Harold Buchholz (left of the stand-up of Jimmy Dash) here at ImaginOn for the "Kids Love Comics Event" that we had back in June!!!!! (Also in the picture to the left of Mr. Buchholz are Rich Faber and John Gallagher)
And now without further commercial interruption, Questions & Answers with Harold Buchholz:
1) What were the first book and/or books you read as a kid that made you think “wow?”
The first book I can remember making a big impact was "Dr. Seuss's ABC". I received that as a Christmas present when I was five years old and I remember taking it with me all over the house. This amazing book was cracking the code of reading for me, showing me how letters and sounds worked together to create words and meaning. Reading was fun, and reading was opening up vast new worlds of understanding for me.
2) What gave you the idea for “Acredale: Kolor Komics Kollection” and such characters as Apathy Kat, Java, Samson, Proofy, Professor Straightlace, Suzie and Pepper?
I was working at a publishing company as a graphic artist. One day I was on the phone talking to a client and absent-mindedly doodling on a piece of scrap paper. A fellow artist, Lee Troxell, came by my cubicle and named the drawing "Apathy Kat." We joked about it and began making up a world that he would live in. I added his nemesis Professor Straightlace and his henchowl Proofy and friends that Apathy Kat might hang out with: Java, Samson, Pepper and Suzie in this small town I called Acredale. I wound up modeling Pepper somewhat on my wife. Other characters aren't based on anybody at all, although I think all characters tend to reflect parts of myself. I shared these ideas with other people and they seemed to enjoy them and that led to the comic book Apathy Kat, which can now be read online at http://www.acredale.com/.
3) Who do you consider some of your biggest influences as a comic/graphic novel creator?
I think my biggest influence is Charles Schulz, who wrote and drew the comic strip Peanuts for almost 50 years. From about the time I was seven years old I used to read the little Fawcett paperback collections of Peanuts, and it had a profound effect on me. In college I bought a copy of The Gospel According to Peanuts and realized that Schulz had even played a part in planting seeds that led to my new faith in God. That's an amazing influence for a man who was drawing four panels of a comic strip each day in his studio.
4) Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?
Reading is an amazing way to understand what other people think and feel, including those who are much different from you. Books are a way for people to boil down years of understanding and experience from which you as a reader can benefit. Reading is a gateway into worlds that otherwise wouldn't be available to you. Libraries are amazing storehouses of free knowledge that are available to anyone who is curious and wants to learn and grow.
5) Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?
Writing and drawing are great ways to explore ideas and share things that are inside of you but are otherwise hard to let others know about. Some people are happy to express themselves in other ways. I was very shy growing up and I found that writing and drawing provided a way to take time to share myself with others in a way that was fun for me and for them. It can take patience to create something that others can enjoy, but for someone like me, writing and drawing is very rewarding.
6) Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?
My favorite cartoon character was Snoopy, who was funny, cute, and very creative. The character I identified with most was Linus, also from the Peanuts comic strip. He was always sensitive but stubborn and was very concerned about being sincere. I don't have a favorite character now, but my favorite current comic strip is Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac. He's very funny.
Racquetball. It's so much fun you don't even realize that you're exercising! And it's inside four walls so you don't have to go chasing the ball after each point like you have to with tennis.
I love hanging out with my wife. She's my best friend. I write comics for fun. I'm currently developing a new comic strip, WildLion, which will be available for free on the internet starting in Mid-October.
9) What is the favorite book you have written and/or drawn?
I'm very happy with the Acredale book (it was originally called Apathy Kat). That book contains the first two chapters of what was originally a four-issue comic book and as I mentioned before it can now be read online for free at http://www.acredale.com/. It has a lot of fun characters in it and it deals with issues of friendship, creativity, and the rewards (and dangers) of opening up your heart to others. I was able to put a lot of things that I cared about into that story.
10) Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?
Pizza. My favorite is pepperoni with alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce. Yum!
Well, I would like to thank Mr. Buchholz (a very cool guy) for talking with us and encourage you, until we get the Graphic Novel in our collection, to go and visit the Acredale Site to read it online at http://www.acredale.com/. Also keep on the look out for his new comic strip, WildLion!!!!!!
Until next time me fine fellows,