An artist of the extreme. An interview with Mike Diana (Part 2)
By Pablo Turnes
Header Illustration: Mike Diana
WARNING: THIS NOTE CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND TEXTUAL CONTENT THAT CAN RESULT OFFENSIVE TO SENSITIVE PERSONS. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR MINORS.
The first part of this interview can be read here.
In 1994, Mike Diana (New York, 1969) was found guilty of obscenity charges by the Pinellas County Court in the state of Florida. It was the first time that a comic artist had been sentenced under those charges in the legal history of the USA. The cause had been devised by a Pinellas County official, Michael Flores, who posed as an artist interested in Diana’s work. He got copies of Boiled Angel, which were used as proof that started the trial against the cartoonist.
In this interview, the interest was not placed so much in the intricacies of the judicial process – which, on the other hand, has already been explained – but in the context of Diana’s production. The conversation led to a journey through the darkest places of American culture: from GG Allin and the gore to serial killers and the theocratic drives of the deep United States. There is also a history of resistance: the comics medium and its defense for the right of artists to express themselves.
The “obscenity” is not only a (too) graphic exhibition, but an accusation against a way of living and understanding a country that can be – and usually is – sanctioned. Mike Diana not only draws in a disturbing way, but produces a revulsive vision conscious of being the heir of a long tradition of subversion and resistance to the growing normativization of public life in his country.
You can see his work here: http://mikedianacomix.com/
PT: Now this was about the time your legal problems started, am I right? If I had to take a guess, I’d say none of that would’ve happened had not been for the Gainsville killings. You got mixed up in that paranoid atmosphere. I won’t ask you about the details, you’ve been questioned enough about that already. I’d just like to talk about the connection of your “extreme” approach to comics with the serial killer subculture. I have to admit that when I first caught a glimpse of your work, I immediately thought about the kind of stuff some serial killers produce in prison. Then I read somewhere you had actually been in touch with one serial killer. Is that true? Did you visit him in prison?
MD: Yes, I was absolutely caught up in that time, the fear people had. And the censorship in the name of saving citizens from art and music and films that is harmful to them. I had gotten a package from Sondra London, she had a book publishing company called Killer Fiction. So, I asked her if I could publish a story, “Expecting dinner”, in my Boiled Angel No. 7.
She was high school sweethearts with Gerald Schaefer, who had become a Florida police officer. Well, he was killing women and feeding them to the gators in the swamps. “He would meet a nice girl and she would become gator bait”, she said in an interview I read once. When Gerald was in Florida Stark prison they started dating again by mail and visits. His writings were used against him at his trial saying that he had true details in his so called “fiction stories”, and Sondra was publishing his work. I met her in person when she came to visit Florida, she was very nice. I started writing to Gerald and he was friends with Ottis Toole, another serial killer at Stark. He would send simple letters and crude drawings. One was of almost stick figures and it said: Dear Mike, I’m glad you like my doodles, I eat boys with noodles.
At one point Gerald wrote that Ottis and Ted Bundy, who was on death row, had become lovers. He was trying to sell me a gumball machine ring that was supposedly a wedding ring Ted wore up until his execution. He wanted $300 but I didn’t buy it. Then Gerald was trying to get me to visit him, he also wanted to get me a seat to watch a woman being electrocuted – I forgot her name, she was one of those black widow killers, she would marry men to end up killing them and taking all their money -. He said she had big tits and a big ass and would surely fry up real good. I had no interest is seeing such a thing. Eventually Gerald and Ottis were killed in prison, never heard the details. Before Gerald was killed, the Gainsville killer that they claimed they thought I was, had been caught and was in Stark prison.
It was Danny Rolling, he killed eight that they know of. Sondra started dating him and dumped Gerald. One day Sondra came to visit after she was on a Florida talk show. I had a girlfriend, Suzy, at the time, she worked as a strip dancer at a club called Mons Venus. So, Sondra wanted to go with us because Danny told her two strippers there had stolen all his money after smoking a bunch of crack cocaine with him. I guess she wanted to try and talk to the girls, so we took her to the club and she got super drunk. But Sondra is great, she is still in the scene doing stuff.
“I was absolutely caught up in that time, the fear people had. And the censorship in the name of saving citizens from art and music and films that is harmful to them”
PT: This brings me to something that fascinates me and at the same time is completely beyond me: the fact that the US produces so many serial killers with records going as far as the 19th century. There are literally hundreds of them, both confirmed and suspected. Just to compare, Argentina has had only two confirmed and convicted serial killers, both in the 20th century and none of them got as far as some of the most famous US serial killers. Why do you think this happens? What makes the US a “fertile soil” for people like those you’ve met?
At the same time, society has absorbed them turning the whole thing into a subculture that has its own kind of “merchandise of evil”. All of these memorabilia, or the works produced by some of them -like John Wayne Gacy‘s paintings- have their own market and their public. What do you think of that? Do you think stuff like that can be considered part of the US culture, even when it represents the darkest side of it?
MD: I would say that in the United States money and power corrupts people. Think about Ancient Rome: the ones high up in power enjoyed whatever they wanted no matter how sick and wrong. These days it’s people, men and women, in those giant office buildings. I’m not saying all but certainly many. If a man with wife and kids has a bad, stressful day at the office he isn’t going to beat his own wife and kids but he will rape and kill a young boy on the way home. Remember the West Memphis three, the kids charged with killing three younger boys? Well turns out they didn’t do it. There is an undercurrent in United States of men in power abusing, raping, torturing to death children. And they live their lives this way because they are rich.
Michael Jackson had a whole amusement park in his front yard, for the enjoyment of children. That’s exactly what people do who want to attract kids to molest, they have video games and stuff kids like in their homes even though they have no kids of their own. But like I said, it’s all about money. If Michael didn’t have his gold records and money he would have been in jail decades ago. But as a society where money means everything he is like royalty. All Americans should be ashamed of this. Then you have the serial killers out there who are more middle class or whatever. They have this hunger as well, to torture and kill and they do so until caught and made to stop.
I think about America and gun violence, it’s part of our culture. Much higher than the numbers killed by serial killers is random gun violence. Some jerk gets mad and kills his girlfriend and her mother, that kind of shit. We know America is a money-based society. There is the side effect of that: people can be raised just caring about money over all else, what can they buy and own and get out of others. We are in the most selfish of times now as far as individuals go.
I mentioned before that I was kind of obsessed with serial killers and what makes them kill. Watching the documentary and reading the books, there was a certain excitement about it the way people want to see the aftermath of a car crash. After a while I felt like I got my fill of serial killer info, after writing to them and all.
I find it interesting that serial killers are doing art, I don’t feel compelled to own any, I do have a small Gacy skull clown painting. I had a friend in Florida that was collecting clocks that Henry Lee Lucas had made all from match sticks. They were nice. He would sell all sorts of serial killer stuff on eBay and was doing well until eBay outlawed it. Then there is the whole fascination with Charles Manson…
“In the United States money and power corrupts people. Think about Ancient Rome: the ones high up in power enjoyed whatever they wanted no matter how sick and wrong. These days it’s people, men and women, in those giant office buildings”
PT: Well one could say money and power corrupts people all over the world, through history. But the fact that it manifests in the form of serial killers is something not exclusive to the US but particularly frequent in your country. You mentioned Ancient Rome; despite the obvious differences between time periods, I believe both societies share an imperial vocation. I can imagine Trump in Ancient Rome, he would’ve been one of those big fat corrupt Roman senators. He could have fit right in.
Now let’s go back to the artistic production in the extreme sense of the word, as you’ve mentioned before. One could argue about the artistic quality of it, and certainly the moral and ethical implications. I guess for the majority of people it would be an aberration. It’s an ongoing debate, whether something is art or not – or why something should be considered art and other things should not -. This takes me to your trial: your freedom depended on a jury of – I guess – quite conservative people that had to decide whether your pictures were art or not. Now there are conferences every year all over the world debating the artistic quality of comics and its possibilities, but it took only 90 minutes for these people to reach the conclusion that it was not and you should be imprisoned for that. Do you recall what was being said about this issue at the trial? Was there something that struck you the most?
MD: The way the obscenity law works is the court must prove it is not art and has no artistic merit as well as scientific, literary, political value. If it has any one of these it cannot be ruled obscene because it is protected by the constitution. But I knew the jury didn’t understand this. Of course it is art! I spent time drawing it! I got all A’s in art classes at school!
Also, the law says Boiled Angel as a whole must be obscene, every page. One drawing from a girl, an art submitter, was a skeleton, and even that was obscene and not art I guess. I was very troubled by that aspect of it. I realized that if the system wants to get you they will, it’s all set up against you. A no win situation in most cases.
In court, the prosecution had experts to explain why Boiled Angel was not protected under the First Amendment. The literary expert testified that the writing in Boiled Angel was not literature: it had no life redeeming value. As an example, he read a part of the book The Grapes of Wrath; on the wagon train the travelers are starving and a woman’s new born baby dies. Her breasts full of milk she feeds one of the men dying. “This has life-affirming value”, he explained. The art expert worked as an art teacher at Eckard (spelling) College, a Christian school. He was there to testify that it was not art. He even brought his own blow ups of my art to point out parts to the jury. Panels from “Baby fucked dog food” comic is what he chose to enlarge.
My lawyer tried to stop it saying that the jury may be even more shocked by the large details and it was unfair because Boiled Angel was a digest size zine, but the judge allowed it. The prosecutions art expert would point to lines I drew in the comic and say, “I like how he drew this part, the lines are very powerful”, and then the prosecutor would interrupt and say “but it is not art, correct?” The teacher, an elderly man, would seem to remember why he was there, getting paid a fee and then say, “oh no, it’s not art”.
He even went on to tell a story in court about how when he used to do comic drawings for the Christian newsletter he was censored. One of his comics was of a man lying on a table with his chest ripped open, a man sitting at the table eating him. Caption read “It’s all a matter of taste”. He said he was disappointed when they didn’t print it. That day my lawyer, his helpers and I had a new catchphrase: “It’s all a matter of taste”. We would use this as part of closing, saying that Boiled Angel was not for everyone and those who choose to look at it should be able to.
I had a moment where I actually thought I would win after that art expert basically talked about how my art was powerful and he liked how I drew parts of it. But of course, there was not a chance. The jury passed around the Boiled Angel issues 7 and 8 and they didn’t like what they saw. Guilty!
“The literary expert testified that the writing in Boiled Angel was not literature: it had no life-redeeming value”
PT: Well that’s what intrigues me: you were ruled out as a suspect in the killings, but investigators still decided to keep your stuff “just in case”, and then they gave it to this – obviously ambitious – police officer who set up all this accusation that ended up with you in jail. You were treated quite roughly for what was a misdemeanor and far from a serious crime. It could almost be considered a police-state, were it not for something as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). I didn’t know they existed until I read about your case: did they reach out to you? Did you know they existed? How did you like their job?
MD: No, I did not know about the CBLDF. After I got the certified letter in mail to go to court I called my friend and Boiled Angel contributor, Scott Cunningham. He was an artist in NYC. He did a zine show in an art gallery called Minor Injury Gallery. He told me about the defense fund and gave me a 0800-phone number for them. I called and was asked to send the Boiled Angel books being charged, which I did. At first there was a snag. They were trying to get rid of a guy there in the organization, he was dropping the ball and I didn’t hear back. Finally, like the day before my day to go and plea, I called the defense fund and asked what to do and they said to plead not guilty. So, I did and the prosecutor told the judge I was wasting time trying to buy time.
Eventually the defense fund came through for me. Dennis Kitchen, who owned Kitchen Sink Press, and who got me the comics that took my art in an extreme direction, was now helping me with the CBLDF that he founded. The cases the defense fund had before mine were mostly comic book shop owners that had been arrested for selling adult comic books to minors. I was the first artist they defended.
PT: Well they lost the case but they made quite a statement. How was your relationship with them during the trial? Are they still backing you up?
MD: I did feel like everyone was very helpful during the trial. I did not meet anyone from the defense fund during the trial, but I talked to them on phone and they were nice. My lawyer was great, he told me of when he was a child in a school with strict nuns and much oppression. It made him want to stick up for the rights of others especially in the First Amendment area.
After I was given probation and was ordered to do three years of community service work for a non-profit organization, the defense fund thought it would be a good idea to have me do some of those hours for them since they are non-profit. So, they set up a few lectures at comic conventions so I could speak about the case. Neil Gaiman also was giving his time to help the fund and do lectures and book signings to raise money for it. I remember one of his talks where he mentioned that in Africa there’s a certain type of ant that only eats “elephant spunk”, as he called it.
One convention was in Charlotte, NC, and my sister happened to be going to school near there. She was living in a teepee she built in the woods. She is very into camping and hiking. Also, my mom came out to visit with her husband. It was great to have them there, they got to see me speaking to a huge crowd who was on my side. She enjoyed seeing Neil and was joking with me asking, “Is he married?” even though my mom had her husband there on the trip. I did a number of events for the defense fund and was having a good time. Then the Florida probation office let my lawyer know that since the defense fund defended me in court it was a conflict of interest. They were not going to count the hours toward my community service. I was pissed because the state of Florida was just giving me hassle the way they always do. I didn’t mind doing the conventions to help the fund anyway.
I always felt the defense fund should have helped me pay off my fine. It’s against their bylaws I was told but still… I have heard from folks over the years, some doctors and lawyers that said they donated funds to the defense fund solely from hearing about my case. So even though it cost the defense fund about $50,000 to defend me, I feel they got that money back, plus some. I paid up to $800 of the $3,000 fine myself. I was to pay $100 per month with probation. Years ago, the new guy that worked at the defense fund said they would pay off rest of fine for me but it never happened.
We did do a Kickstarter to raise funds for the documentary and we raised an extra $5,000 that I will use to pay off that fine and pay my lawyer to clear it up once and for all. I hope anyway…
I am still wanted in Florida today. When we did the interviews for the doc we went to Florida and did interviews with my mom, my brother and my lawyer. He was more than happy to do it, I had not seen Luke in about 20 years and when I saw him again it was like seeing an old friend.
PT: Now that you’ve mentioned the documentary, I’d like to ask you how that came to be. Did you already know Anthony Sneed? Was it his idea first or was it yours?
MD: Well it was not Anthony’s idea. I actually started a documentary on the case with another guy back in ’94, my old friend Mark Hejnar who had ordered Boiled Angels from me way back then. He was a video artist in Chicago; he had done some good films – very extreme – so we ended up trading stuff. I told him I wanted to release a compilation of different videos and asked him to send one. He said why I didn’t let him release it since he had access to professional VHS dubbing decks at his job; he was able to work on his own stuff, so he released Affliction. It has clips of GG Allin and me and other extreme artists. He went on tour with GG for a couple years at least – he is also going to do a doc on GG -. We decided to do a documentary on me after my legal problems. He traveled to Florida in ‘94 and interviewed me, my mom and dad, sister, brother and the lawyer and prosecutor. That doc got put on the back burner when he moved out of Chicago to Thailand with his wife. But he still will be putting it out in the near future.
“It was great to have my family there with me, they got to see me speaking to a huge crowd who was on my side”
When me and friend Mike Hunchback – who had a band called Hunchback – started hanging out he set up a screening for Frank’s [Henenlotter, director of the Basket Case series] film Bad Biology and the three of us ended up doing a weekly movie night. I told Frank the story of my arrest because of art. Mike had asked me one night if I would consider doing a doc, letting him be involved. I said sure, and Frank had the same idea at around the same time since he had just finished a doc on Herschell Gordon Lewis; so we decided to do the project together.
Anthony had starred in Bad Biology and wanted to produce films, so we got him on the project. It was a good set up because I felt at ease with these guys. We each put in our two cents, so to speak, with ideas of who to have interviewed. Gabe, who did special effects for some of Frank’s films, also got on board as producer so after a while Frank started to really push to start the project. We did some interview sessions; Frank is a master at the Final Cut Pro! We decided I would do some clips of animation for the project. Then Anthony had the idea to have a Kickstarter campaign. We raised $45,000 to finish the project. The goal was $40,000. And we got an extra 5 grand for me to pay off my outstanding fine. So hopefully I will be able to finally get off Florida’s most wanted list, haha.
PT: There’s also a compilation of your work coming out, right? I’d like to know more about it, the process of revising what you had done so many years ago. Did you add more pages, did you make changes? And finally, who’s publishing it?
MD: Yes, finally since its original publication I am reprinting the Boiled Angel series. It comes in a box that I screen printed a new design on. The new design is “Boiled Angel Lives”. It is interesting to reprint them; back when they were originally published I was doing it all myself by hand. I wanted to keep it in that do-it-yourself tradition. When I originally printed issues 1-6 I was making them at my custodian job. They had all sorts of different colored paper to choose from. I figured why use just white paper, so every page was color paper. The reprint is all white paper, that is the only difference. And of course, the print run numbers. Issue No. 1 was only 65 copies. And as I got higher into issue numbers the number of copies grew (issue 8 had 300 copies); this box set are a signed and numbered 1,500 copies. It’s nice because the format is the same as originally, issue No. 6 was A4 size and the other seven issues were digest size.
I did decide to change the color of issue No. 4 from red to purple – originally both issues 1 & 4 had red covers -. I felt it looked better for the set to have each cover a different color. Back in the days Boiled Angel was first published, it would be sent one issue at a time as they were printed to those brave ones that had the nerve to keep ordering more issues.
Many would be curious and order an issue, and I would just never hear from them again. No letter, nothing. I had to assume it was too extreme for them. One guy wrote me pen pal letters in which he said that he liked my work but was troubled by it a bit. He then said he was going to buy one of my sculptures. At the time, in 1991-92, I was buying old jewelry boxes and old religious boxes and turning them into works of art. I would spray paint on them, add a fine brush work with gold model kit paint and then decorate with little gems, plastic skulls and guns and glow in the dark bugs that I bought from my trips to party supply shops. I considered it like folk art.
I would cut a pic of a nice pink pussy from Hustler magazine and when you opened a little door you would see that, alongside a figurine of a little boy or girl on their knees praying to it. So anyway, he never bought one, instead he wrote me a letter in a totally opposite tone telling me that someday I will definitively kill myself and kill other people. I used to get that kind of reaction often enough.
Another guy, who was an early contributor to Angelfuck and Boiled Angel, was all gung ho about being part of it, and then I guess he started falling into Christianity. He was young, 14 I think. That’s how old I was when I started getting into underground comics. So he sent me a letter telling me I was evil and whatever. I felt sad for those people, they seemed to imagine in their minds that I was some crazy criminal, that I actually wanted to hurt babies and eat flesh and be a serial killer. Serial killers don’t make art until after they are put in jail; they kill people, that’s what they do.
In court, the prosecution was saying that the first step in the path of becoming a serial killer was reading Boiled Angel. It’s just crazy shit said by those that have no real idea and totally miss the joke. One thing that makes my art stand out, I believe, is I captured my own feelings. I hate child abuse and am aware that it happens every minute and it has been like that since the dawn of human kind. I cannot act happy go lucky and just ignore it, I don’t want it to depress me to point of going on my killing spree or get so depressed I kill myself. I deal with these feelings in my art, to mirror bullshit society. So, what I ended up with in Boiled Angel is a mix of very real feelings of hopelessness and anger, and a mix of humor. After all, I am drawing comics. I want folks to get a chuckle. Some of my comics I meant as horror stories like the ones I read in pre-code horror comic books; I want them scary and morbid and not funny. So ultimately it is up to the reader to feel what they feel when they read the work. If somebody reading has a sibling that was abused as a child, they may be offended by Boiled Angel, I wouldn’t blame them.
I have to thank [his editor Johnny Chiba aka] Jefe who runs the mikedianacomix.com web site for his work at helping me with the new box sets, making them happen. With the trial and all the bad stuff that was inflicted on me by the Florida law it was a very emotional thing reprinting them. I probably subconsciously put off reprinting it for a long time so I wouldn’t have to bring up those feelings.
I did a new product to go along with the release of the box set: it’s from the Boiled Angel novelty company, hee hee. You get a box and on the top it reads “World’s Largest Fetus!!!” How can the world’s largest fetus fit into a small box you would wonder? Well you have to order it to find out. It’s like the fun of old comic book days ordering from comic book ads – live Rattle snake eggs, hovercraft, 100-foot yacht. Remember those?!
“[One reader] wrote me a letter telling me that someday I would definitively kill myself and kill other people. I used to get that kind of reaction often enough”
PT: Ha! I’ve seen those advertisements that sold sea creatures you could order. I don’t know what they were, maybe tadpoles or something like that.
MD: Yes, the sea monkeys are brine shrimp eggs. It’s a scam of course. You see, brine shrimp at some pet shops, they are used to feed larger fish.
PT: Now about religion and comics, I think there’s an interesting tradition in American indie comixs where you can find many artists dealing with stuff like that (and usually it’s Catholics!). Robert Crumb, Justin Green, Chester Brown…men fucked up by those obsessions about sex and guilt. I guess comixs have served as a means for letting all of that out, for people who didn’t have enough money or contacts to produce films or become “serious” artists. And it’s amazing that Dr. Wertham’s arguments are still being brought up in the legal system, it’s completely ridiculous. I’d like to know about your thoughts on that American indie genealogy. Are you familiar with those artists? Do you like their work? Would you include yourself as part of that genealogy, even from a very extreme point of view?
MD: I was a fan of Robert Crumb and Justin Green and those other guys for sure. I do remember some comics dealing with religion, the Christians and Catholics. I suppose what really motivated me was the fact I was forced to go to church by my father. As a youngster it is probably normal to some extent to fight the system – so to speak – and rebel against the hypocrisy in those type of institutions. I just knew I would have rather been out playing and doing fun stuff on Sunday like my friends that didn’t have to attend church.
Recently my father told me that when he was a kid and his mother was a drinker he would hear his parents fighting and he would be laying in his bed praying to Jesus for help. He said it was that belief in Jesus that helped him through that tough childhood. He wanted to give us that gift, me and my brother and sister. If he would have explained that to me back when I was a kid I probably would have been more understanding about it. I knew I was a decent person and didn’t feel I needed the religion. Looking back on it I can say I didn’t get anything positive from it, not when you see the Sunday paper after church and there are reports on priests being arrested for sex crimes on children. It was scary. I would imagine all the kids abused and the priests not yet caught. I feel I dove right into the anti-religious art for Boiled Angel to get it out of my system. I realize now you never fully recover. “Recovering Catholic” I call myself, hee hee.
PT: Having in mind all of what has happened to you, and all of what you just told me, it seems to me that that is a good picture of what the US is and can be: on the one hand, you have this oppressive, even theocratic realities that are really strong in some states. On the other hand, you have this little yet intense group of people struggling to do what they want, that is to say, a way to be free in spite of everything. And those groups of people coming together for a shared interest in their freedom, that’s very American too, isn’t it? What’s your view on what’s going on in the US right now, concerning the political situation with someone like Donald Trump as president but also the comics’ scene nationwide? Do you think comics have a chance to keep being subversive and anti-establishment?
MD: Certainly, I felt that a lot when our family moved to Florida and settled in the small town of Largo. Street names such as Rosary Road, very religious. They didn’t like all these Yankees from up north. Back in school, when I was in middle of fourth grade, I was surprised of the way they would hit the kids there. Each teacher had their own paddle to swat the kids, most decorated with wood burner, the teachers’ name and even funny sayings, “Heat for the seat”, one was. I remember an old English teacher lady had pretty flowers on hers, and then they were nicely varnished. A joke us students had was that the paddles were made in the wood shop class by the students on detention.
One time a man who was in charge of disciplining the kids was dressed in black leather with a spiked wristband on, spanking a fat kid. Another bully was Mr. Day. He would from time to time pop into class suddenly to bully the kids. If he asked you a question you had to respond with “Yes Sir”. If you forgot, well…once I saw him pick up a whole desk with a kid in it and slammed him on the floor. Crazy shit.
“Back in school, when I was in middle of fourth grade, I was surprised of the way they would hit the kids there. Each teacher had their own paddle to swat the kids, most decorated with wood burner”
The husband and wife gym teachers were very racists, like old southern style racists. They used the “N” word a number of times that I heard. After we had the school pledge in the morning they would say: “And now a moment of prayer”. There certainly was supposed to be a separation of church and state but it was not being enforced there. This was in 1978 when I first moved to Florida. By the time I got to middle school they changed the moment of prayer to “a moment of silence”. The teacher explained that we can pray or reflect on something, they stressed that we didn’t have to pray but we could if we wanted to. So, by all this I am saying that it makes a big difference what area you live in. The United States has a lot of conservative places and if you are not conservative you don’t want to be there.
Now as for the new president, I was telling people, my friends long before election that there was going to be major payback for Obama. He had two terms and the other side was not happy about that. So now we got what we deserved as a so called democratic society. I didn’t like the choices we had, I most always have not liked the choices. Where is a candidate that cares about the planet we live on? I think that the current times of political craziness needs comics to help us folks get through it all. Political cartoons I feel are an important part of society and as much part of it all as the crazy politicians.
PT: One last question: do you know anything about South American comics? And are you planning to come down south sometime (supposing your legal situation allows you to)?
MD: I have looked up South American comics before on the Internet. Looks like great stuff, but I don’t know much about them. Seems like a whole new wave of artists there! As far as traveling, I’m good to travel without problems. Only I have to stay out of Florida because if I am there and have contact with the police I will go to jail. I am working with my lawyer on finally clearing that up, so I hope I can legally go to Florida soon without a problem. I would not bother to go back there if it wasn’t for the fact my mother lives there. But I would love to visit South America, if I get invited I would go for sure.