Real shapes and real patterns are things you would observe in nature, like the marks on the back of a cobra's hood or the markings on a fish or a lizard. Imaginary shapes are just that, symbols that come to a person in dreams or reveries and are charged with meaning.
I'm not a freak. I'm not really crazy or anything. I don't think I'm really abnormal. It's just, like anybody else, I have interests I cultivate, and one of my interests is not getting too used to things. I've sacrificed a lot of things in my life in order to keep that sense of things being unfamiliar.
Doing a story about my mundane, waking life, how much I don't like my job, or breaking up with someone, I don't think so. Those stories don't interest me that much as a general thing.
In a long story like 'Weathercraft,' it becomes kind of convoluted. It can become perhaps difficult to remember what led up to whatever point you're at. I worried a little bit about people being able to keep the shape of the story in their heads while they were reading it, and not wonder how they got wherever they were.
I've heard that Alfred Hitchcock said that by the time he was ready to shoot a film, he didn't even want to do it any more because he'd already had all of the fun of working it out. It's the same thing with these Frank comics.
When I was a kid, I used to see apparitions and have hallucinations, and my entire perception of the world was badly disoriented. And I had kind of a chaotic childhood because of that. I've really hung onto it, though. Because I actually like those feelings.
That Moorish architecture is all over the place, of course. It affects me everywhere I see it, as it does so many people. But Brand Library was a special place to me, and I know I've paid homage to it many times in my drawings.
When I started formulating the first Frank comic, I knew I wanted it to be something that was beyond time and specific place. I felt that having the characters speak would tie it to 20th-century America, because that would be the idiom of the language they would use, the language I use.
Every time I write something down I check it to see if it has that telltale glow, the glow that tells me there's something there. If it glows, it stays. Everything is either on or off.
I used to publish these stories in 32-page comics, and I would either do short stories or break the long ones up into chunks so there would be some variety inside the comic. But since then, people have been doing more and more long, standalone works, and the term 'graphic novel' has sort of become the codified term now.
It's funny, in some of the interviews I've seen that were done for the film, some people say things like, 'Oh, I was never a very big Jim Woodring fan. I've never thought his work was that great.'