Shooting The Breeze With ‘Penultiman’ Artist Alan Robinson

by Olly MacNamee

Chilean artist Alan Robinson is one of the comic book world’s best kept secrets. He’s been working in the biz for a decade or so on titles such as Back to the Future, V-Wars, Star Wars, Warden, Terminator and now Penultiman from AHOY Comics, which was due to launch this May. 
Olly MacNamee: Now, for many creators a life of isolation is nothing new, but these are, I think we can all agree, unprecedented times. As such, have you noticed any changes yet to your regular daily routines, for better or for worse?
Alan Robinson: Well, I’m used to being at home all day, working. But as much as I work from home, regularly I had some going outs with the family to release some steam, which I can’t do in quarantine. The good thing is, I have my family with me. Everyone has something to do here, my kids have to study and play, and my wife and I have to work, but everyone helps with the house chores. It’s tough to be inside all day, but it’s all to keep us safe from the virus.
OM: Like so many others, have you pledged to take up any new hobbies or interests during this downtime? I imagine after one week that resolution—like New Year’s Eve resolutions—may have ebbed for some? So, do you ebb or flow? And that’s not euphemism!
AR: When this all started, I thought about learning to play guitar. But in all these days I haven’t even touched the guitar! Instead, I’m doing more important stuff, like working on my next AHOY book, but also playing games with my family, reading, and watching lots of movies and series. So, you may say my days are productive…

Penultiman #1 cover by Alan Robinson

OM: This could very well go on for a few months, listening to the experts rather than the politicians. We’re all going to soon be clambering the walls, if we’re not distracted. What comic book gems will you have the time to go back, dig out and re-read and suggest to our readers to go order from their local comic book store to help support their business?
AR: I’m already on it! I can’t spend too much time without going back to my favorite artists and writers. I love comic art, so, whenever I have the chance, I read and see as many comics as I can. I’m reading Doomsday Clock, and re-reading comic-book gems like Man without Fear, Hellboy, A Contract with God and some American Vampire books, among others. If you can buy some comics, now it’s the time! I’m sure you have plenty of time to read them, AND you will be helping your local comic shop! 
OM: Any newer titles out there you’ve discovered or been recommended and enjoyed reading? 
AR: Of course! The AHOY team has sent me some of the trades of their titles (including Planet of the Nerds, of course), and they’re all fun to read and clever. Tom (Peyer) and Jamal (Igle)’s The Wrong Earth is great. I love that book. Other books I got my eyes on are the next Hellboy from Zach Howard, and House of X. 
Darkseid commission

OM: And, what will be playing on your turntable over the coming weeks? What albums could you not live without? 
AR: I come and go from time to time. I go from Hip Hop to classic Rock just that easy. AC/DC, Santana, Rage Against the Machine, Jamiroquai, U2 and of course, The Beatles. They’re always playing in the background in my studio, when I’m not listening to podcasts or don’t have any movie playing.
OM: Any box sets you’ll be going back to rewatching? Or any new films and TV you may now have the time to invest in?
AR: I may be rewatching the (perfect) first season of True Detective and The Mandalorian. I wanna catch The Outsider, and of course, rewatch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Curb your Enthusiasm. I love to watch new and old movies. I’m rewatching the Indiana Jones saga, The Untouchables and the Star Wars films, between some new and old flicks. 
OM: I must admit, getting back to comics, it’s been really pleasing to read, see and hear the comic book communities coming together at a time like this. What have been some of the positive stories coming out of the comic book industry that have caught your eye over the past week or so? 
AR: I’ve heard a lot of bad news, but I’ve also read SO many good ideas of what to do next to save the industry, and that makes me happy. These are extraordinary times, where you can see everyone is interested in keeping making and reading comics, because we all love this medium. I’m sure we’ll go through this, stronger than ever. We only have to keep the eye on the ball, and do whatever we can to help each other.
Hellboy Commission,

OM: It would have been the start of another busy comic con season on both sides of the pond, but alas no more. Will you miss these chances to socialise and meet up with fellow colleagues and friends?
AR: I was planning to go to NYCC this year, and had a few other events here in Chile scheduled, but everything changed because of the virus. I love to spend time with fans, editors and colleagues in a present way, so I will really miss them. But there’s gonna be plenty of time to do so in the future. We all gotta stay inside to be safe, and so others are safe too.
OM: What hopes do you harbour for the comic book industry once these stormy clouds have passed?.
AR: I really hope this is just a little bump for the industry. We may have to do some changes, or some may not. But the good thing is, we’re all interested in keeping a healthy environment for comic books, and that’s a pretty good sign for me. We all do this because we love comic books, so i’m sure there’s going to be better times as soon as this all passes.
OM: Finally, and to leave a smile on our readers’ faces, have you heard any good/bad jokes recently?
AR: Bad jokes? Always. Good jokes. Not too often. Let’s hope this is a good one…
A lady goes to the doctor. She enters the room, she says, “Please, doc. Help me. I feel ugly, I feel unattractive, I feel disgusting. What do I have?” He looks at her and says, “What do you have? YOU HAVE IT RIGHT!” 
OM: Many thanks, and all the best. A phrase with even more weight to it than usual.
AR: Thank YOU! And please, you and everyone who read this, stay at home and keep safe! There will be plenty of time to see each other, but first we gotta defeat this virus.
You can catch up with all our previous interviews in this series here.

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