BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
It's not easy trying to break into comics. It's even harder when your older brother already is an established comics creator, but Noah Van Sciver said there wasn't a lot of sibling rivalry between he and Ethan. Van Sciver jumped into the comics water with both eyes open and took the advice his brother offered to heart. He's published four issues of his "true stories disguised as fiction" series, Blammo and the fifth issue is due in stores soon. He told us what it was like growing up with comics in and around his life and what makes Blammo different from what one might expect.

THE PULSE: For our readers meeting you for the first time in this interview, tell them a little about how you went from comic book reader to publishing your autobiographical comic, Blammo!

NOAH VAN SCIVER:
Well, when I was younger, my dad and all my older brothers read comics. My Dad and my brothers Josiah and Ethan read Power Pak, Spider-Man and other superhero comics and my brother Micah read Ralph Snart comics that he would leave lying around. Iíd pick up those comics and read them because they were really cartoony and that stuff really hit me pretty hard for some reason. More than DC or Marvel. So, when I got older and was told I must become a comic artist by Ethan (DC Green Lantern Rebirth artist) I naturally went with what had imprinted my brain as a child. All that weird cartoon stuff was comforting to me.

THE PULSE: A lot of people would like to take the plunge and make comics, what gave you the push you needed to stop reading and do something about your desire to be a comics creator?

VAN SCIVER:
I was drawing these weird comics in notebooks for fun. I painted portraits for money. I started talking about putting together a comic book of my own. My own voice, my own stories. At least as a way of recording my thoughts and experiences. I hadnít seen things like it before until I got this American Splendor book and that pushed me hard!


I talked with my brother Ethan about it and he really taught me a lot and convinced me that I should do it. He encouraged me and pretty much convinced me that I needed to. I started publishing mini comics and leaving them around my city for people. And that was good training on how to put together a full comic. That stuff is really embarrassing to me now. I often wonder who has them. I saw one in a gutter one time.

THE PULSE: Do you have any kind of formal art training or anything?

VAN SCIVER:
Not really. I took three painting classes at a community college.

I felt so dumb paying them for that. I donít know what I got out of that besides maybe some art supplies that I stole a few times.

THE PULSE: So just what is Blammo?

VAN SCIVER:
Blammo is an autobiographical comic book. I sometimes use myself as a character, but lately Iíve been telling true stories disguised as fiction. I started to feel like there were too many autobiographical comics in existence and I wanted to hide the fact that mine was another one. I tell stories about Denverís history, girlfriends, bad dreams, insecurity, poverty, music and what itís like to know that you are headed nowhere. Also, even though every reviewer hates it, I draw a short story starring two chickens. I have to because Iíve been drawing these chickens since I was a little kid.

THE PULSE: Why are you obsessed with chickens? Is it a secret desire to be like Gonzo the Great? Or a Colonel Sanders fetish?

VAN SCIVER:
Iím not sure where it comes from. I just always thought chickens were really funny.

I canít imagine how they could ever survive on their own!

THE PULSE: I could say that about a few comic types as well! [grins] So, you mentioned brother Ethan. If he weren't working in comics, do you think you would have tried to create your own?

VAN SCIVER:
Thatís a good question . Maybe Iíd be working for Disney or something .Ö
Iíd like to think I wouldíve found another way to get into it. I need Blammo to make me feel like I have a reason for living. But, perhaps I wouldíve found something else to make me feel the way my comic does. Everybody needs something like that. In some form or another.


THE PULSE: Is there a lot of sibling rivalry between yourself and Ethan?

VAN SCIVER:
Well, Heís ten years older than me and could destroy me if he wished. I could never compete with him artistically either. Ethan is the Leonardo Da Vinci of comics and Iím Basquiat. Heís just the best. But, he likes Blammo and reads every issue that comes out, and I seek out his work as well.


THE PULSE: That's cool. So it wasn't a case of constantly being in each other's shadows or anything. What kind of advice has he given you about self publishing? I know he had a lot of experience with Cyber Frog.

VAN SCIVER:
I guess just not to self-publish too long. To find a small publisher to help you out. In his case it was Hall of Heroes and Harris comics. Iím looking around.

THE PULSE: The times are tough for a small press publisher right now. How did the recent change at Diamond affect you?

VAN SCIVER:
Itís just dumb. Things are getting wacky. Little guys want to make comics too and have them be read. The day will come when you will find independent comics in grocery stores next to the Wolverine magazine. Iíll sell my comics in the street if I have to.

THE PULSE: A lot of small pressers began publishing their comics online, have you ever considered going that route for Blammo?

VAN SCIVER:
Not yet. Iíd only consider it if I had to. I love print too much

THE PULSE: What's the best feedback you've received about Blammo so far?


VAN SCIVER:
That itís ďBrilliantĒ and ďprobably is a future cult favoriteĒ. From a few different comic sites. Also, John Porcellino named me as promising new talent in The Comics Journal. That was good.

THE PULSE: How can PULSE readers get a copy of your comics?

VAN SCIVER:
You can get a copy by going directly to my website at http://noahvansciver.com

THE PULSE: What's coming up in issue 5?

VAN SCIVER:
In issue 5 I will tell the true story of the Abe Lincoln saber duel also a ghost story and a tale of a boy who can shoot lasers out of his eyes. How will this affect his life? I donít know!


THE PULSE: Are you working on anything else?

VAN SCIVER:
I draw comic strip interviews with comic artists for the Comics Journal as well as contribute short stories to MOME and Mineshaft. Every week my comic strip 4 Questions appears in Denverís Village voice paper called Westword. You can see those comics on Westword.com