Interview: Nikki Burch

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Like many up and coming cartoonists and illustrators, Nikki Burch has a minicomic that acts as a sampler of her current work. "These Are My Jokes" kicks ass on every page. If you like the offbeat humor of underground comix, stuff in the spirit of early R. Crumb, then you'll appreciate Burch who provides humor with a bite all her own.
So, what influences her work? Burch told me she is never quite sure how to answer that. But, then, upon reflection: "I would pause 'The Lion King' to draw the frames. As far back as I can remember, back when I was a little kid, I wanted to draw for Disney. I would pause the VHS player and I'd try to copy what I saw. I did that with other movies too." For Burch, that Disney boot camp experience as a child has evolved into work charged by a young woman's sardonic wit.
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A quick lesson from Burch in funny: "Come up with the punch line first! It makes things a whole lot easier, and more natural, instead of trying to start with setting up a joke and then searching for a punch line." She goes on to give an example: "I was in a hardware store and I saw a sign that read, 'Screws, nuts and bolts' and I knew right there that I had a punch line in search of a joke." The joke: Two women are chatting. One says, "How are things going with that new guy you've been seeing?" The other one says, "I swear, sometimes I feel like I'm dating a tool box!" The first woman: "Why's that?" The second woman: "Because, every time we get together, he screws, nuts, and then bolts!"

Another lesson in funny: Burch had a dream that involved an astronaut and two aliens. "I will steal from my dreams. You should too." All she knew was that the joke took place in outer space. The result is a hilarious confrontation by two bully aliens against a meek astronaut. The aliens look like yeti and talk like hateful jerks.

Burch's next comics project will be a collection of comic stips where she mashes up "Garfield" with "Cathy." She calls it, "Garthy." The hybrid will a disturbing creature, half cat, half woman, highly neurotic and constantly eating lasagna.
You can read my review of Nikki's work at Comics Grinder.
For more informaion on Nikki Burch, visit her site:
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