Hey CHU, DrunkWooky here!
First off, I wanted to talk about a book that is slowly heating up from up North: The Pitiful Human-Lizard. Second, stay tuned at the end for an exclusive CHU interview with Pitiful Human-Lizard, writer, artist, creator, and all around great Canadian, Jason Loo!
As you may be lucky enough to already know, we have been running a Pitiful Human-Lizard giveaway this week! The Free Comic Wednesday giveaway is for a copy of Loo’s self-published print of The Pitiful Human-Lizard! Loo debuted his awesome idea for a pitiful superhuman through Kickstarter and these self-published prints are extremely limited! The self-published first print variant features a $10 price tag and the “Loo Harvest Group” label. If you haven’t already, head to the CHU archives and enter your name for the drawing!
The “Loo Harvest Group” first printings of #1 have been selling on Ebay for as high as a whopping $39.99!
While the Chapter House reprints have been selling in the $10.00 to $20.00 range. Rightfully so, as well considering a lot of American comic shops aren’t stocking them and shipping from Canada ain’t cheap.
For now, Loo Harvest Group Prints can be snapped up from The Pitiful Human-Lizard Facebook. If Human-Lizard keeps its momentum, and if Chapter House begins integrating the character into their universe (see below), these prints could become highly coveted. You’ve been warned.
Chapter House prints, including Cover B, and the sought-after Cover C can be purchased over at their website as well.
First off, Jason, thanks for doing an interview for us!
DrunkWooky: Can you tell us a little bit about your comic-creating background? What were your main projects before Pitiful Human-Lizard?
Jason Loo: I did a lot of small press comic projects that I self-published and made only a run of 100 for each title. Nothing big. I also co-wrote and drew the exclusive comics for the GIJoe Canadian Convention, which was kind of neat to create a new cast of Canadian Joes to the team.
DW: Do you feel like the self-publication market is rather accepting to new-comers? It appears that the comic book publishing industry has been dominated by giant publications for a long time and we are only recently experiencing a massive boom in self-published works. Do you still reserve any early fan-boy dreams of becoming a Marvel writer or penciler or has the self-publication market treated you well enough to stay with independent publishers like Chapter House and retain more creative control?
Loo: I think it’s the only accessible market a new comic creator would have. It’s the only outlet where a creator can express the story they want to tell without making a lot of, or any, compromises with editorial. Pitiful Human-Lizard can also work as my calling card to the big companies as it shows them I can write, draw, colour (DW: as a British ex-patriate, I’ll let that “u” slide), and letter my own comic. Hopefully one day, I can work on separate projects for both cases at the same time.
DW: What is the main theme behind the Pitiful Human-Lizard? Is it a Scott Lang, Ant-Man, superhero who can’t live up to superhero expectations story or is there another layer going on here?
Loo: I wanted to tell a slice of life comic that had a superhero element to it. I love the vintage 70-80s Marvel comics, as well as stuff by Adrian Tomine and Daniel Clowes. I knew I couldn’t write an incredible or amazing superhero but I was confident I could create a character who is more pathetic than Peter Parker. The series came out in spring of 2014 thanks to Kickstarter and when the Ant-Man trailer came out, I was prepared that people were going to make that comparison. For the record, Ant-Man as a character is still miles ahead [more] amazing than the Human-Lizard, who I headlined as “pitiful”.
DW: Haha, how cliche am I, making the predictable comparison? The difference I noted in issue #1 was that Lucas’ powers basically just prevent him from being brutally murdered instead of actually saving the day in any real sense. Can we look forward to exploring that same concept in more depth or is he going to become the hero he always wanted to be?
Loo: He will remain pitiful throughout the ongoing series. I think that’s the charm of it compared to other superhero titles. Readers will see and relate to a lot of uncomfortable, awkward moments in the future issues, kind of like if there was a superhero element in the show Louie.
DW: I could summarize the creative origins of Pitiful Human-Lizard based on what is already out there, but I’d prefer to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. So, how did the idea for Pitiful Human-Lizard come about and why did you choose Kickstarter as your production catalyst?
Loo: Pitiful Human-Lizard is about Lucas Barrett, a 9-5 office clerk who finds excitement [and escape] from his mundane life as an aspiring superhero. I wanted to create a uniquely Canadian superhero who didn’t base their costume on a national animal like the beaver or the moose and didn’t wear the colours (DW: ok, calm down with the “u”s) of our flag since that’s already been done countless times. Having a superhero dressed as a lizard in Canada makes him feel awkward and out of place, which just adds to the humour (DW: in this word, too!?) in the book.
He may be a pathetic superhero, but it makes him a very grounded, underdog superhero that anyone can relate to.
DW: Again, Kickstarter seems to be where a lot of these less mainstream self-published creative ideas get their backing. Some of the more successfully Kickstarted ideas get picked up by indie publishers. The one that comes to mind off the top of my head is Headlopper, which recently began its syndication under Image. It seems indie publishers are snatching up creative properties they otherwise may have overlooked without the immediate market/fan feedback of Kickstarter. Do you think this has become the new norm? The alternative to the old-school pitch system?
Loo: It’s one of the ways to break into the industry for sure. As I mentioned before, independent comic projects can work as a business card. It shows the industry if you are competent enough to tell a story, and they can also look at your fan following to see if what you might offer can be marketable to them.
DW: Was reprinting through Chapter House, as a Canadian publisher, a no-brainer? What has been your experience with Chapter House so far?
Loo: Chapterhouse would give the series a much wider distribution, we had to reintroduce the series to a new audience that may have never heard of it before. So yeah, reprinting issues 1–5 was a no brainer. So far, it’s been good. Issue 2 comes out later this month.
DW: Well, you’re right about that! I heard about Pitiful Human-Lizard first through Chapter House’s solicitations. Looking forward to more embarrassing moments for Lucas!
Loo: I’ll deliver a lot more of them!
DW. I noticed that the Human-Lizard was involved in “Not a Team-Up” with Captain Canuck! With Valiant’s vivid shared universe and Black Mask studios recently announcing that their books take place in a shared universe, are there plans to expand the Chapter House universe? Will we be seeing a “Yes, a Team-Up!” with Captain Canuck and Pitiful Human-Lizard?
Loo: Eventually. And possibly as soon as in the new year.
DW: I can only imagine what emasculating behavior Captain Canuck can exact on poor Lucas in a team-up! I’ll be there for all the comedy and action!
DW: Thanks for taking the time to chat with CHU for a minute or two. We’re looking forward to giving away a copy of your self-published printing of issue #1! Any closing remarks for our readers?
Loo: You can follow updates on the series at https://www.facebook.com/PitifulHumanLizard and @Rebel_Loo over at Instagram.
DW: Cheers back!
Good luck, Free Comic Wednesday Contestants!”