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Instinct Exclusive with Talented Illustrator and Writer Terry Blas

I was lucky enough to meet illustrator and writer Terry Blas through a friend recently, and was quite impressed by his many talents when it comes to the industry that he’s in.

Terry is the brains behind the popular web series Briar Hollow, which has been going on for the better part of the 2010 decade at this point. Not only that, but he has also worked on the comics for  iconic television series like Adventure Time and Rick and Morty. He was also one of the more popular booths at this year Flame Con in New York City.

The Portland, Oregon resident has a lot going on outside of all that he’s doing right now which includes a stellar new comic book about summer camp and so much more. Check out our exclusive with him, where he talks X-Men, Drag Race, another fantastic book in the works and his ultimate future goals.

How did you find yourself in the world of comic book writing in the first place?

I've always loved comics. I read X-Men and Gen-13 and Bone growing up and found comics to be the best way for me to tell the stories I wanted to tell. I have an Illustration degree and I live in Portland Oregon, so if you try just a little, you can meet a lot of other comic artists and editors in this town where three of the larger independent comic companies are located. My work in comics largely started out with illustrating covers and doing some interior work for comics based off of a lot of Cartoon Network properties like Adventure Time, Regular Show and The Amazing World of Gumball. But I wanted to create my own worlds and write my own stories, so I began to focus more and more on that and now primarily write comics more than draw them. 

There's usually some inspiration behind falling into the career that you are in. What was yours?

I was inspired pretty heavily by the comics I mentioned. But I also love animation and television in general and I feel like that has really helped my writing process, analyzing the writing on shows. Also, the work of artists like Glen Hanson (Chelsea Boys) and Scott Kurtz (PVP/Table Titans) was very influential to me and sort of cemented the need and desire to make comics. After college I began drawing at Helioscope studio in downtown Portland and eventually became a member. I was able to find more comic work by being there as well. 

Did you have a favorite comic book character growing up and why?

A favorite character? Not really. I mean, I loved all the X-Men. I'd say I'm pretty partial to the X-women though. They're the best. Rogue, Storm, Jean, Jubilee.

A lot of people know you from your web series, Briar Hollow. How did that come about?

Briar Hollow was an exercise in me not wanting my expensive art degree to go to waste. I told myself I'd do one page of comics a week while I was working retail. It also taught me a lot of technical things about comic making and I'm proud that I didn't despite the fact that I haven't updated it in years. 

I know you've also done a variety of art, in particular many of the queens from RuPaul's Drag Race! What has been your favorite girl that you have done and why?

I've drawn so many! I will say that the first queen I ever drew was Ongina. She inspired me quite a bit and I love her so much. Get her back on TV!

You also wrote an amazing book about summer camp. Can you tell us more about that?

Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom is my first graphic novel. I co-wrote it with Molly Muldoon and the art is by Matthew Seely. It's a queer murder mystery, set at a fat camp. When I was a kid I loved the movie Heavy Weights but I was like: "Why are there no girls at this camp?" Also, I thought a murder mystery would be fun and challenging to write. The book is available now on Amazon or at your local comic book shop, published by Oni Press.

What do you have coming up that your fans would like to know about?

Coming up I'm really excited about my next book, Hotel Dare. It's being published by Boom Studios and it's a Mexican, fantasy adventure story about three kids who get sent to live with their creepy grandmother, Mama Lupe, in a gross hotel that she owns in Mexico. While cleaning, the kids discover that every room in the hotel leads to a different magical world and that Mama Lupe might not own this hotel by coincidence. I'm very happy to put out more work with representation for Latino/a/x's and other people of color, especially in fantasy where we don't usually see that represented. 

Also, on the 23rd of September, a documentary I made premieres at Cinema Diverse in Palm Springs. It's called Latter Day Glory and it follows me and my friend Jonathon Levi Powell (another gay, former Mormon) as we travel the country and interview other LGBT ex-Mormons and discuss the fact that the highest suicide rate in the country is amongst LGBT Mormon youth in Salt Lake City Utah. It's an important topic and I'm glad we have some great representation of queer, former Mormon, people of color in the film. Hearing these people's stories and giving voice to them is one of the most important things I feel I've done in my life. 

Do you have an ultimate goal for your career, and if so, what is it?

My goal for my career is to continue to write the stories I want to put out into the world and not have to worry about paying off my student loans. Simple, right? 

For more information on Terry Blas, please check out his official website here.