William Clausen wrote and drew the mini comic, “Alf #3,” in honor of Richard Alf. The mini comic was part of the gifts to attendees at the Richard Alf memorial dinner during Comic-Con. Inside the specially made mug, right next to the Thor bottle opener, was “Alf #3.” I wanted to ask Mr. Clausen a few questions regarding his putting together the mini comic and about his recollections about Mr. Alf, and related subjects. What follows are Mr. Clausen’s observations and recollections from our interview after Comic-Con.
Mr. Clausen is an excellent artist and writer and an all-around nice guy. He’s also a pretty busy guy with a number of projects on his plate. He is known for his work on Trimark’s “Leprechaun,” Marvel Comics’s “The Silver Surfer,” and as the co-creator of “The Chameleon Commandos.” And for his involvement with a very special project known as, “Alf.”
COMICS GRINDER: William, tell us about this mysterious little mini comic, “Alf.”
WILLIAM CLAUSEN: Steve Garris did this for Richard Alf’s mail order comic business in 1975. #2 followed not that far after. It was published by Steve just before Comicon the same year he published my Starduster poster (possibly ’76). This led to me (being Steve’s roomate at the time) being asked to do #3 by Steve. I started doing so. Steve insisted he pencil the cover (without ever penciling it, he had me take CTHULHU off an Alan Dean Foster (who was doing mostly novelezations for movies at the time) cover he had done for Ken Krueger. We had done illustrations together for the book “The Final War” for Ken so I put the book in John Pound’s Lazy Lucy projector, traced the monster, and added Alf. So, I started drawing Alf #3. When it came to CTHULHU’s death, Steve told me I had to redraw the death scene because it looked like the death of Casper so I put it aside and went on to create The Chameleon Commandos (soon to be a movie) and did Leprechaun (Trimark) and The Silver Surfer (Marvel). I had kept in touch with Richard, and he convinced me to finish it. I redrew CTHULHU’s death and finished the trilogy. Unfortunately, Richard didn’t live to see its completion.
CG: Tell us about your early development and how your career unfolded.
WC: My first professional job was working for a local San Diego newspaper called The Coast Chronicle. I did the editorial cartoon, the comic strip, ad layout and design, negative stripping, plate burning, bundling, and collating. I assisted Shel Dorf on Steve Canyon, I helped Frank Brunner on The Prince and The Pauper educational filmstrip. I co-created The Chameleon Commandos and Rivit for Blackthorne (1986/87). I did Leprechaun #1 for Trimark pictures, inks for Marvel comics, backup features for Real Deal Magazine. A poster for Mighty Joe Young, phone Cards, label Designs, tattoo designs, model designs, prop designs, custom paint jobs, and album covers.
CG: Share with us your Comic-Con memories.
WC: Okay, Comicon memories: sitting around the pool at The El Cortez with Jack Kirby and Don Rico; getting kicked out of The Pro Lounge with John Carpenter by Tia Carrera’s goons; watching George Clayton Johnson come crawling into a party by way of the window…stark naked! And nobody else seemed to notice! Me and George looking down from the balcony while people below in Sandman costumes chased each other; bringing Shel Dorf to my gig and singling him out like Dead Sullivan used to do; doing a panel with Kelley Freas; Mark Hamill freaking out when he met me (which freaked me out); becoming good friends with my childhood idols (Like Frank Brunner) and other young artists (Like Whilce Portacio); serving on the Comicon committee for a few years; making the transition to Comic Pro, then Marvel Artist, and beyond; hanging out on the parking garage roof with Richard Alf and Clayton Moore; chasing down the parties with my deceased best friend Cham; occasionally crashing out in the all night film room; hanging out with my brother in the early days; meeting Peter Chung, getting a Frankenstein sketch from Mike Ploog, meeting Frazetta. Ah, yes…I remember it well.
CG: Feel free to add any other comments regarding upcoming projects:
WC: I am currently working on Young Merlin, Insectman, The Starduster, U.S.O. hunters, Rivit and many others as well as The Chameleon Commandos movie.
CG: Thank so much, William.
WC: You’re very welcome.