It's Tuesday, and we're back with another Quarantine Q&A from a Good Comics alumni, Josh Hicks! We released Josh's Human Garbage back in June 2017, and since then he's continued work on his witty Glorious Wrestling Alliance comics, co-organised the Cardiff Comics Carnival, and more.
We checked in with him to see how he's doing amid the pandemic. Enjoy!
GC: How have you been finding lockdown so far?
JH: A lot of cartoonists have facetiously joked that they’ve prepared their entire lives for lockdown and so it’s no big thing, but I honestly am thriving under isolation to the extent that I feel a fair amount of guilt for actually enjoying myself. I live with my girlfriend and my cat and I don’t really need much else. I know obviously this isn’t the case for a lot of people who have been more drastically affected by the pandemic, but it’s been my individual experience so far. Obviously there’s an additional Covid-based dread element, but schedule-wise it’s basically the same except I don’t need to come up with excuses to not go to things. How are you keeping yourself occupied? I’m lucky in that I can still work my day job from home, so I do that for 30+ hours a week and the rest is just comics work and some leisure activities. Rewatching all of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Reading. Some light video games. Watching 90s wrestling matches in the bath. The staples. Have you taken up any new hobbies since lockdown began? Is eating a hobby? I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons a bit more regularly over Zoom. It would have been cool to have started doing carpentry or something as soon as the lockdown hit and then be walking out of it with a new handmade coffee table at the end. Instead I have probably gained the equivalent of a coffee table in weight. We absolutely love your Glorious Wrestling Alliance lockdown comics. Are you planning on printing these as a collection? Thanks! I was preparing to work on a longer, non-GWA thing prior to lockdown but given the situation I just felt like doing something that was more fun and immediate. It’s actually been a good way to experiment with different formal things. I’m sure I’ll be collecting them at some point once it’s safe to do shows again. I’ve put them on hold briefly. It feels even more self-centred than usual to draw this stuff while the atrocities committed daily against black lives both in the US and here in the UK are at the forefront of all our minds - anything that isn’t actively helping the cause feels a bit frivolous. I am aware that I’m massively privileged to only have to really think hard about these things when it reaches a global boiling point, whereas for POC it’s a daily truth. It’s shameful and infuriating. I am self-involved enough that I am sure the strips will be running again in no time, though.
Everyone was gutted when Cardiff Comics Carnival was postponed, but on the upside, the Self-Isolation Virtual Experience was a really fun idea. Will CCC be back next year? We are all definitely hoping to run a CCC next year - it’s all dependent on the global state of affairs at that point I suppose. If not, maybe we can make an extremely high budget Virtual Experience - maybe one that plays a bit like Red Dead Redemption 2, but with less shooting and more zines and die-cut stickers. Co-running the first CCC is one of the major highlights of my time in comics though, and the pandemic will not crush it. CCC will prevail! What's next from Carp Publishing Endeavours? Carp Publishing Endeavours was a fictional publisher that existed within the Glorious Wrestling Alliance book I put out last year, and to make myself laugh I put the logo on the book itself and published it under that name. It is now technically a real company and we are serialising Ioan Morris’ Biggol, which is great. Lockdown has put a slight delay in proceedings, but in the next year we hope to publish some more issues of that and do the UK versions of a couple of books by international cartoonists that are as of yet unannounced. It’s an extremely small operation (me, in my house, alone) built just to put out books by people I know, and so a few select books a year is enough!
Do you have any parting hints or tips for people - creative or otherwise - to help them in this weird time? I am the least helpful person ever at times like this but I would say that we are in the middle of various historic global moments right now, and that at the very least it feels important to pay attention and to observe what’s going on, and to find ways to somehow be a small part of a solution rather than complicit in the problem. As well as physical health, it’s also got to be important to look after your mental health in the ways that you feel best - that might mean taking a step back from creating or jumping in head first. I think both are valid! I don’t know, I’m an idiot. The new Animal Crossing is good. Black lives matter.