Small (press) oaks – Micah Liesenfeld

Today we talk to Micah Liesenfeld, creator of the web comic “True Blue Ninja Guy” or just “Ninja Guy” if you’ve seen it in print as a mini comic. He’s one of those creators I’ve seen in a lot of places I frequent on facebook, but didn’t really know their main body of work. I’ve seen some of his Ninja guy in those facebook groups and I’ve seen some contribution to Not My Small Diary in old fanzine sites.

So, when he agreed to do this interview, I thought it only fair to have a nose round what he was up to! Which was good, because he’s got an appealing set of work out there, I particularly liked Snow World and his work on his instagram labelled ‘Trudge’. There’s a nice sense of design to the first and just great colour in the latter.

Trudger day 309 - Micah Liesenfeld
Trudger day 309 – Micah Liesenfeld

Check out his work, especially as he’s just finished his 106-page Ninja Guy epic on Monday.


about the author photo

You can find Micah here

true blue ninja guy          webstore         instagram         twitter


Over to Micah!

Can you tell us a bit about the first creator whose work you recognised?

The first one? That was Charles Schulz. Peanuts comics jumped off the paper more than any others to me. I started cutting out the strips and trying to assemble them into comics that I could collect.

Peanuts - Charles Schultz

Which creators do you remember first copying?

Again, it was Peanuts. In the summer of 1989, I started making my own comics at 12 years old, and one of the first was called “The Peanut Butter Gang”… Completely unaware, I was making a very obvious rip-off.

Who was the creator that you first thought ‘I’m going to be as good as you!’?

Hmm… I never really felt I was going to be as good as anyone. I know a lot of people who compared themselves, but for some reason, I never tried to storm the tower between “here’s what I love” and “here’s what I’m making.” I just kept trying to make stuff, and meanwhile, I was reading a lot of comics. But I think I finally found my home when I fell into the DIY comix scene that was going strong in the late 90’s and started making things like Space Car Junkie, Snow World, and Feldspar.

The requirement to “be as good” was just not a barrier to collaborate and contribute with other creators, and I loved that. I started contributing to anthologies like “Not My Small Diary” (Here’s the current issue). It was so freeing to be accepted as a real comix artist just because I said I was. Armed with just a couple of pens and a long-arm stapler, I was in!

Not My Small Diary 20 art by Ben Snakepit
Not My Small Diary 20 art by Ben Snakepit

Which creator or creators do you currently find most inspiring?

I’m currently reading “The Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi. Right off the bat, the book just launches you off into the action and tragedy of this created world. It’s inspiring to me for the quality of writing, but also the impact of the message about racism and fighting for a world of love and acceptance.

In comics, I’m currently reading “Berlin” by Jason Lutes. It’s a historical piece about what was happening in Germany right before World War 2. It’s eery how similar this time-frame feels to now.

Which creators do you most often think about?

In the context of my current work, I love the expressive inkers like Paul Pope (THB) and Scott Mills (Big Clay Pot). I revere Stan Sakai’s commitment to his craft (Usagi Yojimbo). I laugh at the comedy of Rumiko Takahashi (Maison Ikkoku), Mike Allred (MadMan) and early Ben Edlund (the Tick). And I can’t get enough of the epicness of Jeff Smith (Bone).

Can you name the first three creative peers that come into your head and tell a little bit about why?

Billy McKay (Instagram: @artbybillytherobot) and I have been trading and contributing to each other’s projects for many years. I absolutely love his style and sense of whimsy.

Billy McKay
Billy McKay

Danny Houk (@dannyhoukart) and I are currently collaborating on a project, and I really love his style and sense of timing on either a joke or a sob (whichever emotion he’s trying to pull out of me!).

Danny Houk
Danny Houk

Dimitri Jackson (@frotoonpress) and I met each other at the Saint Louis Small Press Expo a few years back, and I’m in awe of his commitment to his craft with Blackwax Boulevard.

Dmitri Jackson
Dmitri Jackson

Finally, can you tell us a bit about your recent work and yourself?

I live in Saint Louis, Missouri USA with my wife, Aicha, and two children, Julian and Ornella.


[True Blue] Ninja Guy is a comedy in 5 parts. I recently decided to publish it as a web comic due to the pandemic, even though I made it as a mini. I’ll have the 5th chapter up very soon, and then it will be complete. It’s about a guy who responds to an online job post. The job requires him to dress in a ninja costume and break into a building to steal something. The ad he’s responded to is a scam, obviously, and he basically reaps the consequences. The sub-plot, though, is all about the two warring factions of Cincinnati chili fast food chains and how they came to be… just what the world needs right now! Er… wait.

Thank you very much for taking the time to fill this out and let us into your mind.

Space Car Junkie - Micah Liesenfeld

all art copyright and trademark its respective owners.

content copyright iestyn pettigrew 2020





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