I recently did an interview with Daniela Odri Mazza for Conversazioni sul Fumetto, an impressive looking Italian blog. My answers were translated into Italian, but I really enjoyed Daniela’s thoughtful questions and we agreed it would be nice to post the interview in English too.
And so here it is.
(By the way: here’s the Italian edition of Hicksville, from Black Velvet).
Daniela: The first question I have is about a guiding theme throughout the story: the map, mapping and the description of the world. What fascinates you so much to make this theme omnipresent in the book, in the main story and several subtracks and stories? What do you think, about comics as “creators of worlds, universes?”
Dylan: I’ve always loved maps, and especially imaginary maps, like the ones you find in fantasy novels and games. When I was writing Hicksville, I was very interested in spatial vs. temporal ideas of narrative: geography vs. history. All of this fed into Hicksville, and I started thinking of stories (comics, novels, histories) as a way of mapping worlds – real and imaginary. The thing about maps is that they are always fictions, more or less. A map isn’t an actual landscape, it’s a representation of a landscape, and so it’s always a simplification, a simulation, an artificial model. It’s a way of talking about the landscape. It tells a story about place.
Comics are especially interesting as maps, because they can use pictures, diagrams, words. They can talk about a landscape (in space or time) in very complex and interesting ways. Many cartoonists have played with this (some consciously, some by accident); Chris Ware is a good example.