DAVE WACHTER has been a name any listener of Comic Geek Speak has heard a million times. All of the hosts of the podcast have commented on the evolution of Dave’s work. It’s been inspiring watching Dave’s art develop from “hey, this guy is pretty good,” to mind-blowing and garnering him an Eisner nomination for his webcomic, THE GUNS OF SHADOW VALLEY.
Dave has been donating sketches to our cause for the past couple of years. When I ask Dave for a donation each year, I know I’m not going to get something penned out in five minutes of any random character. Wonder Woman isn’t exactly a character in Dave’s wheelhouse but on those rare occasions when he does tackle the most famous female comic book character, he exposes all of Diana’s distinctive traits as a feminine hero.
If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your 13-year-old self?
It’s tough to think of what I’d say because the mistakes I made were opportunities to learn, even if they didn’t feel that way at the time. Such as: telling my 13 year old self to never start smoking seems like a smart idea, but overcoming that habit and addiction if one of my victories in life. How about this: “Get rid of the mullet kid. Seriously, you look like an idiot.” Fortunately, everyone else did too.
What fictional character makes the best role model for young girls? And for boys?
I’m not convinced that looking to fictional characters to be role models is the best idea. We can be entertained by them, sure. Maybe even learn something about life. But the real world rarely works like fiction. They hardly ever face the same problems and circumstances that we do in our world. Real people who have carried on and faced the challenges life poses while getting no acclaim or riches for it, that’s who we should admire as role models. The memorable fictional characters are often the ones no child should emulate. I don’t know. To keep it in comics, for boys I guess Peter Parker, because he takes responsibility for those around him while facing odds that are stacked against him. For girls, Sue Storm, because she does it all while keeping a level head, all the while being the most powerful member of her family. Or switch it, Sue for the boys and Peter for the girls.
If you weren’t in the comics business, what would you be doing?
Comics have given my art, and in turn my life, some sorely needed direction. Without which, I’d probably be floating around still trying to figure out what to do and my place in the world. That’s what I was doing before.
Is there anything you regret that you wish you could change?
As far as my career in comics, it would have been nice to have started earlier. I wasted much of my 20s before I figured out what I wanted to commit to. It has been said that it takes, on average, 12 years to “make it” in any creative field. That’ll put me around 40. But, who knows? Every choice has led me to where I am now, and this isn’t a bad place. If I had started earlier in life, who knows where I would be. Would I have the same friends? Because I wouldn’t want to give up the ones I have.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in life? In the comics business?
You will never succeed all of the time. Do not fear failure. It can be paralyzing. It’s something I’m always trying to overcome.
Have you ever had to handle a domestic violence storyline in comics? If so, how did you approach it?
The only time was when I acted as the artist, not having any writing responsibilities. So I drew what was in the script. It was a fairly superficial treatment of the subject that didn’t relate to the real world consequences of such actions.
What does it mean to you to participate in the Wonder Woman Day fundraiser?
I see it as a chance to feel like I can make some small difference for a cause that often goes neglected. Domestic violence is a difficult topic that people don’t want to talk about. But it’s far too common. Every little bit contributed towards helping it’s victims really matters.