SHANNON WHEELER KEEPS PRETTY BUSY. His work has appeared in minicomics, newspaper strips, a television commercial, comic books, book collections and an opera. Throughout these various media, his most enduring character by far has been Too Much Coffee Man. TMCM began as a minicomic, then became a self-published comic book, winning the Eisner Award in 1995 for Best New Series, and later transformed again into a magazine featuring both comics and text pieces by Shannon and several others. Dark Horse Comics has released several TMCM collections and this year published Screw Heaven, When I Die I’m Going To Mars, a collection of Shannon’s most recent comic strip work.
Shannon’s also kept a foot in the minicomics game with his Postage Stamp Funnies, collections of his cartoons from The Onion. And last year saw the premiere of the Too Much Coffee Man Opera at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Last month, he was one of the organizers of Portland’s Stumptown Comics convention, where Postage Stamp Funnies won a Trophy Award for Best DIY.
I talked to Shannon about his current projects, some of the themes of his older work, his take on the ‘zine and minicomics scenes, and his political cartooning at (where else) a coffee shop on Portland’s Hawthorne Blvd. (Full disclosure: I had tea.)