Zack Davisson Tells Us Why "If You Want To Smile" Colorful Monsters "Is The Comic For You"

Colorful Monsters is an imaginative adventure for all ages! We sat down with the creator of Colorful Monsters' Free Comic Book Day edition, Zack Davisson, to discuss what makes this comic such a joy to read. Colorful Monsters has a diverse selection of cartoonists including Elise Gravel, Tove Jansson, Anouk Ricard, and Shigeru Mizuki, which Zack Davisson says really shows that "Comics really is a universal language!"


(W) Anouk Ricard, Tove Jansson, Shigeru Mizuki
(A) Elise Gravel, Tove Jansson, Shigeru Mizuki, Anouk Ricard

D+Q presents a giant sampler loaded with 64 pages of our most beloved comics for kids - delightful misadventures with Moomin and his family, strange and spectacular tales of Kitaro, and more hilarious antics from Anna & Froga. Enjoy a sneak peek into the rollicking sketchbook of cartoonist Elise Gravel, with colorful monsters, imaginary friends, and activity pages where readers can draw right alongside her! [ALL AGES]

Free Comic Book Day: Can you run us through all the talent participating and where fans might know them from?

Zack Davisson: It’s an international bonanza of talented cartoonists! Canadian Elise Gravel (If Found … Please Return to Elise Gravel), Finnish Tove Jansson (Moomin), French Anouk Ricard (Anna & Froga), and Japanese Shigeru Mizuki (Kitaro).  Comics really is a universal language!

What are some of your favorite moments from the book? Please be specific! Call out which section it’s in and why it’s your favorite.

I’m tempted to say something from Kitaro, since that’s what I translated, but in truth I loved Elise Gravel’s advice to aspiring cartoonists, when she tells them loudly It’s Your Turn! Very inspiring, especially giving permission to fail. Also, Anouk Ricard’s scene of 10 worms playing a piano together is just great. But really, Colorful Monsters is all good! Not a single bad page in the book!

Why should fans pick your book first on Free Comic Book Day 2017?

It’s fun! I don’t know what books will all be available, but I think you will have a hard time finding something as pure fun as Colorful Monsters. These four cartoonists each have unique styles and voices, but the one thing they have in common is a love of silly joy (and a solid respect for weirdness).  If you want to smile, this is the comic for you.

What got you reading comics? What are some series you’re reading today?

I actually started reading Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian series, which my mom bought me as a young kid when she found a pile of them at a used bookstore. And I read a ton of comics, as many as I can. Currently reading the groovy Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, the brilliant and historic March, Kengo Hanazawa’s amazing I Am a Hero, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo … and of course still reading Conan after all these years.

I’ve always got a stack of about three bookshelves worth of comics waiting to be read. I’ve been collecting the ­Corto Maltese series to dive into one of these days, and I finally started The Goon, Library Edition, which is perfect.

What books would you recommend to new readers and why?

Kitaro, of course! Shigeru Mizuki is one of the greatest cartoonists to have ever lived, and we live in a fortunate time when his works are becoming available in English at last! Honestly, it is both difficult and easy to recommend comics. With the current market, there is something for everyone, so I need to know people’s tastes before recommending.

I can recommend many of the wonderful historical comics available. They offer valuable insight and necessary perspective for our times. Everyone should read comics like March, Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler, and Sally Heathcote, Suffragette. Even stuff like Box Brown’s Tetris and Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree are incredibly interesting.

Why do you think Free Comic Book Day is important to the comic book community?

When I participate in Free Comic Book Day, one of the things I love the most is how much it brings in the passers-by. Those people who might walk by a comic shop every day, without ever stepping inside are drawn in by the event. It’s awesome. I used to own a comic shop myself, and wish the idea had been around back then!

Why do you think local comic shops are important to the comic book community?

Because they are a community.  Sure, in the modern world you could probably enjoy comics completely isolated from the community, but then you miss part of the fun of the hobby. A good, welcoming comic shop should invite you into the dialog. Growing up I hung out at comic shops constantly.  Comic shops also have the ability to nurture talent, to recommend books that might otherwise fade into the racks.

For Free Comic Book Day 2017, Zack Davisson hopes to spend his day at Phoenix Comics in Seattle. He enjoyed the event there last year and hopes to be invited back this year!

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