We here at Multiversity are fascinated by everything comics, and that includes finding out all about the people that make the books that we love. With that in mind, welcome to WorkSpace! This is where creators let us into their homes and, by getting a glimpse at their surroundings, we uncover a little about their process and their inspirations.
This week: Kyle Starks
Kyle is the Eisner nominated creator of indie hits “Sexcastle” and “Kill Them All,” as well as “Rock Candy Mountain” for Image Comics, and “Rick and Morty” for Oni Press.
Kyle, thanks for letting us into your home! What can you tell us about your workspace? Are you very particular about your environment?
Kyle Starks: Ha, my workspace is (as you can see) a very small desk in the corner of my living room/dining room. I work while my wife watches sketchy television, my kids run around screaming. It’s a mess but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m not really particular, I guess – I have found, now that I work full days at this, that what I sit on while I work is pretty important for my old man body, so we got one of those stand up desks with a high sitting chair but when it’s too loud here even for me I’ll go to the library or a coffee house. And I’ve done my fair share of work in hotel rooms too. Wherever there’s power, space and peace – though I do like my cozy little area.
Do you have anything around you that inspires you and your work?
KS: The only thing I have that’s not functional in my immediate workspace is a Funko Pop of Buff Rick and Summer and the only reason I REALLY have that is because it’s the one piece of Rick and Morty swag I really really wanted and finally got it. I don’t have any other Funkos or anything either, it’s just the one that I gravitated towards and if I don’t put it on my desk either my kids will take ownership of it or it will just be wasting space. You can’t see from the pictures but on the floor I have my inspiration books (Urazawa, Kirby) and reference and current reading stuff stacked up around it like a mini library. I’m sure my wife hates the clutter of it.
I’m interested by your stack of reference and inspirational books, what else have you got down there? What are some of the books that have helped shape you as a creator?
KS: I think the books that “shaped me” as a creator aren’t fully encapsulated down there – like I don’t have Dorkin’s Bill and Ted (in fact, I probably haven’t read that book since the 90s but Dorkin’s a clear influence). I’m also REALLY influenced by Swedish cartoonist Jason. I generally don’t keep a book to look at nearby because he didn’t inspire me that way – I definitely wouldn’t be making comics at all if not for Last Musketeer, Left Bank Gang, I Killed Hitler, etc.
I always, always have a volume of Pluto or Monster and I always have Kamandi. Right now I have a Mister Keaton and OMAC right here. I have these black and white editions of Mister Miracle I look at probably more than any other book. I have a firm belief that if you’re working on comics and don’t know how to lay out the next panel look at any Kirby page and you’ll be good. I also have a Guy Davis volume of BPRD because you should always have aspirations.
What’s a usual ‘Day in the Life’ like for you, do you have a set routine?
KS: The answer to this varies with whether or not my kids are in school or not and whether I’m writing or drawing. When I’m drawing, I wake up early, eat breakfast and probably start by 7:30 and working until, at least 5 or so – i’ll break for a walk, lunch and dinner. I’ll do that every day until I’m done with the book. When I’m writing the whole process is a lot more esoteric – it’s a lot of thinking and pacing and then a fever of output. In general, though, I’d say the house and I get that 7-5 weekdays are my office hours. I’ve been a “professional” comic creator for a year and a half and while there are some (very few) days where I don’t put a line or a letter down I feel like I haven’t had a day off – I’m always thinking about the current or next book.Continued below