Reza Farazmand, the artist behind popular comic “Poorly Drawn Lines,” felt the world massively shifting in response to coronavirus as he worked on his latest venture.
Though being creative during a pandemic is a tough lift, the eerie feeling of empty streets wound up working its way nicely into Farazmand’s supernatural graphic novel, “City Monster,” released Tuesday. Haight’s Booksmith and The Bindery will host the Marin County native for a virtual, ticketed event on Thursday at 6 p.m.
“It was a very spooky feeling all around with nobody there,” Farazmand said of his Los Angeles neighborhood. “I, personally, definitely felt it’s been harder to write or make things because it’s hard to stay focused with so much going around me. In this case, I had a deadline so I had to get it done.”
“City Monster” marks a couple of firsts for the Marin County native, who used to live in San Francisco. It’s Farazmand’s first graphic novel and also his first longer-form narrative.
“Poorly Drawn Lines” mostly features standalone scenes in which animal characters highlight modern-day absurdities by acting like humans.
In “City Monster,” characters include a Big Foot-esque protagonist; his vampire neighbor Kim, whose weakness is not being able to learn guitar; an angry-looking cat named Pastry; Gabi the witch, who’s rather unskilled at seances; a 6,000-year-old mummy with nothing but “treasure and regrets”; and a stoner ghost of a roommate who’s pretty sure he was someone important but just can’t remember.
“At the end of the day, they’re just like regular people who are friends with each other,” Farazmand said. “A lot of what they do is modeled off what I do with my friends.”
That includes, as Kim put it, a “long meandering walk with no destination” in between solving a mystery with the help of a retiring ghost detective drawn from a one of Farazmand’s favorite “Poorly Drawn Lines” comics. “I just love turning down a new street and seeing something I haven’t seen before,” he added.
The low-stake mission with a hilariously banal twist sets in motion when an unnamed forest monster moves to a city.
Farazmand crafted the city look from living in places like San Francisco, Oakland, New York and Los Angeles, his current residence. And although “City Monster’s” locale is general, Farazmand drew inspiration from San Francisco’s Richmond District for the apartment and area where the main, unnamed monster lives.
“Definitely parts of it were supposed to feel like my old neighborhood,” Farazmand said. “You might notice I used San Francisco buildings as reference.”
Farazmand, who isn’t sure if he’ll do more webcomics on the new characters, will bounce right back to “Poorly Drawn Lines.” He’s been working to adapt it to an animated series, which fans may hear more of in 2021.
Written by: Reza Farazmand
Published by: Plume
Note: Farazmand appears in streamed event at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 presented by The Booksmith. Tickets are $5, or $20, which includes a signed copy of the book.