I actually had seen Devin’s months before I knew it was his work. I remember thinking that whoever wrote the comic I read was either hilarious and a genius or some sort of an insane person whose mental decline tickled my insides. I later contacted him based on other art that I didn’t realize was made by the same person. It turns out that he is an insane hilarious person whose possibly genius and it’s more of a mental oscillation than a decline. Primary source below:
Is there a difference in your approach to creating singular pieces as opposed to comics? Are there unseen narratives to each of the one-offs or do you just draw cool shit that pops into your head at random and call it a day?
There’s probably giant arches to everything I try and draw, but I’m a lazy asshole just like a lot of people who want to make comics but don’t actually make them enough. I basically just look at Sailor Moon gifs and Lisa Frank stickers and scream “ME TOO! ME TOO!” before ripping everything off.
Do you feel equally comfortable with the art and writing in the comics? Does one take any more time than the other? Do you start out with an image first that you build the story around or do you have the story then illustrate it?
No, I’m honestly an awful writer. I wish I wasn’t and I feel like I could be good, but as of now, I have a horrible time trying to translate my ideas into comic form. Any little comic I’ve done is like a bastardized retard version of what I imagine in the first place. But I hope to get really good and eventually do great comics. So I anticipate the confidence I could potentially have. That’s my tombstone epitaph. But anyway, it usually starts with something that just annoys me and I don’t see it acknowledged enough. Like Thomas the Tank Engine in those Molly Might Die comics I did. I just wanted a weird outlet for an annoying behavior I see around.
Let’s talk style, some have described your work as “Big-tittied Power Puff Girls run through Adobe’s new Tokyo Filter” by some I mean myself, I formatted this question just so I could write that joke but since I have to ask you something related: do you find that animation, particularly that kind of 00’s era cartoon work to be something that your work draws from?
That’s the most accurate description of my style, especially the Tokyo filter stuff. Yeah, I was obsessed with Dexter’s Lab and Powerpuff Girls and stuff. I remember downloading the Powerpuff Girls pilot (Whoopass Girls) off Kazaa or one of those programs when I was a little kid and getting all into it. “THEY HAVE A CUSS WORD IN THE TITLE!”. It was kind of like hearing a cool teacher cuss after class. Also, there was some Dexter’s Lab contest where you had to call a phone number that appeared in the middle of the episode to win a beach towel, a mousepad, posters, or whatever. Anyway, I remember calling obsessively and winning a giant wall-sized Dexter’s Lab poster and that was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever won to this day. I also won a beach towel and accidentally hung up in the middle of the call. I cried.
What are some of your favorite chronic diseases? What are some of you favorite terminal ones? You’ve mentioned cancer, AIDS and Crohn’s disease in various tasteful ways and I’d like to know if there are any other ailments that are on your mind?
Whichever one ends up killing me. No, actually Crohn’s disease. I mean, it’s not my favorite but it’s on my mind the most because my little brother has it and it’s awful to see him have to handle it. It’s a fucked up disease (they all are obviously) but I know people in the Chrohn’s “community” are really eager to push mentions and awareness because it doesn’t have the same cult following as say, breast cancer. So if I was on Celebrity Apprentice and had to make an ice cream that gives money to diseases, I’d choose Crohn’s. Does that make sense?
Speaking of illnesses and continuing with the random nature of this interview here is a video of Devin on some show with Andy Dick that also features a video of him in the hospital.
Editor’s Note: Yes Devin it makes as much sense as everything in this article, so maybe no it doesn’t but it’s got a nice feel to it. So, let’s just go with it.
So your videos, I was watching them, and I laughed. Am I correct in laughing? I think I get the jokes and then halfway through I become dizzy and by the end usually end up in some desert next to an Indian. Is this an appropriate reaction?
Yes. If you only chuckle you end up in a Pier One with an Armenian.
How did you end up contributing over at vice, is it like a regular gig or do you just float them a couple of funnies from time to time?
I won a contest (that same Dexter’s Lab one) and got to meet the owner. They wanted me to host their HBO show, but I declined and settled with confusing 5-page comics every two years. No, I used to be Livejournal friends with the comic editor, Nick Gazin. I don’t think he remembers me though. I Facebook messaged him a comic and he liked it. I just do it once in a while, sometimes after redoing the dialogue completely after a rejection.
I have sent you a friend request how do you feel about this action?
I’m comfortable with it. I responded sooner than this interview, which was finished about one month after you sent it. I needed a whole month to reflect on who I am. Which is a buffoon who can’t be punctual.
The sense of humor in your comics and videos is, for the most part, not punchline oriented but more of a continuous barrage of awkward and bizarre moments that leave me confused but laughing. Has that always been your choice of storytelling: foregoing the quick one liner for a more delayed response kind of thing? Are there benefits to one versus the other?
I left highschool in 9th grade to do online classes (aka ‘smart dropping out’) and basically spent the next few years smoking weed and watching DVDs with other fuck ups. Nonstop. I would just sit in my room high all day and drink vodka and watch Seinfeld and Upright Citizens Brigade and at night I would call girls I met online and try to be funny for like three hours. And then on Fridays I would leave my room to go to a goth club in Houston called Numbers. We’d slam cheap liquor before going in or try to sneak some in. I remember drinking vodka from my friend’s flask he snuck in his sock. On my 16th birthday, I was shitfaced and my friends fought off a 30-year-old black man who they spotted carrying me down the stairs like a new bride.
Anyway, that might explain some stuff, I don’t know.
Did that person ever call you back about the soup can and the pet rocks? I’d hate to think of you waiting outside of a haunted house alone in the cold rain while Adele plays from some unseen source.
That person never called me back. I did leave a follow-up voice mail apologizing for threatening them though. Haha.
The deadpan humor obviously works (I smirked at all of them which in internet is like a gut laugh) but do some people just really not get what’s going on?
Yes. A lot of people either don’t get it (which I don’t blame them, I’m not exactly as nuanced with stuff as I’d like) and a lot of people just think I’m an attention starved douchebag who’s eager to appear edgy or “CRAZY AND WEIRD!!”. And they’re probably right also. I think people (especially hipsters in Houston or whatever) probably got sick of me seeming like I have a shtick. “WEIRDO CUCKOLD WHO WEARS A LEATHER JACKET AND DRINKS BOX WINE!” I’m married now and I check Groupon every day. I drive her to work in the morning and then come back and smoke weed and listen to talk radio. On my last birthday, I spent the day at the DPS and then took a nap. I’m taking on the more mundane side of Guy Fieri, as opposed to the douchier “look out man, I’m ready to rock!” side.
The Fuck happened in your childhood man? (Thomas, Ninja Turtles, explicit cartoons that look like kids shows) Do you just find that making these known figures into more adult/criminal characters is just something that you do for the laugh or is there a less functional reasoning?
Less functioning. I’ve always hated the punchline of something being like “UH OH! A KIDS SHOW AND NOW IT’S DIRTY AND ADULT HEH HEH HEH”. I remember in 6th Grade Gym class some kids were talking about a funny Sesame Street spoof they downloaded off Napster. Something about Big Bird and Elmo being stoned. I hope what I do isn’t similar to that. I like when someone takes a funny angle on children’s entertainment and adds nuance.I pray that I’m less Robot Chicken and more Wonder Showzen, but I’m probably wrong. I have an idea for a Richie Rich comic where he has to be the manager of the McDonald’s in his run down mansion. That sounds fun to me.
Do you have stories or experiences that you kind of mix into those? Is there a basic concept drawn up then executed or do you just grab a pen and some amphetamines and go at it Kerouac style?
One of the recent things I’ve done was a comic based on something my wife told me about her childhood. Her sister would bribe her into telling her stories while she shit on the toilet. So my wife would tell her a story about a little bird that collects toilet paper scraps for sad children who realized they were out of toilet paper after they started shitting. To me, that’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard. And lately that’s all I like hearing or telling, embarrassing children’s stories and thoughts. When I was little, I would shit and fantasize about a Romeo and Juliet style epic about true love amongst two rival families. One family that folds their toilet paper into layers before wiping and one that just balls it up and wipes. So yeah. Little to no basic structure in mind when I start.
I’m going to Kevin Bacon us, you’ve contributed to Vice, I’ve contributed to Vice, my article was about my roommate being a prostitute and you draw portraits for money so you’re basically an artistic prostitute, I guess what I’m trying to say is how do you feel about the Syrian conflict and in addition to that the state of the entertainment industry as it relates to the advancement of the internet?
I was in a weird open relationship with a girl who stripped and prostituted on the side. Sometimes I would masturbate while listening to her fuck while her phone was hidden in her purse, so technically my roommate was a prostitute also. Also, regarding my “portraits” thing, I prefer the term “caricature artist”. I don’t know that much about the Syrian conflict because I’m a dolt (one of the reasons I had to turn down the Vice show) and as far as entertainment? I love it! Bring it on, entertainment! Make my day!
Do you have any showings coming up or projects that are coming out in the near future?
The season premiere of Breaking Bad. I’m excited for that.
Editors Note: If at anytime you felt disoriented whilst reading this interview, congratulations you’re human and possibly sane. If you nodded and said “I know how that feels” please get yourself checked out and try to balance out the chemicals in your brain.
Also, Devin I’ve been compared to a 14 year old girl writing a journal on speed and called a self obsessed attention seeking whore. So I wouldn’t be too upset by critical allegations.