Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Interview With Ben Costa

I just interviewed my friend Ben Costa for the Longbox Project about his life and work in comics. I'm really proud of it! You should go read it.

One of the first things I did when I moved to San Francisco in 2006 was I went to my grad school's meet n' greet. It was pretty scary. I was 27, I'd just moved across the country to attend an MFA writing program in San Francisco, a place I had barely ever visited before. There were writerly introverts, writerly extroverts, intimidating new instructors, and a whole new social world to decipher.

And there, where the sea of humanity parted.

A gangly tall dude with scruffy hair and a Usagi Yojimbo t-shirt.

I had found one of my people.

Ben Costa, Amy Martin, and me, with our comics at APE in 2007. Two of these people went on to be successful comic creators!

When the rest of the CCA gang were going out drinking or carousing or troublemaking over those two years in our MFA program, Ben would hang out for a round (sometimes) or a joke or two after class (usually) and then excuse himself to go home and draw pages from his comic, which then only existed on the web. It was (and still is) called Shi Long Pang, the Wandering Shaolin Monk. Ben was award one of the last Xeric grants to publish the first volume of Pang in hardcover, and earlier this year he successfully Kickstartered volume 2. Ben debuted the new volume at Comic Con 2013, and he's sending out copies to his Kickstarter funders any day now.

Ben's a damn good friend and a weird dude and I like him a lot. I'm hella proud of the work he's done and the manner in which he does it: how he wants, and to exceedingly high standards of quality. Read the interview, read his book, and check out the beard that won him the CCA 2008 beard-growing contest:

Me;  Ben; Ben's Beard; 2008.

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