There are some creators in comics that, when you see their name on the front cover, there’s no question: you have to pick up the book. If what you’re wanting is a guaranteed-to-be entertaining story, it’s a must-get. Mark Russell is one of those creators. Whether it be in his titles such as The Flintstones, Not All Robots, Superman: Space Age, or a bevy of others, Russell, time and again, has been shown to be a writer who’ll deliver a story that will pull you in, make you think, make you feel emotions you weren’t expecting to feel that day (looking at you, The Flintstones), all in the same issue.

That’s why we’re excited about Mr. Russell’s newest project, Bunkbed Mishaps, which he’s currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Bunkbed Mishaps is Russell’s first cartoon collection, comprised of cartoons spanning three decades.  Mr. Russell spoke with us recently about the genesis of Bunkbed Mishaps, the creative muscles cartooning allows him to flex, the Kickstarter itself, and what projects he has down the road. Mark Russell never has a miss and we’re excited to see his foray into cartooning. The samples of the collection on the Kickstarter campaign page are compelling, so we’re eager to see what’s in the rest of the book.

FreakSugar: For folks who are reading this, what is the idea behind Bunkbed Mishaps?

Mark Russell: I’m not sure there is an idea behind it, to be honest. It’s a book of cartoons drawn by me, but other than that, there’s nothing really that ties them together. A lot of these cartoons are, shall we say, abstruse? Or maybe they’re just weird. For one reason or another, though, I thought they were funny enough to take the time to draw them. In a way, I guess they’re a sort of reverse Rorschach print. Instead of looking at a mysterious image to see what my subconscious made of it, I drew one to make something of my subconscious.

FS: You mention in your Kickstarter introduction that you’re an amateur cartoonist, but this is the first time you’ve published your work. How long have you been cartooning and what is it about cartooning that it gives you creatively that straight writing doesn’t?

MR: It doesn’t need to follow a narrative. Or even make sense, for that matter. I can just run with a sentence I like, or a situation that would never appear in any written story.


FS: Would you characterize Bunkbed Mishaps as a memoir?

MR: I think memoir needs to come with a huge freaking asterisk here. These cartoons don’t tell my story, unless it’s the story of my mental disintegration. The book DOES, however, contain a few short essays in which I tell the reader how I got started drawing, what these cartoons mean to me, and about what was going on in my life as I drew them. So that part is memoir. The cartoons themselves, much less so.

FS: How would you characterize the stories found in the collection? Do you pull from your life at all?

MR: These cartoons are about as far afield from my life as I can imagine. They don’t even tell stories. They are maybe best described as scenes in movies that would never get made in a million years, or snapshots of conversations that never happened.


FS: The name automatically made me perk up. Why Bunkbed Mishaps?

MR: To me, it seemed like a good visualization of what goes on mentally behind the scenes of these cartoons. It’s probably a lot of fun to jump on the top bunk of your imagination, at least until it collapses on whatever’s below.

FS: On to the campaign, why did you choose to go the Kickstarter route for this project?

MR: It’s so different than anything else I’ve ever published I didn’t feel right going to any of my normal publishers with this project and I liked the idea of selling it directly to readers. If I have one thing that isn’t widely available in stores but which I have to hand directly to someone, one human being to another, this book feels like it should be the one.


FS: What kind of rewards can backers expect?

MR: In addition to prints of cartoons from the book, the rewards include my original artwork and signed books from the annals of my better-known career as a writer.

FS: Do you have any other projects down the pike that you’d like to discuss?

MR: I will also crowdfunding a comic later this year with AHOY called “The Forgotten Divine”. They are also releasing a graphic novel of mine with art by Peter Snejberg, about cereal monsters. Chocolate vampires, blueberry ghosts, crunchy ship captains, but in a serious horror story. I’m not sure if we’re crowdfunding that, though, or just releasing it directly in trade paperback form.


FS: If you had one final pitch to potential backers, what would it be?

MR: Not only do I think these cartoons are funny and worth reading, I think this is something that is unlike anything else you have or, probably, wanted.

The Kickstarter for Bunkbed Mishaps has already reached its initial goal as of press time, but you still have almost three weeks left to back this phenomenal from an extraordinarily gifted comic creator.