Mike Norton is a man who is a crazy genius, for only a madman will take on the 24 hour comic challenge not once, but three times. His creations from these 24 hour comic challenges have been compiled by Oni Press in a new collection: Mike Norton’s The Curse. Mike recently took time out of his schedule to discuss the rigors of creating a story in 24 hours and what readers can expect from The Curse.
Aaron Long: This collection contains The Curse and the sequels you have created during the 24 hour comic events. For those unfamiliar with The Curse, can you describe your Pugs & Pirates story?
Mike Norton: The Curse was my first attempt at writing a story from scratch on my own. Because of the nature of 24 hr comic day, I didn’t really have time to question myself when I came up with the idea of a “were-pirate”. That was the germ that started it. From there I just kind of played off some of my favorite (and not so favorite) horror movie tropes and the story started moving on its own from there. I threw in a pug because I like them, and he soon became the star of the story.
AL: While working on the 24 hour comic challenge and creating the volumes that make up The Curse, did you have the story pre-written or plotted and then pencil for 24 hours, or is this comic completely forged within a 24 hour timeframe?
MN: No, the only thing I had with me when I walked into Challengers Comics + Conversation (the store where I drew all three stories) was a portable drawing tablet and the word “were-pirate”. Everything was written, drawn, toned and lettered within 24 hrs. Each story took 24 hrs to complete. That’s all. I was very strict of myself that way.
AL: The 24 hour comic challenge is not a task for the weary of heart. What do you consider to be the most difficult aspect of the challenge?
MN: The actual physical endurance it takes was something I didn’t expect or prepare for. It really messed me up after staying up for 24 hrs of constant work. I was sick from too much coffee, and my eyes were swelling from just being strained. It got got worse with each year. Everything else about it was really exhilarating.
AL: What is the process like for making a comic in 24 hours? Do you pencil the entire issue, then ink, then letter? Do you ink each page as you go?
MN: The writing part came first. I saved time on that step by laying out the story as I wrote it. Rather than write a script, I wrote on the page as I sketched out the story that part took about 2-3 hours. Then I spent the majority of the day/night drawing the story. Then the rest of the time was spent toning and lettering.
AL: Any final words for Comicosity’s readers regarding The Curse?
MN: Just that I’m really excited that Oni Press is putting this out there. The Curse is the first time I really felt like I could create a comic all on my own and it actually be okay. Since then, I’ve pretty much only doing my own projects. It was a big step for me personally and professionally… Regardless of how silly and profane it is. 🙂