Artist Spotlight: Joe Harris

JOE HARRIS is the co-creator and writer of original comics and graphic novels such as the Image Comics rock ‘n’ roll thrill ride, Rockstars, and the environmental sci-fi epics, Great Pacific and Snowfall. Since 2013, Joe has written the officially-licensed continuation of the paranormal investigations of Agents Mulder and Scully in The X-Files comics at IDW to the enjoyment of fans around the world. The X-Files: Cold Cases—the best-selling audio dramatization of Joe’s comics scripts featuring the voices of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and the entire original X-Files cast—and the follow-up, The X-Files: Stolen Lives were released by Audible beginning in 2017.

1. First John Carpenter memory?

It’s probably Halloween, a very early addition to the Harris family VHS library back when. Watched it over and over as a child (along with the first sequel and the film’s myriad imitators). But my “almost first” memory was The Fog, which might have been the first ghost story movie I ever sank my brain into. There are such textbook scares and moments in the film I know I still mentally reference today, whether I’m conscious of it or not.

2. How did you get started writing/drawing/lettering?

I used to get in trouble in early elementary school (like grades 1-3) for writing strange, “dirty” stories with lots of curse words and forbidden names for human anatomy I’d learned from dirty jokes books I’d come into possession of. When I was a teenager, I started to understand songwriting, how lyrics were wrought to tell a story, which led to my interest in storytelling on a larger level. I wrote many scathingly rejected things across different media through my school days. Was interested in comics, sci-fi, horror with ambitions toward it all when I discovered filmmaking and sort of threw myself into the indie film scene in NYC back in the 90s… which ended up leading to bigger and better things, so far as a movie career went, and provided a loop back around toward comics which was my original ambition.

3. How did you get involved with Storm King Comics?

I think Cat Staggs introduced me to Sandy King at one convention or another, and she was very supportive of the stories I’d pitched her. The first of which was a fascistic horror tale set in middle America called “Indivisible” which was published during the early “MAGA” years, of which I’m still really proud of.

4. Who are your idols/mentors?

George Romero, Tobe Hooper, Frank Miller, J.M. DeMatteis, Brian Lumley during his peak “Necroscope” days. John, of course.

5. What is the thing you geek out the most about and why?

I’d begun answering this with “guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals,” and that’s all still truth (I own a few vintage Fender guitars and a 1970s Martin acoustic that’s been my best girl for years now)… but, honestly, since the Covid lockdown kind of reoriented my values and grew my cold, shrunken heart, our two pandemic rescue cats, Gus Gus and Max, are closely held in the center of my happiness and world these days.

6. Guilty pleasure….food? music? entertainment? Everyone needs an escape.

I don’t feel guilt over much, honestly. Though I’m an unabashed Grateful Dead and Phish fan (among lots and lots of fine music others don’t run away from too, I swear).

7. The world has there anything you like in the post covid world?

Again, my cats. Our first, a one year-old plush of handsomeness and the cutest face I’ve ever seen, Gus Gus, literally changed my life. I’d fight, die and kill for him if it was in our interests. Otherwise, I’m fond of of the prosecution of insurrectionists. “Send in the drones,” I say.

8. What change would you like to see in the world?

I’d like to see climate change affected for the better. I’d love to see fascism die a quick death, and compassion reign where xenophobia currently separates us.

9. Favorite 2021 memory?

Joe Biden’s inauguration. The establishment of the January 6th Committee.

10. What brings you joy?

Honestly, in good times and bad, be it outright contraband or newly-legalized consciousness-expanding goodies you can buy in actual store now, cannabis makes just about any and everything better. And the New York Yankees. Always the Yankees.

See Joe Harris’s work in these Storm King releases: