What's up?

My book, THE BIG SKINNY (Villard/Random House) came out at the tail end of 2008. It's part memoir, but mostly a how-to diet book in four glorious colors, 195 pages of comics. To order a copy (ebook or actual), go here.

My weekly strip appears on Buzzle.com or in The Funny Times, many of them evntually pop up on GoComics.

When ebook versions of comics collections become available in the Kindle store, I'll post a link here.

Where can I get GOODNIGHT, IRENE?

Directly from Last Gasp, Amazon, or you can ask your local bookstore to order it. It's a collection of Irene stories from my Good Girls comics of the 80s and 90s plus 23 pages of new material. Great fun, with an introduction by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO.

 

You wrote a novel?

DC Comics commissioned me to write a Wonder Woman novel, actually a Justice League book featuring the Amazon princess/feminist icon. It's titled, MYTHOS, and it is pure pulp. I had to throw in Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash; but the result is an adventure story that blends humor, horror, pseudo-mythology, and a doomsday device for good measure.

All words, no pictures - except for Alex Ross's excellent cover art. Written for adults, it is not recommended for kids under 16.

Do people make a lot of jokes about your name?

Yes, some people seem to have a hard time with the name Carol.

Where do you get your ideas?

Usually in the shower.

I'm always on the lookout for ideas. I read newspapers and magazines. I listen to gossip and watch people. I use personal problems or events.

I've accepted a few ideas from readers, and have rewarded their efforts with sketches, books, or roughs (depending on how much of the idea makes it into the finished strip).

Will you critique my work?

I'm sorry, but no.

How do you do your white-on-black caption lettering?

I used to do it manually, but I began to feel too much cramping in my hand so I switched to computer font I made in my style.

Before I had the font made, this is how it worked: I would ink in a solid field, lay out my lines with an Ames lettering guide, and pencil in the rough lettering. Then I would mix a solution of white tempera paint and water so that it was thin enough to flow from a ruling pen, but thick enough to be opaque. (A ruling pen is that beak-like instrument that comes in drafting sets.) Mistakes could be easily fixed by rubbing out the offending word or line with an electric eraser, re-inking the space, and going on from there. The plus side to this method is that it saves the time and expense of getting reverse stats made and your original is free of paste-ups. The downside is that if the tempera is not mixed to the right consistency, the lettering will eventually chip off.

The computer lettering isn't without its kinks because I still do a fair amount of kerning to make it look just right. Also, it feels like cheating to have captions printed out on self-adhesive label sheets. But although I've lost a certain spunky look to the lettering, I save a lot of time and I no longer cramp up my hand by working with the ruling pen.

As for the black-on-white lettering, I do that with a dip pen. i can actually do that very clean kind of lettering they do in mainstream comic books, but I prefer a looser look, so I use various dip pen points to get whatever weight i want. Speedball points B-5 or B-5 1/2 are food for bold lettering and borders.

Do you have any collections of your work that I can buy?

Hard copy books: Kitchen Sink Press published three books - Strip Joint, Joy Ride, and Now Endsville - but they are all out of print. I recommend looking in eBay and used books stores for the older books. You might also look into Twisted Sisters Vol. 1 and 2, and GOODNIGHT, IRENE.

Will you draw some pages for my fanzine?

Thanks for asking, but I'm afraid free copies of magazines won't feed the cats.

Do you sell original art?

Yes. I sell illustrations that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, various magazine illustrations and strips, and Story Minute originals and pencil roughs. Here's a link to the online Store. If you're interested in something that isn't listed (e.g. illustrations in the portfolio section) please feel free to send an e-mail.

Will you marry me?

No.

Do you remember me?

If we met in the seventies, probably not.

Are you the same Carol Lay I went to high school with?

Probably not - there seem to be a lot of us. I went to Sunny Hills High in Fullerton, CA.