Sam Spina compares the attraction of autobiographical comics with the appeal of reality television. "Super-trashy reality TV gets good ratings -- it doesn't necessarily have to be good," he says. But Spina, a longtime Denver comic artist currently living in Atlanta, doesn't think it's the quality of these art forms that draws people in. Rather, it's the everyday events easily dismissed as mundane that play out in the two mediums and engage people.
In 2009, Spina began drawing a daily autobiographical comic called Spinadoodles, which he published online. Much like the basic premise of reality TV, Spinadoodles follows the artist around as he navigates his life and work with his partner, Samantha, with their two cats by his side. This daily creation process has produced hundreds of strips, which Spina has compiled into a book series of sweet, funny and relatable stories.
Though the artist kept up with the frantic pace of a daily strip for three solid years -- along with working on dozens of other drawing-related projects and pieces at the same time -- he's focused more recently on creating more polished pieces of work. Spina now only produces an autobiographical strip once every few weeks. Last month, Denver's Tinto Press released Know Me Now, the fifth collection of Spinadoodles, which will be Spina's last big collection for a while.
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Spina says the self-imposed rules of producing a daily comic helped him learn how to draw -- but more than that, it was a way for readers to get to know him. "I feel like I'm drawn to autobio comics because I have always kind of been a socially awkward person who isn't super-outgoing, but I still want people to like me," Spina says with a big laugh. If Know Me Now is any indication of who the artist is as a person, Sam Spina is probably the most popular guy in any room.
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