Pop Culture
Mar 15, 2023, 06:28AM

Low Key, Not Consciously 

A 2019 The Comics Journal interview with novelist/comic book author J. M. DeMatteis vs. a 2020 Ben Sisto interview with musician/curator Taja Cheek.

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J. M. DeMatteis: Right. But what happens after enlightenment, when you come back down from the cosmic high?

Taja Cheek: Delight and confusion. It becomes really weird, really fast.

DeMatteis: Low key. Not consciously.

Cheek: Not like emptied pools, but actual swimming pools.

DeMatteis: They’re anything we want them to be. 


Cheek: You can plan as much as you want, but you really have no idea what's going to happen.

DeMatteis: You lose things you hold dear, you fall, you get back up again.

Cheek: That shaped me in interesting ways, some that are very noticeable and some that are less tangible.

DeMatteis: They’re wonderful. But they can also be a thousand other things.

Cheek: It was very New York. (laughs) I remember learning a lot about trees, flora and fauna, and wildlife.


DeMatteis: Want to do three or four pages that are essentially illustrated prose and then shift into more typical, or perhaps even wordless, comics.

Cheek: I try to challenge myself to answer that question fairly regularly — to check in with myself. 


DeMatteis: Why not? We’ve developed a mutual trust and respect that informs everything we’ve done together.

Cheek: So much so that the park rangers seem to know a lot about the artwork.

DeMatteis: It’s either there or it’s not.


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