2011 Guest Spotlight: Interview with Tony Digerolamo

While they differ greatly in terms of codes, backgrounds, and of course names, most college fraternities are basically the same.  A handful of students on either side of the Age 21 boundary line are grouped into a giant old house coated with Greek letters.  They refer to each other as “brothers,” bond regularly through nights in or the infamous frat party, and kick the asses of non-members who claim that they “buy their friends.”

For the brothers at Lambda Sigma Rho at Ryesmore University in upstate New York, however, an entirely different bond cements their brotherhood.  It is the same bond that ties together the Justice League, the X-Men, and the Griffin family in that guest-written episode of “Family Guy” back during its first season.  That’s right: they all wear uncomfortable-looking form-fitting clothing.

Just kidding.  They’re superheroes.

Tony Digerolamo’s webcomic Super Frat details life within the Lambda Sigma Rho frat house, currently occupied by a band of superhero college students.  I was fortunate enough to interview Mr. Digerolamo and gain some insight behind his creations.  He will be one of the guests appearing at Intervention.

Intervention: Prior to your creation of Super Frat, do you have any other background in comic creation/art/writing?  Or is this your first comic?

Tony Digerolamo: Super Frat was my first webcomic, but I started in print.  My first self-published comic was Jersey Devil, which ran 12 issues.  Then The Travelers, which was picked up by Kenzer & Company and then Wingnut Games, which ran 25 issues.  I also self published four issues of The Fix, based on the same character from my novel.

I was inspired to get into webcomics by the guys at Penny Arcade.  I saw them at a show selling T-shirts all day.  It was awesome.  They were collecting the money with both hands.  At the end of the day, after struggling to see three-dollar comics, I said something to one of the guys at their table like, “You guys had a great day.”  The reply was something like, “Are you kidding?  We’re never coming to this con again.”  I turned to Chris Moreno, artist for The Travelers and now Super Frat and said, “Chris, we have to get into webcomics.  Now.”

I immediately contacted Christian Beranek, who I was working with at Silent Devil.  I had pitched Super Frat to a few publishers and Christian was the first to immediately recognize its potential.  I called him and said, “Print is dead.  We have to switch to webcomics.”  Although he totally believed in Super Frat, he was unsure about webcomics then.  Eventually, we started posting them on the Silent Devil site along with a few others (HoCal, Fiction Clemens, Jim Reaper).  It did well for our hits, but we hadn’t figured out the money end.

Long story longer, eventually I moved Super Frat to its own domain and after a few years, I’m completely out of the print world.

My second website, The Webcomic Factory, was the next step.  Christian and I partnered on the site for the first year.  As writers, it was incredibly freeing.  We had several different projects at once and we were constantly writing and creating.  Now the site is my central nexus point for all of my webcomic work.

I: Is Lambda Sigma Rho based off of a real-life fraternity (or particular fraternity chapter)?  If not, which existing fraternity do you believe best mirrors it?

TD: LSR is a fraternity in upstate New York at Ryesmore University.  I was doing a comic book signing up that way when I met the bros.  We signed a deal.  The bros later stole my car and dumped it in a cesspool in Tijuana.  I’d rather not talk about it.

I: Are any of the Super Frat guys based off of you or friends?

TD: In many ways, the bros are a lot like myself since I do all the scripting.  I like Ira because he’s the young, angry political guy that wants to change the world.  Although I think the character design looks more like Chris Moreno than the real Ira sometimes. There’s a lot of Jack and Norm in me as well, the calm, reasonable guy and his nervous, geeky friend.  You can’t help but infuse yourself when you write stories.

I:   A Hollywood producer has decided to give you a crapload of money to turn “Super Frat” into a movie.  A) Do you think it would *work* as a movie?  B) Who would you cast in the roles?

TD: The Super Frat movie has been in the works since the moment I came up with the idea.  It’s totally a movie.  Casting over the years keep changing because you need young, college-age guys.  The Jackass crew would be perfect for some of the supporting cast.  Jack Black was a thought early on for Brother Dick, but he may be too old for the role now.  I could see Michael Cera as one the leads, probably Norm.  Jonah Hill as Dick.  If David Cross were ten years younger, he would’ve made a perfect Bitter.  John Cho as Mistah Shit.

I:   Ten years go by.  Where are the Super Frat guys now?  Are they still in school, a la Van Wilder?  Are they in the professional world?  What do they do for a living?

TD: After getting kicked out of every major superhero organization, they are most likely stuck in boring jobs.  Except maybe Ira, who’s probably running Anonymous and/or WikiLeaks.  And Biff Kapow, who’s probably got his own line of skateboards.

One of the concepts behind the strip is to make it about their character, not their superpower.  So many comics are about superpowers that are occasionally real characters, these are real characters that sometimes use their powers and usually badly.

I:  Anything else you would like to add?

TD: Yes, for all the up-to-date links and webcomics, visit the Webcomic Factory daily at www.thewebcomicfactory.com.  It contains all the Super Frat links and a new webcomic every day.

One Response to “2011 Guest Spotlight: Interview with Tony Digerolamo”

  1. […] check out an interview with Tony D at the Intervention Con […]

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