If you’re lucky, you might have already happened across a copy of Lorenz Peter’s latest graphic novel, On Vinyl. Maybe you were around for the debut at the 2018 Toronto Comic Arts Festival or you’ve picked up a copy at The Beguiling. If you haven’t though, you’re in for a treat, because in just a couple of weeks, this amazing comic will be available everywhere.
How amazing is it, you ask? Amazing enough that the London Free Press has gone on record (heh heh) to say that it “may be 2018’s best graphic novel.” So to celebrate this upcoming release, we’ve decided to make this Under the Surface instalment all about On Vinyl.
Was there a particular incident or event that inspired you to write On Vinyl? If so, what was it?
I was influenced by the daily activities surrounding the record store. I was also inspired to document record shows and the culturally significant or funny things that happen there.
There are a number of themes in this comic, including music, development and gentrification, technology, and nostalgia. What was the biggest challenge in terms of balancing all these themes?
The biggest challenge was not to become Lenny. Lenny was driven to an early grave by the same types of things I find hard to deal with in the city. It was a fictional story but closely in stride with my own life and in Lenny’s saga it kills him. I found all of these themes balance themselves, because in this situational story we cannot have one without the other. Technology is always changing, development always forces change in neighbourhoods and people will always have to adapt. I wanted to use these things as a background without delving too much in one over the other. Lenny’s love of LPs drives him to deal with all of these difficulties first hand while asking himself “why do I do this?”… because records!
What’s your favourite record?
I can’t have one all time favourite, but I do have faves that tend to stay in my heavy rotation file for a length of time. Faves come and go, but at the moment I gotta pick Mutation24 by Claude Perraudin.
What’s the most elusive record you long to find someday?
Another impossible question, but if I need to pick only one… I simply will not rest until I have a copy of Transylvania 500. I could just buy it online, but that is so boring! I am waiting for it to pop up in front of me.
Were any of the customers in your book based on real-life customers?
They are mostly composite characters based on actual events or people, but all products of my imagination I hope.
This book is very different from The Grey Museum. What did you enjoy more about creating this one? What did you find less enjoyable?
The Grey Museum was an attempt to use water based shading instead of cross-hatch or pen and ink shading. Also, I intended to create a lengthy, fantasy story without a written narration. That was challenging, but I enjoyed the loose structure and comic dialogue, and the many silent panels. I like when there are long passages without words. On Vinyl was more of a classic style/return to form sort of story with a much quicker delivery and a simple story structure. It was much easier to write and draw, but the subject matter was a little difficult than The Grey Museum. My involvement in cartooning has always been a way to work out my own demons, it seems.
What do you hope readers take away from On Vinyl?
To hopefully catch a glimpse of the mania of record collectors. Also, to portray a historical slice of an important (disappearing?) Toronto sub-culture. Mainly, I just want people to have a good laugh.