Real Interviews – Chris Roberson

Greetings Chris Roberson of iZombie, Starborn, Elric, Fables: Cinderella, Superman, Superman/Batman and a load of other stories and comics. How are you doing?

I’m dandy, thanks!

For those people who are unfortunately unfamiliar with your work, is there any recurring theme through your work?

There are probably more recurring themes than I’m aware of, actually. I find that there are the things that the writer includes consciously, and then a whole lot of OTHER stuff that happens without the writer even noticing. My stories tend to deal with memories quite a bit, I find, either losing them or recovering them, or both. I also tend to take familiar character types or clichéd story tropes and try to do things interesting with them (I leave it to the reader to judge whether I’m successful at that or not). Also, talking animals.

Your new series Memorial which I haven’t been able to pick up yet has been getting a lot of buzz, you have a wonderful art team though. How would you pitch the series to someone so they pick it up?

Memorial the story of a young woman who arrives at a hospital one day with no memory of her previous life, and no clue to her identity other than a necklace she wears with the letter “M” engraved on it. A year later, she has managed to build something like a life for herself, with a job, an apartment, and friends, but she continued to search for clues to her previous identity. One day she notices a strange antique shop down an alleyway, one that she’s passed a million times and never noticed before. And it turns out to be one of those mysterious shops where you might buy a gremlin or a cursed monkey’s paw, and when you go to return the offending item, the store isn’t there anymore. Well, our heroine goes into the shop, and when she comes back out, she’s somewhere else. And that’s where the story starts. Tonally, it’s like Doctor Who meets Sandman by way of Miyazaki, with art by a supremely talented newcomer named Rich Ellis.
Also, there is a talking cat.

You ended up working on the last Superman arc taking it from a rather precarious position into what is honestly my favorite Superman story – it was those issues that got me to see Superman as an interesting character again. If you were the option to write for Superman again would you?

Thanks, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! The chance to write Superman for eight months was a childhood dream come true.
I knew when I took the job that it would only be for eight months, but I couldn’t help working out what I WOULD do with the book if I stayed on. I mapped out a couple of years’ worth of storylines, and actually started planting seeds in my eight issues of Superman that I could come back to, if given the chance. This was before I knew anything about the relaunch, of course, and as it happens very little of what I had in mind would work without the character’s past continuity to draw on. So I guess it just wasn’t meant to be!

From your Twitter and a few other sources, I’ve picked up that you are a big fan of cartoons and animated series. What are some of your all time favorites?

My list of favorites is a weird mix of stuff. I love Futurama, Cowboy Beebop, The Venture Bros., Secret Saturdays, Adventure Time, and Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc. And I’ll always have a soft-spot for old Hanna-Barbera adventure cartoons of the late 60s, anything Jay Ward did, the classic Looney Tunes, and so on. Basically, I like anything GOOD.

If you were given full creative control over a superhero or character and didn’t need to follow established conventions – i.e. you got to define the characters completely from scratch if you wanted, what series would you like to write?

My first instinct is actually a character that I don’t believe has appeared in comics before, but was created by a group of comic book legends: Thundarr The Barbarian. That could be a lot of fun to try!

With more and more mainstream artists starting up webcomics, have you considered trying your hand at the webcomics game?

I’m intrigued by the possibilities of digital comics in general, both webcomics and digital delivery through things like ComiXology’s Comics app. So yes, I have DEFINITELY considered the possibility. And there MAY just be an announcement coming in July…

Thanks for the interview!

Chris Roberson is on Twitter @chris_roberson and his website is Chris Roberson.Net

Real Interviews – Kevin Church

Greetings Kevin Church of The Rack, The Line, The Loneliest Astronauts and the rest of Agreeable Comics.
Hi, Luke, who, uh, writes Changeling and the odd ransom note? Can we talk about that here?
Which ransom note actually got through to you? I think you have an email filter.
It was the one that was cut up old panels from NIGHT MAN with the words you didn’t want used blacked out. So it was 12 pages long.
Oh, well that was because you weren’t aware of my other webcomic Socialfist and you didn’t mention Nerdcenaries. It was preemptive ransom.
Oh, right, Socialfist. I need to get back on that. I slacked. Mea culpa. I have a bunch of things in my Google Reader that have backed up severely.
Socialfist is actually in indefinite hiatus as I am working on the new print version with a new team.
That’s good. I’d like an actual floppy of that to read instead. WHICH REMINDS ME – I’m pretty sure I bought a Changeling hard copy I never got. Talk to your customer support team.
You mean Joe Hunter, the colorist for the next chapter of The Rack?
I do mean that very person, I guess! Good segue.
I will not argue about my segue skills.
Your Segway skills, though, are for shit. I mean seriously, you STAND ON IT. That’s it.
Well I need to have a Segway to have skills on them. Now for those who are not familiar with it, what is The Rack about? And it is similar to the Pamela Anderson comedy classic Stacked?
The Rack is a comic strip about a comic shop. It’s been going for about four years now and unlike a lot of nerd-friendly strips, we have slowly turned it into a sitcom sort of setup. It’s more WKRP IN CINCINNATI than THE BIG BANG THEORY, though. That’s my elevator pitch for it. And that’s why it won’t get as far as webcomics that make jokes about whatever happened this week in comics. And it is, sadly for many, not that similar.
But now you also do a lot of other series. Why are you doing so many series?
I was joking about this with Ming in the gym yesterday. I can either play golf or make comics. Either way, I’m going to be frustrated, but at least with comics I’m not waiting for some guy who’s taking forever on the ninth hole. I love making comics.
Instead you get frustrated at waiting on artists.
I love stretching my brain and trying different approaches and different ideas. I don’t have to wait that often! Sure, deadlines are missed sometimes but it’s not like anyone’s paying for our comics. Trust me, everyone feels bad when a strip doesn’t land on time. I try to give everyone the breathing room they need to work on other things, too. Paul gets a few weeks off after every THE LINE, I try to write ahead for Birdie and Sandra. Ming and I have the convenience of living near each other so we’ll do work dates.
Haha, I can understand that. I usually write an entire arc of Changeling in advance.
I don’t want to write too far ahead myself – I think it’s because I’m very worried about writing pages instead of installments, but over the Christmas break, I wrote quite a for what’s coming up. I went back and tightened them up before sending them over. I’m a big believer in each installment of a webcomic being pretty self-contained for the most part, outside of something that’s obviously doing the serial fiction thing like SHE DIED IN TERREBONNE. Like, with webcomics, every strip is somebody’s first and thankfully the medium has archives that are instantly accessible, but you still want to make it so people get the setup and “feel” immediately. Sometimes I’ll see strips that are the middle of somebody’s longform thing and they’re just messes on their own.
I can understand that though I’ve found that people usually will try and go to the beginning for story based comics.
But if you don’t tailor the dose, you’re less likely to get people clicking around. That’s one of the things I like about John Allison‘s work – he really gets how to make each strip a microcosm of the whole in a snapshot and from there you want to explore a bit.
Hmmm, I can get that. Speaking of the king of British webcomics, who are some of your other favorite webcomic creators?
I know he gets a lot of guff from a lot of people (and his attitude can be…condescending, to say the least) but outside of the Christmas comics, I always check in to see what’s happening with Scott Kurtz and PvP. He’s really turned that into a model of how to do things, even if sometimes the jokes run a bit thin.
I agree with what you say about Kurtz. I’ve been following to follow from a business perspective more than for the comic.
The thing with Kurtz is, though, he really does like these characters and they all have their own voice without ever lapsing into Claremont-style patois. And he doesn’t do that very 1997 webcomic thing of giving everyone a bundle of neuroses and tics. Brent’s kind of a jerk, Jade tolerates him, etc etc. There’s not much in the way of growth or change, I guess, but he’s very good at running the storytelling engine.
It is a very efficient comic in a lot of ways.
Let me check my google subs here to see what’s on my thing.
You know, Tom Scioli’s American Barbarian is inspiring and it violates the exact thing I was talking about but at the same time, every strip gives you a real dose of what it’s about. You look at it and you instantly know if you like it and want to read it all or it’s not your thing.
I love Parker and Moen’s BUCKO to pieces. It’s so goofy and Portland in that it makes fun of things they obviously love. I hope there’s more coming after this first arc is wrapped up. I really enjoy seeing those characters.
Also, K.C. Green’s GUN SHOW and Anthony Clark’s NEDROID are terrific joke factories. GUN SHOW is much more random, but has a consistency I find admirable. And I’m honestly shocked nobody’s picked up NEDROID for a series on CN or something.
KC Green is one of the most unstoppable artists I know. Were you aware of the carpal tunnel he picked up?
Yeah – and he played through the pain.
He is a soldier.
There’s tons of others. Some are made by people I call friends, so it can seem shameless, but Josh Krach and Shelli Hay’s TROOP INFINITY would be doing gangbusters if it were printed in a kid-friendly format. And, of course, AWESOME HOSPITAL. And Curt and Chris, of course. I mean, LBFA does the exact thing I don’t ever want to do because they do it exactly right.
Out of curiosity if you could have any webcomic illustrator do a series with you along with their normal comic, who would you like to write for?
Hmm. That’s a good qustion. Oh, Jamie Noguchi, who does YELLOW PERIL. That’s a good comic and his cartooning skills are amazing. I’d love to get him on a strip that’s like THE RACK or THE LINE, something with a big diverse cast. He’s amazing with body language.
I saw Jamie go up at Super Art Fight against Joe and he was pretty amazing.
Yeah, he’s one of those guys who’s got a very old-school technique that works really well with the material. Also, if I could, I’d lock down my friend Neil’s sister Emmy Cicierega, but she’s so busy doing her gorgeous arts. She’d be great for a fun all-ages thing. Also, if Max Riffner and Tracie Mauk (who should be announcing something soon) ever get free time again, they’re always welcome back on the Agreeable Compound.
When you say Agreeable Compound is this an actual building? Are you starting a cult?
I wish it were. If I ever had a few million, I’d totally buy a thing and set up a Periscope-style compound in Boston or NYC.
And boss kicks?
I’m actually not a crazy sneaker freak. I just like midline Pumas and New Balance (the latter for the gym) but if I had a few million, I’d probably get some pumped-up kicks. (That’s what that song is about, right? Sneaker shopping?)
No, it is about getting in the mind of a school shooter.
Oh, wow. That happy video and upbeat melody really fooled me.
Yeah. They are crazy that way. Now, you mentioned Max Riffner and Tracie Mauk’s comic and you also have Copernicus Jones in your portfolio of comics that you host. How do you decide what comics you would like to be “Agreeable”?
If a friend of mine wants hosting for their comic, I say “Hey, do you want hosting for your comic?” And that’s that. If they want it to be an Agreeable Comic, they can. Matt asked me and he mentioned that the URL he secured was kind of long whereas people can remember agreeablecomics.com/ whatever. I’m actually hosting Katie Cook’s comic GRONK right now and she pays for the domain and I take care of the back-end. I’ll be doing the same for Bruce McCorkindale soon, too. I’ve got a pretty robust plan and I like helping my friends out, especially the not technically savvy ones. It’s good karma. (I hope. Considering what a monster I am, I need all the help I can get.)
Now, you have Joe coloring this new big The Rack story. What can you tell us about the new story?
Basically, for the next half-year or so, readers are going to be spending time with the cast at a massive comic show in Chicago, A2C2. It’s going to be us trying to hit a balance of commentary on the industry and continuing to tell the sort of jokes and stories we enjoy. It’s also going to be a big chance for the supporting cast to get a bit more play, as they’ll be manning the store while Jerry, Lydia, Danny, Aaron and Rick are at the con. It’s also an effort to get more new readers, frankly. Give them a hook.
Is it true that everyone will lose a hand and therefore also gain a hook for a hand? Along with flowing beards?
No, but there will be lasting changes to the cast as a result of this trip. Lasting. Changes. (eyepatches)
Well, as we wrap up the interview, is there anything that you would like to plug?
Gosh. We just started up a new arc in THE LINE, a comic that I think needs more readers than it’s getting. Paul’s a terrific cartoonist and it’s gratifying how many people tell me it’s their absolute favorite. I think the “conventional” setting may be a bit off-putting to webcomics readers, but hey. The same goes for DID YOU SEE ME COMING, which people praise to my face. (praise to my face sounds really weird. THEY TELL ME THEY LIKE IT.) ALSO, starting NEXT WEEK, Ming and I violate trademark with our Star Trek comic, BOLDLY GONE. For years, I’ve trashed fan fiction and now I’m doing it. (But, you know, we went ahead created our own cast, etc etc.) Boldly Gone is basically us telling IDW “Let us write and draw you the best Trek graphic novel ever.”
Fanfiction has lead to good things like the recognition of the Mary Sue.
It’s a thin line between fan fiction and licensed fiction. In fact, the writers of the earliest Trek novels were taken from fandom. (With occasional “real” writers like Greg Bear showing up.) God, I am a nerd.
Well NERD, thanks for doing the interview.
LET ME KNOW WHEN IT IS UP ON THE NERD WEBSITE NERDCENARIES

Real Interviews: Jarrett Williams

Greetings of Jarrett Williams of the webcomic Lunar Boy and Oni Press’s Super Pro K.O. How is it going?
I’m good man. Just taking back a Black & Tan and watching Raw
How is the drink?
Always perfect
Haha. Now you recently released Super Pro K.O. Vol 2. What is that about?
It’s a mix of things. It’s all about paying your dues but not wanting to wait in line at the same time. Joe Somiano’s this up and coming wrestler that’s full of heart. But it’s not enough for him to move up in the ranks in Super Pro K.O.!, a pretty awesome wrestling league. In vol. 2, he’s jealous of this new guy that’s just entered the company called Romeo Colossus, an ex-baseball player. And Joe isn’t having it!
Now one of the things I love about the book is that it’s got this sort of manga action style the pages and layouts. What was the inspiration for it?
A lot of artist have inspired me. I love Jack Kirby, Carl Barks, Dan De Carlo, and alot of other American comic book legends. On the manga side, I’m a huge Toriyama and Rumiko Takahashi nut. I pull inspiration from a lot of places. The coolest part of being a part of this generation of cartoonists is that we all grew up seeing a bit of everything.
What comics are you into now that inspire you?
Oh man! I love Tiny Titans by Baltazar and Franco. Mermin by Joey Weisner is an awesome mini comic series. Remake, by Lamar Abrams is hilarious! I also like Prison Pit by Johnny Ryan, it’s insane. The Sixth Gun by Cullen Brian and Brian Hurtt is just a fun comic and is something I would’ve been even more obsessed with as a kid. But you know, I’m reading alot of older comics latelylike Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. And the Wolfman + Perez run on Teen Titans. My tastes are all over the place. It’s weird seeing it in writing.
Now one thing I’ve seen a lot of references to in Vol 2 is Scott Pilgrim.
Hahaha. Hell yeah! Brian (Lee O’Malley)’s awesome. It’s funny because he gave me a cool blurb on the back of volume one of Super Pro KO so I wanted to throw a little something back his way
And then there’s also a lot of references to the Oni Press staff.
The Oni Mafia. Yes. Charlie Chu’s the one on the cell phone. He’s my editor. They’re a cool click of people. I’ve learned a lot from them in different ways. Hahaha. “Clique”. Whatever. I think I make Keith Wood’s life the most hell. He’s the art director. And I pretty messy so as you can imagine, he has to deal with my crap. But I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress.
Life is a work in progress. Now were there any other hidden things in the comic that I missed?
The Groovy “619” nightclub is a blatant shout out to Rey Mysterio.
Ah, I am surprisingly not a wrestling fan, but I still love the series.
A lot of the feedback I get is usually from non wrestling fans. I’m glad the comic is accessible in that way.
It’s a lot more enjoyable than wrestling ever is for me – more fast paced and punchy if you know what I mean.
I have a different platform to show off this bunch of wrestlers than any of the live feds. The comic medium works to my advantage. I get to showcase a lot in the book. You get to see the crowd, the wrestlers, the behind the scenes stuff, and the matches. I get to really get people into the heads of these characters.
Yeah the book is great that way.
It’s fun man. I think it was good for me to just draw a comic about something I’m really into. I had no idea it would resonate with others the way it has.
Now you also did Lunar Boy which I recently read through. What was the original production schedule for that?
I originally updated it twice a week. I did that for 3 years. But I also was working on little minicomics and books outside of the webcomic. It was a lot of work but way unorganized. I’m surprised how long I was able to work that way. I’ve been taking my time while working on my next Lunar Boy comic. I want it to be great and I’m not putting any of it online until I feel it’s in a good place. I think that’s important. I got into a zone where I was allowing the schedule to rule the comic. The story took a backseat which is why it pretty much unraveled. Now I’m just working on pages and being more careful about what I’m doing. Even more so, I’m looking at why I’m making the choices I’m making on each page. It’s been a lot less stressful
Well, is there anything else you want to plug before you go?
SuperProKO.com is up and that’s where I’m posting updates on SPKO 3: Gold for Glory since that’s what I’m working on right now. You can also find links to SPKO 2: Chaos in the Cage! from there. There’s so much I want to do with this universe of wrestlers. Keep spreading the word about it. And the feedback I’ve gotten so far is really inspiring. Whenever I’m stuck on something minute or just giving myself a hard time I definitely look at the mail from readers. It’s pumped me up a couple of times. I appreciate the support from everyone.
Awesome. Well thanks for doing the interview Jarrett.
Anytime man!

Real Interviews: Niles Gray/Tribe One

Greetings Niles Gray aka Tribe One aka Devil Rhymeosaur and of the websites DC Versus Marvel and Socialfist/Nerdcenaries. How is it going?
It’s going well, sir. how about yourself?
It’s going well enough.
On a scale of 1-10, how well is ‘well enough’?
7 or so.
Not bad.
Nope. Decent living levels.
I’m at 11. Always.
Haha. Now you just released a digital version of your tour album. What is up with that?

Yeah, that literally just happened. I was watching Community on Hulu on my Xbox with my lady friend and I just decided that it was the right time to birth that baby. And I also emailed a free download code to everybody who donated any amount for my single ‘Steve Irwin’ because I giveth, as well as taketh away. Giveth music and taketh away money, that is.

And you were also on the West Coast Avengers Mixtape and The War For Infinity (and a bunch more) by Adam WarRock. What is it like working with Euge?

Yes, I did those things. I said those things. Working with Euge aka Adam Warrock is literally the most excited i’ve been about rap music as well as the most ridiculously infuriating i’ve ever been at the same time.

If you had to give Euge the superpowers of any established character – who would you choose?
He would be the Flash mixed with Black Bolt. That’s why it’s so infuriating working with him, because he writes so gosh darn fast, and it’s all so hell of amazing. But the flipside of that is that it’s amazing to work with him and have music ready to give people in the fastest time i’ve ever done it.
Now you are a big comic fan and you’ve done reviews in the past. What series do you wish that you could see about any characters with any team?
That’s easy. Cloak And Dagger. Teamed Up. With Devil Dinosaur. In The Future. And Also With Machine Man.
Who would write and draw it?
The art would alternate ever story arc between Chris Samnee and Francesco Francavilla, covers by Mike Allred and it’d be written by… oh man. It’d be written by Brian K Vaughn. And it would be the best comic book ever.
It would be amazing and I would like to see that, not so sure about Vaughn – I’m sort of picturing more explosions and things.
There were some pretty decent ‘splosions in Ex Machina.
Ah, I’ve only read the first trade.
I would also accept the kid Malachai (I forget his last name (Nicholls)) from Axe Cop. He would write the living daylights out of a book with Devil Dinosaur.
Haha. It would be like a ramped up Nextwave. Now are you also into the webcomics scene?
There are a few that I follow pretty regularly. And several that i need to catch up on.
What are your favorites – like 3-5?
Hmm…in no particular order, I love Let’s Be Friends Again, Multiplex, Super Hero Girl, Awesome Hospital, Dinosaur Comics, Hark! A Vagrant, Wondermark… LBFA might be my favorite. and i’m not just saying that because i got to table with curt and chris at emerald city comic con last year! (ps, those guys are dreaaaaaamy)
I know. Hella Dreamy. Dreamy peanut butter.
Oh, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this webcomic called Changeling? it’s ok, too.
I heard Changeling is just a pretentious comic but some punk kids.
Yeah, pretty much it is exactly that. My little sister just texted me to say that her friends think my raps are ‘pretty good’.
Haha.
I made it, you guys.
Sexy awesome man.
I am that.
strong>Now do you have any projects coming up soon?
I have four, lol.
Gasp!
Or more. I lost count. There’s my mixtape-type-thing ANAMANAGANGSTA, on which i’ll be rapping over beats made from Anamanaguchi songs. I’m kind of sloppily and haphazardly producing this project, too. I’m saying it’ll be out in january, mostly to light a fire under my behind because it’s already taken me way too long to finish. Then I’m also working on my official debut album, DIRTY SOUTH SWAMP THING with my good friend Joules, who produced me and Adam Warrock’s ep PAPER CUTTERS AND DANGLING HEADPHONES. That’ll be done in the spring, I believe. that’s what we’re aiming for at least. I’m also working on a new album with my longtime crew the remnant. There’s at least one other album in the works and some ep’s but I will keep those to myself for now. Hoarder’s style. Secrets.
Sounds like you have some crazy things going on now man.
Yeah, it’s a really busy time for me but I look at it as just about the best problem i could possibly have.
I know what that’s like.
OH NO! I HAVE TO MAKE ALL THESE RAP SONGS SO THAT PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO THEM AND ENJOY THEM! THAT SUCKS! Well, hopefully enjoy them. We won’t know until people start to actually hear them. Basically my life is the worst life out of any life ever. All the lifes.
Well based on your past track record I don’t have any fears about being disappointed.
I appreciate the vote of confidence, sir.
Is there anything else that you want to plug?
Support your local library! Go to shows. Shake the hands of your heroes. Support their work. Be nice to people, too. And smile. I think that’s all I got.
Well thanks for doing the interview Niles.
Thank you for interviewing me, Luke. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the business.

Real Interviews: Curt Franklin

This week Luke sat down with Curt Franklin to address the hate.

Greetings Curt Franklin, writer of the webcomic Let’s Be Friends Again and probably other things. Like you were in the Fugees and 500 Days of Summer weren’t you?

Most of my time was spent in the band Gorillaz, but, yeah, that other stuff happened too.

Now you do a webcomic called Let’s Be Friends Again with Chris Haley. How many pounds can you benchpress?

How much does Chris weigh?

He weighs the same as Imhotep who weighs 5 times less that Gladius who is 3 times heavier than Certep who weighs 10 apples.

Oh, so this is one of those kinds of interviews.

Now Curt, were you aware that Let’s Be Friends Again! was ranked the least favorite webcomic in the poll sent out to writers a few weeks ago? And that we pledged eternal enmity against you and your brother in arms for “war crimes”?

If you’re including yourself in that “writer’s poll” you’ve got a really loose definition of writer.
Heathen! You dare be invited into my house and then fire insults back at me?
Well we’re having this chat inside of a gmail chat box, which is I imagine the approximate size of your actual house, so, yes.

You …. have earned my respect Curt. We may now talk about comics. Wildcat or B’wana Beast?

Wildcat. He’s old, he drinks, he hangs around with Darwyn Cooke Catwoman and Slam Bradley, he’s not afraid to basically dress like a furry. Plus he’d probably be out punching people even if he didn’t have any kind of superpower.

I think Wildcat is honestly the best untapped resource that DC Comics has. They could use him as a stand in for the aging Frank Miller!

He’s an old dude who just says fuck it. I imagine he’d have a more informed opinion than Frank Miller.

He could be Wildcat’s grandfather though. Orrrrr or his son!

As much crap as we give Geoff Johns, his JSA reboot stuff was great because of the untapped guys like Wildcat et al.

Did Wildcat lose his extra lives that he got from a wizard for refusing to throw a fight? Because that is the best thing.

I don’t know. But I hope so. Because that’s a cool sentence.

Now who is this Geoff Johns?

A good writer who sometimes gets stretched too thin.

I think the issue with Johns is that no one man should have all that poooooower.

Yeah, that’s about right. It makes me wonder how much editorial influence there is in all his work, too.

What do you think DC would be like if Grant Morrison was in charge?

Probably not any better off. I obviously like Morrison, but who knows. It’s not like there’d be 52 All-Star Superman’s every month.

Oh no, but I think he might have more tact and intelligence picking creative teams and the whole new 52 thing would make more sense.

Yeah, it might be more thematically coherent. But, they were kind of fucked from the beginning on this new 52 since, from all accounts, it was a really quickly thrown together thing. So it was all bound to seem slap dashed and poorly planned, because, well, it was.

I’d have rather seen something like the Ultimates where there are new origins and new takes for everything. One of my biggest problems is the Green Lanterns not having any changes when the events that transpired recently make no sense.

It’s funny how only really now, over ten years since the launch of the Ultimate stuff, is any of it really trying something different. Spider-Man isn’t Peter Parker, Reed Richards is the bad guy, X-Mainstays like Wolverine and Cyclops are gone. It’s actually interesting now.

Do you think we need more permanent changes to the storyline to keep older readers?

It’s not like making changes is what makes something good. It’s coming up with new spins on stuff, new ideas on old things. Saying “Permanent changes” are necessary implies that anything that’s written or drawn is forever, permanent. That’s a terrible enough idea, because everything’s going to get rebooted, reimagined, changed at one time or another. When we’re all old we’ll probably see something like a Star Wars reboot, something that’d be laughable now, but time marches on and we’ll just be the old fucks complaining about ‘my star wars’ someday.

But allowing characters to change is more of what I mean. I don’t see the Ultimates bringing back those dead dead messed up X-men any time soon. I might say allowing characters to evolve instead of change.

Characters should always be changing. When something stops moving, it dies. LIKE A SHARK.

Or Eugene Ahn.

I can’t be mean to Eugene anymore, he’s officially more popular than us so I have to lick that boot.

Lol. Now you have a sexy line of Let’s Be Friends Again! t-shirts. How long till we get a Spam Ultron/Dick Pills Shirt? Or a Spam Ultron comic?

It could happen right now if you promise me you’ll buy 100 of them. Chris and I are all about money. It’s why we do webcomics.

Wait, so you are doing webcomics to make money? Isn’t that rather presumptuous?

I’m presuming that we’re gonna be millionaires, so, yeah, it is.

But isn’t doing a webcomic about print comics rather limiting to a degree considering that there only about 200,000 American comic readers in the States.

Yeah, I was joking about making lots of money. We’re pretty fucked.

Have you considered getting into the business of printing stories about your own characters and selling them through a major company which would be a two pronged business strategy bringing new readers to your site and giving your readers new media to follow?

Yes, actually. Chris and I have talked about that a lot. And I have a lot written in more of a traditional comic book style, but because of my anxiousness of trying to make it perfect, plus the demands of just doing our regular comic, we haven’t made it happen yet.

But you can’t tell how people will react until you’ve given others the look at it.

Right. Believe me, I know.

Oh Socialfist was the same way – originally it was Super Feudal Communist Russia Team Squad Now! and one of the main characters vomited from his butt. I had to try and do it that way to see that it wouldn’t work.

One of my favorite things about doing Let’s Be Friends Again is that I can go back and see how Chris and I have progressed, or, in some cases, not progressed. It’s literally us learning what to do and how to do it online. Neither of us have any kind of writing or artistic training. We just decided to do it, and it’s all there for everybody to see. All the shit that we probably should’ve thrown away. All the stuff that made us actually go, “hey, we’re not bad.” It’s there.

Would you sell Chris Haley’s freedom for the combined powers of everyone in Justice League Detroit?

No, because with Chris by my side we can create something that’s BETTER than the Justice League Detroit. We aim high.

But that is turning down a lot of people like Aquaman, Zatanna and Martian Manhunter!Well their powers at least.

Who am I selling Chris to?

A group of attractive female gods who were like “I want that and since Curt seems to the dominant male of the duo, we can offer him superpowers for Chris.”

Nahhh. I couldn’t do it.

Man, I’d sell both of you for the powers of Gypsy. Well, before we go is there anything you want to link?

Three things: our website, a link to our Dallas appearance’s site, and a link to Comics Alliance because without Laura Hudson we might not be alive.

Awesome! Well thank you for coming on while I sent people to rob your house.

Your people are dead.

#ThugLife

Real Interviews: Rusty Shackles

Silent Hill Alternate Cover By Matt Buck
Silent Hill Alternate Cover By Matt Buck - Looks Better Than The Real Cover

N: Greetings Rusty Shackles of the websites Palette Swap and TableTop Fetus who is also the former artist of War Rocket Ajax!
RS: Hey Luke! I am those things you state, this is true.
N: How is it going Rusty?
RS: Fantastic, I just finished up my piece for the Sega Art Jam which will be my final art piece for 2011. Taking a new-dad break, and I am looking forward to coming back in 01/2012 with some art for musicians.
N: Nice! Now your current project is Palette Swap. What is the deal with that?
RS: Much like Nicole Bradford, PaletteSwap has 2 dads – The first being the Covered sites. I had done a large number of pieces that ran on Robert Goodin’s brilliant Covered blog, and a few for other sites like Repaneled and Repulped. Meanwhile, the other father who is *not* Paul Reiser came into play, the old Twitter Art Jam feed. I had artists participate in an open art jam where everyone had to do that month’s subject to participate. The most successful of them was DLC-4 where people did their takes on their favorite video games. So with those two sources, it seemed natural to create the blog.
N: So basically you were like “these other people are doing this cool cover thing, I can too?”
RS: Essentially yeah! I wear my influences on my sleeve and got the blessing of those blogs before I even started. Plus, video games are out of their respective turfs so I don’t come across as a competitor.
N: Now are you much of a gamer?
RS: I used to be WAY more into it, but nowadays I’m pretty well down to only owning a PSP. It’s too expensive for me nowadays, and besides, if you don’t buy a game when it’s $60 new the internet community who would be playing is LONG GONE by the time it’s $20.
N: Do you think that the glut of constant shooting games will make doing Palette Swaps for current gen systems any harder?
RS: I think for the most part people are going to be drawn more to the older generation of games so it won’t be too apparent for a bit. There will be a shooters themed month coming up in the near future so it’s a great time for those who want to do that though. But I can’t complain about a genre, my favorite is 2D fighting which people once complained about being too superfluous as well
N: I would say though that with fighting games you get a lot more variation in looks and themes.
RS: Oh I agree, and the parallels with first-person-shooter genre is there with the level of maniacal fans, and the homebrew scene as well. It’s bizarre to see some of the Mugen or Doujinshi stuff out there, but it’s kinda like the mod scene was back in the day for Unreal.
N: So what, you have an issue with Kirby fighting and beating Apocalypse and Darkseid?
RS: Ha! No I think it’s awesome. I’ll gladly point to the Mugen THOR by Loganir to justify that whole scene. That creation in particular is on par or if not better than Capcom’s 2d staff’s work.
N: What is you favorite video game generic enemy, as in not a boss?
RS: I have to say the myriad of guys and gals you pound on in Final Fight. It says alot when your grunt characters become playable in your later franchises the way they did with Andore/Hugo and Poison.
N: It is interesting how a community can latch onto a character like that.
RS: True! and they’ve spent 20+ years trying to explain Poison’s gender but like…mid-boss, I gotta go with Allen O’Neil. The big guy with the machine gun in the Metal Slug series. He has some of the best taunts in all of videogames, and in one of the games, is inexplicably eaten by a killer whale for NO REASON WHATSOEVER.

Rusty Shackles' Cover For Trap Gunner
Rusty Shackles' Cover For Trap Gunner

N: So getting back to Palette Swap, you mentioned theme weeks? How do these work?
RS: well, the site originally was open format, meaning whatever game, whatever console, era, etc. But I was getting like one submission every 2-3 weeks. I think with the massive library of games that have ever existed, that may have been *too* much freedom. When I announced the Halloween art jam, I got like 14 entries in 2 weeks, so it was definitely a sign of what the direction should be. So from here on out, I think we’ll do ONLY theme months. We’ll still allow those who want to draw whatever they darn well please as “Bonus Rounds” and post them during the theme months. But I do want to keep it as loose as possible, and give as few restrictions as possible. With the current one, Sega, there’s 30 years of games to choose from for example.
N: Now have there been any issues with interpretations of certain games in one way or another? Like one interpretation of a character over another?
RS: Nah I don’t think so. I haven’t had to reject anything just yet. I think though that there’s a concern with people about not wanting to draw a game because someone else may do that game. I encourage people to do whatever the heck they want, since their version will look TOTALLY different from another artist’s. I’ve already had a few Super Mario Bros. (NES) for the site, but they’re all unique so it’s not an issue.
N: Awesome. Well is there anything you want to pimp before you go?
RS: Sure! as always you can find my work at tabletopfetus.com, plus as always I’m doing work for Adam Warrock (http://adamwarrock.com) as well as The ThoughtCriminals. In 2012 I’ll be doing art for Tribe One, My Parent’s Favorite Music and other nerdcore musicians to be announced.
N: Well thank you for doing the interview Rusty.

Real Interviews: Kelly Turnbull Part 2

Part 1 of the interview can be found here.

Nerdcenaries: Now you are also a comics person. You did those Justice League redesigns with the characters in Wonder Woman style costumes which were to quote Chris Sims “a hoot”.
Kelly Turnbull: Ahaha, man, that really blew up, it started as just kind of a back-and-forth between a friend and myself. He was lambasting people airing their grievances with Wonder Woman on the cover saying that DC fans were always going to find something to complain about (which is true enough, honestly) and I did that to illustrate what exactly it was that people had the problem with regarding Wonder Woman on that cover. With both got a ton of shit for that one, he had people telling him he was a sexist pig and a misogynist and all sorts of things like that (which couldn’t be further from the truth, he’s a really nice guy) and I had people telling me I was exploiting gay men and sissy shaming and hating on women who wanted to be effeminate and all that.
N: That is the nature of the Internet and even parody.
KT: Really, I just wanted to convey the idea that it was a silly pose by comparison to the dudes she was posing with. I think enough people got that, though. A lot of people asked why there was so much complaining over Wonder Woman, saying that she was far from DC’s worst handled character. I think she tends to be put under the microscope in respect to this sort of thing because she’s kind of historically been treated like a barometer for DC’s attitudes towards feminism.
N: I think the problem is really with one guy’s design of her. Jim Lee does some really poorly thought out designs that lack aesthetic qualities.
KT: Oh, I’m just saying why I think people tend to set their sights on Wonder Woman above all others.
N: Ironically though I keep hearing that the Wonder Woman series is one of the more solid comics that DC is doing.
KT: She gets more scrutiny because DC has proven that they’re not afraid to meddle with her character to make her more of an “empowered woman”. I saw a documentary on the company once saying that she was briefly depowered because DC thought women would be more impressed by a female character who didn’t need magical Amazon powers to stand with the boys. Then promptly changed her back when they realized people were upset to see the most recognizable female super hero of the day gone average mortal. I’ve seen this kind of waffling with the character cited as the reason that her story and personality aren’t as solid and iconic with the average Joe off the street as Superman or Batman’s are, but I couldn’t prove or disprove that for you.
N: Well Superman is Truth, Justice and the American Way. Batman is Justice Through Fear (Somewhat). Wonder Woman is nobility and honor through bravery (or bondage) but I don’t think she has an easy to classify ideal like Superman or Batman do, though neither do most of the other characters. I think that Wonder Woman just suffers more because she is the female character and with no established, or at least heavily established, characteristic, she becomes “the female”.
KT: Exactly. Well, here’s an observation of the character from The American Scholar in 1943; “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”
N: And yet that is a heavily Eurocentric view. Though I would love to see a stereotypically mythological/godly Wonder Woman using her powers to just mess with people, sort of like the Kate Beaton Surly Wonder Woman.
KT: Heh. As Marston, I think he was her creator put it “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world” I feel like from the get-go there was a lot of pressure put on her to represent feminist ideas and, as you said, “be the female” in a boy’s club. Kate Beaton surly Wonder Woman is great because “surly” is more of a personality than “girl”
N: Now, what print comics are you reading these days?
KT: I actually just got my hands on the Major Bummer collection Dark Horse recently put out. It was kind of an AU DC thing from back in the 90’s. As in, DC originally published it, but it has nothing to do with the DCU. It is probably the best super hero comic I’ve ever read
N: Some of their best work has nothing to do with it. I personally love the Elseworld’s stuff.
KT: Alien college students are doing a thesis on the effects of introducing super powers to a closed environment like Earth. They select a group of people they feel will do the most good for humanity, but accidentally send the “Mr. Incredible” type frontman hero superpowers to a 98lb nerd who works in an electronics repair shop instead of the teacher-lawyer-humanitarian they’d originally intended. So the skinny nerd kid wakes up out of the blue as a seven-foot musclebound super human and the story basically follows how much it sucks for him to have super powers. The aliens want the device that gave him the powers back so they can give it to the man it was intended for, but the only way to take it back requires tearing his heart out. He has absolutely no desire to be the hero they want, but he has no plans to relinquish any organs. Needless to say hilarity ensues, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away.
N: That sounds pretty solid. And there is apparently a trade for it as well.
KT: I’ve also really been trying to turn people onto European comics a lot lately. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t explode on the scene stateside the same way manga did.
N: I think it is the mentality of “the mysterious east!” vs “where my smelly grandparents came from” to a degree. Though we have the Tin Tin movie coming out which might help.
KT: It might have something to do with the sparse updates or companies being more apprehensive about something that needs to be printed in colour on quality paper VS something they can print in black and white on newsprint. I think most comic fans are familiar with Blacksad, it certainly seems to be one of the most highly acclaimed and widely recognize European comics making the rounds in the states. Even Blacksad has met production hiccups when it came to translation because the producers were worried it wasn’t selling enough copies in America
N: With that said though look at Oni Press – Scott Pilgrim exploded, The Sixth Gun is being optioned as a series and so are a lot of other nonhero books like Chew.
KT: 2:29:23N: I think part of it comes from the Superhero Only mentality in American comics and the fact that manga has a wider variety and a lower price.
N: Sales is definitely another thing though.
KT: European comics have been translated by Heavy Metal for years, so I wonder if that might have something to do with people forming some preconceived notions about it. Like, the idea gets around that it’s inherently trashy or X-rated because of the reputation Heavy Metal has.
N: A lot of the industry is negatively affected by what people incorrectly think about comics.
KT: I’ve heard comic distributors air their frustrations with the way Heavy Metal manages their translated material as well, though, so their poor track record of publishing collected paperbacks could be another nail in the coffin. I’m going to throw out Skydoll as an example because it has hands down my favourite art in a comic to date. Up until recently, the only way to obtain translated Skydoll was by buying the Heavy Metal back issue that ran it a few summers ago. So it’s this gorgeous comic that by all rights you should be enjoying in a big luxurious hardcover or something like that, but the only way to get your hands on it was in a magazine full of ads with an unrelated airbrushed pinup girl on the cover.
N: I worked in a comic shop and it was always a weird thing placing Heavy Metal for that reason. Though if nothing else we’d cover up Guns and Corpses with Heavy Metal.
KT: I was so happy that Marvel acquired the rights to publish the translated version in the States, they’ve finally got it out on shelves in the collected edition it deserves. So everyone can go buy it now and show their support and we can maybe get more stuff like it…
N: As we start to wrap up, is there anything you’d like to plug?
KT: Hm, I think the only American comic I’m still keeping up with these days is the Goon, all of my love to the things that come out of the mind of Eric Powell. He is a credit to Indie comics. And on a webcomic front, I’ll urge everyone to read the Meek. I’m sure most people have heard of it by now, but if you haven’t read it yet, go at it. It’s probably my favourite online comic to date.
N: Well Kelly, thank you for your time and I’d definitely like to get you back on to talk more.
KT: No problem! It was definitely a pleasure!

Real Interviews: Kelly Turnbull Part 1

The interview with Kelly is longer than usual so I’ll be posting half today and half tomorrow.

Nerdcenaries: Greetings Kelly Turnbull of the online webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, how is life treating you?
Kelly Turnbull: None too bad, just getting back from a late night at the studio.
N: The studio where you are working on Good Vibes?
KT: Six Point Harness, yeah. We wrapped up production on the first season of Good Vibes a couple months back, so we’ve been keeping busy with other assorted smaller projects like ads and web shorts.
N: I finally caught the first episode of Good Vibes the other day. It’s sort of like Rocket Power post-puberty.
KT: Yeah, when I was explaining it to people before it was readily available online I was basically saying “Simpsons plus Family Guy Plus Rocket Power”. I think it was originally meant to be for Fox, but something happened and MTV took it over. The powers that be have said they’re happy to have the show on MTV, you can get a little more risque with the humour over there.
N: Yeah. It pushes the bar more than Fox would seem to allow and they are a lot laxer these day. But now you also work on Manly Guys Doing Manly Things which is your online webcomic. How would you describe it without mentioning that it is a video game comic?
KT: “What space Marines do when the job is over” That’s my elevator pitch for it, I guess
N: Haha.
KT: The first comic is pretty much the best summary I could give it, “a temp agency for ludicrously macho guys”. At least that was the idea when it started, it’s kind of strayed from there a bit. Focuses more on the agency as kind of a clubhouse these days. The guys don’t seem to be doing a lot of work
N: Yeah, it turned from a bit more of a gag-y video game related strip to more of a character driven piece in a lot of ways.
KT: It was originally meant for The Escapist’s webcomic contest, so I figured I’d do a really game-gag-driven concept. If I’d won, I would have probably stuck to that formula, but since it’s mine to do with as a please I try not to let myself get bored drawing a lot of fanart. Commander was kind of conceived for an Original Character tournament where I planned to go into rounds drawing my entry for every round as “Commander Badass wins by applying logic to the outlandish character he’s up against” So he can be repurposed for any situation where the characters he’s dealing with are really over-the-top Bravado.
N: Now one of the ideas in your comic is manliness is not necessarily about being overly muscular and violent but it’s more about confidence. Do you think that the entertainment industry has sort of confused these ideas in the way that strong female characters and female characters who are strong are confused?
KT: Very much so. I think things are starting to get better, but I feel like so many ACTION GRRL properties feature a character who’s whole schtick is WATCH ME PROVE HOW EXTRA BADASS I AM BECAUSE I’M A GIIIIRL
N: And then they tend to die.
KT: It’s like the motion picture equivalent to the “Gamer girls”, who think that they’re some kind of rare loch ness monster because they’re girls and they also like games.
N: All you need to do is go to art school or be social to find girls who like games.
KT: I feel like when you make a character with the one-note personality that “she’s a girl but she’s also a badass so it makes her extra badass”, it’s kind of perpetuating a patronizing stereotype that it’s terribly unusual for girls to do cool things.
N: Though on the opposite there are still the overly feminine characters and little space between.
KT: Yeah, I don’t know why it is, exactly, but it seems hard to fabricate a girl who is not one stereotype or the other, and can stand alone as an interesting person on her own right. It’s very easy to do with male characters, but for some reason it’s like when you sit down to write for a woman there’s some kind of “girl membrane” you have to get through before you can do anything else. I think a big part of it is people don’t take the time to flesh them out in their own rights, just “character is female” okay, personality done. You have to look beyond “this character is the mom” or “this character is the girlfriend” and give them the same treatment you give the guys. “Who is she, what does she want out of life, what’s her social status, what’s her education, what’s her job, what is she afraid of, what are her habits”, that kind of thing.
N: There are still stereotypes that come into play when writing where I guess you could summarize it as “writers see women as having less range”.
KT: That’s what I like about the girls in Dragon Age, I mean, people can complain about DA2 all they want but I can’t think of a more fleshed out “tough girl” character in a video game than Aveline.
N: I know Rick Remender mentioned for every main character he has this 100 Question sheet for figuring out and fleshing out characters. Most people have 1 multiple choice question instead. When I was in school we had a drama class that included a section where we had to invent a character. The “test” was we had to sit in front of the class and answer anything he asked us about them. so you had to know your character in and out, like they were your sibling or uncomfortably close best friend. Like “what colour is their underwear?” “What kind of a relationship do they have with their mother?” “How do they feel about pets?” Inane things that you might not think are important, but are actually quite telling of what a character might act like in their day-to-day life.
N: “Where do you hide the bodies?”
KT: I think that personal understanding is the big difference between designing a character and designing a gimmick with an avatar attached to it.
N: My roommate back at college who studied game design commented there were people who could draw 40 different characters but the characters had nothing that spoke in their design and that is some of it.
KT: Back in high school I saw a rant someone had written, I think it was largely aimed towards the furry community, but it was talking about how boring it is to see people come up with a 3/4 presentation pose and then draw everything standing exactly like that. Saying that they would see galleries full of extremely well-drawn, extremely boring pictures of different characters all doing the same thing. That really stuck with me, so I’ve always made it a goal of mine to give characters some personality, like doing something or standing in such a way that you get what they’re about. Posture, body language, and a simple prop or two can speak volumes.
N: What is your opinion of the series One Piece because that series has an amazing amount of variety in design.
KT: I enjoyed it back when I read it in high school, but I kinda drifted away when I stopped buying Shonen jump. Great art for sure.

Real Interviews: Dave Shabet

Nerdcenaries: Greetings Dave Shabet of Dead Winter. How is it going?
Dave Shabet: Hello Lucas Herr! It is going well.
N: For the people who have unfortunately not heard of Dead Winter, how would you describe it without mentioning zombies?
DS: When I pitch the book at cons I describe it as “a tongue-in-cheek action-adventure comic set in a post-apocalyptic city that has no name,” and I think that about covers it without dropping the Z-word.
N: Well the reason I wanted to describe it without mentioning zombies is that your comic does a really good job of not focusing on the zombies andmore on the characters. Now are you a big fan of zombies in entertainment?
DS: Why thank you! Honestly I think it’s interesting but I’m not an expert on the subject. I’ve seen one or two of the _ of the Dead movies and played the first part of Dead Rising. So I guess I’m interested in “zombie entertainment,” but not because of the zombies in entertainment.
N: What got you into the undead?
DS: My friends, mostly. I think it was probably old World of Darkness pen-and-paper games, if I had to pinpoint it. I’m not afraid to admit that.
N: You mean the classic Whitewolf D10 RPG?
DS: yeah, that’s the one. I was a big tradgamer before I was into zombie stuff. I’ve played Munchkin with the White Wolf writing staff. True story!!
N: What did you play in the World of Darkness?
DS: We ran a couple campaigns. First character was an Innocent Hunter, then I did an Obrimos Mage later. But that’s a little beside the point.
N: Haha. Was there ever any consideration to put in other supernatural elements into the comic?
DS: A couple thoughts, but I want to play more to the human element without adding anything really extra-human to bend the rules. Humans are capable of lots of cool stuff, so at least for this comic I want to stay within that realm.
N: Now, you are more of a webcomics person but do you read a lot of print comics?
DS: I used to borrow a couple from my friends, but I don’t read a whole lot myself, sadly. I spend all my time drawing. The last book I bought was Aaron Renier’s Spiral-Bound, though. That’s a really good one.
N: How long do you spend on a page on average?
DS: When I started it was about six hours a page. Nowadays they take between 30 and 40 each from start to finish. It’s about 12 hours a day six days a week.
N: And then you are also working on your second print collection of the comic correct?
DS: Yeah, I am currently raising money for the print bill for that one.
N: Are you going to be adding any bonus material in the next book?
DS: Absolutely. I’ve got lots of bonus material I couldn’t put in Book 1 because it didn’t fit within the timespan of the book, so it’ll be in Book 2
N: Since you are more of a webcomic person, are there any smaller series that you’d like to advertise?
DS: Hmm. I’ve gotta mention Jenny and The Zombie Hunters since we’re a genre of two on the web.
N: Oh yeah, I’d interviewed her back on my old site. She is a pretty great person and does a wonderful comics as well.
DS: Kate, the author of the now-finished Darken actually just started a new series, Widdershins. And I’d also have to recommend Ryan and Three Word Phrase and Tom’s Non-Canon to round out the bill. There’s plenty to read there.
N: Now you mentioned Darken as a comic that finished. What is your view on comics with a more limited storyline like that?
DS: Story-comics?
N: Well, as opposed to comics that just continually go like PvP as opposed to limited series such as Darken or other comics.
DS: I find there’s a yin and yang to gag and story comics. Gag comics are easier to get into, since you read one strip and you’re satisfied, vs. needing to read a whole archive; but a long-form story can hook readers and more deeply invest them. Gag comics draw in a larger crowd, but storys comic fans are a bit more loyal.
N: I was referring to story comics that have a limited story as opposed to ones where the creators keep them going. I think story comics can still advance stories while having gags. Like a miniseries of a comic as opposed to a continuing series.
DS: Well, if you’re writing a story comic you ought to have an end. An end means your plot points are leading somewhere.
N: So there is going to be an ending to Dead Winter then?
DS: And that’s what hooks a reader. Yeah, there’s going to be an end to Dead Winter.
N: Are you thinking at all about anything post Dead Winter? or is that so far off in the future that it isn’t even a blip?
DS: I have another comic idea I want to work with, either after Dead Winter or if I find the time, alongside it.
N: Well, as we start to wrap up is there anything you’d like to “pimp”?
DS: Yes! Kory Bing’s Skin Deep and Magnolia Porter’s new comic Monster Pulse They’re good people and they make good comics, like the four I mentioned earlier! All of them, excellent.
N: Awesome. Well thank you for your time Dave.
DS: Thank you for having me!

Real Interviews: Matt Wilson

Nerdcenaries: Greetings Matt Wilson of Copernicus Jones, the Comics Alliance sponsored podcast War Rocket Ajax as well as internet projects such as The Content Farm and The ISS!
Matt Wilson: Hi, Luke. Thanks for asking me to do this.
N: No problem. I’m always happy to make easy content with these interviews.
MW: You are a true Internet Journalist.
N: When I end up producing two articles a day plus organizing the work everyone else does along with looking for work it is the little things in life. If you had to compare yourself with one Poke’Mon from the original, who would you choose. As in – who is your spirit Poke’Mon?
MW: I’ll admit something to you, Luke. Unlike my War Rocket Ajax co-host Chris Sims, I am no expert in Pokemon. Charizard, I guess? That one was pretty neat.
N: Haha, gosh Matt. Failing already. If Sims reads this he might start looking for a new partner.
MW: I’m his non-Pokemon watching, non-brony counterpoint. I balance him out. We’re like the Andre 3000 and Big Boi of comics podcasting
N: Haha. Well, how did you get your start in this wild internet territory?
MW: I’ve been writing Internet comedy for basically a decade now, starting with a blog in college. Somehow I managed to make some connections and get some freelance work for National Lampoon and Cracked.com, where I met Chris. After I was at Cracked, I started the ISS. Then I kind of branched out after that into all the stuff I’m doing.
N: What would you say the key to conquering this Internet humor landscape is, preferably in a nonsensical message?
MW: Ego. So much of what I’ve written on the Internet is simply the result of a wild, unchecked ego. And hey, I got a book deal out of it! So I would suggest having no self-restraint whatsoever. You’ll go far. (Also, luck, and getting to know people who are funnier than you.)
N: Do you think writing comedy is more about writing what you find funny or writing what you hope others find funny?
MW: I guess it depends on your goal. Part of the reason I quit writing for Cracked is that it became so focused on whether commenters would agree with the lists rather than find them funny. At the ISS, I did a lot more of just writing what I thought was funny. And, you know, Cracked still updates and gets huge traffic. You have to find a balance, I guess. Write the crazy stuff that’s funny to you, and throw in a linkbait list in there here and there. That’s how you keep your muse and need to be liked in check.
N: Would you call video gaming webcomics the equivalent then to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour? Where they are targeted to such a limited audience less because they want to write it and more for popularity?
MW: Heh. Certainly not all of them. Some are genuinely funny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a niche. After all, I’ve written plenty of comedy about comics. Some webcomics–not just the ones about video games–clearly do pander and go straight to the lowest common denominator. And of course, a lot of those are extremely popular. But they’re not all like that.
N: It’s like there is Bill Hicks on one scale and Larry the Cable Guy on another.
MW: I’d have a hard time naming a webcomics equivalent to Bill Hicks, but sure.
N: Haha. I know what you mean. Gamer comics have less longevity that most standup. Now I know you are also a rap fan. If you got to pick any Wu-Tang Clan member to take over the role of any Avenger or Justice League member and to gain their powers, who would you pick?
MW: The easy answer is to make Ghostface Killah, aka Tony Starks, Iron Man. But I’m not one to take the easy path. I think the GZA, the Genius, should become Aquaman. He has liquid swords! He’d be a much better Aquaman than the one we have.
N: Doesn’t the one Aqualad have liquid swords?
MW: Your question didn’t say anything about Teen Titans.
N: The only Teen Titans I ever cared or knew much about was the one cartoon.
MW: Same here.
N: Now you are writing this new webcomic Copernicus Jones. Is this your first webcomic?
MW: The first one that actually officially launch, yes. I had a Penny-Arcade-style webcomic with a friend seven or eight years ago, and we made a few strips, but it never really got off the ground.
N: But now you’ve gone to Copernicus Jones with Dan Butler. How would you describe that?
MW: Well, I came up with the name long before it became a comic. Jay Pinkerton, the writer who brought me to Cracked, had a forum on his old comedy site where we’d often repurpose old comics. A lot of my entries in those comics contests would involve giving characters funny names and funny titles. Like, one was “Abber Abdabber, Town Crier.” The name and title “Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective” came from that. Eventually it entered my head to make it a real comic. I started with the idea of making it a noir parody, but as I wrote the script it’s become something else. Its a genuine noir story. Just with robots in it.
N: Are we actually going to see Abber Adabber in the comics?
MW: No, I think he’ll only have his one appearance on that forum that doesn’t exist anymore.
N: Now is Copernicus Jones going to be a webcomic you plan to keep going indefinitely or will do you have a planned ending for it?
MW: I’ll just have to see where it goes. I don’t have a planned ending for it, no. Though the next arc will be pretty different. You’ll see a much younger, much fresher Copernicus, back when he was on the police force.
N: Is Copernicus going to have a crossover with Atomic Robo?
MW: That would almost certainly be up to Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegna, not me and Daniel. It’d be hard to find a story for them both to exist in, but it’d be fun.
N: Would you rather have more ridiculous cross franchise comic crossovers or less? I mean, I’d like to see Copernicus Jones and Hector Plasm.
MW: I think crossovers can be a lot of fun, as long as they make sense. Copernicus is hard to cross over with anyone, really, because he exists in such a particularly genre-specific world, though. Putting Hector Plasm in our noir setting or moving Copernicus into a creepy, horror setting would be weird.
N: Now, you’ve been on War Rocket Ajax for almost a year now after replacing Euge. How long will it be before you start performing as Adam WarRock?
MW: Ha. I think Euge would probably take me to court if I tried. And he’s got legal experience, so I’d definitely lose.
N: Could you kill him before that or even rub him out since you live in Chicago and therefore you know at least two mafiettes?
MW: Maybe. Admitting to it here probably wouldn’t help me get away with it, though. And I’m more familiar with supervillains than I am mafiosos.
N: Haha. Is there anything else you’d like to pimp before we go?
MW: Well, as I mentioned, I know quite a bit about supervillains. In fact, I wrote a book about them! Or, should I say, my alter ego King Oblivion Ph.D. did. It’s called The Supervillain Handbook, and it comes out next April from Skyhorse Publishing. It’s got full-color illustrations by artist Adam Wallenta, and I’d like to think it’s pretty dad-blasted funny.
N: Is dad-blasted different from dad-blastaared?
MW: If you’re dad-blasted, that’s bad. If you’re dad-blastaared, you should probably just give up.
N: Well Matt, thank you for your time!
MW: Sure. Thanks, Luke.