#BlackComicsMonth 2016: Day 1 – Get to Know Comic Creator Jon Parrish

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My name is Jon Parrish and I am a writer from NW Indiana. My work includes Secrets & Shadows, Someday, and Clusterf@#k. The latter is coming to stores in March.

My journey into comics started as a kid. Most of my knowledge came from cartoons based on super hero comics because the books weren’t readily available. My first comic book was a Calvin and Hobbes collection I received from my father. He loved comic books and in his youth aspired to be a comic book artist like Jack Kirby. Because he was my hero, I wanted to become an artist as well but my interests began leaning more toward writing comics rather than drawing as I got older.

In high school, I was fortunate enough to come across a website called Digital Webbing which was home to many aspiring creators and pros alike. It was there that I found a space to not only learn how to write a comic script, but I was able to find people who would give me advice and help me improve. One of these people was Steven Forbes (my go-to editor who also edits scripts at The Proving Grounds on ComixTribe.com). I was fairly active on the site until college. Life got in the way and I stopped writing, but I continued to create stories to entertain my friends.

secrets-and-shadowsIt wasn’t until my final semester when I decided to make a comic book. That book would become Secrets & Shadows. With Steven helping me edit, I worked on those scripts through my graduation and my post college job as a teacher’s aide. From there, I would end up getting the opportunity to work as an Assistance Language Teacher in northern Japan. Secrets & Shadows was a very good learning experience about the creative process and the fact that making a 6 issue series takes a lot of time and a lot of money. A part of the reason I took the job was so I could pay the creative team. But in the end, I had a book I could be proud of.

Clusterf@#k came about in my second year in Japan during a particularly rough time. A few months prior, the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami had hit several cities on the coast, including the city I was living in. I was safe but the entire situation and the aftermath had been jarring. A lot of our friends and coworkers had lost relatives and/or their homes and people were constantly talking about the radiation. On top of all of that, I was also in the midst of taking and failing the Japanese Driver’s License test. It seems silly in hindsight, but I drove to my school and I thought I’d lose my job if I didn’t pass. All of this made for a very frustrating time. Because of this, I pledged to write something ‘fun’ and remembered an old story I wrote in high school called “The Table”. It was a story I enjoyed writing so I took the main characters and built a world around them while pulling from my favorite movies and cartoons. It started out as therapy, but ended up growing into something I wanted to see through. After coming home, I formed a team to make the first two issues. Eventually, I submitted it to Alterna Comics and here we are.

A great deal of my writing is more about dealing with situations, but I try to make it entertaining as well. I pull a lot of inspiration from cartoons and movies, but mostly from situations I’ve been in. I mainly find myself writing because I have stories to tell. When I run out of stories, I’ll probably stop writing.

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Follow Jon Parrish on Twitter, pick up some of his books and let him know what you think.

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