Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tommy Kovac - Graphic Novelist

Meet Tommy Kovac - Writer - Illustrator - Graphic Novelist

Self-portrait

Tommy Kovac is one of the most interesting, talented people I know. Before sharing a really cool childhood story about Tommy, let's look at some of his first publications.

First comics series, "Stitch"


He's been writing and illustrating these comics since 1999. 
Published by SLG Publishing. 

 
Links to his website are below.  

Tommy describes these three series as "very edgy with lots of mature humor."

"Forget & Sever" is an illustration for his trade paperback, "Stitch."

Here are his latest writing projects, two five-issue graphic novels:  
"Wonderland," SLG/Disney, illustrated by Sonny Liew

and 


an Oz-related series, "The Royal Historian of Oz,"
SLG Publishing, illustrated by Andy Hirsch.
Both graphic novels are for all ages.

I met Tommy at Books Born Here, our writers' group that meets in Riverside, California. One time he shared a memory about his childhood. I asked him to retell it so I could post it on my blog because it says a lot about who he is and why he was the perfect one to write Wonderland, even though his publisher didn't know it at the time he asked him to work on it!


The rabbit hole story and other reflections from Tommy Kovac, in his own words:
           
     "I was little, maybe around 5 or 6, and I loved Alice In Wonderland. We always had lots of books around the house, and it was one of the first books I learned to read all by myself. I used to read it out loud to my parents. I was also pretty obsessed with the ride at Disneyland. I got my dad to dig me a big, deep 'rabbit hole' in our back yard so I could pretend to be Alice crawling in and floating down to Wonderland. I spent hours in that hole, imagining.
   
     "When my publisher at SLG first asked me to write 'Wonderland' for the Disney project, I excitedly told him how much I love the original story and even blurted out the thing about my dad digging me a rabbit hole in our back yard.


     "My publisher said, 'Wow. That's pretty f*&#%d up. Maybe you're TOO into it.' (That cracked me up.)
   
     "I was an only child, and my parents were totally awesome. Still are. Can you imagine a dad going along so easily with his son pretending to be ALICE IN WONDERLAND?! And my dad was a total football jock in high school.
   
     "I remember him trying to throw the football around with me in our back yard. I think he only tried ONCE, and quickly realized I was better suited to drawing and other 'artistic' pursuits. Interestingly enough, my dad is a well-rounded guy and also used to draw and sketch a lot. I remember watching him and being fascinated by the special pencils and the crumbly eraser.
     
     "Both of my parents are very artistic, but in different ways. My mom has a total Martha Stewart streak. Not the insider trading kind, or the scary ice queen kind, though! What I mean is that my mom has a real knack for design and color, and a great eye for visual balance. Her house is always beautiful, and she can make really cool handmade things. She has superb taste, which is a quality I'm not sure can be taught. What I'm trying to say is that I totally get whatever creative talent I have from both parents.
   
     "My mom gave me my first typewriter when I was about 9, an old manual kind that clacked when you hit the keys and chinged when you hit the carriage return. She taught me which fingers are supposed to go with which keys, and I immediately started typing my own little stories. It would be hard for me to talk about my creative pursuits without also talking about my parents, because they've been so encouraging and supportive all the way through.

     "You know, I work with teenagers in the school library, and there are plenty of kids whose parents tell them exactly what they should be and what they should do with their lives. It's sad. You see these poor kids who have been convinced to go to law school, or to become doctors, when they really want to dance, or sing, or paint. They've been taught to equate success with money, which I think is wrong.


     "Some people WANT to be lawyers or doctors, which is great, but there are also some of us who have that burning need to create stories or pictures or whatever, and to share them with other people. And most of us don't make very much money from it! But that's not the point, either, is it?  :)"

Thanks for sharing your memories and insight with us, Tommy. 

To read an interview of Tommy Kovac by Stephanie Jefferson, go here.

Read the awesome reviews of Tommy's work:



Some of his artwork is for sale on his website. 

Here are his other links:
website: www.tommykovac.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/tommy.kovac
library-themed blog: www.smellslikelibrary.blogsot.com/
everything else-themed blog: www.tommykovac.blogspot.com/
Amazon’s page for my upcoming graphic novel release (October 11, 2011)
My comics publisher’s online shop with my stuff

A question for my readers:  What do you think about graphic novels? Do you have a favorite comic book series? Or did you as a kid?

15 comments:

Tommy Kovac said...

Lynn, thanks for profiling me on your blog! You're awesome. That author photo of you is totally cute, too. See you at critique! (Hopefully soon if I can manage to get my calendar straight!)

LynNerd said...

Tommy - Thank YOU for sharing your wonderful childhood memories with us and letting me showcase some of your work. I hope everyone goes to Stephanie's blog to read her interview of you. Yep, I'll see you at critique! Oh, by the way, I checked my stats and have had a LOT of hits for this post, so you're quite a popular dude!

Munir said...

My kids comic books have been an inspiration for them to read. They would save their allowance and ask me to drive them to the local drug store and so happily buy them. those books are over twenty five years old. A lot of them got spoiled over the years.
My favourite comis were Archie and Veronica and ofcourse with Betty in them. They are still my favourite but he thickness is not the same.
Thanks for the interview:)

Wub2Write said...

Lynn, your interview with Tommy (in his own words) is a WONDERFUL addition to Stephanie's recent blog interview with Tommy.

Tommy, your parents sound absolutely AWESOME!!! I mean, how cool that your pop dug a deep hole for you in the backyard where you could play, dream, & imagine. No wonder you have such a fab and fun imagination!

Thanks you guys for such a fun interview! I truly enjoyed reading it. :-)

LynNerd said...

Munir - Archie, Veronica, and Betty were my favorite comic books, too! I loved them. That Jughead was such a character! How cool that you saved your kids' comics. I wish I had saved mine!

Maria - I think any interview of Tommy would be awesome. He has so many interesting things to tell us. And I agree that it's so neat that his folks let him have the giant hole in the backyard to play in and let his imagination soar. Thanks for the great comments.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Oh what cool drawings!

I haven't read a graphic novel yet (hangs head in shame).

cleemckenzie said...

Your guest and I have Alice in Wonderland in common as a book that made a BIG impression. His work is fabulous, and I love graphic novels.

Bish Denham said...

I love graphic novels. When I was a kid they were call Classic Illustrated. Those comics introduced me to many of the world's best literature which I later went on to read in their full form when I got older.

LynNerd said...

Sharon - I didn't even know what a graphic novel was until a couple years ago! They're just now becoming quite popular, so no reason to hang yer head in shame!

Lee- That's really neat that Alice in Wonderland had such an impact on your life, too. I've never read the book, but I love the movies and saw plays when I was a kid. (My turn to hang my head in shame!)

Bish - That's so interesting that graphic novels were called Classic Illustrated when you were a kid. I wonder if they had them here in the states because I don't remember ever hearing about them, but I think that's such a wonderful way to introduce kids to the Classics! Thanks for your input.

Hobo Annie said...

Wow. What a great interview! I really enjoyed all the samples that you used to illustrate the piece, Lynn. Tommy - you are like, the supreme being of talent! Like, if there was a Greek god of Graphic Art - that'd be you. I need to take a pill now. :) Super job, Lynn!

Heather Kelly said...

Tommy sounds like an awesome guy!! And a superb artist! Thanks for sharing, Lynn. I can't wait to get a chance to look at some of his work in depth!

nutschell said...

Great post, Lynn! I love how fantastic Tommy's illustrations are! Your blog is just looking better and better every time i see it. Kudos!
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

school_of_tyrannus said...

Tommy has a very cool uni-zebra-horse. I want one.
Great story, I love his work!
-Ellie Ann

LynNerd said...

Annie - Thanks so much! I love the "Greek god of graphic arts!" Haha, that's great!

Heather - Thanks! You'll love Tommy's work. He's so darn humble, too.

Nutschell - It's so good to have you visit again. I value your opinion, so thank you! Yes, you'd love Tommy's work.

Ellie - I can see you riding one of those cool uni-zebra-horses, for sure! I'll ask Tommy where he got it and hook you up! Thanks!

Munir said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by. I do intend to find out about what is going on in Peekskill High.
People who are now in their twentys and thirtys are worried about their babies (sometimes even before they are born). They want to fix things in school so when their kids go to Junior High or High schools they are free of emotional and safety issues. I do too, there fore I want to create an awareness of what can hurt kids and what can nurture them.
You are a kid's book's author. You probably think a lot about kids in general too.
I am not a scientist , just a BA in economics but I am trying to understand human mind. Even at sixty I think I can improve as a parent:)