OUR LATEST DIRTY BOY IS NO STRANGER. YOU LIKELY KNOW NICK PERDUE BEST FROM HIS SARCASTIC WEEKLY COMIC STRIPS — FIRST HERE ON DIRTY AND NOW ALSO IN THE MIAMI NEW TIMES. (THAT ASSOCIATION WILL CHANGE ONCE YOU’VE LAID EYES ON HIM.) OR MAYBE YOU’VE FAWNED OVER HIM AS HE GETS YOU DRUNK AT KILL YOUR IDOLS. AS IT TURNS OUT, OUR PEN-WIELDING COMEDIAN IS MUCH MORE THAN A CLEVER, PRETTY FACE: HE’S ALSO AN ECCENTRIC DRESSER WHO LIKES TO JACK-OFF IN PUBLIC.
TEXT Anthony Spinello
PHOTOGRAPHY Melanie Ratcliff
DIRTY: HOW OLD ARE YOU?
NICK PERDUE: I’m twenty-three. But I feel about a thousand…
D: WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
NP: I was born in an industry-ridden factory town called Decatur, Illinois. We left when I was about seven and moved to Sarasota, Fl where I lived until I was seventeen, then I got out and like most young dreamers, moved to New York City. My mom got cancer when I was 21 so I moved back to Sarasota, then once things cooled off I went on to Miami. It’s been quite a journey so far.
D: DID YOU ATTEND COLLEGE? WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
NP: Yeah I did. And unfortunately for me college put a gross taste in my mouth. I studied political science and continental philosophy. It seemed like most campuses I took classes in were hubs for technical school types and kids trying to get easy A’s or look “interesting” on their transcripts without actually contributing work or discussion. Then again, I went to school in Florida so I feel like I should have known I would be surrounded by fuck-offs. I shadowed once at Eugene Lang in New York and loved it. Still trying to get the money together and make it a part of my life. But that’s the problem isn’t it? Going to school now means a mountain of debt later. I would like to go to school for animation in a few years, but it seems like most schools are sculpting students for PIXAR and 3-D, which I don’t really find appealing.
D: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN MIAMI?
NP: About a year an a half. I like it some days and hate it others.
D: WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY AND NIGHT FOR A MAN LIKE NICK PERDUE?
NP: Rushing. I work a lot. I wake up and get coffee every day. Usually draw comics until I have to work, and work is usually bar tending or ordering beers from all over the country to make this little tavern I work at a reputable spot for micros, crafts and diy products. I love the bar business, just because it seems like it’s one of the only urban-type landscapes that people feel like they can do what they please…and I like that. There is a sadistic side too though. I like watching people get hammered drunk. It’s interesting to me, since I rarely get to experience it myself. For me, I have a few drinks and call it a night but for some people, getting black out shmammered is the goal for the night and I just love watching the process. Really hilarious to me.
D: WHEN DID YOU START CREATING COMICS?
NP: Lawdy. I can’t remember when I wasn’t drawing comics. I went to Christian schools, growing up, and it always got me in big trouble. I would draw teachers, students, gross characters and monsters… It seemed like adults would always find them and either laugh hysterically or condemn me to hell. I found that interesting even as a kid.
D: WHAT WAS THE NAME OF YOUR FIRST COMIC?
NP: There were two. There was “Bunnyman” who was me as a terrible super-hero. I wore a jester hat and it gave me super jumping powers and carrots to throw at my enemies. I came up with bunny man when I was eight years old and was given a pet rabbit for my birthday. His name was Clover and was a professor in the series. I took out all of my “schoolyard hatred” of teachers and other students by making them into villains and battling them. Bunnyman was my eight-year-old outlet. Then came “The fuzz brothers” who were two balls of dust, fighting for supremacy in my house. It was a lot like Spy vs. Spy, which I was a HUGE fan of growing up. MAD magazine was delivered to my house monthly from ages 8-15 and heavily influenced my humor and cartooning style from then on.
D: HOW DID THE CHARACTER IKE MCLOUD COME TO EXISTENCE? HOW SIMILAR ARE YOU AND IKE MCLOUD?
NP: Ike was actually a bad real-estate agent in the beginning. His first comic was basically him in a house, pretending to talk over the phone to all these celebrities in front of a would-be renter so that they would rent the house. Later on it was exposed that his phone was a candy dispenser and he was actually just squatting at the house, not an agent. I liked the idea of an overzealous, lying business jerk and started watching all these 80′s movies about them. I then did a whole lot of research of corporate lobbyists, how corporations are legally considered citizens and found it all fascinating.. Ike was born. He is sort of the character that a corporation WOULD be, if they were a living, breathing mascot. In his first “Ike Mcloud” titled comic, Ike fires a guy who later puts his dick through the phone to get back at Ike. Ike is instantly enamored with the prank and becomes obsessed with this guy, named Johnathan Feeje, who becomes a major character in the later Ike comics.
To answer the second part, Ike and I aren’t very similar. He is a cocky billionaire and I am a sarcastic thousandaire, if that. Ike may be the evil in all of us when confronted by extreme fortune. He is the guy who all the “Occupy” folks hate, the guy who pollutes, rapes and destroys for a profit. There ARE people out there like that. I think the idea of a person like that existing creates good comedy.
D: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE COMIC BOOK ILLUSTRATORS?
NP: I don’t have favorites, only because if ANYONE does comics I like them. Even these simple, idiotic RAGE comics, popularized by 4chan and other image feed websites, I tend to read and “laugh out loud”. But consistent inspiration comes from artists like Gilbert Shelton, Don Martin, Johnny Ryan, Scott Adams, Pen Ward and Matt Groening. One thing to remember about comics/cartoons is that it’s not JUST illustrating a poster or something.. It is writing funny plots/dialogue, making interesting characters and then drawing it all together in a cohesive story that can be appreciated as a whole. So when I say these artists inspire me, it isn’t just about their drawing, it’s also their gags and story telling style. Even if it’s a dick joke.
D: WHERE WILL YOU BE IN 5 YEARS?
NP: I really want to get to animating some of these comics. I have a few friends in animation, who like the different series’ that I have going, so hopefully with some traveling will come a pilot episode for a network or something like that. I truthfully would be really happy doing something like Trey Parker & Matt Stone did. They had a simple, DIY animation style, a great idea and a pilot that caught on with a major network. Really, at this point, it is about writing as much as I can, drawing as much as I can. As long as I’m producing more and more in five years, I am on the right track.
D: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
NP: It depends on what you mean, because I write a range of material from satirical comics to drama and fantasy. What inspires my comics is a mix of real life conversation and urban squalor. The filth of places like Miami and New York have fueled a hyperbolic telling of their condition in comics like “Awkward Moments” and “Ike Mcloud: Smartest Man in the Universe”. However, I find a lot more ideas come to me freely in a place like Asheville or in a natural setting. I guess that allows me to reflect, rather than live it.
D: YOU’RE A PRETTY FASHIONABLE MAN. WHAT WOULD WE FIND IN YOUR CLOSET?
NP: Hah! What a question. Well, my closet looks like the wardrobe closet at your local theatre. I was basically raised in a performing arts center, by my mom, who was a dancer for shows like “The Pajama Game” and “West Side Story”. I would run around the theater while my mom had rehearsal and get into all sorts of shenanigans. The monstrous sets, the crazy costumes. It gave me a love for eccentric clothing. I have old Dolly Parton-style fringed jackets, detective coats, motorcycle boots, plus all the regular stuff: band shirts and crappy jeans.
D: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
NP: I hate this question. How about when I get old? I want to be an old, bearded wizard man with tons of Malamutes and a lot of land. I want kids and adults to read my stories/comics and think “I wonder what Nick Perdue is doing?”. Cut to me riding a horse in a kings outfit in the middle of the winter, somewhere above the Mason-Dixon line. I want to be creative and inspirational until I die.
D: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR?
NP: Honestly, disdain. I feel like a lot of people are living fake, moronic, empty lives and it drives me crazy. Most of my humor comes out of the “rudeness” of doing what you REALLY want to do, or having a disregard for societal boundaries. A lot of my humor also comes out of telling it like it is, where in reality, you usually have to listen to someone’s garbage rationale on life and perspective. Just turn on the news, and that’s where my humor comes from. Disdain and disbelief in the odd culture we take part in.
D: WHAT’S THE DIRTIEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN?
NP: When I was 15 I took a trip to New York for the Macy’s thanksgiving day parade. I remember being so happy that morning, walking toward the big floats, hearing the happy Christmas music, when all of the sudden I hear this odd groaning. Both me and my stepdad (at the time) looked into the street to see some old, deformed homeless guy just jacking off as hard as he could. Right there in the street. I couldn’t stop laughing. Literally hours later I was still in tears, thinking about what sort of insanity it must take to be in the middle of the road, all alone, masturbating to nothing in public. I think that was the moment I fell in love with New York City. The super positive, consumer funded holiday parade ONE block away from this mutant, jacking off like it was his last chance. Might have been..
D: TELL US SOMETHING NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU.
NP: I jack off in public. Just kidding. But really, I don’t think most people know that when I go to sleep, I actually dream up episodes for cartoons. I can often control my lucid dreaming, and most of the time, when I do this, I turn on a TV and watch my cartoons with a bunch of people. I also live a completely separate life in my dreams, in many cases. I have had weekl-ong dreams, where I go to sleep at night and it’s a new chapter to an existing dream from last night and the night before. It’s really awesome but sometimes messes with my perception of reality. I’ve heard that’s no good.