Lionman Hero Crop David Brame

Artist David Brame talks major themes in his comic artwork and storytelling

May 2024

Artist David Brame, whose work in comic books is featured in the exhibition Lines of Sight at the Anchorage Museum, spoke about major influences and the themes of his work. 

David Brame’s early artistic education began with Saturday morning cartoons and newspaper comic strips. Raised in a strict household, he jokes that “I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of stuff…so I started drawing!” Encouraged by a Sunday school youth pastor as well as his parents, who sent him to countless afternoon and weekend art camps, Brame kept drawing with a focus and persistence unusual for his age. He graduated High School one and a half years early and devoted the time he’d saved to making art. He later attended college to study painting and illustration, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. Now a professional graphic artist, Brame collaborates with a wide array of creatives in the comic industry, illustrating and creating graphic novels, comics, films, and curricula for youth. 

Images from St. Jude, one of Brame’s comic projects, and Lion Man: The Tower of Proof.

Anchorage Museum: What is your background with comics? When and how did you start?
David Brame: My uncle taught me to trace newspaper comics strips  when I was 5 or 6 and I never stopped.

AM: What was the first comic you remember reading? What was the first one that had a significant impact and/or made you want to become a comic artist? Major influences?
DB: Sunday and weekday comic strips were my first comics. Calvin and Hobbes as well as Bloom County were the first comic loves. Bill Watterson, Paul Pope, Gojima, Otomo, Mura, Inoue

AM: What are the major themes or issues you address in your art and storytelling?
DB: Black, Brown and Indigenous catharsis, stewardship, and community development with a focus on cinematic moments of the sublime.


AM: What makes a great comic/comic artist?
DB: Passion, intensity, commitment.

AM: Have you ever been involved in a museum exhibition before, and what have you learned from participating?
DB: Yes. Allowing curators and their teams space to be creative makes for a complete show.

AM: Which is better (and why), a comic with fantastic art but a lousy story, or a comic with a great story but sub-par artwork?
DM: No such thing—it’s either a good comic or not. I wouldn’t finish either option.

AM: What piece of advice would you give to any aspiring young comic artist? What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
DM: Young artists need a community of collaborators to grow the comic culture they want to see. I’m living the comic life I envisioned when I was young so I have advice for young me.

To read more about David Brame, VISIT HERE to revisit his interview during his time as a digital artist-in residence. In the interview, Brame says that over the years, he has collaborated with several other artists including Professor John Jennings, with whom he created After the Rain, their recent adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s On the Road, for which they won an Eisner Award. 

I always think you end up with a better product, in general, when you collaborate,” reflects Brame. “I don’t know if individualism is a useful way to experience or view the world. Working with others helps you develop a well-rounded perspective.”


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