Paul Hornschemeier is cartoonist from Ohio who has a degree in philosophy. He’s now living outside Chicago, and has a new mainsteam publisher for his latest book, Life with Mr. Dangerous (Villard), which was previously serialized in Fantagraphic’s Mome anthology.

Washington City Paper: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Paul Hornschemeier: I make the artwork for my books using traditional pencil, brush, and ink. I color the artwork on a computer.

WCP: Can you tell us a little about your new book that you’ll be in town signing?

PH: The book revolves around Amy Breis, a woman in her mid-20s stuck in a dead-end retail job, attempting to have a relationship with her mother while not becoming her mother. Through all this she searches for meaning in her obsession, an animated show titled “Mr. Dangerous.”

WCP: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

PH: None.

WCP: Who are your influences?


PH: Jim Henson, Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak, Charles Addams. 
WCP: You moved from self-publishing formal experimentation to doing more popular works with large publishers. How did this evolution happen for you, and how do you feel about it?


PH: I think this was a natural evolution of my stories. I think the earlier experiments fed themselves into elements of the longer form works, but I don’t think experimentation for its own sake can be justified or give as pleasurable a viewing/reading experience in longer form narratives. I’ve tried to only allow in as much experimentation—-and as much of anything—-as each story needs.

WCP: What work are you best-known for?


PH: It depends who you’re asking. I suppose it would be my first book Mother Come Home for most people.

WCP: What work are you most proud of?


PH: Whatever I’m working on next.

WCP: What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

PH: I’ll be continuing to write and draw my graphic novels and am now working on some projects that I am writing and other people are drawing. I’m also working on various screenwriting projects.

WCP: What do you do when you’re in a rut or have writer’s block?

PH: I haven’t had that problem, if anything I have more ideas than I have time to produce, and that causes problems with figuring out how to complete as many as I can.


WCP: Have you attended the Small Press Expo in the past, and if so do you have any thoughts about your experience? Will you be attending it in the future?


PH: SPX is a great festival that’s continued to grow over the years. I’ve always loved attending and will absolutely be attending in the future.

WCP: What’s your favorite thing about D.C.?


PH: My sister and her family live near D.C., so visiting them is my favorite part of that city.

WCP: Least favorite?

PH: There was some milky white liquid on the floor of the bathroom at the Washington Monument in the later ’90s. Hopefully someone cleaned that up.

WCP: Do you have a website or blog?


Hornschemeier will be signing his new book at Big Planet Comics, in Bethesda today from 6 to 8 p.m.