This week we sit down and talk to the one and only Steven Rosia. If you like comics, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to take a peek at what Steven is up to. After you’re done, be sure to check out his work here.
What was your reason for getting into comics? That is, how did you end up involved in comics?
I didn’t grow up reading comics like many creators. I owned some comics, but they weren’t readily available and weren’t a real focus of my youth. In my teens, I discovered anime, and by extension, manga. It was wonderful and different from any other media I had consumed previously. The stories, the characters, the scenes. There was a life and rhythm in manga especially that immediately sparked my interest and spurred on my already established love of art. By high school, my foray into comics continued as I was introduced to more mature western comics which broadened my horizons to the medium as a whole. Finally, it was my English teacher who solidified it after he scored me top in the class for a short story assignment. The combination of a life of art and a newfound talent for writing sealed my fate. I was to be a comic creator. For better or for worse, I have resigned to this.
Who would you say is your comic book inspiration as a writer?
These days my inspiration varies as I tend to jump from obsession to obsession. I like to think my art shifts as I consume new material and find new influence. Currently, I could point to the likes of Junji Ito as both a writer and artist; similarly, with Carla “Speed” McNeil. If I could be one-tenth of the creator either of those are, I could die happy.
Before comics, what did you do? If you’re still doing it, what are you doing?
Before making a solid go at this thing we call “comics”, I was working on a construction site up in the Northern Alberta oilsands. It was the worst experience of my life and I knew if I didn’t make a change I might very well end up doing something similar for the rest of my life. I absolutely couldn’t live with that and so I dug my heels in and have been trying to make things stick ever since. Today my time is split between the day job at a local construction supplies company, and a night job of slinging ink. Whatever it takes to pay the bills and chase the dream.
What was your first work in comics like?
I would consider my first work in comics to be my first paid submission to a small feminist zine called Lady Quest. It was the third volume, titled Future Bitch, and I submitted a five-page comic about a fem-robot winning supremacy against her male oppressor. Femdom Robot Kingdom earned me five dollars and some odd cents. I have since republished this comic in my five-year comic collection Without a Title with improved lettering and screen tones.
How many years have you been working in comics?
I’ve been working in comics for just over six years now.
Tell me a little bit about your work. Where does it draw inspiration from? Where do you come up with your ideas?
My body of work varies from absurd humor to the macabre. My focus as of late has been to horror. It’s a genre I feel has been greatly neglected and abused. It’s often considered as lowbrow and frankly, I find a good deal of what’s published to be incredibly shallow; all sex and gore without any substance. I can enjoy this material but yearn for so much more. With my own work, I try to tell stories that frighten and perhaps sicken, but make attempts at so much more. I believe in morals, and character, and feelings.
Who have you worked alongside in the industry?
I’ve typically pulled double duties on my comics being both writer and artist and so my collaborations have been few. I’ve been very proud to have had the chance to work with Laura Marie Madden of Qarakorshaq, and Nathan Millar of Where She Walks on comic charity calendar pieces in the last few years. Currently, I’m collaborating with Gaia Cardinali, whose comic Viktoria was just released in Italy, and Ryan Ferrier of D4VE, Curb Stomp, Kennel Block Blues, and many more titles, on a full-length comic that has yet to be released.
Growing up, who is your favorite character or team? Who is it now?
Growing up my heroes were Vash the Stampede of Yasahiro Nightow’s space fantasy western sci-fi epic, Trigun, and the way-past-awesome blue blur himself, Sonic of Sonic the Hedgehog. Today it’s not so much specific characters I follow so much as the stories they’re in. I enjoy Batou of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Calvin of Bill Waterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, and many, many more.
Do you have any advice for a new writer who is just getting into the business?
There is no right way to do it and the only truly wrong way is to not write at all, beware of “pro-tips” and take all advice given with a grain of salt, use what you think applies and discard the rest, never let anyone convince you that there are rules to making comics, and make the comics you want to make. Just write!
Where do you see your work taking you?
Hopefully to dinner one of these days! But in all seriousness, my greatest aspiration is to tell stories and make art until the day I die. Preferably making just enough to support my family and modest lifestyle. Anything more than that would be a pleasant surprise.
What are you up too next?
I’ve got no shortage of projects in the to-do pile. Right now I’m working my way through my first graphic novel, Daughters of Knights, as well as a large collaborative comic that has yet to be released. There will probably be paintings, short stories, and who knows what else in between.
Where do you see the direction of the comic industry heading in 20 years?
I see a revolution underway that is changing the shape and image of comics. In twenty years I believe the comics industry will more closely resemble the book market in the breadth of different books being created and the creators making them. My hope is that opinions are broadened and minds are opened, that comics are more widely accepted as legitimate literature and art, and that the industry will outgrow its toxic fan culture and reader-hostile practices.
How can people get a hold of you?
My portfolio site is at www.withoutatitle.com and you can also find me at @StevenRosia on both Twitter and Instagram and The Art & Comics of Steven Charles Rosia on Facebook.
Where can we buy and/or see your work?
My comics are currently for sale at www.comixcentral.com and at a few local shops in Calgary.
Any last words for the industry?
I’d like the industry to value its creators more and treat all comics equal. I think the face of comics to people who don’t read them is immature, ugly, and wholly uninviting and it doesn’t make what we’re trying to do any easier. I’d love it if every person who made comics reached out to a broader audience with goodwill instead of drawing divides and gatekeeping. Comics are for everyone.
A Little History
Steven Charles Rosia is a sequential comic artist and writer specializing in black and white, horror stories. He currently resides in Okotoks, Alberta with his beautiful wife and a house full of fluffy critters. When not tied to his desk, Steven can be found mashing game controllers or enjoy a good cup of coffee.