Ethan Young- illustrator, cartoonist, writer and someone everyone needs to know about! Tails originally launched as a mini-series in 2006 under the name Tails: Life in Progress winning Best Graphic Novel at the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards- later to be revamped into Tails Book 1. Containing 9 chapters with all-new, never before seen pages, Tails Book 1 is a semi-autobiographical story of Ethan living in New York City as a struggling cartoonist dealing with personal strife and rescuing animals all while he slips in and out of his fantasy world! Full of real life situations we can all relate with, this graphic novel is nothing short of adventurous and not to mention amazingly drawn! I did a brief interview with Ethan to get insight on his life and Tails!
AF: Why did you choose to make Tails semi-autobiographical opposed to being strictly fictitious?
EY: Mainly it’s because I’m just naturally drawn to autobiographical (or seemingly autobiographical) comics. Part of me enjoys exposing my inner-demons to the public. It’s also a great way to receive extra positive reinforcement when a reader likes your work.
AF: Is Ethan in the graphic novel just like you or your alter ego?
EY: Cartoon Ethan is 75% me. Obviously, all the fantastic elements with anthropomorphic superheroes is purely fictional, but most of the slice-of-life elements are translated directly from my own life (with a few artistic embellishments here and there).
AF: Is there a specific situation in your life you referenced in Tails that was difficult to share?
EY: Family issues, which I think would be difficult for anyone to share. But in a way, transforming those experiences into comic form act as quasi-therapy.
AF: Aside from Tails- does your other work have as much personal influence?
EY: I’d have to say no. I have lots of fun working on other freelance projects, but ‘Tails’ is definitely the only project that requires my emotional investment.
AF: It’s intriguing your character Ethan is working on a comic in your graphic novel, since it is semi-autobiographical, is Crusader Cat something you originally had intended to do as a separate project? How did you come up with the idea?
EY: Yes and no. Before doing ‘Tails’, I created a comic strip about the resident animals of a fictitious state park. There was a squirrel named ‘Pilgrim’ and a sparrow named ‘Wordsworth’, both named after cats who had passed away at my work place, the Humane Society of NY. The strip never went anywhere, but I eventually decided to recycle the design of Pilgrim into Crusader Cat when I created the comic-within-a-comic. I figured it would make more sense cats are so ubiquitous in ‘Tails’. So yes, I had intended to do a separate comic involving talking animals — but no, it was not Crusader Cat per-se.
AF: On a lighter note- in one scene in your book you and your friend are sitting at a bar- what kind of beer are you drinking? Give me the cheesiest pick-up line Tails-Ethan would have said to the chick that walked in during that scene!
EY: It’s an IPA, which is what I normally drink. Cheezy pick-up lines for Cartoon Ethan? ”My friend here says you should go out with me.”
AF: How many cats have you rescued and is Shugie your favorite? I promise not to tell the others if she is!
EY: Oh, I think I’ve lost count. Probably within 20 to 30 to be realistic. Some I just brought to the shelter and had the adoption director handle, others I would personally find homes for. I’m really picky when it comes to screening potential animal adopters, I want to make sure they’d treat the cat more as a companion as opposed to just a house pet. And yes, Shugie is definitely my favorite, but I do love all my cats. Shugie was very skittish when I first took her in, and she slowly grew to trust me over the course of 6 months. I felt like I really had to EARN her trust. She also doesn’t like many other people besides me and my wife, so that makes us special =)
AF: Can you give us any hints about Tails Book 2??
EY: Only that it’s one half personal confession, one half awesome adventure. Sounds like an odd pairing, but I think that accurately describes the book.
AF: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
EY: Yes, to everyone who is reading this, go to your local retailers and demand they order ‘Tails’ and other books from the Hermes Press catalog. Unless, of course, you just hate good books.
Go meet and greet Ethan Young at the Asbury Park Comic-Con at the Jersey Shore on September 29, 2012 where he will be book signing: http://asburyparkcomicon.com/