Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Doug Wright Award-nominated cartoonist Jesse Jacobs reveals his weirdest character

The author of Crawl Space answers eight questions from eight fellow writers.
Jesse Jacobs is the author of Crawl Space. (Courtesy of Koyama Press)

Jesse Jacobs is a New Brunswick-born, Hamilton, Ont.-based comics creator known for highly stylisized original works like By This Shall You Know Him and Safari Honeymoon. His latest book is Crawl Space, which is about a teenage girl who discovers that the washer and dryer in her parents' new suburban home are a portal to another world — a geometrically shifting, aggressively rainbow higher reality. 

Crawl Space is currently shortlisted for the Doug Wright Award for best book. The winner will be announced on May 12, 2018, as part of the Toronto Festival of Comic Arts.

Below, Jacobs takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight fellow authors.

1. Jo Walton asks, "What's the most unusual thing you've ever made work in your writing?"

I created a character who is a gourmet chef/safari guide that has a parasite for a tongue.

2. Brian Brett asks, "Do you consider yourself a stylist?"

I only know how to draw one way, and it's highly stylized. My stories are deeply informed by my drawings, resulting in a certain style of narrative. I would consider myself an unintentional stylist.

3. Hiro Kanagawa asks, "When do you feel like a fraud (assuming you do now and then)?"

When I talk about my work.

4. Lawrence Hill asks, "What is the worst job you ever had, and what kind of good material did it give you?"

Like a lot of people who grew up in New Brunswick, I spent a few months working in a call centre. Talking to so many people from all over North America helped me learn how to write dialogue, to make a story with more than one voice.

5. Vivek Shraya asks, "What has been the most surprising question you have been asked at a Q&A/writer event/panel?"

It isn't so surprising when you look at my work, but I often get asked about drug use.

6. Meg Rosoff asks, "What's your favourite way to waste time?"

Looking at water.

7. Gail Anderson-Dargatz asks, "What irrational (or rational) fears about your writing life wake you at 2:30 in the morning? Do those fears dog you in the day or disappear in the light? How do you come to terms with them so you can write?"

Fears about my writing/art practice are doubt-related. I'm always second guessing everything. I still haven't come to terms with that, and probably never will. Self-doubt is a big part of my process.

8. Ami Sands Brodoff asks, "With which deceased writer would you like to share a bottle of wine — or bourbon — and why?"

One of the apostles. Peter or John. I have so many questions to ask.