Larry Marder is the creator of the Beanworld.
Larry Marder, creator of the Beanworld was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1951. He was educated at Hartford Art School, BFA, 1973. He resides in Southern California with his wife Cory and their two cats Chipper and Olive. He currently is working on Beanworld full time.
But just who is Larry Marder? What's his story? How did his experiences lead him to create something as unusual as the Beanworld?
This page really doesn't answer these questions, but you might get to know a little more about his background and career.
Mr. Marder has been a reader of comics since childhood. In the era of anti-comics hysteria in the late 1950s, his parents didn't let him have comics. Instead, he read those of his friends. He started reading DC Comics in the late 1950s. He was one of the original Marvel Comics fans having been introduced to them in their first years of publication in 1962. He discovered underground comics in the late 1960s. He first visited a comic shop in 1975 (which he describes as a "mind-boggling" experience). Later, when he did some work for comic book publishers & distributors, he was often paid in comics!
"I probably spent more time in high school thinking about Kirby comics than I did about my own homework."
After graduating from high school in 1969, he attended Hartford Art School until he graduated in 1973. During this time he was immersed in the burgeoning New York art world meeting prominent artists such as Robert Smithson, Mel Bochner, Vito Acconci, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. In between his junior and senior years he travelled extensively throughout Europe. During his travels he visited the quadrennial Documenta 5 exhibition where he assisted performance artist James Lee Byars for several weeks. That summer, and the subsequent connections he made with key players in the Conceptual Art movement, were quite influential in his development as an artist.
Returning from Europe, he picked up the reins of a weekly comic in the school newspaper. Amid heavy political strips (during the Nixon campaign in 1972), Beans started making their appearance. His tenure at the paper lasted for his senior year.
After he earned his degree he worked for several years in a Connecticut printing plant. It was here he first learned of his aptitude for the graphic arts business both as a designer and customer service representative. After he relocated back to his hometown of Chicago in 1976, he became a fulltime art director at an advertising agency. He continued working on the Beanworld in his spare time. By the age of 33 he'd risen to the position of Vice President/Creative Director of an agency. Professional dissatisfaction with advertising in conjunction with beginning a correspondence with several of the up-coming new wave alternative cartoonists of the early 1980s led to his attendence at PetuniaCon, a comic convention dedicated strictly for independent writer/artists. From that came his association with Eclipse, a comic book publisher.
Mr. Marder's since become known as the Nexus of All Comic Book Realities. He earned this unusual title through his unique experience in the comic industry. He's worked for a number of comic book publishers and distributors. He moderated the Frying Pan, a forum for comic creators. Through his work Beanworld, he understands the concerns of writers and artists. And while all this was happening, he formed an extensive set of friendships with people in all parts of comics.
"It was my job to just make things happen, whatever that means."
Mr. Marder was Executive Director of Image Comics. His role as Nexus led to consulting jobs for the still-young Image studios, and that grew into a formal position. From what I understand, his job seemed to be to keeping everything running.
In 1999, he made was president of Image-co-founder Todd McFarlane's action figure arm, McFarlane Toys, staying in the role until 2007.
There were a number of influences on his cartooning style. In his explanation of the parts of the Inspiration Constellation, he specifically cites Hopi kachinas, the art of Marcel Duchamp, Robert Crumb, and the Fantastic Four. Jack Kirby's Fourth World series was also noted for its unique visual look. The ecological slant of Beanworld was due in part to working on accounts for chemical firms that made pesticides.
"I drew a lot of bugs at work."
Mr. Marder doesn't discuss his personal life much. He's married to Cory Marder (who is not Dreamishness). While he enjoys other people's children, they have none of their own. His interests include native American mythology, anthropology, art, history, and of course comics. Read more on his blog.
In 2007, he began a blog. It's got all sorts of Beanworld and Marder-ish goodness. If you've read this far, you should probably go read it!