This interview presents a conversation with Xeric Award-winning Canadian cartoonist Kevin Mutch about The Rough Pearl (Fantagraphics, 2020), his new graphic novel which addresses issues surrounding the intersection of class and race privilege in the “precariat” creative communities in and around New York City.
Jeffery Klaehn: Thanks for the interview, Kevin!! Please tell me about The Rough Pearl.
Kevin Mutch: The Rough Pearl is an autobiographical fantasy — a mixture of truth and fiction in roughly equal parts — about a would-be artist named Adam in New York City in the 1990s. He has a crappy adjunct teaching job, a wife who makes a lot more money than him, and an ill-advised crush on a student. And he seems to be losing his mind — he keeps seeing zombies and aliens and ghosts!
Adam is someone who grew up being told that the world was full of possibilities, but he’s come to see that it isn’t that way anymore (if it ever was). He had all these romantic ideas about being an artist, living in New York, being with beautiful women, and now he realizes all of those dreams have become impossible — until suddenly they all become possible again, all at once.
Unfortunately, he’s been having a harder and harder time determining what’s “real” and what isn’t — either he’s going crazy or he’s bleeding into parallel universes, the book is sort of ambiguous about that, heh — so he has a very difficult time navigating all of this. Read the rest