Parks, Ande 1964-
Parks, Ande 1964-
Born 1964; married; children: two. Education: Attended University of Kansas. Hobbies and other interests: Cooking, poker, and woodworking.
Writer and artist. Also works as an inker for various comic books and graphic novels.
(Artwork, with Phil Hester) Denny O'Neil, Warnings (graphic novel), 2001.
(Inker) Brad Meltzer, The Archer's Quest: Green Arrow, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003.
Union Station (graphic novel), illustrated by Eduardo Barreto, book design by Keith Wood, edited by Jamie S. Rich, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2003.
(Inker) Kevin Smith, Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003.
(Inker) Judd Winick, Green Arrow: Straight Shooter, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.
(And letterer) Capote in Kansas: A Drawn Novel (graphic novel), illustrated by Chris Samnee, cover by Chris Samnee, design by Keith Wood, edited by James Lucas Jones, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2005.
Creator and writer of the Uncle Slam & Fire Dog comics for Action Planet Comics.
Ande Parks has spent most of his career as an inker for comics and graphic novels, working for most of the major comic book publishers in the process. Among the comics he has inked are titles for Superman, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Wonder Woman. He is perhaps best known for his work on the Green Arrow comics. One of his first writing projects was the creation of the Uncle Slam & Fire Dog comics for Action Planet Comics. The superhero spoof features Uncle Slam returning from being underground for thirty years after the government he swore to protect tried to kill him. With his faithful sidekick, Fire Dog, the now physically and mentally impaired Uncle Slam once again decides to fight evil but finds that the world is not as black and white as it was when he went into hiding.
Parks next turned his attention to writing graphic novels, beginning with Union Station. "Union Station happened because I decided I wanted to start moving my career into writing, and historical fiction is what appealed to me," Parks told Caleb Monroe in an interview on the Scrytip Studios Web site. "I researched it for almost two years." Union Station is an account of a horrendous shooting that took place in a Kansas City train station in 1933. The machine gun murder of a minor criminal named Frank "Jelly" Nash and four federal officers taking him to prison helped J. Edgar Hoover raise fears about interstate criminals. Eventually Hoover gained more funds and authority for his then-fledgling Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
As for his interest in the story, Parks told Philip Schweier for an article on the Comic Book Bin Web site: "It's something most people have heard of, without really knowing anything about it." In the graphic novel, Parks remains true to the historical accounts of the shooting. "I read a lot of material about the massacre, of course," Parks related to Jennifer M. Contino for an interview on the COMICON Web site. "There are a handful of books on the subject, and I spent a lot of time in front of microfilm readers, sifting through vintage newspaper coverage. I did some research about the era, but I was able to pick up a good deal of that type of information through osmosis as I read more specific sources. Also, I am a native Kansan, and my grandparents lived through the depression here. I know what that experience was, to some extent, by having grown up hearing about it." The author also told Monroe for the Scrytip Studios Web site interview: "I also included an annotated bibliography on Union Station, so anyone could see where I got my data."
Parks keeps the setting in Kansas for his second historical graphic novel, titled Capote in Kansas: A Drawn Novel. According to Randy Lander, writing on the Fourth Rail Web site: "Capote in Kansas is one of the best graphic novels I've read all year." The novel recounts the time Truman Capote spent in Kansas conducting research for his novel In Cold Blood. In his fictional account, Parks tells a story through a series of characters that Capote met in Kansas. "While staying true to facts of that period (and even quoting verbatim from Capote interviews at times), it is still Parks's vision of what it was like for Capote to immerse himself in the stories of the Clutters, Hickock and Smith," wrote Colleen Mondor on the Bookslut Web site. "It's a tricky thing that Parks has done here."
Throughout much of the book, Parks follows Capote as he tries to establish a relationship with the locals so he can get information for his book. The novel also includes Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee and Capote were childhood friends, and Lee accompanied Capote to Kansas in real life. The author also examines Capote's relationship with the two killers he was going to write about. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were traveling through Kansas when they stopped at a farmhouse and ended up murdering a wealthy farmer, his wife, and his two children. According to many accounts, and Parks agrees, Capote, a homosexual, was attracted to Smith and ultimately formed a physical relationship with him during jail visits.
Parks received praise from numerous critics for Capote in Kansas, especially for his efforts to stray from the typical protagonists in graphic novels, such as superheroes and noir detectives. "Writer Ande Parks does a thorough job of relating both the facts—cold, hard, dry facts—and their undercurrents—messy, chaotic, emotional undercurrents—in this sophisticated graphic novel," wrote Lee Atchison on the Sequential Tart Web site. Francisca Goldsmith, writing in the School Library Journal, commended the author for "cleverly reprising the genre blur that Truman Capote created when he wrote … [his] ‘nonfiction novel.’"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Media Connection, January, 2005, Philip Charles Crawford, review of Green Arrow: Straight Shooter, p. 81.
Publishers Weekly, August 1, 2005, review of Capote in Kansas: A Drawn Novel, p. 46.
School Library Journal, January, 2006, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Capote in Kansas, p. 170.
Action Planet Comics Web site,http://www.actionplanet.com/ (December 3, 2007), "Creator, Writer, Finish Artist Uncle Slam and Firedog," profile of author.
Ande Parks Home Page,http://www.andeparks.com (December 3, 2007).
Ande Parks MySpace Profile,http://www.myspace.com/andeparks (December 3, 2007).
Book Slut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (December 3, 2007), Colleen Mondor, "Capote in Kansas: An Interview with Ande Parks."
Comic Book Bin,http://www.comicbookbin.com/ (December 3, 2007), Philip Schweier, "Ande Parks: Railroaded into Writing."
Comic Book Resources,http://www.comicbookresources.com/ (January 9, 2004, Seth Jones, "Quite Little Massacre: Ande Parks Talks ‘Union Station.’"
COMICON,http://www.comicon.com/ (December 3, 2007), Jennifer M. Contino, interview with author.
Fourth Rail,http://www.thefourthrail.com/ Randy Lander, review of Capote in Kansas.
Man without Fear,http://www.manwithoutfear.com/ (December 3, 2007), "Interview with Ande Parks."
Scrytip Studios Web site,http://www.scrypticstudios.com/ (December 3, 2007), Caleb Monroe, "The Genre Series—Ande Parks on Writing the Historical Comic."
Sequential Tart,http://www.sequentialtart.com/ (December 3, 2007), Lee Atchison, review of Capote in Kansas.