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Strange Tales

Strange Tales Spotlight: Dash Shaw

The prolific indie wunderkind talks Doctor Strange, explains his love of sci-fi and reveals that Ghost Rider scared him.

To celebrate the upcoming release of Marvel's groundbreaking series STRANGE TALES, in which some of the brightest stars of alternative and indie comics present their takes on the Marvel Universe, Marvel.com will be showcasing the contributors in an expansive series of exclusive interviews. And don't forget to pick up STRANGE TALES #1, on sale September 2!


By Sean T. Collins

Dash Shaw's Doctor Strange story from STRANGE TALES #1
At the tender age of 26, Dash Shaw's already an old hand when it comes to making comics. Since graduating from Manhattan's School of Visual Arts in 2005, he's churned out a series of graphic novels, including the zombie romance Love Eats Brains, the short-story collection Goddess Head, the Eisner Award-nominated The Mother's Mouth and the 720-page—that's right, 720 pages!—family drama Bottomless Belly Button. Meanwhile, he continues to serve up contributions to the cutting-edge anthologies Mome and Meathaus, and creates his own Eisner-nominated science fiction webcomic, Bodyworld. Yet in a seemingly magical feat worthy of the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Shaw somehow found the time to contribute a Doctor Strange story to STRANGE TALES. We got Shaw to tease his story, share some Marvel memories and talk shop about the new wave of indie sci-fi and fantasy comics.

Marvel.com: You're doing a Doctor Strange story for the book. Why did you choose the good Doctor?

Dash Shaw: I love Ditko's Doctor Strange comics.  I love their energy, invention, weirdness, everything. I fell for them in my college library.  The romance has only grown since.

Marvel.com: That sounds like a pretty cool college library. You went to SVA, right? Had you been familiar with Ditko or Doc before then, or did it all happen in one fell swoop?

Dash Shaw: I knew about Doctor Strange here and there, and obviously Ditko from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  But I don't think I had gotten into it before.

Dash Shaw's Doctor Strange story from STRANGE TALES #1
Marvel.com: What's the scoop on your story?

Dash Shaw: The title is "Dr. Strange Vs. Nightmare." 'Nuff said!

Marvel.com: Do you feel like you brought something special to the table for the piece?

Dash Shaw: I tried to throw everything I had into it. I felt like a giddy kid drawing Dr. Strange.  I hope all Marvel artists feel that way, though.

Marvel.com: What's the first Marvel comic you remember reading?

Dash Shaw: I remember Ghost Rider scaring the crap out of me. That's the earliest comic-reading memory I have.

Marvel.com: What Marvel comics are you reading these days?

Dash Shaw: Lately I've been reading all the Essentials and following artists that I like, such as Farel Dalrympe on the OMEGA THE UNKNOWN comic.

Marvel.com: What's your favorite Marvel title of all time?

Dash Shaw: My favorite Marvel comic of all time? Jeez...maybe Kirby's run on Captain America?  I dunno. I'd have to think about that one for a long time.

Marvel.com: Any other Marvel heroes or villains you'd like to tackle someday?

Ghost Rider
Dash Shaw: I like Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider was one of my favorite characters growing up. I had a lot of ideas for how I would do it, but recently my thoughts have been elsewhere. I like playing with someone else's character but more and more I feel I should solely concentrate on my own projects.

Marvel.com: For those readers out there who don't know your stuff, what do you recommend if they'd like to see more of what you do?

Dash Shaw: The closest things I've done to this Dr. Strange story is a comic called BodyWorld that's on my website right now. It'll be in print next year from Pantheon books.  Another one might be a comic I did called "My Entire High School...  Sinking into the Sea!" that's in the latest volume (#15) of Mome, the Fantagraphics quarterly anthology. Poke around my website, www.dashshaw.com, and look at the samples. I try to post a lot of sample pages.

Marvel.com: That's very easygoing of you. What else are you working on these days?

Dash Shaw: Right now I'm working on a murder-mystery comic called Torture Hospital. I don't know when that'll be done.  I'm doing small print-run mini-comics that are related to it.  I'm hoping to release all of the layouts for the book as a mini-comic when the layouts are finished. But maybe I'll only make twenty copies of that since I don't know if there's any interest in it. I did a series of animated shorts for the Independent Film Channel. It's called The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. and it'll be archived, for free, on www.ifc.com in November.

Marvel.com: And there seems to be a wave of indie/alternative comics set in genre-based worlds-Daybreak, The Mourning Star, Powr Mastrs, Crickets, Persimmon Cup, Cold Heat, lots of the material in anthologies like Mome and Kramers Ergot...why do you think this is happening?

Dash Shaw: I assume it's because the creators enjoy working in that genre. And they're really ****ing fun to draw! There's always been a lot of good genre work. It's no secret that I'm a fan of [fellow STRANGE TALES contributor] Paul Pope. I did Love Eats Brains, a zombie book, from 2002 to 2004. Honestly, I'm glad there's more sci-fi/fantasy things going on. I love that ****!


Read Dash's Doctor Strange story in STRANGE TALES #1, on sale September 2!

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I think i might have to get into this and other Dash shaw books if the preview is anything to go by. I love the first 3 panels, "Nightmare did not poison this soup" "Well [u] that's[/u] a relief!" Very funny.