JILL THOMPSON
interview by april may june marie lamar

SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY, "HALLOWEEN IS THE BEST!" AND JILL THOMPSON WILL TELL YOU THAT'S TRUE.

APRIL MAY JUNE MARIE GAVE HER A CALL AND WROTE THEIR WHOLE TALK DOWN FOR YOU.

THEY SPOKE OF ALASKA AND NIECES AND TOYS AND COOKIES BAKED DUE TO THE SNOW.

SO OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, TO SCARY GODMOTHER'S HOUSE WE GO.

april may june marie: Who are you?

Jill: Iím Jill Thompson. Iím a cartoonist and a book illustrator. I live in Chicago, and Iím older than you.

a: Whoís in your family?

J: My immediate family is my husband Bryan and my three cats: Archie, Goldstein, and Lukie.

a: Do you draw pretty pictures for Mr. Bryan, and does he draw pictures for you?

J: Sometimes, but not for money.

a: Can I pet your kitties?

J: Can you pet Ďem? If you come over you can. But itíd be hard to do it through the phone.

a: Oh, probably.

J: You probably wouldnít be able to pet Archie, because heíd run under the bed.

a: No thanks! Itís dark under there. Is he shy?

J: Heís very shy, but the other guys would be okay.

a: Goodie! Are you an auntie or anything like that?

J: I have seven nieces.

a: Wow, thatís like a million babies! How old are they?

J: Theyíre all under five.

a: Do they like what you do?

J: Actually, Iím not really sure if they know that I write and I draw what theyíre looking at, but they know I have something to do with Scary Godmother-- or at the very least, that sheís a friend of mine and I know her.

a: Oh my gosh, thatís so cool! Is Scary Godmother pretty nice? Whatís she like?

J: Sheís really nice. She lives about three blocks away from me. Sheís a tall, kind of witchy and scary godmothery type of lady who has curly red hair and little purple bat wings that stick out of her back. Every day is like Halloween over at her house. She lives with her friend, Mister Pettibone, the Skeleton in the Closet, and Bug-A-Boo, the Monster Under the Bed. He works under a lot of kidsí beds; thatís his job. She also lives with her ghost cat, Boozle. And her friend Hannah Marie, a little girl, comes over and visits her.

a: Is there a monster under my bed?

J: Not all of the time, but Bug-A-Booís probably under there some of the time, depending on if youíre on his regular route or not.

a: Whew! As long as the monster isnít scary. Bug-A-Booís fine, since I know he wonít spit on me or eat me or anything. Um. Um, um, um,.. whatís your house like? What kind of decorations do you have and what do you have to play with?

J: I live in an apartment and itís decorated with some comic book art that I did and some that friends of mine did. Itís pretty much filled with natural things like pinecones and deer antlers. It is also filled with a lot of skeleton things, but not scary, satanic skeletons.

a: Iíve seen fun, happy skeletons from Mexico Land. I think my mommy called it ďDay of the DeadĒ stuff.

J: Yeah. I find a lot of that around-- and a lot of monster things like that, too. There are a lot of true crime books; my husband writes crime fiction so thatís always good to have around. And we also have Hawaiian Tiki things.

a: Do you guys go out and play a bunch?

J: Not as much as weíd like. We work a lot.

a: Do you ever go camping?

J: Sometimes we go into the woods, but we stay in a cabin my family owns. We donít ever stay in a tent.

a: If you could go and explore anywhere, where would you go?

J: Iíd really like to see Alaska. There are many, many other places. Iíd like to spend tons of time traveling. But Alaska still seems like itís still kind of lumberjacky and wild; like if you wander off a path, a mosquito might be so huge it could suck all of the blood out of you, or thereís the chance of running across a bear! Iím a huge fan of the woods.

a: If you were a pony what color would you be?

J: I would be a chestnut or a bay horse. Theyíre a reddish-brown color.

a: Iíd be pink with white stars. Do you do a lot of team work?

J: I used to with other comic books Iíve worked on. But with Scary Godmother I write, draw, letter, and paint. I do everything myself.

a: I heard of a book you worked on called Sandman, but my mommy and daddy wonít let me see it. How come?

J: Itís not for kids. But The Little Endless Storybook is good for kids. Itís the Sandman characters when they were babies, Itís a fun story about the little sister, Delirium, and her puppy who has to find her.

a: I think crayons are fun to draw with and yummy. What do you use?

J: I mostly use watercolor paint and pencils, and sometimes I use pen and ink when I draw comics.

a: Do you make other things than pictures?

J: Oh yes. I make tons of stuff. I like to make food of all different kinds. Iím one of those people who like all of the cooking magazines. I make a lot of crafts and gifts. I just finished sewing a cover for our couch. Iím fairly crafty, but Iím also kind of clumsy. I really like carpentry, and I would really like to take a stab at much more elaborate building projects. Unfortunately, I know Iíd cut my toes or fingers off, or drill holes in my hands. I have to be very careful if I get a wild idea in my head, because it might be dangerous. It might send me to the hospital if Iím not careful.

a: You should ask your parents for some safety scissors.

J: I just kind of dive into things. Like, a couple years ago I made a backpack that looked like Bug-A-Boo; I didnít plan it out with a pattern or anything, I just started cutting and sewing. It all worked out fine, but I realized that these things do take a lot of time. To make another one would be a daunting task. But I did end up making seven trick-or-treat bags after that for my nieces that looked like Bug-A-Boo. Halfway through I was like, ďWhy did I do this?!? Why did my in-laws have so many kids?!?Ē

a: Do you make anything that people can buy?

J: There is a shirt and a set of four plastic drinking glasses available through Graphitti Designs. Everything will be available through cosmictherapy.com soon. Scary Godmother is going to be a TV show, so all of the merchandising will eventually be tied into that.

a: What is the TV show going to be? Is it a cartoon?

J: Itís 3-D, with computer graphics.

a: When do I get to see it?

J: It depends on where you live. Supposedly itís going to be out this Halloween, but I know it hasnít been sold in the US yet. I think it might get Canadian play, because the animation company is Canadian. Iím working heavily on the artistic and pre-production end: doing matte paintings and character design. I co-wrote the script with a friend of mine. The fact that Iím able to help out on all levels is great, but I donít know dudes in Hollywood or network people. Thatís an entirely different kettle of fish.

a: Do doggies have lips?

J: Yeah. They have black, rubbery lips.

a: Poop. Thatís what everyone else says, but I donít think so. Whatís your favorite bedtime story?

J: Iíd have to say right now my favorite is The Boo Flu because every time I visit my nieces I have to read it to them. They call it ďThe Bug-A-Boo BookĒ.

a: How does that story go?

J: Itís a Scary Godmother book thatís entirely written in rhyme, and itís about what happens when Scary Godmother gets sick right before Halloween and Hannah has to take over the job.

a: What is the sickness like?

J: Like a really bad flu.

a: I canít go to sleep without my Baboo Bunny. What was your favorite toy when you were little?

J: I played with a lot of dolls. There was one doll in particular; it was called a ďDawnĒ doll, but I named her Suzy. I made a little yarn dog for her named Rover (he was a sheepdog). My brother had Evel Knievel dolls. I took one of them because they kept getting destroyed, and I wanted Evel Knievel to be in somewhat of a good working order. He had wire arms so he could hold on to the motorcycle, but if you bent them too much the wire would break and heíd end up with rubbery arms. We had to put tape on his arms. He looked like Evel Knievel but with casts on his arms.

a: My friend wayne has an Evel Knievel bobble-head doll.

J: Cool. I still have tons of toys, so itís really hard for me to say what was my favorite toy growing up, because I still play with them.

a: Do you look for them on the Internet and all of that kind of stuff?

J: I am so not Internet savvy. We have one computer that is hooked up to the Internet in the apartment and just checking email and responding to them takes up much of my time. If I played online I would never have time to finish up what I have to do in a day.

a: Can I have a cookie?

J: Oh yeah. I baked them this morning!

a: What kind are they?

J: Theyíre pinwheels with brown sugar and pecans. I made them because it was cold and snowy.

a: What is your favorite Halloween candy?

J: Candied devil tails.

a: What are those?

J: Theyíre licorice.

a: Is that what it says on the package, or is that what you call them?

J: Thatís what I call them.

a: What was your last Halloween costume?

J: This year I was kind of a gothic princess-- like an Anne Rice princess.

a: Do you read a lot of her books?

J: I started to fall away from the books (I have tons of them) when I started to know what was going to happen. I was like, ďOkay. I see this coming.Ē I started to write my own comics, and my husband is a writer, so I got used to the tricks. I knew what the ending was or what the twists were going to be.

a: Are we there yet?

J: Just one more stop.

PICK UP SOME OF JILL'S WORK AT COSMICTHERAPY.COM