Tales of Melancholy & Buff Sharks - Matt Jacobus/Bummer Corp (The Alley)
written by Justin Prince (prince_justin)
We go to a lot of cons, one of the main constants at any comic/fan/anime/whatever convention is the Artist’s Alley. A collective of professional and up-and-coming artists selling everything from prints to pins, comics and posters. This new segment is meant to focus on the people and the sights of that scene. For our inaugural post in this new column, I would love for you to meet Matt Jacobus. Matt recently launched (and got fully funded) a Kickstarter to produce a book collecting his Bummer Corp comic in one collection. Featuring stories that are a combination of author-inserting while being instantly relatable to others who struggle with anxiety.
I first met Matt through my girlfriend, but I became his fan before that when she brought home some of his Bummer Corp zines. It was hands down a bromantic moment when I read his stuff, relating to it on a cellular while realizing that I must be friends with this dude and provide him with copious high-fives… at times with interlocking fingers. If I had to pinpoint it to a single comic, it was the “I’m not happy yet” one with the burger… before I get off track, let’s get into this!
Justin Prince: So Matt! Your campaign just completed and was successfully funded! How did it feel to have your hard work validated in such an amazing way?
Matt Jacobus: Oh my gosh I was blown away. I had no idea people were willing to pay real life money for my comics honestly. Like I'd sold some before, but this was way more support than I ever could have expected. It felt pretty dang good to see my comics reach people enough for them to wanna help me make a book out of them.
JP: Did you ever have worries during this Kickstarter? What were some of the things that kept you up at night?
MJ: I worried literally every second of every day. Like up until the very last minute I was afraid people would back out. But I worry about everything, this Kickstarter has been an exercise in learning to trust myself and ignore that voice in my head that tells me everything is gonna go wrong.
JP: I know when I first came across your stuff I was drawn to it instantly! I may be an introvert but I play an extrovert on TV. How much of your own personal life did you reflect on your comics?
MJ: It's uncomfortably real. Like the situations are usually exaggerated, but the anxious feelings might even be toned down for the comic if I'm being honest.
JP: I mentioned the strip that got me was the “I'm not happy yet” one with the eating… that was so me I couldn't help myself, as well as the Street Shark one. Among all your contemporaries, who would you say inspire you to do what you do?
MJ: There's so many artists that inspire me it's impossible to list them all, but some comic artists I love are Lauren over at Bastard Comics, Joie Foster who does Heavenly Kibble Guardian Corgi, and Brian Russell at Underfold Comics. Oh and definitely Michelle Stanford, she makes Centralia 2150 and it's a beautiful comic. They're all big inspos. Although I always point to Meredith Gran as my biggest inspiration, I want to make something as ambitious as Octopus Pie someday.
JP: Back to the Street Sharks thing… which one was your favorite ultra buff Sharkman? Also, of the Street Sharks, Battletoads, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all fought to the death… who do you think would be the last team standing?
MJ: Probably Slammu? He was the best named, at least. And definitely the Turtles, I feel like they have the most varied combat and experience, especially in taking down bigger, stronger mutants. The Battletoads wouldn't even show up, they'd crash their bikes on the way over.
JP: Heck yeah bro! Slammu had the perfect name eh? Outside of drawing, what else do you enjoy doing in your down time?
MJ: Most of my free time is spent playing video games or collecting action figures. I have an unhealthy amount to say about action figure production and articulation layouts.
JP: Speaking video games, what are you playing right now?
MJ: I’m literally playing Breath of the Wild right now, but I did just finished Spider-Man.
JP: I still haven’t beat Breath of the Wild, I play it like Skyrim and when the game tells me to go right… I go left. Speaking of action figures, do you think for a future project you’d ever try your hand at something like Hannako’s “Pin Hell” but with action figures?
MJ: I'd never considered that, but I could probably do something like that! I'd love to talk about action figures for a whole book, I have a lot to say about not only the production of toys but also the themes.
JP: Let's get back to the Kickstarter, what pushed you to start this campaign?
MJ: I'd really enjoyed printing my comics as zines and I think making a book was just the next logical step. I put it off forever, but eventually I figured I just had to go for it, most of the things I get done in life I do by covering my eyes and hoping for the best.
JP: What were some memorable moments during this campaign that stick out to you?
MJ: Honestly the first day was such a rush. So many pledges came in, and big ones. I really thought I was going to limp along and just barely make my goal, but we passed it so quickly I had to completely change the way I looked at the whole campaign.
JP: Conversely, did you have any major or minor troubles during the campaign?
MJ: The hardest part was advertising it! Marketing is so difficult for me so forcing myself to repost ads and work on posting things at appropriate times (i.e. not posting comics at 2 am.)
JP: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
MJ: Uh, plan my stretch goals like, ahead of time. And put some distance between them. Every time I posted one it was hit within a couple hours. I definitely could have planned that better.
JP: Let's get back to looking ahead, what's next for Matt? After you finish this project, do you have anything else planned down the pipeline?
MJ: Definitely more Bummer Corp. I'd love to do more long form story focused content, so hopefully some more comics like that in addition. Maybe a Patreon? But more comics for sure, in one way or another.
JP: What about conventions, where so you plan to go next?
MJ: I'll be at L.A. Comic Con October 26th to 28h! After that who knows, that's the last con I have planned for the year. But I'd love to do Rose City or ECCC next year.
JP: Finally… now this is important… one may say the most important questions. When it comes to food, is there any food that makes you happy?
MJ: Honestly hamburgers. The only reason I don't eat them every day is because I'm afraid the nutrition police will hunt me down in my home.
JP: And that’s a wrap for today! Thank you Matt for taking the time out to chat with our readers, if you could say anything else to our fans, here's your chance!
MJ: Thanks for having me! If you wanna follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Bummer Corp is on the official website and Tapas, and if you follow me you can get updates on when you can buy the printed edition. If you're in LA on the weekend of October 26th come by my table and talk about hamburgers with me!
Thank you for reading our first post in “The Alley” and I hope you all go to check out Matt and follow his work. He’s a great dude and very genuine! Maybe you too give him a high-five at a con… if you’re lucky you may get interlocked fingers.