Lonnie Millsap is comics author from Los Angeles, CA. He is a graduate of UCLA and has also lived in Atlanta, where he worked as a manager and first came up with the idea to create a book. His first collection of single-panel comics (not unlike the Far Side) called My Washcloth Stinks was released in 2009 to rave reviews.
I met Millsap at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD (one of the coolest places in the U.S, by the way), where his work is displayed as part of the "What Makes Us Smile" exhibit (co-curated by Matt Groening, Gary Panter, and Museum founder Rebecca Hoffberger). You can see the exhibit until September 4, and if you're anywhere near Baltimore, I strongly recommend it. If you go on my recommendation and hate the museum (and the gift shop) I will send you a handwritten apology letter. Message me your snail.
Millsap answered these questions for me via email.
1. Your art is pretty whimsical, although it can be occasionally dark. Does your taste in movies match?
Yes, I think so.
My cartoons can be whimsical, but I don't think they're whimsical in a cute way. Or if they are cute, the joke tends to make the cuteness go away. The movies that I like are the same. A good horror movie or comedy can be very funny and dark too. For me the enjoyment comes from whatever absurdity that's taking place onscreen and how it's dealt with. I like gallows humor in adverse situations and that's what engages me. I try to engage my readers the same way.
2. What are your favorite movies and why?
It's a great story--absurd, dark, funny.
THE HEARTBREAK KID (Original)
Why? See above
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Because it had such a great ending. When I go to prison I want my story to end the same way.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY
I was caught off-guard when I saw it because I had no idea what it was about. When it came out I saw it in an empty theater and laughed uncontrollably just like I did when I saw AIRPLANE when I was young.
It was disturbing and imaginative.
28 DAYS LATER
It felt smarter than a regular zombie movie. It was creative and there is nothing better than a movie with fast-running zombies.
It felt like THE GRUDGE to me. Disturbing images that were frightening and made me laugh uncomfortably.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Sweet and dark. It always looked to me that Donna Reed didn't want Jimmy Stewart to kiss her.
I saw it out of the blue without knowing anything about it. It was such an absurd take on blaxploitation films and unexpectedly funny.
Scary back when I first saw it. Funny sometimes now, but sort of gallows humor funny.
THE GREEN MILE
Great story. I would've used my power to wipe them all out.
ENTER THE DRAGON
The first R rated movie I ever saw. Also the first Bruce Lee movie I ever saw when I was a kid. I've seen it like 100 times . . . and there was no one cooler than Jim Kelly; they should've never killed him off. ("Bullshit Mr. Han Man.")
3:10 TO YUMA (The more recent one)
Great story, good dark humor, sad ending.
LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS
Great story, funny.
The same feeling to me as LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. It was kind of over the top which made it humorous to me.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Emma Thompson's emotional release at the end was probably the closest a movie has come to making me shed a tear.
It was unexpectedly funny with strange situations. Like my cartoons I hope.
3. Do you have a favorite director?
Who is it?
I like Guy Ritchie's movies.
4. When did you start drawing?
I started drawing when I was four or five years old. My first drawing that I remember was a huge crayon Batman that I drew on the living room carpet and on the refrigerator.
How did your mom and dad like that?
My parents were pretty mad. They were asleep when I drew it. I tried to cover it up with my body when they woke up. We had a new carpet a week or so later (Dark brown.)
Now they think it was a pretty good drawing.
5. Who is your favorite Charlie's Angel?
Jacyln Smith. (Lucy Liu in the more recent film version).
Good choice! I've been DVRing it, and the other night Kelly was wearing the most amazing purple cut-out one piece swimsuit. Breathtaking.
* * * Du's Picks for Your Queue
This week, I strongly urge you to see CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP. (In theaters and On Demand from whatever soul-crushing cable provider I have at my house).
This doc is funny, of course, but it also gives a view of Conan in his private, stressful moments. There's honesty and attitude there that I don't think a single one of us would say was not justified. He's angry but with good reason; he's not on TV and banned from TV for six months. He discusses being angry that he's not on TV, even though he knows intellectually that no one actually deserves to be on TV. He knows his mood is toxic, so he does something about it. So he goes on tour where he's allowed to be funny live on stage. He writes and performs music, including a particularly hilarious blues song about being from Brookline, MA.
His irony, sass, anger, and frustration (at NBC, etc.) show through, but his off the cuff hilarity shows how remarkably and genuinely funny he is. Not to mention his genuine kindness: Conan may be a little bitchy with his crew, but to the fans, he is kind and generous. Even to the anti-Semite.
DROPPING JULY 12
Damages The Complete Third Season
I stopped watching during season 1, but that doesn't mean you should stop.
Dora's Big Party Pack
I have no idea what's on it, but it sounds fun!
Dr. Who various stuff
Why even list it? If you're into the doctor, you already know.
Entourage The Complete Seventh Season
Really, seven? The world needed seven of this? We didn't even get ONE whole season of My So-Called Life and we had to wait for Fox to show us the rest of Freaks and Geeks, but we get SEVEN sets of Doucherage? My moral indignation level is off the charts.
ER Season 15 (the final season)
In this, the final season, they find out that it was all Reese Benton's dog's dream.
Robot Chicken STAR WARS III
Except for all the STAR WARS stuff I need explained to me, I just love this stuff.