Joe Fauvel still remembers stepping into his high school principal’s office a few times a month.
It wasn’t because he was a bad student nor was it because he was failing. It was because he drew comics.
And his art teacher hated it.
“She told me it wasn’t real art and one thing everybody knows about me is if you tell me what not to do, I’m just going to dig my heels in,” Fauvel said. “So every project from that point on, I made it so it had some comic twist in it just to piss her off.”
Passionate, self-assured and boisterous, Fauvel has always loved comics. He has been making comics ever since he picked up an issue of Spiderman at a friend’s house in second grade. He now creates and publishes his own comic for a living, titled "CRY".
By day he works as a web designer at the Center for Distributed Learning at UCF, and by night he is a comic book producer, writer and inker.
Before starting his job at the CDL, Fauvel had worked on comics professionally after to graduating from the Kubert School (formerly the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art), a three-year technical college for cartooning. He also worked at a few ad agencies in the 1990s.
Shortly after, he met Randy Taylor, his now-partner in their own publishing studio, Nightshift Studios, and they began producing the comic "Assassin’s Guild" together. Taylor was the writer and Fauvel inked, adding depth and shading to each panel.
Nightshift began as Taylor's idea, then Fauvel helped bring it to life and make it what it is today. The studio currently resides online and publishes "Assassin's Guild," "CRY," "Blackwood Chronicles" and "NightShift Tales."
At that time, Fauvel already had his own comic book idea forming in his mind, but it had yet come to fruition. He and his former wife brainstormed and began toying with the idea of a Boston police detective who also happened to be a vampire. Their ideas would eventually come together to be known as "CRY," a supernatural crime thriller.
Fauvel said his former wife was interested in the Wiccan lifestyle, where he drew much of his inspiration.
“When we started researching, she would go to a shop called Avalon over by Mills [Avenue],” Fauvel said. “It’s like a Wiccan shop, and I would see all the stuff there and I’m like, ‘You know what? This is good lore.’ So I started adapting it.”
Eventually, the first issue of "CRY," entitled “Day After Day,” was released.
“It’s just the fact that he uses his hometown as the basis of the book, he’s from around Boston,” Taylor said. “Everything is completely accurate. Locations, the way buildings look. The reality of the setting really draws me to it.”
Pamela Tepes, the main character of Fauvel’s comic, is also based on his former wife.
Fauvel never lets any hurdle surpass him. His personality, he said, won’t allow it. Most people would describe him as cocky, and he would agree.
Kelly Moy, Fauvel’s girlfriend, said it comes with the territory if you’re going to be his friend.
“He is what he is, you know?” Moy said. “He doesn’t hide anything, isn’t reserved, he doesn’t make you guess.”
Christian Slade, a UCF art alumnus and close friend of Fauvel’s, can attest to who he is. He recalled a time when they went to a hockey game and discussed Fauvel meeting his favorite band, Def Leppard.
“I said without thinking, ‘Oh my gosh were you nervous to meet your favorite band?’ and he said without hesitating, ‘I don’t get nervous,’" Slade said. "He just said it so matter-of-factly and calmly. Then he said when he met the band, ‘I’m not excited to meet you, I’m excited for you to meet me.’.”
Slade said through Fauvel’s big personality, he’s taught him things inside and outside of cartooning.
Duane Varley, Fauvel's former boss, is still good friends with Fauvel and loves his enthusiasm and passion. Even though they worked with each other over a decade ago at Allied Advertising, Varley still contacts Fauvel frequently.
He also follows "CRY" when new issues come out.
“My wife and I, we love antiquing and collectible shopping, and one day, in what I think was New Hampshire, I’m browsing through some comics and I found 'CRY,' which totally blew my mind,” he said. “I would have loved to know how it got there, to see the path it traveled.”
Varley remembers Fauvel getting a kick out of seeing the photos of his comic in a store so far away.
Whether it’s in an antique store or at Comic Con, Fauvel loves seeing his comic in other people’s hands because it’s what he’s passionate about.
“It’s all a labor of love,” Taylor said. “We know we’re not going to get rich from it. You’re hard-pressed to find a rich comic book creator anywhere, but it’s all about loving the genre and loving the craft.”
Despite this, Fauvel and Taylor hope to continue publishing comics out of Night Shift Studios. The small publishing company is currently in the process of creating "Assassin's Guild 2," a continuation of their popular "Assassin's Guild".
Although Fauvel never got along with his high school art teacher, he credits her for pushing him to where he is today in the comic book world.
“She really pushed me more because she hated it so much,” Fauvel said. “I got that desire to stick it to her. If I saw her I would say, ‘Hey, look at what I did for myself and you told me not to do comics.'”