Zander Cannon: 100 Creatives


Number 82: Alexander Cannon (Zander)

City: Minneapolis

Years spent living in MN: 15 (minus 2 my wife and I spent in Japan)

Artist and illustrator Zander Cannon has been working as a professional comic artist since 1993. Along the way he helped found Big Time Attic with friend (and creative number 93) Kevin Cannon. Together, the duo has published several educational graphic novels ranging in topics from paleontology to the U.S. versus Soviet space race. Cannon often has many other projects on his plate, and past highlights have included working with heavy-hitter Alan Moore on Top 10, The Tick spin-off The Chainsaw Vigilante, and Heck, an online cartoon about a man who inherits a home from his father equipped with a portal to hell.  

[jump] Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:  

  1. Self-imposed procedural limitations, like small pages, cheap pens, ultra-tight timelines.


  2. Diagrams, flowcharts, and iconography.

  3. Things my 2-year-old says.

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding

creative type:

  1. Independent comics creators circa 1985-1995, such as Evan Dorkin, Paul Pope, Rick Veitch, Sergio Aragones, Chris Ware, Alan Moore, etc.

  2. My college Theatrical Design professor, Pip Gordon, and her unrelenting views on creativity and process.

  3. Never having enough time to do my college comic strip exactly right, so having to figure out how to make it not-terrible on a tight deadline.

What was your last big project?

In educational comics: Kevin and I drew T-Minus: The Race to the Moon, which was written by Jim Ottaviani, and covered both the U.S. and Soviet sides of the space race, from the '30s to the moon landing. In extremely UNeducational comics, I recently wrote scripts for the Transformers and Star Trek: The Next Generation comics for IDW Publishing.

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

In January, Evolution: The History of Life on Earth comes out. It's an educational comic about all aspects of evolution, and is written by Jay Hosler, a professor of evolutionary biology.  Kevin Cannon (my studiomate) and I did the artwork.

Creative/career high point (so far)?: 

Will Eisner handing me an Eisner Award in 2001 for my work on Top 10, and working on Top 10 with Alan Moore and Gene Ha were both pretty big ones.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?


Balancing creativity and making money, balancing creative bursts with being a good husband and dad, and balancing perfectionism with output. And balancing a ball on my nose.  It's hard!

How has the local scene changed since you began your career?

Before I went to Japan in 2002, there were a few cartoonists here and there doing minicomics (one of which was King Mini, a.k.a. Vincent Stall, with whom I shared a studio) and then the pro guys who worked for Marvel and DC, and I kind of floated in between.  After I got back in 2004, the Cartoonist Conspiracy had been born, and the minicomics guys and gals were all meeting at least once a month. There had probably always been a scene of one kind or another, but there was suddenly a community, and it's a lot more fun to work in a community.

What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child?

Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, probably, because the animation was the best. Any of the ones where they were lampooning something like Buck Rogers or Wagner's Operas or Robin Hood had my full attention.

For reasons left unexplained, you are given the power to have your favorite film get a sequel. It is guaranteed to be awesome. Which movie do you choose and why?


The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. There has never been a better film about imagination in the face of extreme rationality, and I could watch it a hundred times.

Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis

99. Sean Smuda

98. Chuck U


96. Amy Rice

95. Kara Hendershot