[Featurama] An Interview With Aaron Baker
Indianapolis isn’t known for a lot of great things. Sure, we have corn and a decent hookah bar or two, but there is nothing here that stands out in the crowd in terms of art, music, or innovation. To put it bluntly, there is nothing here that makes me excited to live in Indiana, that is until recently. Upon visiting my local comic store, I stumbled upon a shelf housing a collection of smaller comics. With sporadic lettering and an even more irregular art style, I felt like it was my responsibility to pick up an issue. The humorously named Bary Gusey is like nothing I’ve read before, and I cannot stress that enough. Largely because there is no one quite like Aaron Baker.
Bary Gusey is the first published series from Aaron Baker and it starts off with quite a bang. A cyborg being is resurrected in the middle of chaos and tries find his way through an alien planet in order to find answers to his past and identity as well as stay alive. Writer and artist Aaron Baker definitely does not pull any punches in terms of writing. Bary is a solemn character who has spouts of vulgarity and crudeness throughout his repertoire of melancholia. Without giving too much away, it is building up towards a fantastic climax and should not be missed. Even if you are a casual comic reader, there is something in here for almost anyone. It’s original, funny, and has its WTF moments peppered throughout each issue.
Bary Gusey ends this year, but that has not slowed Aaron down. The 27-year-old New York native recently dropped a new comic entitled Monsters in Mind was put out and is amazing to say the least. In this one issue series, the story details the life of a man consumed by commercialism and the products they market. Shortly after, the addiction takes a physical form and consumes his life. In contrast to Bary Gusey‘s monochromatic pages, Monsters in Mind favors a more colorful art style.
The one thing I enjoy the most about the work of Aaron Baker is that I have never read anything like this before. I grew up with comics, and I don’t know if I was just in the wrong section all the time, but Aaron’s ideas come across as fresh and completely unique. The art style does a good job of conveying the panels in an almost childlike way. This in contrast with the somewhat dark themes of the comics is something I enjoy immensely.
I recently got the opportunity to ask him some questions via phone, (technology today, am I right?) and find out what it is like to do what he does as a local artist, as well as what drives him, his favorite comics; you know, every beginning comic-loving interviewer’s questions.
Josh Whitehurst: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. If at all possible and if you are willing to talk about it, what do you have planned for the future?
Aaron Baker: No problem. This year after Issue 4 of Bary drops, I have two more to close out the series. Next year, I plan on doing a prequel series called Agents of the End which will take place in the same universe as Bary. I’d also like to expand my new found label with more titles from other artists, but who knows.
JW: Sounds great. Now Bary Gusey is your own idea and one of the things I appreciate most about your work, Monsters in Mind included, is just how original they are. Where did the inspiration and the ideas come from?
AB: Thank you very much. I do draw upon music, movies, and books I like, but my main influence is purely my feelings and thoughts I’ve had over the years. I just try to build stories around them.
JW: Now because they are your own inner thoughts, that obviously contributes a great deal to your comics’ originality, but what do you think makes your work stand out in the crowd of comics today?
AB: Good question. I’m not sure. I think my parents’ generation destroyed comics in the 80′s and 90′s with over-commercialization. In a digital era of reboots and rehashes, I feel smarter kids just want something real and unique. That may be why.
JW: I can understand that. Growing up, the only things I really knew about comics were superhero names. Now since you obviously are interested in comics, what do you read, or what have you enjoyed in the past that has stuck with you?
AB: 80′s Turtles, X-Men, anything Grant Morrison or Richard Corben. I also enjoy rummaging though 25 cent bins for random, weird stuff.
JW: Great stuff. For anyone who is just now hearing about you or who does not live in Indianapolis, how can they get ahold of your comics?
AB: My Facebook page (here!) has all the latest info on where to get physical copies. It also hosts uploads of all issues I have available to read for free.
JW: Wonderful. I am out of questions, but is there anything you would like to add?
AB: Just that I hope my work inspires artists and writers to throw themselves out there. I love doing what I’m doing and hope to do so for many years to come.
For those of you who follow Twinfinite’s comic reviews, I strongly recommend giving Bary Gusey and Monsters in Mind a look. It is definitely worth reading.