Out writer, artist, graphic novelist, and former editor of the Walking Dead comic book series, Sina Grace is a man who can do it all. He's a talented creator who's able to move from superhero stories to memoir comics with ease, and that ability has made him one of the industry's hottest rising stars.
The Advocate sat down for a chat with Grace to learn more about his multitude of creative powers, his love of Peter Parker, and his new graphic novel Self-Obsessed!
The Advocate: What inspires you to create?
Sina Grace: Revenge! Well, actually, proving myself to others is a force that drives me. Chasing the idea dragon down the rabbit hole is my inspiration -- taking a kernel of an idea that pops in my head and working it until it's an actual, tangible concept with flesh -- that's my sweet spot. That kernel usually presents itself when I'm on long drives up the coast from Southern California to the Bay Area, and beyond.
Does being queer influence your artwork?
Being in touch with my identity -- and its queerest aspects -- has become a major influence in what I do, for sure. As I've gotten more comfortable in my own skin, the characters have become less rigid and all speak with a certain candor that I feel comes from the sassy/wise gay man we all have in our heads. I keep an eye on how characters are dressed, and always try to inject at least one positive gay representative in my comics. Being true to myself influences my work, and that includes a sense of queerness I used to hide.
What was your gateway drug into the world of geek culture?
I think the most specific answer I can recall is buying the first line of Gorillaz vinyl statues from Kid Robot. It was over a decade ago, and I remember walking into the shop thinking, "Huh, people really love high-end geek collectibles." I had worked at a comic store and have been going to comic conventions since high school, but it was then that I saw geek culture as a scene that married art, nostalgia, technology, and all-around eccentricity.
What geeky things are you currently obsessed with?
My SELF! JK JK JK. But I have been spending a lot of time in my head for my next graphic memoir, Self-Obsessed. The resurgence of Sailor Moon and Power Rangers have gotten me into mega geek mode! Of course, rather than check out the "new" stuff, I've been diving deeper into the source material: the unedited original Sailor Moon episodes on Hulu have been a boon, and watching the Japanese footage for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Zyuranger) has been the BEST late night snack!
You have your Image books, a Marvel story and a new Graphic Novel coming out! Spill some more deets on these.
It's a delicious time to be me! I've got a little Years of the Future Past X-Men story coming up, and I feel super lucky that the editor let me write one of my faves (Psylocke!!), and she's on a pretty intense mission to help some other beloved characters that I can't mention yet. Let's just say The Advocate will be proud of my very first Marvel Comics story!
I'm wrapping up some final stories for a graphic memoir called Self-Obsessed, which really dives into some deep cuts about growing up gay and loving comics and trying to grow up. All that good stuff that kids in their 20s dream about!
Clearly there are a number of projects are your plate. How do you balance it all?
It's a skill I picked up in high school. I took eight classes a year, had an internship at Top Cow, and maintained a meager social life. It's never been easy, but I would say that I just tried to bridge all my interests and facets of work and play together. That's why I typically only work with friends now, so our meetings can also double as hang-outs.
You must have a favorite superhero character, right? Who might it be?
Peter Parker. Even when I'm not reading the comics, or not in love with the movie franchises, Spider-Man has always spoken to me because of his commitment to family, love triangles, and doing the right thing. He made it OK to be a mama's boy (or Auntie's boy, I suppose), and even when times were tough, Spidey always had a pun to drop!
Take a look at a sample of Grace's work below.
Grace reading his comic
Reign of Terror
Burn the Orphange
Little Depressed Super Boy
Little Depressed Boy