Olly MacNamee: Now, for many creators a life of isolation is nothing new, but these are, I think we can all agree, unprecedented times. As such, have you noticed any changes yet to your regular daily routines, for better or for worse?
Jamal Igle: Well, the biggest change has been having both my wife and my daughter home all day, which has been an adjustment. I’d been so used to having a solid 8 hours to myself, with occasional interruptions by my half Lab/Pitbull, Gambino. With them both home, doing their own thing (my wife works for a design firm, daughter doing online schooling), we’ve slowly gotten into a routine.
OM: Like so many others, have you pledged to take up any new hobbies or interests during this downtime? I imagine after one week that resolution—like New Year’s Eve resolutions—may have ebbed for some? So, do you ebb or flow? And that’s not euphemism!
JI: Not really, too be honest. There’s only so many hours in the day, so I don’t really have the time with work to really sit down and do any online courses just yet. What has happened, however, is that I’ve had to take up a new exercise routine since I don’t have access to free weights. I’ve been concentrating on Bodyweight and HIIT, which is something I’ve never done and it’s tougher than I thought.
OM: This could very well go on for a few months, listening to the experts rather than the politicians. We’re all going to soon be clambering the walls, if we’re not distracted. What comic book gems will you have the time to go back, dig out and re-read and suggest to our readers to go order from their local comic book store to help support their business?
JI: I have a few. I may end up re-reading Ex Machina by Brian Vaughn and Tony Harris, I have an Incredible Hulk Omnibus that I haven’t opened yet. There’s also the Starman Omnibus collection on my shelf that’s due for a reexamination.
OM: Any newer titles out there you’ve discovered or been recommended and enjoyed reading?
JI: Punisher: Soviet by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows is really good. The Batman’s Grave by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennet and Legion of Superheroes have been really good as well.
OM: And, what will be playing on your turntable over the coming weeks? What albums could you not live without?
JI: Mostly musical soundtracks, like Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton, The Rocky Horror Show, The Book of Mormon. I don’t really listen to a lot of current music so i find myself diving back into Metallica, Megadeth, Motley Crew, Queen, stuff like that.
OM: Any box sets you’ll be going back to rewatching? Or any new films and TV you may now have the time to invest in?
JI: We watched a few like Bloodshot, which was okay. A lot of animated films we’d missed in the theater like Abominable, Disney flicks like Onward and Frozen 2. I’ve been watching a lot of chinese programs recently like Handsome Siblings and Once Upon a Time on Lianjing Mountain. My wife’s been catching up stuff she’d missed like Lucifer and Agents of SHIELD.
OM: I must admit, getting back to comics, it’s been really pleasing to read, see and hear the comic book communities coming together at a time like this. What have been some of the positive stories coming out of the comic book industry that have caught your eye over the past week or so?
JI: Probably the #Creators4Comics auction that’s going on now to raise money for independent comics shops, some choice pieces there. A lot of the backdoor discussions amongst retailers and creators as to how we can move forward in the era of social distancing has been very heartening as well. People are really trying to come together.
OM: It would have been the start of another busy comic con season on both sides of the pond, but alas no more. Will you miss these chances to socialise and meet up with fellow colleagues and friends?
JI: I will only because I’ve really pulled back my personal appearances the last few years for personal reasons. The few shows I’ve made it to have been fun for me, and hopefully we’ll be able to have conventions of all sizes again.
OM: What hopes do you harbour for the comic book industry once these stormy clouds have passed?
JI: I’m a big believer that the format of what we sell has had to change for a very long time in light of the gains made by graphic novels. So I’m hoping that more mom and pop retailers and the publishers see a value in creating more material for that market as well as increasing the distribution channels available to retailers.
OM: Finally, and to leave a smile on our readers’ faces, have you heard any good/bad jokes recently? I only know dumb jokes so here goes:
JI: Q: Where did The Terminator find the toilet paper?
A: Aisle B, Back.
…I’ll see myself out.
OM: Many thanks, and all the best. A phrase with even more weight to it than usual.
JI: “It’s chaos. Be kind.” – Michelle McNamara