- Tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist and as a father.
I’m a cartoonist who grew up dreaming of drawing comic books and graphic novels, and somehow managed to make a career of drawing stories about cavekids, science fiction adventures, cats, superheroes and Star Wars. I have two sons, and sometimes they’ll draw with me, and sometimes I’ll play video games with them. The one thing I really love to do is read with them, usually at bedtime.
- What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve always loved drawing and making books, and I think a lot of that comes from reading. I’ve always loved reading, especially comics and illustrated books. Every time I enjoy a good book or funny comic, it makes me want to make something to share for others to enjoy reading.
- How do your sons inspire your storytelling?
They’re both pretty funny, and that sense of humor is something that I draw on (although I try not to steal their material!). I guess I also try to write things they’d like to read, and just being around them every day feeds my mindset for writing books for young readers.
- Your books about Darth Vader’s adventures as a dad are popular with dads everywhere. Where did the idea come from?
It started with a potential Google doodle – the idea being to show how awkward an everyday moment between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker would be. My son Oscar was four years old at the time, so I figured I’d make Luke four, and put Vader in the situations I was in as a dad. Google ended up not using the concept, but I was able to take that to Lucasfilm and turn it into the collection of comics that became Darth Vader and Son.
- Have you taken any actual moments from your experience as a father and used them in one of your stories?
All the time! Sometimes it’s a specific situation, and sometimes it’s more general. In Batman & Robin & Howard, I tried to tap into how as a dad, you become less and less cool as your kids become teenagers. So even though his dad is the “Dark Knight”, Robin is still completely embarrassed by him.
- What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a father?
Walking the line between friend and authority figure is always a huge challenge. I can be a pushover at times, and other times I might overreact or lose my patience faster than I should.
- Do you have any advice for other dads?
None of us are perfect…as long as you do your best and show your love, you’re a good dad. Don’t waste your energy beating yourself up, just keep setting the best example for them you can.
- Finally, tell us about your newest book and also what the future holds for you.
My newest book is Batman & Robin & Howard. In my story, Robin is Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s – and of course Batman’s – son. After some mistakes while on patrol, Damian gets grounded from being a superhero sidekick and sent to a new school, where he finds a rival in another kid named Howard. When Batman goes missing, though, Damian realizes Howard might actually be the friend he needs to find his dad.
I have a few projects in the works, though it’s maybe too early to talk about them in detail. And now that this book is finally coming out, I’ve started thinking about what new adventures might be waiting for Robin and Howard and Batman.