Exclusive: Bald Jokes, Moustaches, AND Unreadable Emo Drivel -- A Piercing Portrait of Nate Beaty

October 22, 2008

A while back I was asked to do an interview by Susie Cagle of Anthem magazine, but once I submitted my answers, it turned into a possible web-only feature, then just kind of .. fizzled. It’s quite possible my stunning cadence of alternating boredom and vitriolic hisses — perhaps bottled steam leaking from my previously occupied hair follicles — caused it to be shelved. Who knows. Anyway, I would like to exercise my god-like errant editorial skills (see any Palin speech for reference) on my own website, and copy/paste it from gmail.

But first! An ancient relic of me trying to grow a moustache:


What got you started in comics? Early influences (not necessarily just in comics, but in art and storytelling in general)? Any exceptional anecdotes from these early years?

My uncle drew some really badass Bob Seger pencil portraits as well as futuristic snowmobiles, Delorians and aquatic superheroes. As a 9-yr-old these drawings were like crack cocaine — well, everything but the Bob Seger.

I have always doodled on whatever surface nearby, and first painted in 32 dazzling colors on my Commodore 64. I laid out colorblind sunsets and futuristic moonbots pixel-by-pixel with my clunky red joystick.

In my short 6-month college stint, I smeared oil paints on cheap board canvases until my brain rotted with the linseed fumes. The discovery of hallucinogens didn’t help much either. To this day I’ve never taken an art class, which just means I spent 10 extra years excreting thousands of shitty drawings before I could render boobs and robots to my satisfaction.

The venerable Keith Rosson got me into self-publishing with Avow. As far as comics, I avidly read my brother’s late ’70s, early ’80s Spider-Man comics, and much later found Crumb, Clowes, and Brunetti. It wasn’t a terribly romantic courting. Years later I lived with Aaron Renier in Portland and was introduced a more eclectic palette of comic nerddom.

Why self-publishing? Any thoughts on its future in our digital age?

You can do whatever you want, for better or worse, and answer to nobody but yourself. This can work well for those with strong initiative and a scathing self-critique. Unfortunately, it also lends itself to unreadable emo drivel. Thank god for blogs and myspace: now we can move this human ephemera to a more appropriate (and even easier) medium.

What’s the appeal of autobio stories for you, and do you see yourself straying from those in the future?

I have to admit I really enjoy reading autobio, but I can’t imagine enjoying a novel or movie with the same content. Somehow it just works well as comics. That said, I also have overwhelming guilt in taking the easy route and masturbating on paper for so many years.

So, yes, I definitely want to move onto something more challenging. The problem is I can’t write dialog to save my life, and my dreams have been very quiet full of office work.

Tell me about your Korea book, and any other current projects.

In 2006 I visited Korea with my girlfriend and stayed with her family for 3 weeks. As I’ve done since I could hold a pencil, I doodled. We plan on visiting again soon, and I hope to tie both trips together to make a readable account. I really enjoyed Korea and the culture, and want to share. Ed: Abort plan! Look forward to many futuristic, mind-bending superhero comics in the near future. Like Fringe, but funny and pornographic.

Basic biographical info — how old are you, where do you live, etc.?

33, balding, braving Los Angeles. I am one of the many artists from my generation serving the corporate takeover of our cultural consciousness. GE/NBC paid for my iPhone!

Bwaha! Pure genius. Off to the sauna GE paid for in my bedroom. Thank you!! (Exit Nate, drunkenly tripping over moldy art supplies scattered throughout the house.)