Tuesday, October 15, 2013

[NYCC] Tableside Chat with Tyler Capps of Cooking Comically

Comic Book conventions are rarely a place where you'll find anything approaching quality food, but if there's someone who would know how to put together a decent meal at a con, it would be Tyler Capps. Capps is the author of the webcomic Cooking Comically, where he routinely puts out recipe comics on how to prepare anything from bolognese to burgers and much more. If that sounds like a tasty proposition, please join us on the other side to check out our chat.

Tyler Capps is a webcomic creator who calls www.cookingcomically.com home. He's been hard at work at the site for the past few years, recently releasing a book, Cooking Comically: Recipes So Easy You'll Actually Make Them, published by Perigee Trade. He took some time away from his New York Comic Con to chat with me about his comic. [This interview took place the afternoon of Friday October 11th, 2013]

Grant McLaughlin: Just to begin, for those who might be unfamiliar with your work, what is it that you do?

Tyler Capps: I do a web comic-slash-cooking blog called Cooking Comically. And it's basically a comic strip that teaches people how to cook simple recipes.

GM: And how did that originally come about?

Capps: I've been drawing comics since I was really little, and usually the comics were just about whatever I was into at the moment, so it's never really been a consistent thing. I got into cooking about three years ago, and I was doing a photography project for a class. It was a food photography class where I took pictures of a meal failing and then going to a restaurant, because the assignment was to tell a story in a certain number of frames. So I did that and I kind of felt like there was something maybe there, so I decided to do it on a real recipe for a change.

And then on a whim I decided to draw a silly stick guy on it with some silly commentary. I put it on Reddit and it kind of exploded a little bit.

An example of one of Tyler's recpies
GM: And that led you into starting Cooking Comically?

Capps: Yeah. That first recipe was called 2am Chili, and after I submitted another recipe that did really well, I decided continue doing it in a more organized way. SoI started CookingComically.com and I've been making recipes ever since. I just put a book out on October 4th.

GM: Following up on that, how long have you been doing Cooking Comically for and how did it the book come about?

Capps: I've been doing Cooking Comically for about two and a half years now, and the book came about pretty early when an agent found me through my website. The agent approached me and said “Have you ever thought about making a book out of this? I don't know if you have thought about that, but if you want to, I might be able to help.” So I did some research on who the guy was, and he was legit, so I signed up with him, he became my agent, we put a book proposal together, submitted to a bunch of publishing houses, and one picked it up.

GM: And what drives you to keep making these recipe comics? What motivates you to keep at it?

Capps: The biggest thing is probably that I just love to do it. It keeps me in the kitchen, it keeps me cooking new stuff all the time, and I just love making comics. It's a super awesome bonus that people actually like it, too!

GM: It's my understanding that this is not only your first New York Comic Con, but also your first comic book convention, period.

Capps: That's true. It's my first New York Comic Con and my first convention.

GM: How did that come about?

Capps: That came about in a bit of a crazy way. Last summer, American Express got in touch with me and asked me to be part of this thing called the Passion Project, which is a series they launched in an effort to support people that are following their passions and to help them continue doing that. And so I agreed to be apart of it and they came down and filmed me cooking and stuff in my apartment for a little short documentary-slash-publicity thing. And as a bonus, they surprised me by telling me they were going to send me all expenses paid to New York Comic Con, and give me a booth and let me exhibit my book.

GM: Very cool. And so how's that been going thus far? I mean, we're only just day two, but...

Capps: It's better the second day now that I know a little bit more about what I'm doing. It's pretty hectic getting in and trying to set up a booth without knowing anything. But it's been good. It's been really good. There's been a lot of people who actually know about Cooking Comically that have dropped by and recognized it. I didn't really expect that many people to know about it, but it's been really, really cool so far.

GM: That's awesome. Moving more towards yourself, what's your background when it comes to comics? You said you've been drawing them a long time?

Capps: Yeah. My background in comics is pretty much – as far as making comics go – it's self taught. But anytime there was an art class available in school I would go and take it. So I've had training in, like, drawing and other arts and photography and stuff like that, but as far as making comics, that's just something I've learned over time by reading comics and studying comics on my own and just doing it.

GM: And is that the same for cooking as well?

Capps: Yeah, for the cooking portion it's like that, except there's no classes and no background whatsoever.

GM: Just experimenting.

Capps: Yeah, pretty much.

GM: Very cool. Are there any other projects that you're working on at the moment or that you want to work towards beyond Cooking Comically?

Capps: I'd like to keep doing Cooking Comically as long as I can. I would love to make another book, but that depends on how well the current book does. Hopefully I'll get to make another one. And I'd like to actually start working with some actual chefs on recipes. Like, approaching real people in the cooking industry and getting them to have their recipes on the site, where they cook it and I photograph them and turn that into a comic strip. That's yet to happen, but maybe soon.

GM: For people reading at home, where can they find you and where can they find your stuff online?

Capps: You can find me at cookingcomically.com, Twitter, or you'll find me popping up on Imgur and a couple other places around the internet.

GM: Last thing we have, at The Weekly Crisis, we always finish things off with the Literary Rorschach Test. I have five words for you and your job is to respond with the first thing that comes to mind.  Ready?

Food – Cooking
Story – Board
Comic Con – Crazy
Experiments – Fun
Bon Apetit – Let's eat

GM: That's great. Alright, well thank you very much.

Capps: Absolutely. Appreciate it.

If your appetite has been whetted, you can check out more of Tyler's work at CookingComically.com or take a look at his recently released book here or where ever fine books are sold.

For the full recipe, go here.

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