Ex-Intern Does Good
It really warms our hearts when former interns go on to make a name for themselves. Not to take away from their talent or anything, but we like to think that all that yelling for making photocopies too contrast-y gives them the kind of focus and attention to detail necessary to be a success in this world. Take our pal Michael DeForge for instance, only a few years ago he was a fresh-faced kid hired to help out in the graphic design department, (i.e. mostly mailing shit) and now he makes awesome comics and just won the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent for his comic Lose #1. We recently tracked him down to ask him about his time with Vice and to find out more about his new-found success.
Vice: Hey Michael, congratulations!
How long ago did you intern with Vice?
I think it must have been four years ago like, 2006, I think.
Shit, time flies. What did you do while you were here?
It was technically a graphic design internship but I ended up doing lots of odd jobs when the office needed it, as I remember.
Did we make you do lots of menial shit like photocopies or faxing?
Ha ha, yeah, no photocopying but I remember mailing a lot of things.
Okay, tell me honestly, how shitty was it working for us?
Honestly? It was pretty good. There would be days where it was crazy busy but then there'd be days when I'd just play Zelda roms on my laptop.
Yeah, I would like, quickly tab the window when someone would walk by and open up a generic "spreadsheet" looking file to make it seem like I was typing numbers in something or like an Indesign file for something Vice-related. I beat a lot of RPGs during my internship.
Oh shit, busted! Okay, you just won this Doug Wright award, what was the award ceremony like?
Well it was part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival—which was nice because all cartoonists kind of stay indoors most of the time. With something like this, you’re talking to a lot of people; people are buying your stuff and everyone’s being super open and nice to you.
Oh totally, and it’s like that for the whole weekend. It’s way more classy than other comic-related things. As soon as you get home it’s back to the reality of eating an entire bag of SunChips in an hour and drawing stuff.
So SunChips are a big part of your diet?
That brings me to your apartment. A lot of mutual friends tell me that your apartment’s pretty…um…depressing, is the word I’m going to use.
I don’t know about “depressing”, it’s just full of stuff. It’s a basement.
Can you describe it a bit?
It’s a small basement and I have less comics than a lot of other comic people that I know, but it’s still a lot of books for one apartment, so I have two spinner racks that are full of comics and there are some long boxes. The actual magazine racks are cool but kind of make it seem like a crapper.
Someone told me it looks like an old convenience store that’s partly shut down. Is it all just one room?
Yeah. I literally sleep five metres away from where I work which is five metres away from where I cook.
And three metres from where you shit.
Yeah, at least for the bathroom I have a door though.
So in Lose, the main character is a down in the dumps drunk guy in a bar in hell. Is that supposed to be you?
Yeah that’s supposed to be me. But I actually don’t drink a lot but when I’m working. When I’m working, I’m shut out.
So your life isn’t just a dreary alcoholic bummer?
No, I don’t even have the time to drink. If I want to get something done, I just go for it. Go all out.
Okay, here’s a question: out of all the cartoonists you’ve met, do any of them have really hot wives and if so, which one has the hottest wife?
Ha. There are a couple, but I won’t name them. I’m always curious about cartoonists’ girlfriends because they’re always weirdly patient and just, like, there. I feel like we don’t deserve it because we’re all emotionally neglectful. There’s a weird disproportion in quality of girlfriends.
It’s like we’re always tricking them, because we try to carry off the allure of actual artists, who are kind of cool, but we’re not that at all. We’re just trying to fake it and then they’re going to wind up as a character in one of the pieces or the books. They get incorporated.
Okay, finally, is there anything that’s changed since winning the award? Do you drink champagne for breakfast?
Oh totally…Baby Duck.