Jess Smart Smiley is a real piece of work. Not only does he have the nerve to produce wonderful, engaging comics for readers’ worldwide, he then turns around and treats people with genuine friendliness and respect. I know, right? What a jerk.
In all seriousness, he’s a great guy, and we’ve been eager to interview him pretty much since we reviewed his awesome graphic novella A Map in the Dirt earlier in the year. Recently having his all-ages vampire story Upside Down snapped up by Top Shelf for release next Halloween, we thought now would be the perfect time to take advantage of his gentlemanly nature and collar him for a chat.
Immensely creative, Jess currently supplements his funnybook work by writing and performing music, and is even undergoing the herculean task of writing a novel. Infuriatingly multi-talented, with an obvious, deep love of storytelling, read on for Jess’ thoughts on Upside Down, his upcoming all-new self published comic, his process, his love of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, as well as an anecdote featuring the most charming act of plagiarism you’ve ever heard of.
Although Upside Down is (at first glance) a vampire pastiche, it soon becomes clear that it’s more about the mystery and impetuous adventures of childhood. What lead you to write this particular story?
Purveyors of "ice" everywhere, tremble in your boots, Jess the Bounty Hunter is coming for you! We'd like to offer Jess a BFG sized thank-you for taking some very valuable postnatal time out to talk to us. Whilst we're all waiting for Upside Down and Chain Gang to be released, mosey on over to his official website to buy a ton of Smiley swag, or even commission your very own $20 portrait (do it!). Jess informs us that he's quite likely to launch a Kickstarter project to raise funds for the Chain Gang project soon, and you can be sure that we'll be here to cover news of it as soon as it appears. Poppa Wheelie 4 life!