Dave Brink: I was born in Amsterdam, but moved to the South of the country when I was very young. So I grew up in a small town called Beesel. It’s the complete opposite of Amsterdam, regarding its culture and atmosphere. Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like if we had never moved. But I really like my life now, so I’m not complaining!
1st: Many years ago, when I was a sailor in the Canadian Navy, at one point, we sailed to Amsterdam. It was a beautiful spot, and we all had a great time, there! I admit that, though we had a great time there, there were some things there that are legal there – or, at least, some things were legal there, at the time, that were culture shocks, for us, there. One thing I still remember, vividly, is that all of the bars/-taverns there, are all named, on their outside signs, ‘Heineken Bar.’ Or at least, they were, at the time. This was around 1988 or 1989.
While in one of these, my fellow sailor friends and I ordered beers. The waiter there asked us, “Is there anything else you would like to order? Marijuana? Hashish? Cocaine?”
We were shocked and astonished! We said no to all of that, but it was a real eye-opener! Ha, Ha!
ha! We later went down to the Red Light District, but more out of curiosity (only), than anything else.”
Dave: Yeah, Amsterdam is definitely renowned for the red light district, and the so-called coffee shops, where they sell more than coffee. Although I’m pretty sure that cocaine is not on the menu!
1st: Possibly, then, the waiter was just trying to shock us, because we were in our Canadian Navy uniforms. Are you a self-taught artist, or do you have professional training, as an artist?”
Dave: I have never had any formal training. I just liked comics as a young kid, and that inspired me to draw. I kind of just copied what I liked. When I got older, I studied art books and photographs of people with well-defined musculature and curves. My passion for drawing did fade a bit along the years, so I never developed it to a professional level.
1st: I understand, from your comics website, that you are a writer as well as an artist. How old were you, when you first started drawing?
Dave: As far as I can remember, it really took off when I was in primary school. I had a thick little notebook in which I drew, every day. I had invented some curly guy who went through adventures that were basically my own take on things that I saw on television, or in comic books, while I just made things up, as I went along.
Dave: I think I was about eight or nine years old. We had a publisher in the Netherlands, who translated Marvel and DC comics for the Dutch market. My first exposure to Spider-Man and Superman was in a crossover comic written by Jim Shooter, and drawn by John Buscema. It blew me away! I absolutely loved that book, which was also printed in a larger format than normal comics. But it did result in me thinking these characters belonged together, so the idea that they lived in different comic book universes took a little while for me to adjust to.
1st: There were two different one-shots, published several years apart, in which Spider-Man teamed up with Superman. I bought them both new, at the time when they came out. They were incredibly exciting to me, to buy and read them, at the time! There have been numerous OTHER comic books to come out, over the decades, since, also, co-published by Marvel (and) DC Comics, wherein, many of their characters have teamed up. Some examples would be two issues of Batman meets Daredevil and many others. Here is a nice online article about this, that you might enjoy: Marvel And DC: 16 Times Their Heroes Teamed Up
1st: Does The Netherlands have its (own) comic book industry? Or, do you read American and/-or European comics, that are distributed all the way to The Netherlands?
Dave: There are Dutch comic book creators, but especially compared to the U.S., this industry here, is very small. European graphic novels are very different from the usual American comic books, both in style and content. I do check out European books, but not many of those series appeal to me, to the point where I collect them. Occasionally, American comics are still translated into Dutch, but I read and prefer those in English, now.
1st: Quite frankly, I’m very, very impressed by the art of your ‘Perfect 10’ comic book series! It’s all Top Notch! Are you the artist and/-or writer of this series?
Dave: I am the creator and writer.
Dave: Yeah, ha, ha! That’s why he was assigned to this book! The artist is none other than Pow Rodrix, who also worked on titles like Wolverine, the Avengers, and the JLA. I approached him for this project specifically because of his art style. He did promo material for me for previous comics, but we never did a complete book together, before this. So, when this project came along, I knew he was the perfect artist for it!
1st: Also, the coloring on the series is VIVID. Very, very nice. What technique is used to color the series?
Dave Brinks: It’s all digital coloring. The colorist, Daniel Rodrigues, was suggested to me by Pow himself, actually. They knew each other. So, Daniel did a test page for me, and it was astonishing! He also proved to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever worked with, so I was happy to have him on the team.
1st: Can you also show us pages from your previous two comics series, Earthling, and Dreamgirl: Sleeper Agent?
Dave: There are many artists looking for work, so it’s mainly a matter of finding the right people for your project. When I started doing Earthling, it took a while to get the creative team together. I was fairly new to the scene. I didn’t know many other comic creators and artists, nor did they know me. So, I networked a lot. These things are much easier, now. There are so many great artists I love to work with sometimes, and they know I’m legit.
1st: Sure thing! Are these comics PDF’s or hard paper copies?
Dave: Both. They are of course intended for print, but specifically for backers of the campaign’s digital editions are also made. It’s a gesture to people who want to support me but can’t afford the shipping costs, for instance.
1st: That’s a great idea! Are these comics distributed to comics shops in The Netherlands, and elsewhere? Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Meant respectfully, are there comics shops in The Netherlands? I’m guessing there are? How are these comics distributed, what countries or regions are they distributed to, (what parts of Europe, etc.), and do you have any plans to crack the North American market, once this coronavirus pandemic is over with?
Dave: Yes, we have comic book shops over here. There are a few retailers who have my books, but it’s all small scale. I recently re-branded my comic book label, and after I’ve made sure all backers of the Perfect 10 campaign have their books. I’ll be looking into options on how to get them in more stores. It’s a work in progress.
1st: How would any interested parties (myself, for example, most definitely) purchase and have mailed to us, copies of these paper comics that you publish?
Dave: I’ll be setting up an Etsy store soon, where I’ll put a few collection packs with several titles for retailers together, and people can always e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific orders, as well.
Dave: We are now working on issue five of the Earthling series. Dreamgirl: Sleeper Agent has one issue out now, and we are working on the second book for Perfect 10. I have three issues of Perfect 10 planned, after which it will become part of a new title. Then there’s Ajax Awakening, which is the first issue of a four-part mini-series. That last title is done by my partner at Genuine Comics, Jeremy Scott Browning.
1st: How often are they published?
1st: What types of reactions have you gotten, from fans, readers, and buyers of these comics, and what, if any, publishing ‘doors’ have these comics opened up, for you?
Dave: So far, people seem to enjoy the books, but especially, Perfect 10 was very well received. It has had glowing reviews so far, and I couldn’t be more proud. I think I’ve really grown as a creator, and I challenge myself to make each new book better than the last. I was with a publisher for about a year and a half, but that didn’t really work out. So, I decided to go my own way again, and what followed was the Perfect 10 campaign. I’m also producing a short comic for Antarctic Press at the moment, which is really exciting! Sometimes, I can’t believe this is all real!
Dave: Yes, I’ve been interviewed by Bleeding Fool, which was a huge honor. And, I’ve been on several YouTube channels, which, to me, really opened up a new world of promotion and interaction with customers. Being in the spotlights and doing presentations is absolutely not my forte, and after my first live-streamed interview, I almost had a panic attack! But I forced myself to never decline an opportunity to promote my book, and after a few streams, things became easier.
1st: At first, I thought that perhaps you were referring to the comics website Bleeding Cool, and that ‘Bleeding Fool’ was a typo’, but I looked up keywords ‘Bleeding Fool’ comics, and it turns out that this comics website, ‘Bleeding Fool’, actually does exist!
David, thank you so much for talking to me about your various comic book series projects in The Netherlands! It’s been loads of fun!