Drawn to comics

Jason Dube


Jason Dube (pronounced “doobie”) is intent on being the Stan Lee of the Sacramento comic-book scene. With his rough, vivid anime-meets-graffiti drawing style (aniffiti?), the prolific self-publisher has written and/or illustrated multiple Web and print titles, including his long-running supernatural teen opus Scattered and his four-issue Web series Caffeine Poisoned, which is about to get its own soundtrack. In short, the caffeinated and enthusiastic Dube is happily busting his hump like Bob Cratchit to make his Scattered Comics Studios, which also takes on contract art assignments from outside companies: the next Marvel Comics, perhaps?

What’s the first comic you remember buying?

I remember going to the 7-Eleven and having my dad buy me a copy of Casper the Friendly Ghost. (Laughs.) Pretty soon after, I discovered superheroes. Iron Man and the Avengers were my favorites. So you can imagine that I was very scared when the Iron Man movie came out.

But Robert Downey Jr. …

It was good! Robert Downey Jr. was hilarious. But yeah, unfortunately, Casper was the first comic I bought.

You promote your work at local conventions and through multiple websites, a Facebook page, MySpace page, Twitter page and a blog. Would you say that self-promotion is your superpower?

I’ve been told by several people that I have a talent for getting the word out. I never thought of it as a big deal, putting out press releases, just thought it was something you do. I guess it’s a lot of work that people don’t have time for or don’t think to do. The owner of Empire Comics said I should teach a class on marketing. It’d be a pretty short class. (Laughs.)

A lot of it comes from working on my own. That first year, when it was kind of slow, I would spend three to four hours going to all these different sites and posting things. I was worried about not making rent, having enough money, what my wife would say. Maybe this wasn’t a good venture. I used to teach comic-book classes for kids, and I’d tell them one of the things you want to do is get yourself out there. Facebook, Twitter, these are free ways to network. Why wouldn’t you?

Does anyone ever call you “Dube Howser,” “The Dubester” or their “Dube brother?” Would you mind if we do?

Oh man, Dube brother, yeah. Scooby Dube, Smoke-a-Dube, what else? Yeah, I’ve pretty much gotten everything. That’s one thing I’m going to prepare my son for. In high school, it actually made me pretty popular. “Hey, let’s smoke a Dube!” So I’ll let him know, “In high school, you’re going to be pretty cool, but before then, you’ve got to be tough.”

You provide the artwork for Waiting for Something to Happen, about a young woman unhappy with her life, kind of like the manga version of the comic strip Cathy.

Someone else said that to me. It’s a slice-of-life thing, sort of like Clerks or American Splendor. The whole comic book is someone’s life, but it’s a funny in a way, because it’s like, “Oh, man, that’s one of the crappy things that happened to me.”

Your art definitely has a strong anime influence, but do we detect a little bit of a street-art vibe in there?

It’s totally there. I’ve never done any graffiti art, but I’ve seen a lot of it, and I love how they do the real exaggerated poses and the big hands and the big heads. My younger brother and his friends were into graffiti art. I didn’t realize how much I liked it, I guess, because it creeped into my art without [me] knowing it. It snuck in somehow, and when I examined it a little more, I can see what they’re saying.

Comic-book entrepreneurs, like supervillains, are all about the big picture. So, Mr. Dube, what’s your master plan?

I think to one day be able to have my studio, and we’re all working all the time on projects for my own company. Right now, me and my studio artists do a lot of work for other clients and companies. The stuff for Scattered Comics gets done on weekends or other times during the day.

So far, the ride’s been great. I’ve gone farther than I thought I would. I never thought I could draw comic books for a living. Especially when I think about how I started, taking your portfolio to someone and they tell you it’s no good, and your dreams are shattered. (Laughs.) I knew then that it’s going to be a lot harder than just wanting it really bad. I feel very blessed to do my passion for a living, but it would be nice to be right up there with Marvel Comics. Well, maybe not even that big, but self-sufficient—and maybe even having a movie at some point.

Starring Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.!