Hello Racket readers! We’ve got a special interview for you! I was able to sit down with Steven Struble, the creator and writer of Li’l Depressed Boy. Li’l Depressed Boy is a comic put out by Image Comics that details the misadventures of the Li’l Depressed Boy and his love of music. Issue 7 is now out in stores this week and features the one and only Andrew Jackson Jihad!
How long have you been writing Li’l Depressed Boy
I did the first Li’l Depressed Boy webcomic in May of 1998. So, getting close to fifteen years now. Before that, LDB existed in sketchbooks and the margins of math homework since I was in Junior High.
How did LDB make the transition from the web to print form?
I always had the intention of going to print. The original webcomic was told in an anthology style, with rotating a rotating cast of artists. In 1999, I decided I wanted to experiment with a more traditional narrative and asked Sina Grace to draw the strip full time — this experiment turned into issue #1 of the series. The next year, we self-printed a short-run of issue one and called it our “demo tape.” We showed it around, and Eric Stephenson decided to take a chance on us which worked out nicely for us, because Image was always our first choice.
When writing LDB how often do you make reference to events that have happened in your own life?
I’d say about 90% of it is true. I play with sequencing and some characters end up being composites of multiple people in my life — the names are changed, except for the bands Drew Blood. That guy is too cool to replace with a fake person.
There are many music references in your comic, is that something you usually plan out when writing LDB?
Yeah. Music is an important part of my world. I tend to live my life in my headphones. There is song that I turn to for every moment. This translates into the comic with LDB providing a soundtrack to his own life. Every issue of the book — except one, which is named after a poem — is named after a song that I really love. It’s often the title that comes first, so the song often dictates how the story is told.
So far we’ve seen Kepi Ghoulie & the Like appear in your comic and Andrew Jackson Jihad making a debut in issue 7, is there any other artists you would like to feature in future issues of LDB?
I have a piece of paper taped to my desk that has a whole list of the bands I would love to have show up in the book. I haven’t approached any of them, just yet, so I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t want to jinx it, or worse feel like I’m trying to guilt a band into appearing because I keep mentioning them in interviews. I do, however, encourage people to play Detective and pay attention to issue titles, LDB’s t-shirts and soundtrack cues. There’s a lot of crossover with those and the top-secret list.
Why do you draw LDB the way you do?
He was born that way.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect to see in some upcoming issues of LDB?
In the current storyline, LDB and his pal Drew go on a disastrous road-trip to see an Andrew Jackson Jihad. When he gets home, he has to confront the elephant in the room — the girl who just broke his heart. All this and pancakes.
What are some of your favorite records to come out this year?
That’s a tough one. There’s been a lot of great albums out this year. I know it’s cheesy to say my own — but the EP Kepi Ghoulie recorded based on my comic (Songs for Jazz: The Li’l Depressed Boy EP) made my life. In less self-serving answers: Lemuria’s Pebble, Mike Park’s Smile, Into It. Over It.’s Twelve Towns, Robert Sarazin Blake’s A Long Series of Memorable Nights Forgotten, really enjoyed the last couple of 7-inches from the Art of the Underground Single Series, and The Jolly Boys’ Great Expectation is amazing for the opening Iggy Pop cover alone.
Comics you recommend to the readers?
I’m really enjoying the re-launched Animal Man series that DC is putting out. It’s an interesting take on a punk rock superhero, that doesn’t make me feel like they’re ignoring all the stories I read starring him when I was a kid. The Walking Dead. Reed Gunther. I wouldn’t be writing comics without Adrian Tomine, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes and the Hernandez Brothers. Everything those guys do is amazing.
Any final statements?
Thank you so much!
Interview by Armando Olivas