I remember looking through Instagram and seeing "THE GHOUL" for the first time. There was a sudden rush of excitement thinking that I had stumbled upon a movie monster I hadn’t previously seen before. Upon further research, it was actually a NEW character by Craig Gleason.
Weeks later, I met Craig at a release party for his zine. We talked a bit and he drew me this Skeletor and then continued talking through email. He's building a world of Ghouls and other weapon wielding mutants and it’s so badass. Plus, he's a collector and I can definitely get into that!
Below, I have conducted a mini interview to hopefully shed some light on this creature born into darkness and also THE GHOUL...
1. Can you tell us about where you live now, have lived, schools attended or any notable experiences that have contributed to you being a professional illustrator?
I grew up in Pasadena, CA for 10 years and lived in Orange County for another 10. I've been in Phoenix, Arizona for the last 5 years. I attended several schools (Pre-K to 12th grade) and hated them all! When I was 15, I asked John Kricfalusi (the creator of Ren and Stimpy) in an email which art school he would suggest attending if I wanted to pursue animation... he told me, "None of them!” He went on to say how school costs a ton and don't teach you anything you couldn't teach yourself just from watching old cartoons frame by frame and trying to replicate it. I didn't end up going forward with animation, but decided to teach myself how to be a better artist all on my own.
Other than that, I've worked nothing but dead end jobs for next to minimum wage. I ultimately got sick of that and decided to quit working and start drawing full time. I still wouldn't say I'm a "professional illustrator," I just draw a lot and pay the bills with shirt and art sales. All in all, I had the drive to do something bigger than rot in a warehouse and my friends and family supported my decision to fall into a "do or die" position.
2. You can have an art slam with any artist living or dead but there are only 4 other chairs at the table. Who is sitting in them?
Oof, that's a tough one. If I had to choose only four, off the top of my head… Ed Roth, Dr. Seuss, Gary Larson, and John Kricfalusi. If I could have a surprise guest, I'd say Wayne White.
3. Where were you and can you recall the date of THE GHOUL's creation? What made you draw the character?
March 2nd 2015, in a 300 square foot apartment, sitting in a swivel chair, using a totally makeshift desk. I was just drawing a bunch of creeps and different weirdos that got progressively more and more monstrous. Eventually, the first ghoul just kind of appeared. It was like a mix of Nosferatu, a Metaluna Mutant and an Ooze-It. I drew like 6 more right then and there and had no clue it would be as big of a hit as it has become, but I knew there was something more to it. I had a 60's B movie vibe in my head when I first drew them up.
4. Does THE GHOUL have a history? Is there more than one Ghoul? Do they share similar rules to vampires/ werewolves in that certain things can hurt or even kill them?
I've got a history in my head for The Ghoul, but I'd like to keep some sort of mystery surrounding the character. I will say, they are an endangered species; they are looked at in the same light as Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster; they live in salt caves; they eat corpses; they're practically ancient; rumored to have 1,000 year life spans... and they're nocturnal.
5. Do you collect? Last toy purchased? Last movie watched? Comic or book read? Anything you've done that's fun lately?
I collect wayyy too much, toys, shirts, knick-knacks and all around cool junk. I've got pretty much everything Simpsons, Ren and Stimpy and Pee Wee Herman, plus a bunch of less impressive collections of everything else that could be considered "cool". I'm also into collecting art obtained mainly through Instagram art trades. I'm always in thrift stores, antique stores or just surfing eBay.
The last toy I bought isn't really a toy, but an Ed Roth Drag Nut model kit. Oh wait! Bridget (my old lady) just reminded me I bought the 60's stretch Armstrong reissue a couple days back. The last movie I watched was the Coen Brothers’ TRUE GRIT. I'm not a big reader. I’m more into ogling picture books. The last one I stared at from front to back was book my brother got me for my birthday, BATMAN COLLECTED, which is full of everything Batman... every bit of merchandise you could imagine. So much inspiration in that book.
I don't have much fun these days… I’m way too busy for that. But I did manage to break away and do the Disneyland thing with Bridget. It was super hot out and there were a ton of Australians there, for some reason. So many, in fact, I stopped while walking to Frontier Land and felt the need to google "Australian holidays". Turns out the day prior it was like, "Friends and Family Day" or something. I don't plan on having any more fun until after the new year.