Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 6. In addition to giving away thousands of free comics, this year we will again be hosting many fine artists and writers at Richard’s Comics & Collectables. Along the way we’ll be highlighting some of these guests by asking them a few questions about who they are and what they do. Here’s Duane Ballenger!

What was your first published work?

“I was first published by Wide Awake Press. I was in that company’s first anthology and they also published my first mini-comic! Around the same time I designed a mountain board (think skateboard, but with inflatable tires!) that was featured in the Disney movie Johnny Kapahala: Back On Board.”

Do you have a certain routine you follow when you create?

“Yes! My favorite way to create is to put on an old/spooky/weird/bad movie (usually an old black and white flicker show), brew a pot of coffee and sit and create (usually drawing) while I sip the old black magic and listen to the movie. Oddly, it really helps me get into a creative flow.”

What materials do you use when you work?

“Anything that feels right for what I’m doing at the time, I particularly like Faber Castell brush pens, markers, highlighters, and ball point pens. I also do 3D work sometimes in the medium of clay.”

What’s the first comic you remember reading?

“Wow, it was definitely Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. Also an early one I remember was Arak Son of Thunder, DC House of Mystery and the Rocket Raccoon 4 issue limited series. Such fun stuff, I still dig all of those!”

What comics are you reading these days?

Doom Patrol, Shade the Changing Girl, and any collected reprints I can get my hands on. A great one that comes to mind is the two volume Bacchus Omnibus.”

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?

“I love to play RPGs! Dungeons & Dragons, Rolemaster, Pathfinder and anything else that may come along. I also like to read (huge Stephen King fan), and I’m into collecting music, mostly punk, but other stuff as well.”

Do you have any advice you’d like to give someone reading this that might be interested in making comics?

“Make comics any way you feel comfortable. I wasted a lot of time trying to fit a mold, when I’ve been most happy with just doing things the way I enjoy doing them.”

What’s a project that you’re particularly pleased with how it came out?

“I’m usually pretty pleased with my 3D work and I like how my t-shirt designs come out! I also print my own shirts.”

Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to plug?

“Look for updates on my website and on my social media platforms for updates on what I’m doing. Usually an idea will be had and come to fruition fairly quickly!”

Where can we find you online?

“Look for me at my website/blog www.meatloaffreak.com. I cover lots of nerdy things, up to and including food! Oh, and my own artwork. Thanks!”

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Be sure to head to Richard’s for Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 6 and meet Duane!

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