Finnian Kidd: Joe, how did you get into publishing comics?
Joe Kessler: I was working for NoBrow, and my friends Simon [Hacking] and Tom [Oldham] were trying to put together a magazine of comics criticism. We got together and said, ‘it’s not like anyone else is gonna publish it, so why don’t we do it?’
FK: That’s the thing with independent publishing – it comes out of the necessity to put something out yourself because it’s the only option. You also get more interesting content because it’s not stuff that everyone else would publish.
JK: Yeah, there were all these people who we’d see online and people we were friends with, but and they just weren’t having books made, so it was kind of out of frustration with that.
FK: Do you feel there is a good independent comic and DIY publishing scene in London at the moment?
JK: Yeah, I think just having Breakdown makes it good, and there’s some others like the Silica Burn guys. I think there’s a weird lack of history with UK independent comic book publishing, and comic book artists. A lot of the big mainstream artists in American comics are actually British.
FK: That’s what happened with 2000AD, with Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, then Vertigo came over and took them all…
JK: In terms of comics history in England or in London specifically, it’s pretty sparse, especially considering how influential artists from London have been in all other fields. When you go to Paris or New York there are older cartoonists who you can have a drink with, who are your heroes. I was just in New York and Gary Panter was sitting around a table with a bunch of the younger cartoonists. In Paris we had similar experiences. There was this other generation, which is great, and we don’t really have that.
FK: I guess it’s nice though that it’s something new here, and you’ll be those [older generation] people…
JK: Yeah, god, that’s a thought!