Brooklyn based illustrator and cartoonist, Koren Shadmi is back with a new book from Top Shelf Comics called Love Addict: Confessions of a Serial Dater, which highlights the pleasure and the pain of love, sex, expectations and break ups. Following its lead, “K” we act as voyeurs as he faces an addiction of the heart. The book is quite different from Koren’s well received book from last years, The Abaddon. We took some time to catch up with Koren to discuss the new book, similarities and influences:-
CC: Hi Koren, great to catch up with you. It’s been awhile since we last saw your work, other than Love Addict what have you been up to?
Koren Shadmi: I just started a serialized Sci-Fi web comic called Highwayman, it’s on a site called Terra-form which is part of the Vice network. It’s updated about once a month. I haven’t really done science fiction since I was a teenager, so it’s a lot of fun working that part of my brain again. There’s not a lot you know about the story when it starts, so I would suggest just giving the first episode a read – it’s free.
CC: Were you pleased with the reception that The Abbadon received? What made it satisfying?
KS: Yes, it got quite a bit of good press. It was a little strange seeing The Abaddon revived like that, since there was about a 4 year gap between the end of the web-comic and the release of the book. There’s some older work of mine that I cringe seeing printed again, but I’m very proud of The Abaddon. I hope that the hard copy brought some new readers in.
CC: I didn’t expect the humour in Love Addict. Where did that come from?
KS: I think that dating and sex is inherently funny. When you go on dates with strangers it can get weird, funny, and dark. Your basically getting a window into someone’s life and psyche in a very short period of time. A lot of times there’s funny moments that come out of the contradictions between the two people’s expectations as well as the sheer awkwardness of it all. When I was working on the book I asked a few friends about their personal dating stories, and most times they were shockingly funny.
CC: Having been single more than once, I can totally empathize with K’s plight. Where did the inspiration for the character and the menagerie of girls come from? Is the book more autobiographical or observational?
KS: The book is largely autobiographical, the character in it isn’t me, but there’s a lot of similarities. For a long time I resisted doing bio comics, they were all the rage in the 90’s and early 2000’s, and that made me steer in the other direction. I would always prefer to come up with fictional stories. But after my roller coaster year of intense dating , I just thought, there’s something here that’s really interesting, and I would like to explore it more.
It was also good to have a bit of time and distance from it the actual dating so I could really process what happened (the book was created when I was already in a relationship). Of course what happens to K in the book is more extreme than my personal account, but you have to embellish things for the sake of drama.
CC: Looking at the book, there seems to be a Woody Allen feel to it. Is Woody an inspiration? Who else are your inspirations for this book?
KS: I love Woody Allen, someone else had mentioned to me that the main character looks like him. I think it might also be just a Jewish thing, the self-deprecating Jew, with his neurosis and problems with women. I think that some of Woody Allen’s movies have that tragic/comedic vibe that I really enjoy, kind of reflecting the ups and downs of life. Maybe subconsciously I was trying to conjure him up, but it wasn’t a deliberate decision.
CC: There’s always a debate brewing about which is more important, word or pictures. As a writer/artist which discipline do you prefer to work in?
KS: In comics I think pictures are definitely more important, since the comics wouldn’t exist without them. For me writing is definitely more challenging, I think drawing comes more naturally since I’ve done it since I was a little boy. It’s also more enjoyable. I’ve been writing a screenplay this year and some days it feels like chewing coal. Writing Love Addict was a bit easier since a lot of it was based of personal experiences and it was more a question of editing.
CC: What books are currently floating your boat?
KS: I just read Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart, which was really beautiful and heartbreaking. As far as literature, I’ve been on a Raymond Chandler binge, and it’s been a lot of fun. I think he was ahead of his time in a lot of ways, and I love how he keeps you in the dark till the end in most of his books.
CC: When you look across the divide towards the Big Two, is there any book or character you think, man I would love to work on that?
KS: Hmm. I don’t really read any DC or Marvel anymore, but if I could work on any comic it would probably be She Hulk – I would love to take a stab at that. Just seems like a fun character to draw and explore, and there’s the comedic aspect to her too, since she’s feminine but also incredibly strong.
CC: What’s next on your schedule?
KS: I’m working on a graphic novel for Nation Books about Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, it’s a lot of fun. The book is written by Dave Kushner, who was the last person to do a major interview with Gygax, Most likely it will be out later next year.
CC: Thanks for your time Koren, good luck with Love Addict.
Love Addict is out NOW in your local comics shops. For more information on the book, check out our review HERE