of stuff in Microsoft Paint
catgarza: heh
catgarza: a lot of people did
nvonflue: Haha, yeah i bet...
catgarza: so you've been kinda learning as the technology got better, like me?
nvonflue: it's a great program, very simple and easy to understand...
catgarza: intuitive
nvonflue: yeah exactly.
catgarza: right on

catgarza: and so, were your first forays into comics on the web?
nvonflue: yeah they were bad.
catgarza: why the web?
catgarza: why not print?
nvonflue: well I started by putting up a site for my wife and I, for artwork and such
nvonflue: then i started thinking about image maps.
catgarza: :D
nvonflue: and how you could make an image and put 10 image map on it, to other images, and so on. And you could build a story like that.

catgarza: had you heard of "webcomix" by this time? when did this happen...?
nvonflue: I dont think so, but maybe.
catgarza: lol
catgarza: right on
nvonflue: i remember Argon Zark.
catgarza: it was kinda in the back of a LOT of peoples minds, i think...
nvonflue: i tried to go there but it was a pay site!
nvonflue: LOL
catgarza: ha ha
nvonflue: so i never read any Argon...
catgarza remembers reading it when it was still free...
catgarza: it was good
nvonflue: bastard...

catgarza: but the kind of temporal maps you're talking about...
catgarza: a lot like the infinite canvas stuff a lot of us were experimenting with
catgarza: and you're probably the master at this point..., well, you and merlin goodbrey.
nvonflue: yeah i thought it'd be good to combine a infinte canvas comics with an image mapped thing.

catgarza: tell me a little about your process..
nvonflue: make a narrative that isn't linear.
catgarza: you work a lot from personal musings and poetry it seems..

nvonflue: hold on a sec... heh, sorry cut that bit out...guinea pigs runnin loose...
catgarza: lol
catgarza: cool!
nvonflue: okay my process...
catgarza: yes
nvonflue: probably a lot like yours.
catgarza: it seems... ;)
nvonflue: at least i presume.
catgarza: no it seems like you do..
nvonflue: i start anywhere.
catgarza: except you actually do THUMBNAILS sometimes, i know....
catgarza: and i'm a cheat...
catgarza: ;)

nvonflue: sometimes i work under constraints, like a set number of images, and now I gotta make 'em coherent, etc
nvonflue: yeah i sketch alot of stuff out, it helps me
catgarza: right on
catgarza: but sometimes you just throw it together kind of intuitively
nvonflue: sometimes I write it out first, always differnet, I guess...
catgarza: yes, i'm kinda weird in that way
catgarza: somethings write/draw themselves..
catgarza: some take extra planning..
nvonflue: yeah a lot of The Halcyon Years are about an hours worth of work.
nvonflue: and weeks of frustration at doing nothing...Haha