Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Greetings From Kyle's Bed and Breakfast: An Interview w/ Creator Greg Fox!

Greg Fox's terrific syndicated LBGT comic Kyle's Bed & Breakfast made its debut all the way back in 1998! For those unfamiliar, Kyle's B&B follows the lives of five central gay characters as they make their way through this world interacting with friends, lovers, bigots, and recently, even the Russian government. There's tons of romantic drama, emotional upheaval, and lots and lots of laughter. It's like the gay prime time drama you always wish existed, but you know the networks would never have the nerve to make.

Greg Fox began making comics at 12 years old, publishing his first strip at age 14 and continuing to illustrate and write comic strips through high school and college. He received a B.A. from Geneseo College in upstate New York. Immediately following college, he played guitar in several New York-based rock bands, but then jumped into doing comics full-force. His illustration work has appeared in comic books for such companies as Revolutionary Comics, Triumphant Comics, and Marvel Comics.

Although there are three incredible compilations of Kyle's Bed and Breakfast available, Fox hasn't stopped there. On May 16, 2014, Drawings of Drew was released, a new book based entirely on the Kyle's B&B character Drew Danvers! Here's the description:
Drew Danvers, a popular character in the comic strip, is the male figure depicted in these drawings, although he's never before been seen in such detail and full-frontal state of undress as he is throughout this book. The pencil drawings are impressively reproduced, (many look as if they are the actual original penciled artwork), and are quite worthy of framing. In fact, included in the book is a helpful guide for page removal along with framing instructions. Also included is a background story of the Drew Danvers character, charting his humble beginnings growing up on a peach orchard in Alabama through his arrival and dramatic storyline at Kyle's B&B, (with a number of panels from the comic strip). And there's even a 3-page "message" from Drew Danvers himself, along with his Mama's Alabama peach pie recipe! You certainly don't need to know a thing about "Kyle's B&B" to enjoy this book... it's for anyone who has a fondness for quality, classical style figure drawings of the male nude.
Despite all the hoopla and insanity involved in releasing a new book,  Greg Fox was kind enough to sit down and answer some of our burning questions about his wonderful work.

Q: First things first, why in the world does anyone put up with Lance’s blowhard attitude? Drew is just too good for him. 
Greg: Haha.... I think Lance is just one of those incredibly magnetic guys. He's confident and powerful and razor sharp with his comments. And gorgeous, on top of that! Besides which, Lance has had some of the funniest lines in the comic strip.... these sort of deadpan comebacks whenever someone tries to give him flack. Drew seems to have been captivated by him from the moment they met! Lance, on the other hand, took a while to warm up to Drew.

Q: Speaking of Drew, you have a new book coming out very soon called “Drawings of Drew.” Just how much of Drew can we expect to see? 
Greg: Oh, gosh,,, being that this is a book of figure drawings of Drew, and not an actual collection of Kyle's B&B episodes, I'll say you can expect to see VERY much of Drew. In all seriousness, I've spent the last 6 months or so working on these figure drawings, and I don't think there's a single square inch of Drew's body that wasn't drawn.... multiple times! Yeah, it's full-frontal, full....back-al, (is that a word?). Full rear-al? Full anal? All of that! LOL.

Q: Were you secretly hoping someone would pull a Michael Arakawa at the Olympics this year? 
Greg: You know, when I decided to incorporate that Olympic storyline into Kyle's B&B, it was kind of a gamble. Because I do everything weeks, sometimes months in advance, there was a real possibility the USA may have withdrawn from the Olympics, or something else might've happened that would've completely invalidated the story in the comic strip. So, yeah, I would've been glad if an actual Olympic athlete had stood up for LGBT rights in a dramatic fashion like Michael did in the comic strip.... but I think I was just relieved it all worked out OK. And to get more serious for a moment, I hated that I had to do that storyline in the first place, that the LGBT community in Russia is being oppressed and tortured. In that respect, it would've been nice if there was a real Michael Arakawa at the Olympics, although I'm not sure how much good it would've done.

Q: Ok, I am just gonna flat out ask. Is Steve Brewer an angel? 
Greg: Haha, well if he's not, he sure does a good impression of one! I'm putting together a book of Steve's adventures, hopefully to be published before the next volume of Kyle's B&B, (book 4), is published. And that should reveal quite a bit more about the mysterious Steve Brewer!

Q: Where can I get a sexy Krampus outfit? 
Greg: Well, I think you might need to get creative on that one..... in the comic strip, the character Richard created that costume himself for Price, (interestingly, all of the skimpy, "barely-there" Christmas outfits that Richard created seemed to go to the hairy-chested guys. Hmmm.... I wonder what HE likes!). Anyway.... I'll see if he's available for commissioned work!

Q:  Do you envision that Billy’s time with Eduardo is going to lead to actual change? Or, will he just go back to his old ways given time and distance? 
Greg: Ah, Billy.... the homophobic stand-up comedian who came to Kyle's B&B for "sensitivity training". I think the point with him was, he was so focused on rehabilitating his damaged public persona, (because he's caused an uproar with his homophobic stand-up act), that he wasn't really open to learning WHY his outlook was so offensive. But that changed. I do think he learned something at the B&B.... getting to know Eduardo, hearing his story about him being tossed out by his parents for being gay while still in high school.... it had an impact. He seemed genuinely humbled by the time he left. Perhaps we'll see him again sometime!

Q:  Is there any subject matter that is just plain off the table or too taboo for Kyle’s B&B? 
Greg:  I like tackling "tough" topics, but.... I think what's "off the table" by the fact that the strip is published in a number of different LGBT publications across the country is being able to show hardcore sex scenes. I have to keep it sort of "PG-13", simply because most of the publications that run the strip have restrictions. But then, I still get complaints occasionally that something or other was a little TOO risqué, or whatever. Interestingly, it's not a restriction I feel weighed down by; I didn't conceive the strip as a hardcore sex strip, (not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with erotic comics, it's just never been my specialty). I tend to write stories in the genre of the types of TV shows that I really love. Certainly full of romance, excitement, intimacy.... and probably more underwear, jockstrap, and bare butt scenes than you could ask for... but I don't take that dive into full-on hardcore sex.

Q: When you first premiered Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast in 1998, did any of your dream scenarios for the cartoon include still publishing it in 2014? 
Greg: Oh, I wanted to be doing it for a very, very long time. I felt realty strong about these characters and wanted to tell their stories for many years to come. What's great is that I still have a ton of storylines written, waiting to be drawn.... it almost feels like I'm still in the early stages of these character's stories, there's A LOT left to tell!

Q: Any good off panel gossip you care to share about Brad Steele? 
Greg:  Hmmm... there's been some talk in the strip about the fact that Brad has a "lucky jockstrap" that he wears for important occasions. Generally for most baseball games, but also when he has to go to important events, like the baseball awards dinner he went to, or pretty much any event he has to wear a suit to. So, if you ever see Brad in a suit & tie, rest assured... he's wearing that by-now ratty jockstrap underneath it!

Q: What graphic novels or cartoons are you currently following? 
Greg: Actually, my most recent read was something retro.... a collection of Daredevil from the 80s that was freaking amazing.

Q:  Based on the info in your bio, you are a fan of early 80s music. Better song…INXS “Don’t Change” or Depeche Mode “People Are People?” 
Greg:  Oh, those are 2 great songs, by 2 great bands.... (both of whom I've seen in concert, multiple times!). I think I would have to give the edge to Depeche Mode there, though.... "People Are People" is like, an iconic song, (at least, in my mind!).

Click any pic to enlarge!

Be sure to visit Greg Fox's website to keep up on all the latest Kyle's B&B comics and view the incredible swag! Also, visit the Kyle's B&B Fan Facebook page!

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