You may remember comic creator and Park Sloper Mike Dawson when we featured his short comic Prospect Park Dusk, Prospect Park Dawn: the clever and brilliantly-drawn piece centering around your typical Park Slope mom (who happens to be a vampire in her spare time). This summer, Mr. Dawson and Secret Acres released his quirky graphic novel Troop 142, which follows the trials and tribulations of a group of young boys in the 90's who are attending Boy Scout Camp in Jersey. He is an award-winning comic artist that I have had the pleasure of seeing on many expert panels from the Small Press Expo to NY Comic Con. In short, he knows his shit and he really loves his hood (and in a neighborhood full of opinionated grouchy pusses, he's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet). Because of all this goodness I sat down at the local Connecticut Muffin (or "Con Muffs" as Mr. Dawson likes to call it) and had a chat.
(Turn up the soft light on me.)
J Charles: You're a sloper. You're a parent. My question is why?
JC: So sucky landlords and ninja garbage runs aside, how long have you lived in this fine neighborhood?
JC: Wow, you really do love it here to stay after that. Then besides the hooligans parked out on your stoop and the ever encroching sense of being priced out of your own hood, what do you love about Park Slope?
JR: What do you not love about it?
JC: If you had a million dollars to spend on anything Park Slope related, what would you spend it on?
JC: So let's stop talking about Park Slope now. Let's talk about when you first know you wanted to make comics?
JC: Describe you process a little for the non-nerd FIPS'ter.
JC: You have a podcast called Ink Panthers, yes? Is this podcast as badass as it sounds? Why should we be listening to it?
JC: So my new goal in life is to be invited into the Panther's Lair. Just sayin'. Now I'm sure our readership will remember your short comic we posted back in September, "Prospect Park Dusk, Prospect Park Dawn". How did you come up with the concept?
MD: I was reading a vampire novel called Bottomfeeder, by Bob Fingerman. I really enjoyed the book, but as I finished it, I started thinking about how a lot of the time it’s tricky for a vampire to be a sympathetic protagonist, when they do always have the option to bow out of things. They could easily just expose themselves to sunlight, rather than sticking around and continuing to murder people until the end of time. Then I started thinking about how a vampire might be more sympathetic if he/she had someone else in their life that was entirely dependent on them, and needed them to stick around. Like, for instance, the mother of a toddler. That was the basic concept. From there it became pretty easy to look at my own life, and make the vampire/working mom connection.
JC: You can be honest: Do you know any vampirical Park Slope moms? We'll protect you from them I have a garlic ring in my kitchen.
MD: Not literally, of course. I was thinking a lot about being a working parent when I wrote this comic, obviously. I think the metaphor for full-time-working parent/vampire-who-can’t-go-out-during-the-day is pretty strong. The heartache of being away all the time and missing out on a lot of the day-to-day that goes on with your kid… I’m not going to say it’s universal, but I think it’s something plenty of parents might be able to relate to."
JC: Ok 8 Ball: Should the Dawson's forever rent and stay Slopeside?M8B: "Signs point to yes."