Graphic Novel Reporter Interviews Jess Smart Smiley
“Congratulations on your first graphic novel! What’s the story behind it?
Thank you! Upside Down has been a lot of fun to make, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s being published by one of my favorite comics publishers, Top Shelf Productions. The entire book started with a little scribbly doodle in my sketchbook, of a boy vampire going trick-or-treating. I couldn’t help but draw some bats to go with the vampire, and then a witch, and a scientist…pretty soon I had an entire story and I decided to tell it as an all-ages graphic novel. The book took several months to write, rough, draw, and color.
How did you get into comics in the first place?
My dad has an extensive comics collection that he introduced me to when I was really young. I loved the hulking superheroes and bizarre mutants. I liked the mystery and battles of differing powers and abilities. The artwork and stories were fascinating, too, and I remember staying up late at night, attempting to re-create my favorite drawings of Wolverine and Leonardo. It didn’t take me long to start making my own comics—especially after reading Maus and Bone for the first time.”Read the full interview here.