Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A chat with Art Hondros

by Matt Dembicki

Local comic artist Art Hondros, whose work occasionally graces the pages of the Washington Post Magazine and other local publications such as Magic Bullet, recently won a grant from the Montgomery County Arts Council to work on a graphic novel. Art agreed to a brief Q&A about the project and the process in competing for the grant. (He also drew exclusively for ComicsDC a nifty illustration related to the upcoming project.)

What can you tell us about the project you pitched?

I'll be doing an adaptation in graphic novel form, of a lost silent feature film from the 1920s about a pilot squadron in WWI.

What was the inspiration for it?

Like most ideas, it seemingly came out of nowhere. I was watching the Turner Classic Movies channel one night, and the late host, Robert Osborne, mentioned the film as it was tangentially related to another movie they were about to show. Archivists estimate that about 75% of all films made before 1930 are lost forever, with no known surviving copies in existence. This particular movie had two leads who went on to become pretty major stars in the subsequent decades, so I thought that was pretty intriguing too.

Is this the first time you applied for a grant? What made you think the project could be eligible? What do you think was key to winning it?
By Art Hondros, for ComicsDC

Yep, first time, and I feel pretty lucky. The aspect of reviving a lost sort of cultural humanity artifact in a different visual medium must have appealed to the Montgomery County Arts Council, I suppose. I have good source material to work from, including a novelization from the screenplay, and a cutting continuity, which is a sort of script, from a museum in L.A. I'd like to think the idea is somewhat original, or at least a different spin on how Hollywood tends to dredge up every cultural thing from the boomer and X'er years and rehash them as feature films nowadays. Plus, World War nostalgia seems big these days. The grant application is pretty involved, with lots of summarized answers and explanations, a timeline, and so forth. But if you give yourself lots of time before the deadline, it's a fair game.

How do your plan to distribute the book?

The grant will cover self-published printing costs. Small Press Expo in Bethesda and whichever other comic cons I can make it to will be good venues, as well as independent book and comics shops. Probably an online order option as well, but that part is a year away (per the grant agreement, I have until June 30, 2018 to complete the project).

Can you talk briefly about your creative process for this project, such as research, writing, drawing, etc.?

My plan is to read the material and thumbnail sketch in a small sketch book by chapters, then go to the inking.

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