The Rich & the Wretched: An Interview with Kaare Kyle Andrews

There aren’t many like Kaare Kyle Andrews. The Shuster Award-winning author is an absolute master of the creative process, multi-dimensional and multi-talented. His past works cover some of the most exciting titles in comics today - including The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man and the 2014 re-launch of Marvel’s Iron fist. He’s cut his teeth on some of the most familiar comic book characters ever created and now Andrews completely focussed on the upcoming release of his first creator-owned title Renato Jones: The One %. Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Kaare and pick his brain on all things Renato Jones. His responses were articulate, genuine but most of all insightful; helping to better my understanding of his motivation and aspirations. Below is the full interview: read it, love it and discover for yourselves why/how “The Super-Rich are Super-Fucked!”

Jordan Claes: Do you feel that the super-rich have something to atone for?

Kaare Kyle Andrews: It would be a mistake to look at the book in those terms. What my book is really about is a man who hunts the kind of evil that hides behind wealth. Renato Jones judges the super-rich for their crimes, not their bank accounts. It’s luxury-fueled action and adventure on a scale only the 1% could afford.

JC: How do you think Renato Jones would approach someone like Donald Trump?

KKA: So long as Donald Trump isn’t murdering children with his bare hands, he’s probably safe. But who knows? Maybe he IS murdering children with his bare hands. Then Renato Jones would pay him a visit. I know what he’d probably do to recently-convicted former Senator Dennis Hastert...

Renato-Jones---The-One-%-#1-1JC: Your profile picture shows your hand inscribed with the bold black letters “WRITE, DRAW, CREATE – EVERYTHING.” How has this philosophy affected or changed your approach to making comics?

KKA: I find myself embracing a way of comics that was fairly common in the 80’s but has become a rarity today. The writer-artist was always the kind of creator that I liked best; the kind of creator that kept changing the game. I don’t want to hide behind the name or reputation of anyone else. I want to own all of my wins and failures as an artist. Now, that’s not to say I’m done with collaboration - there are a few writers working now that I want to work with. There are artists that I want to work with. But at this very minute, I’m most interested in owning the creative process as a one man army.

JC: Settle an argument for us if you would: the girl in Renato’s arms on the front cover – dead or alive?

KKA: Ha! Read issue #2, “The Masquerade Ball” issue and see! This was one of the first visuals that came out of my pen when creating this book. There is something about decadence and excess that is summed up in this drawing for me and became the central plot for the second issue. I have noticed a small segment of strange internet reactions about the notion of “Renato Jones holding a young dead woman that he just MURDERED”—but when you read issue #2 you’ll see that this is simply the knee-jerk reaction of Twitter and nothing to do with the content of the book. That’s pretty much an ink blot reaction—like what is the viewer putting into the image from their own life experiences? This reminds me of the idea of the three corners of Art-making. 1) The Artist: who she is, what she’s interested in, 2) The Work: what she’s actually created and by what means and 3) The Audience: how they react to the piece itself. Without all three corners of this triangle, you don’t have Art. And good art doesn’t just present you with something—it pulls something out of you as a viewer. It creates an interaction, not just a reaction.

JC: Do you view Renato Jones as your own form of social commentary or is this just pure revenge-fantasy fun?

KKA: It’s actually neither. I have no interest in making any kind of socio-political statements and it’s also not about revenge. It’s about RESTITUTION! It’s about making people pay for what the choices they make. There is a price to everything.

JC: It’s hard to ignore the theme of the outcast in Renato Jones: he’s someone who has come up within the social circles of the elite, yet he knows in his bones that he doesn’t quite belong there. Do his conflictions mirror your own, especially regarding your relationship with Marvel?

KA: Much like a lot of people drawn to comics, I’ve always lived the role of the outsider. Growing up I was popular enough but I’ve always felt a little outside of things. This kind of feeling can turn you into a serial killer or an artist - thankfully, I could draw. And it’s the role of the artist to stay on the outside: to look in from a unique perspective and share it with people. I have a lot of friends at Marvel and have continued working with them since starting Renato Jones. We’re talking about more projects in the future. Maybe I am a little out-of-step with mainstream event style storytelling—but that’s the strength I bring to a company like Marvel. But again—right now, right here, I’m 100% Renato Jones. I’m staying focused, I’m hungry and I am putting everything I have into this book!

JC: If Renato Jones: The One % were a movie what song would play at the opening/end credits?

KKA: This may be the greatest question I have been asked about my work... like EVER. Run Boy Run by Woodkid:

JC: What can we look forward to in issues to come?

KKA: Orgies, Outtrumps and Oligarchies oh my! By issue 4, if you’re not shocked, outraged and engaged, I’ll eat my shoes - on Periscope.