Chuck Kaslow NYCC 2022 interview

I had the chance to interview Brooklyn cartoonist Chuck Kaslow, known for his work Tails from the Barkside and Big Arm NRG Go! I picked his brain on his craftsmanship […]

I had the chance to interview Brooklyn cartoonist Chuck Kaslow, known for his work Tails from the Barkside and Big Arm NRG Go! I picked his brain on his craftsmanship as an illustrator and a cartoonist.

Q1. Your series from the Barkside is an anthology, correct? How did this book come about?

CK: For starters, I love dogs. I worked, I’m great with them. I wish I had one. I used to dog walk and I was like, I love horror, I love walking, I love dogs, and I was like, let me try that. I’ll do a little bit of a creature feature.  I love those old classic paperback horror, so all of them are kind of influenced by some schlocky thing, but never too intensely serious. Dogs can be scary, I get that. I  have to always tell people that they’re not getting hurt, they’re usually like the killers in each one. So I thought that was a little more of a cardinal thing, you never see that done. Creature features aren’t as big anymore, it’s a very 80’s and 90’s type thing. So I try to keep that alive with doing the fear in that. Put the fear back in dogs.

Q2. You also made a comic during the pandemic called Big Arm Nrg Go! How did that come about?

CK: Jealousy! I was jealous of a friend doing a silent comic, like a post-apocalyptic silent comic. I was like, I have time, I’m gonna sit down and do something like that! I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never done fight scenes. I’ve never done anything heavily action-oriented, so this was my chance to do something. I didn’t have a plan I just knew I wanted to do like a Game of Death, moving up the layers of a tower, fighting like the next big bad boss, indie boss, and then it kinda just evolved. I wanted to get as much done so I just kept on doing that. I drew myself into some corners where I was like, how do I kinda get out of this? I had to sit there, drink a little bit to think it over. There’s a whale swallowing scene and I was like, how do I move on from this? So I had to do something like that. So hopefully the next one will be like a tournament arc, but it’ll be a little more planned because this one was not very planned because this one was not very planned. It was kinda just by the seat of my pants, let me just put something out together and see if I can up the ante each time. 

Q3. You’ve made this book in the midst of the pandemic along with Inktober zines as well. You’re working on the current Inktober zine, how has that been so far? 

CK: Not bad! Every Year I’ve told myself, because I’ve been doing this since like 2017, 2018. I only started in 2019 putting it out the book. But I told myself on each prompt, I kinda want to get more in more into doing more comics. So if I could get a comic strip done or a single panel. Sometimes I’ve even gotten a full-page comic done. So it’s been kinda like a way to push myself to be faster a little bit. Because I’m fairly slow, if I could get a comic strip out in a day, it makes me feel a lot more accomplished. It’s a great way to do gallows humor!  It’s Halloween!

Q4.For many aspiring comic artists that are trying to get into the game, from various walks of life, what is something that you suggest that they should practice? 

CK: You’re always going to be learning and practicing. I did it as a child and kinda fell off, and I’ve recovered since. You just gotta keep putting in time. You gotta sit there, you gotta be able to get yourself to your desk.  Even if you gotta drag yourself by your feet, just get to your desk and do your work. Your work will always be improving. Even when you have your own style, you’re still going to be trying to improve. I feel like I haven’t even gotten my own style in place yet. 

Thank you for your time Chuck! 

Anthony Andujar Jr.

About Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.