Today’s 10 Questions for Comics Creators focuses on a Christian small press writer and artist named Joshua “Satchmo” Hicks. Joshua is co-owner of Palms Productions where he draws and co-writes books including The Uni-ToOns, Force Team Chronicles, Star Child, Aftermath, Coconuts, and It’s Not Only Words.
You can find out more about this Kentucky creator at palms-productions.tripod.com.
Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?
It’s more of a hobby for both of us. When Palms was first started, both of us had full time jobs and the comics were just a side project. My brother Jacob is the idea man and creates the storylines, and I do all the drawing and some writing. Would we like to go further. I am always thinking of ways to expand out from the comics.
Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
I can think of two major influences in my life. First of all, Jesus Christ. Without Christ, I wouldn’t be here today, literally. Nearly 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Dystonia, which has no cure. I sank into serious depression, and attempted suicide. I heard a voice tell me “don’t do it.” There was no one else in the room and no radio. Jesus was the only explanation. Today, I am much better mentally and spiritually. I often try to make my comics have a biblical truth to them. I often say that the slogan of Palms is “Saving the world — one comic book at a time.” This is what I hope will be the overall goal of the company: that at least one person will read the comics and come to Christ.
The second person I think is my biggest influence is my late grandfather, Louis Hicks. The man only had a sixth grade education, but that didn’t slow him down. He was a World War II army veteran, a hard worker, and a strong believer in Christ. He left behind a great example for his family to follow, one that I will never forget.
Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
Most people will probably list greats like Lee and Kirby or McFarlane or Turner as their biggest influence. Believe it or not my big comic influence is Charles Schulz. Leave it to a guy famous for drawing Charlie Brown and Snoopy to have the most impact. Sure, I am amazed by the works of Alan Moore and Greg Land, how realistic they make their characters look, but the simple look and clean message that Shultz gave the world had the biggest impact on my own comics.
Question 4: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I like to read the Japanese manga and watch anime series. I also enjoy the Moon Knight series from Marvel. Sure, I root for the underdogs. Some of my ideas have come through art, history, and even urban legends.
Question 5: Describe your typical work routine.
I work at my own pace. I’ll spend a few days drawing, rest a while, work on brainstorming ideas. I don’t try to get in a big hurry since I self-publish. Once a book is finished, I scan it in, do the computer work, and usually wait to send out three or four books at once to get printed.
Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?
Sorry, nothing too fancy with me. I prefer #2 pencils, erasers, white-out, sharpie markers & printer paper. I only use the computer to put together the books, type out the words, & create the covers.
Question 7: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Seeing the finished product. I can look back at earlier issues, see how I’ve grown and changed, and I enjoy every minute of it. I also enjoy just talking with others about my comics, listening to their comments, and the occasional sale of a book.
Question 8: What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?
The most rewarding project I have been a part of is the local Comic Creator’s Alliance hosted by The Comic Quest, a local comic book shop in neighboring Evansville, Indiana. This group is made up of several area artists and writers who get together, share ideas, and every so often put out a comic book through the store. My work through the group was first shown in Comic Quest Showcase #2. I have six pages and the front cover. The group has been a great support to me.
Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
I usually give them the same advice that my fourth grade teacher gave me. Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough, or that you can’t do something. Only you can decide that for yourself. If you set your heart to it, give it your all. Don’t quit. Go for it!
Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
The most important thing that I have learned in life, and something that I hope to pass on to everyone that reads this, is that life is like a tombstone. There is the name, which might not matter to some people. There is the date of birth and the date of death. The most important thing though is the little dash in between. During that little dash is life. It tells everything about the person; who you’ve made an impact on, what you’ve accomplished, etcetera. It is in that little dash that everything happens, and what you will be remembered for. It is important to make the most of what time we have here on this Earth, so that other generations will learn from our lives and experiences.
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