This riveting interview was conducted by Dylan Williams, about a month after the February 14, 1994 release of Acme Novelty Library #1, published by Fantagraphics.
I don’t see how anyone could sit down and try to think ahead of themselves. I would create the most boring stuff if I sat down and scripted things, because the sort of associations that occur while you’re drawing, and the ideas that you get, are the real ideas. I don’t think it’s possible to have a fundamental idea when you start out scripting or laying out a strip. I think that’s silly. What’s the point? You’d get bored, first of all, drawing it. I never know how any of my strips are going to end at all. I start out with a blank page. I might make some basic decision, like, “The first row will be three and three-quarter inches. Tall panels and maybe I’ll stick one in that’s taller.” Then as I go along I might draw something in the background and think, “Wow, I’ll use this.” I’ll draw it again, or light it up with another image on the page, or I might re-draw something… As far as in the long-term storytelling, the source of associations that you want to occur in a story can only happen if you let them occur naturally. Your brain is a very organized thing. I think mine is, I hope, because things keep on popping up and I notice them. I might have a vague idea of what I want to do. The only way those things can come together… sometimes I’ll be thinking, “I’d like to do this…” and then I’ll think, “Oh wait, I already did that. I forgot.” It’s just more fun. I hear about people writing stuff and… I think Dan Clowes approach to it is pretty good. He writes really fast, which I think is a similar way to do it, plus, I don’t know if this is true or not, but Terry Laban told me that (Clowes) draws, pencils, and inks one panel at a time. He doesn’t actually do the whole page. I think that’s the way the Hernandez brothers do it, but I’m not sure. I don’t know, but for me, I like to have the all over the page be much more of a composition. I’m writing, with a pencil. Drawing and writing at the same time, I can do that. Then, as I ink it, I can do the whole thing at once.