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SSP: So what is your name?

Suzanne Baumann; though I've signed myself S. Baumann and Suzanne B. when
I'm short on space.

2. Were can people visit you on the web at to see your
works?

My website is www.fridge-mag.net. There are a few sample comics up there,
along with my complete catalog, ordering info, and some other surprises.

3. So what got you interested in the Comic business
anyway with so many other things out there to do?

Comics just struck me as a great means of incorporating a whole bunch of
those "things out there" into one creative outlet. I get to draw, tell stories, joke
around, and philosophize all at the same time. I can be the director, playwright,
set designer, and entire cast of my own little show. In my case, I also physically
print and bind all my own books and market/sell them by myself, so there's not
much chance for me to get bored.

4. How long have you been doing this?

Since 1995. I printed my first mini-comic 7 years ago this month.

5. What has been your main goal through out this venture?
To have fun and keep putting ouit creative work.
6. So I know very little about you and your company what
do you do?
I do mini-comics. They're small, homemade, self-published comic books.
Kinda like a zine of the comic book world. I publish under the name Fridge
Magnet Concoctions, which is more like a convenient catch-all name for all my
comics than an official "company".
7. Can you give us a break down on the Zine?
There are a number of different titles, most of them are self-contained short
stories. No ongoing serials, the characters and settings vary with each new
story. The closest thing I have to a series is Turtleneck Boy and basically all I
did with that is lay down a basic premise and determine what the title character
looks like. The rest is made up mostly of reader contributions-- they decide
what Turtleneck Boy does, who he's with and where he goes.
8. What is a long term goal for the future or were do you
see yourself in say 5 years?
Hmm. Well, 5 years ago I had a lot of energy and enthusiasm for comics, and
made quite a few of them, but I didn't have much in the way of cartooning skills.
In recent years I've been spending more time practicing my drawing and writing
than in actually applying what I've learned. I think I'm working toward some
sort of balance in the future. Long term: keep making comics, and keep making
them better!
9. What was your thought process going into starting
something like this?
I did a weekly strip for my college newspaper and that led to an obsession with
the idea of putting out my own comic book. I had no clue about the industry
and had never even set foot in a comic book shop, but I had a vague idea that
I'd have to go through a publisher. So I contacted Chiasmus Comics, a
publishing company in Kalamazoo, MI at the time, to learn about the business.
They put out an anthology called One Eye Open, One Eye Closed edited by
Robert Lewis. Rob taught me how to make and print up my own stuff in mini-
comic form. One Eye folded not long after that, but I had the whole world of
minis and underground publishing opened up to me, and I've been going down
that road ever since.
10. So tell me a little about your books (Give the reader a
break down on your titles).
There's Turtleneck Boy which I mentioned earlier, I have another series called
Free -- For Ye! where all the books are are credit-card sized and I hand them
out for free. I try to do a new one every year. Other popular titles: Damned
Bunnies
, about an artist who makes a unwitting art critic part of his new exhibit
(and the consequences thereof); Custard King, about a man who proclaims
himself soverign ruler of a highway median; The Moldy Bagels, which is done in
sort of a silent movie format; and Cleopatra's Hats, inspired by some of the hat
and wig shops around where I live. That's not the complete catalog, but those
are the biggies.
11. How long does it take you to complete the book from
start to finish?
It really depends on how much free time I have, how detailed I want the art to
be, the complexity of the story and how motivated I feel to finish it. I've done a
16-page comic in a single evening and I'm still working on a 26-page comic I
started 6 years ago. On average, though, if I have the time to do it, my average
8-page mini takes me about 2 weeks.
12. What is your opinion on how your Zine's have been
received by fans?
Sales-wise, it's been surprisingly good; considering that I put hardly any money
into production and marketing. As far as reader response goes, there are
people who "get" my humor and people who don't. Occasionally a reader is
really affected by something I wrote and gushes about it to me, which I still
makes me feel awkward, but flattered at the same time.
13. What role did your girlfriend play in the creative
process behind you continuing your dreams, if any at all?
I don't have a girlfriend (or boyfriend, for that matter). However, I'm fortunate
enough to live in Detroit so I'm not completely alone in this. There's a great
community of cartoonists here and I've recieved much inspiration,
encouragement and friendship from them. Plus, we can all carpool to
conventions.
14. Are you in comic shops around your area or are you
just on the internet?
I don't really market my stuff to shops, but sometimes a store owner will
contact me for a few copies to keep on the shelves. (So if no one's purchased
them from the store yet, they're still there.) A couple of coffee shops around
here sell them too. Trading comics for coffee is fun.
15. Can you share any information about future titles or
works that you might unveil at the convention?
Turtleneck Boy #4 has been sitting around completed for months, but I
probably won't print it up until the next convention. Look out for a new Free-
For Ye! some time this spring.
16. Was there any fear about starting this endeavour?
When I got to my first convention and saw fewer female cartoonists and far
more scantily-clad "bad girl" models than I'd anticipated, so I started to doubt
whether this was a good idea. But I knew just by setting up my table I had the
opportunity to even out the mix a little, so that didn't last long. Having a paying
job and doing mini-comics on the side for fun means I've sidestepped a lot of
financial risks and pressure to sell a certain number of copies. (If you want to
overanalyze and say I'm avoiding a full-time comics career out of fear of those
risks, um, go ahead.)
17. How has using the Internet aided you?
My site's only been up for a few months, so it's probably to early to tell. It does
seem to be attractng some people who wouldn't have otherwise found me
through the mail or at conventions. Plus it's really convenient for keeping my
catalog up to date.
18. How long did it take you to get your first sale of one of
your zine's?
Less than a day. I gave copies to my friends and one of them, noticing that I
had a price printed on the cover, insisted I take his 25. So I did.
19. Do you have comic characters running around in your
head waiting to hit the paper or waiting to be drawn up by
others if you don't ever have the time?
I'm constantly developing new stories and characters and I try to put them on
paper as soon as they come to me. I've got a huge binder stuffed with notes.
90% of its contents will probably never see print, but in a way that's the whole
point: to write/sketch everything down so I can look it over later and choose the
best idea for my next comic. I may never have time to use all my ideas, but at
least I can take comfort in the knowledge that I'll never get around to publishing
the really bad ones.
20. well since all the characters are yours do you take
criticism well about how your characters look or act?
Isn't that the main purpose for having characters? I can dress them up
ridiculous-looking outfits, have them do horrible things and make them talk like
complete crackpots, and who gets criticized? They do!! Heh heh heh... I don't
take it personally if someone has a problem with a character I created. Criticism
of me as a creator - how I present and handle the character - is harder to hear,
but if the critic seems to know what he/she's talking about, I listen and learn.
21. Other than the zine's you are currently working on do
you have any others in the works for a later date?
I'm working on three comics simultaneously now, and with any luck they'll all be
available this year. Interested parties can check my web site for updates. After
that, well, I've got that big binder full of ideas to turn to.
22. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to
talk to us here at Spiritual Scream Productions. We
certainly look forward to the success of Suzanne Baumann
and her future projects.

This interview is with Suzanne Baumann.......
All contents of these pages are (C) 2002 Spiritual Scream Productions, and where indicated, by individual artists, and or
companies. All Rights Reserved, Rights of individual artists, and or companies revert back to them.