TSJ Interviews Illustrator Evan Munday

1. What got you started on these sexy superheroes illustrations?
I have to blame a friend of mine, poet Natalie Zina Walschots. She wrote a series of erotic love poems to all these different super-villains: Doctor Doom, Green Goblin, the Joker. Shortly after she began writing them, she asked if I’d be keen to draw some accompanying illustrations. Since I’m a fan of Natalie’s work and just generally liked the idea of drawing dangerous supervillains as pin-ups, I signed on immediately. I drew several dozen different villains while she shopped the manuscript around to publishers (and in the process, made a couple of beefcake calendars that I gave to friends and sold at local comic conventions).

The book, DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, will be published this spring by Insomniac Press. Unfortunately, due to the legal complications of depicting trademarked supervillains in the nude without permission, all those lovely illustrations won’t appear in the final book. But it was fun while it lasted, and I’m doing some new, more generic erotic villain drawings for the final book.

2. Can you fill me in on what’s going on here with Red Skull, Magneto, Galactus, and Lex Luthor (in Superman skivvies!)?
‘Fill me in’ sounds exactly like the kind of double entendre these illustrations inspire. With all the illustrations, I’m trying to land somewhere smack dab in the middle of actually sexy and just plain funny.

For the most part, that involved careful placement of items (jack-in-the-boxes, revolvers) in front of crotches, like a drawn Austin Powers sketch. Red Skull has always had a fascist bent, so I went with the jackboots and riding crop. Magneto is taking an ultra-sexy shower in rivets (an image of which I’m very proud). Galactus is much, uh, bigger than the other villains. His cock is probably flattened against the British Isles in that portrait.

And I’ve always felt Lex Luthor must have secretly loved Superman, as much as he despised him. Anyone who watched the early days of the show Smallville must have noticed the incredible sexual tension between Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum. My illustration just less subtle about it.

3. Why are the dudes lounging around like this?
Given that all the illustrations of male supervillains, I think it turns the whole male gaze of most comic books on its head (if that’s not too many mixed metaphors in one sentence). You go to comic conventions and there are all these pin-up drawings of female supervillains and female superheroes everywhere, and you just don’t see any male supervillain erotica. It’s wall to wall drawings of Catwoman and Harley Quinn in various states of undress, but nary a naked dude to be seen.

Comic readers are used to having their female characters overtly sexualized. Despite the spandex and bulging muscles, male characters just aren’t treated the same way by illustrators. At conventions, half the people who look at the calendars become really uncomfortable; the other half absolutely love them.

4. When did you start doing illustration?As far back as I can remember. As long as I’ve been reading comics, I’ve been trying to draw my own. I used to draw my own X-Men stories when I was nine. I guess this work is like a really strange (but natural) continuation of that!

5. What else are you working on?
It’s a busy time! This fall, I just published my first young adult novel, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. (Yes, the guy drawing the naughty pictures of supervillains writes kids’ books. Disturbing, I know.) The Dead Kid Detective Agency as the adventures of a sort-of goth Nancy Drew whose friends are all dead, and all died at a different point in Canadian history. It’s the first of a series, so I’m in the process of finishing up the second book.

I’m also finishing the second installment of my self-published comic series, Quarter-Life Crisis, about a post-apocalyptic Toronto in which only the twenty-five year-olds have survived (and split up into neighborhood-based gangs).  And, of course, my full-time job is as publicist at Coach House Books, so I’m also publicizing their titles and planning for our spring releases.

Evan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling, written by Jon Paul Fiorentino (ECW Press, 2009), and is the cartoonist behind the self-published comic book, Quarter-Life Crisis, set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. He works as a book publicist for Coach House Books. The Dead Kid Detective Agency (ECW Press, 2011) is his first novel. He lives in Toronto.