Book prize nominee: Karl Stevens


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Karl Stevens’ ‘The Lodger’ is one of the finalists for the graphic novel award at the L.A. Times book prizes on Friday. Our sibling blog Hero Complex is talking to each of the five finalists this week, leading up to Friday’s awards.

First up is Stevens, who self-published ‘The Lodger’ -- a semi-autobiographical story about dropping out of art school, losing his girlfriend and moving into an ex-professor’s house.


NC: How true is ‘The Lodger? KS: It’s pretty true. It’s strange because there are parts [that are] like writing dialogue. I’m not like tape-recording every conversation that I have. There were things that happened that I would just tweak to make it more interesting or more funny. They’re all real names. There was a girl I dated named Ann. Cookie’s real. She’s outside my door right now. They’re fantastic. Tony was great. After I dropped out of art school, Tony kind of took me under his wing, and I would come over here all the time for dinners and stuff, and he would introduce me to other artists and teachers, and he would come by to the place I was living in a different part of the city, and kind of like mentor me. It was really sweet. And when I needed a place, it just happened to coincide, because they would always have people living in the house, cause it’s really big, and I think it’s good for their marriage.... NC: There’s a subtlety to your art that you don’t normally see in comics. KS: That’s my whole thing. That’s what I was trying to stammer out earlier, that I really want to make comics very subtle. For the past 100 years there have only been a few exceptions, and I feel like that can really be explored. Even the ones that are about just people, even those have a certain kind of exaggerated quality that just seems false. I’m going to shut up before I start ranting. NC: Who would you list as your influences, then? KS: Rembrandt. He’s pretty good. He’s pretty amazing. I aspire to be more like him.

Read the complete interview here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: ‘The Lodger’ by Karl Stevens