In this month’s “Meet the Bibliomaniac” feature, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Bryan, assistant manager in the Austin-area. Since we’ve got comic books on the brain, let’s dive deeper into Bryan’s love of comics and learn more about him. Check out his Q&A below.
Name: Bryan Douglas
Job Title: Assistant Manager
Store Location: 104 Cedar Park
When did you join the HPB Team?
What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Being surprised every day by the books I discover, either from seeing them in person or hearing about them from customers.
As an Assistant Manager, what’s an average day like for you?
My work days are a mix of getting to help customers directly and helping our staff to do the same. The leadership role is nice, because it gives me the feeling of helping even more people than the ones I interact with directly!
What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had since working here?
Finding two hundred dollars in cash hidden in a book called “The World’s Lost Wealth!” (This was at the Buy Counter, so we were able to get the money back to the customer!)
What got you interested in comic books?
I’ve always been interested in the multiple layers of meaning comics can provide. Certainly, prose fiction can do that, too… But somehow combining words and pictures in the comic book style seems to allow for a greater number of ideas to be distilled down to a smaller space!
Have you always been a creative person?
I’ve always loved storytelling and drawing. But I don’t think I had any more “talent” than any other kid. I just wanted to do it, and the more you do something, the better you get.
What’s the creative process behind writing and illustrating your own comics?
I write and draw my comics at the same time, allowing the art and words to influence each other and spark new ideas along the way. When I have my black and white line art complete, my wife, Selah, colors it in and makes editorial decisions, sometimes requiring entire panels to be re-drawn. I will sometimes come back with further discussions on her decisions, but I do not question them: I trust that if she sees something wrong with the story or art, so will the readers.
What is your all-time favorite book/comic book?
Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck. All the villains were different aspects of Gerber’s own personality, and Howard was (more or less) Gerber himself! And the whole thing was a fun yarn even if you had no idea!
What are you reading right now?
I’ve been reading Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer to my kids. He’s the web cartoonist behind the stick figure comic strip XKCD, who will be illustrating science textbooks coming out next year!
What other things do you do in your free time?
Read to my kids and try to experience as much of Texas as I can with my family.
Anything else to add?
I see tons of parents looking for kid-appropriate content who seem disappointed when they have to settle for brainless, boring or silly content. Our comic book, The Dimensionals, strives to be intelligent and exciting enough for teens and adults but written and drawn in such a way that kids as young as five or six need not be shielded from their content. Most comic books made in the 20th Century achieved this, some under the duress of censorship, but wonderful stories came out of it nonetheless which could be shared across generations. That seems worthwhile to us! And we’re going to keep doing everything we can to bring old-school, all-ages comics back.