SPX Talks: Aaron Diaz/Dresden Codak / by Spandexless


People, I have a very complicated relationship to the idea of the intelligent machines. Put simply, I think I might be one to side with the Terminator, should it ever come to this. I can't imagine many people who would be on my side, but one auto-include would be Kimiko Ross, main character of Dresden Codak, both a webcomic and the pseudonym  of its creator (who, according to his website, doesn't want to be confused with "Latin sensation Aaron Diaz." I'm sure Mr. Codak would be on the list of machine-lovers as well, based on the content of his comics. I believe even more so after meeting him in person at SPX 2011. His "Hob" storyline is the one I point people to to gain an understanding of my thoughts on machinery, and I often re-read it for the pure post-singularity joy of it. Here's our discussion, recorded digitally in audio, chewed by my transcript-machine, aka Beth, and spat back out in pure textual glory. Enjoy.

Alex: So what made you want to make a comic as opposed to writing traditional, specifically, sic-fi?

Aaron Diaz: I started being a fan of drawing first. I would doodle in class and things like that. Sto the visual element sort of came before everything else. And when I got comfortable drawing I realized I just like visual storytelling. I was a filmmaker before I did comics. So I've always liked the visual narrative. So comics was a nice economical way to tell stories. And I love the entire process basically.

A: How far ahead do you generally have an idea? Because of course there was the "Hob" storyline and now in "Dark Science" we're seeing a continuation of that.

AD: It depends. With some of the comics it will be something I'll start drawing it, and start writing it as I draw it. But other times, like with "Dark Science" and the bigger stories, I'll plan them a couple of years ahead of time. I knew when I was writing "Hob" that I was going to do a bigger story arc later. And so I pretty much plan three or four years ahead sometimes with the story. And with "Dark Science" in particular, things that people read like back in 2007, they'll realize ties into "Dark Science."

A: Interesting. So you would say that you have one cohesive universe?

AD: Pretty much. Basically my rule is, it's one continuity unless otherwise stated. So like it's the same characters and the same stories. I mean, obviously if the world gets blown up in a one shot comic, it probably isn't the same continuity. But beyond that, yeah.

A: So what is your philosophical and scientific background, considering the amount of philosophy and science that are in this?

AD: I went to school for physics first and I changed my major to anthropology, and then I changed my major to computer science, and then I changed my major to art. And then I dropped out, and then I made comics. So I have a weird background and I'm mostly into philosophy and science and I'm really just into really old school science fiction from the 60s and 50s and stuff. And it's generally where I attack it from. And I have like an amateur background in philosophy.

A: And one last question: You're known as impeccably dressed no matter where you go. Is there any particular reason?

AD: Yes. Because being a full-time cartoonist is the silliest, most childish job in the world, and I need something to remind me that I'm doing a grownup job.