Q: Be honest! How familiar were you with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when you first pitched for Unfashioned Creatures?
A: Very! It was required reading for me in both high school and college courses, which was totally fine with me as I really enjoy the novel. As soon as I heard Red Stylo would be publishing this anthology, I broke out an annotated copy from my college years and started feverishly searching for inspiration. Once again, Red Stylo has given me the opportunity to use that English degree I’ll be paying off until the end of time! Huzzah!
Q: What’s your favorite take on the Frankentstein mythos? Least favorite?
A: It has always impressed me that Shelley’s novel has produced such an enduring and varied legacy (though I am disappointed that despite the fact that Frankenstein is such a huge part of our popular culture, so few have read the original source material). My favorite take, though, will always be Mel Brooks’s film Young Frankenstein. It is one of the most hilarious films of all time, even if it is only marginally inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel. If I had to choose a second favorite take on Frankenstein, I’d go with Frankenberry cereal. It is so much better than the other monster cereals. Every year after Halloween, I am heartbroken that I have to wait until the following fall to enjoy it again.
My least favorite would be Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 film. In theory, it should have been an amazing film. Branagh is a brilliant director and actor. Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter are always superb. Francis Ford Coppola produced it and Frank Darabont wrote it. That’s such an all-star creative team, and yet, the movie was a complete train wreck. It is such a huge disappointment. Just thinking about it makes me sad.
Q: Major inspirations for your art/writing? What led you down the comics road to ruin?
A: When I first started reading comics, I was stuck with whatever comics were stocked at the gas stations and grocery stores near my house, which left me with large gaps in my collection. To fill in the space between the issues I could read, I would write and draw my own comics. I never thought at the time that it would be something I would being doing seriously 20 years down the road.
It is hard for me to pinpoint my major inspirations because I’m a HUGE consumer of media. I watch way too much TV, see way too many movies, and read way too many comics and books—I don’t even limit myself to genres, which is probably why I have written so many different types of stories over the last few years. You name it, I’ve written it from westerns to teen romance.
That being said, I’m really drawn to both writers and artists that are character driven and fill their books with big personalities. Writers like Garth Ennis, Gail Simone, Jimmy Palmiotti, Bryan Glass, and Richard Starkings are HUGE influences on me. For artists, I’m drawn to the same thing—folks like Amanda Conner, Humberto Ramos, Ryan Stegman, Jeff Smith, and Skottie Young bring so much life to their work that it’s impossible for me not to be inspired when I see their work.
Oh yes, and Jim Henson. He is my creative idol. He was such a brilliant man with absolutely no boundaries on his creativity. Even though he was most known for his work on children’s programming, his total body of work was much more varied than people realize.
Q: What else are you working on now? Any long-term projects?
I just launched the fourth volume of my absurd webcomic Dear Dinosaur, which I write and draw for www.twoforonecomics.com. It’s an advice column written by a dinosaur that hates humans. I launched it in early 2012 and I’ve been blown away by the response. People really seem to dig it and I have plans to keep that going for at least another few years.
I will also have short comics appearing in number of different publications, including Des Taylor’s The Adventures of Scarlett Couture launching later this year, a few stories in various Grayhaven Comics anthologies, and a Supreme back-up story drawn by Rob Liefeld that will appear in one of his Extreme Studios titles this summer.
I’m in final negotiations with a publisher for my graphic novella How the Krampus Saved Christmas with artists Dominic Black and John Ksawery (with letters by Adam Wollet) that should be out this December. I also have a one-shot that will be released later this called The King of Cool, which is an homage to Ed Wood-style monster movies. That will be published by Comic Aid Press, which is an amazing group in England that donates their profits to the ongoing disaster relief in Japan after the devastating earthquake there a few years ago.
I also have a ton of projects that are currently in various stages in development. I always have at least 4 or 5 projects going at any given time. If you follow me on Twitter or check out my website, I’m constantly posting about them and *hopefully* I’ll land some of these projects with publishers later this year.
Q: If you could be any monster, who/what would you be?
A: Have you ever had anyone ask you what you would do if you had super powers? Well, whenever I’m asked that question, I always think of ways that I’d use powers for personal gain. Given the opportunity, I would be a complete super villain. That mentality carries over to what I’d be want to be if I were a monster. I’d like to be something huge and destructive. Like Godzilla or Mothra or some other massive kaiju monster. I’m only 5’4” and I’m a pretty laid back guy, so if I got to be a monster, I would want to be as gigantic and powerful as possible.
Thanks, Ryan! You rock!
Ryan L. Schrodt made his professional writing debut in Mark Millar’s CLiNT Magazine in 2011 and has not stopped making comics since. Also, RSM editor, Enrica Jang, dearly loves Ryan’s DEAR DINOSAUR webcomic and keeps whining about how long she’s been waiting for her t-shirt. (Editor’s note: So bro, maybe get on that soon, huh? Ladies medium.)
UNFASHIONED CREATURES is a collection of over twenty monstrous, moving and mirthful tributes to Mary Shelley and her legendary tale, Frankenstein. This body of comic shorts, short-series and original art, is sure to inspire equal parts terror and lols.