19
Sep

Guest Spotlight: Jamie Noguchi of Yellow Peril

Where’d the inspiration for Yellow Peril come from?

It was Old screenplay I wrote that I tried out as a comic, and was spawned from two things – 1) The Frustration with working in an office environment, and 2) the lack of asian american sitcoms (the only one being Margaret Cho’s “All-American Girl”) out there. There was no way for me to do it traditionally, not being a Hollywood person, so I made a comic.

Pop culture references like the appearances in your Metro comic, Blazing Sword Burger, Frank Miller, and so on – they’re pretty plentiful. Are they planned, or spontaneous?

Those’re usually spontaneous. I’ll have it scripted, and think “Oh! This background needs a thing! I’ll draw an Ultraman!” The name of the burger was the most difficult part – I knew the recipe, but the name took me a while.

Are Angry Zen Master and Yellow Peril

Definitely separate – it used to be a webcomic, when I got done with Erfworld, I thought that getting back to AZM wasn’t the right thing for me at the time. I wanted to get back to a more personal comic. People come to AZM for one thing, but YP is a bit more serious in tone. AZM is about crazy, stupid shit. I’m the thing that bridges them. The AZM blog posts about cultural issues doesn’t fit in with AZM, more so with YP – but I try not to get too serious on AZM!

You do video posts, which is unique; not a lot of creators do them.

I haven’t seen many of my friends do them, but the Something Positive guy does discussions – it’s dead easy to do, put in a camera, talk for a couple of minutes, and go. It’s an easy way to connect with fans, but also to connect with people who don’t read comics. I met a kid at Balticon who saw the videos on YouTube, and wanted to meet me – and then realized “whoa, you do a webcomic!” . People connect more when they can put a face to what you’re doing.

Check out Jamie’s awesome comic, www.yellowperil.com – updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.


19
Sep

Guest Spotlight: Darren J. Gendron of Hello With Cheese, Scalawags International,

I know you normally prefer Darren, but where’d Dern come from?

It came from the fact that I demanded to be called Darren J. Gendron back in college. I worked for the school paper, they’d drop my J, and I’d get into fights with my editor about  it because it was my nome de plume. Not that it was a pen name, but it’s my name, and without the J, people say Darren Gendron with a hard G. If they say the J, it reminds them subconsciously that it’s a soft G.

I made such a big deal about it, they started calling me, “Darren MF-ing J Gendron”, Darren Motherfrikkin Gendron, then a mess of grunts and syllables that sounded like Durrrhhngjhrrn. Then Art Fight shortened it to HEY YO DERN. That came from Nick Borkowicz (Ghostfreehood). I’ve kind of embraced it now.

How’d Hello With Cheese get started, anyway?

Bryan Prindiville sent out an email to me and a couple of friends about making a comic – specifically, one where he didn’t have to write it anymore. I went through my entire idea file and pitched him on everything I had. A girl with a penchant for time-traveling, a head shop that was a secret place to smuggle aliens, and more… he just shot them down, one by one. I’d run out of ideas, and basically went back to him one more time. I mentioned my other folder, my catch-all folder, for just t-shirts ideas or posts on livejournal…  it was a giant chest of crazy. He saw it, and finally said “Yes, this.”

We kept goint with it, making jokes that we’d go back to, and called it Hello with Cheese.

Where’d Scalawags international come from?

O has his own realm called “The ministry of Abnormality”, I have “Dernwerks”, doesn’t make sense to go to shows and sell his stuff under my banner, and vice versa, so we came up with Scalawags international. Our first big project was Scurvy Dogs – it came from my plan to make a board game, and a need / desire to make merch and have a piece on the table. And also, when you see Kickstarter, you see it’s a great resource, you just have to figure out how to use it for the best. We put it on, it was successful, and now we’re in the business of being professional board game designers. After I set up my page on BoardGameGeek.com, I’d been awarded a badge that says “game designer” – it felt so amazingly good to see that. it’s up there with that feeling you get when you see your first comic you’ve printed.

It’s weird because at the time, it’s a third different working relationship we have – we’re 100% equal partners on Cheese. He doesn’t draw a comic if he doesn’t like the script, I don’t post if I don’t like the art, but it’s already been filtered by that point. O being a ridiculously talented freak of nature, he draws about 7 pages of comic a week. 3 pages of commission, 3 pages for Hello with Cheese, and another project in there – a page of Alignments, our third webcomic, or in the near future, a lot of pirate drawing.

You can read some of EY YO DERN’S fabulous work at www.dernwerks.com/HWC.


19
Sep

Guest Spotlight: Christian McAuley of StickyComics

Can we get some basic info about you?

My name’s Christiann MacAuley, and I create the webcomic Sticky Comics – I got into webcomics doing funny drawings while procrastinating doing my job, and my friends at work said “hey, you should scan those and put them on a blog or something,” and since I do web design, half of what I do is making websites anyway.

Early on, I just had a blog with funny pictures on it, and it started to be a webcomic – people started to find it and read it. It’s more of an official comic now, but It’s not traditional – I don’t have any recurring characters except myself, and the look and size change every time I make it. It’s a very diverse webcomic.

What’s your process like – and you mentioned that the size of the comic changes?

I usually sit down and write down some ideas, I look at them a couple of days later and decide – the point of sticky comics is that it’s supposed to be funny. Then I draw it on whatever paper’s handy – a lot of the time, I draw on my moleskine or printer paper.. I like it to look raw, and have that zine-ness. I draw in pencil, color it in by hand, and then put it up on my blog.

What kind of humor do you go for?

I’m usually sitting around, or I come up with ideas in the shower or when I’m trying ot fall asleep, I jot down a bunch of ridiculous little notes. One of the comics I did recently that – the difference between Mac, Linux and PC computers – I wrote that down when I was waiting for mine to restart. Thought it was dumb at first, two weeks later I drew it, I showed it to friends in my writing group. They thought it was funny, and it went viral within an hour of posting it on my comic. It was on all kinds of blogs and Reddit and Gizmodo and Engadget. It was crazy and instantaneous, and I thought “oh man, I shouldn’t just do tech comics all the time, the whole thing was trying to not spend more time about computers since that. I just draw things that make me laugh!

I do write about technology a fair amount because I work with computers. I made other comics about Mac users compared to other users, they’ve also gone viral – most of mine are just about hangovers, the tragedy of being a bottle of shampoo, new friends, and how it might be sad to be a donut…

I need to start reading this comic.

On that note – I’m coming out with a book anthology of Sticky Comics that’ll have the first few years of comics I did, as well as some backstory behind creating the comics and new things I’ve never put up on the website… it’s going to be 100 pages, full color, it’s titled “The Sticky Comics Picture Book”, and I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas. You should check it out!

I will. Anything else?

I will be selling the book online and taking preorders once I send the book to print, I have an online store I share with a bunch of other artists for screen printing, it’s mostly just t-shirts and baby onesies and prints, our most popular shirt says “I want to F. Scott Fitzgerald”. The screen-printing collective Ten East Read our store’s at TenEastRead.com.

Literary and provocative. I can dig it!


18
Sep

Artist Spotlight: Phil Kahn & T. Campbell – Guilded Age

On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to interview Phil Kahn and T. Campbell about their webcomic, Guilded Age.  They debuted the first volume of the book at Intervention. Below is a rough transcript of our conversation.

Phil Kahn at the Guilded Age booth. (Interview photo got eaten by a grue.)

What is Guilded Age? How did it get started?

Phil Kahn: Guilded Age is a comic inspired by MMORPGs. You could call it the saga of the working-class adventurer, or a re-invented fantasy.

T. has a lot of history in comics, and came to me with a serious case of Penny Arcade envy. We thought we should be doing something more targeted towards the pleasure centers of the video gamer. We tinkered around a lot and came up with Guilded Age.

It originally started as a WoW riff, but then D&D elements also got integrated. I was in my ending days of WoW at the time (guild drama), but on the RP server where I played (Sentinel), each of our characters had their own history.

I wanted to immortalize the stories of their adventures, but at the same time didn’t want it to be just another WoW parody comic. We wanted to come up with our own universe that we could perhaps make our own game out of some day.

Despite killing them a lot, we care about our characters.

What got you into webcomics?

T. Campbell: I’ve done a lot of webcomics, with Fans being my first. However, Guilded Age is the comic we’re promoting at Intervention.

Webcomics are way cheaper than print comics. There’s no printing or distribution costs. You only need to jump to print when you have a big enough audience to support a book.

Phil Kahn: We also like the pay-what-you-want model. It’s sort of a new trend in online business – offering the content for free, and the people who really like it will pay.

What do you think distinguishes your comic from some of the other online comics out there?

Phil Kahn: We have a story-based comic, as opposed to some of the one-shot gag comics out there.

Having a story-based comic is really playing the long game. You tend to have less of an audience than one-shot comics, but your audience is much more invested in the story, and by extension, more likely to buy things.

Tell me more about Volume 1 of Guilded Age, which you’re selling at Intervention.

T. Campbell: Guilded Age is Phil’s first published book. He financed it himself, put it together himself. We’re really debuting it at Intervention. The book is selling well.

Any advice for aspiring webcomic artists?

Phil Kahn: You need to have perseverance and tenacity. You also have to get in touch with your inner huckster. No one is going to sell your book for you; you need to take responsibility for your own business. If it’s a hobby, there are no rules. But if you want to make money, you need to treat it like a job. You need to make your own opportunities, while keeping an eye out for others. As long as you keep working towards your goals, you’ll eventually get there.

T. Campbell: It pays off to pay attention to what others are doing. But also be willing to listen to yourself.

Phil Kahn: Also, find a designated second opinion. We have a three-person crew for disputes that can’t be resolved. Get an editor – one who is able to tell you if you suck. Maintain humility. Don’t take praise too highly or criticism too negatively. People are always going to have opinions. Take them into consideration, but stick to your guns.

Anyone is welcome to e-mail me for advice.

Anything else you would like to plug while you’re here?

T. Campbell: Super Art Fight. Phil got a chance to do it last night. There’s a show tonight [Saturday] at 10:30pm. It’s 2 artists, a giant canvas, and random topics. Drawing on the other person’s art is encouraged.

Phil Kahn: And read Guilded Age!

Congrats to Phil and T. on the debut if their book, and I wish them much success with the future of Guilded Age!


18
Sep

Artist Spotlight: Chris Flick

Picture this: you’re walking around the suburbs and come upon the standard strip mall.  Structurally-speaking, it’s nothing impressive: a boring slab of rectangular concrete that houses a slight variety of stores.  A dry cleaner, perhaps.  Maybe one of those Chinese take-out places that serves the nuclear yellow rice and bright red meat.

Suppose, however, that strip mall was home to a comic book shop named “Capes and Babes.”

You’d be in that place FAST.

Meet Chris Flick.  Creator of the webcomic Capes and Babes, he draws on his own experiences growing up in early-to-mid 1980s Mount Vernon in the vicinity of a beloved comic book store.  “The comic book store wasn’t called ‘Capes and Babes’,” he says.  “But if I were to open a comic book shop, that’s definitely what I would call it.” The fondness Flick has for the since-closed comic shop is evident in his voice. “The place was great. There was a guy selling trading cards, it had a Pac-Man machine inside. I miss it.”

Started in November of 2007, the webcomic doesn’t solely draw on Flick’s adventures in and around the comic shop and its strip mall.  “You’ll notice a lot of references to early 1980s comics and old-school superheroes,” he says, sporting his treasured Taskmaster logo tattoo.  “I loved that age; it was before comic books and comic book stores became all about profits and business.”

His work has been collected in two volumes: You Can’t Print Flick and You Still Can’t Print Flick. “There’s a few reasons behind the title,” he explains. “Obviously, it’s a play on my last name. Also, when comics were still being printed onto newsprint, they didn’t like anyone using the word ‘flick,’ because the lowercase L and the I would sort of run together and therefore make ‘flick’ look like a completely different F-word.”

Having appeared at both Interventions, Flick has also sold his work at HeroesCon and at conventions in Pittsburgh, Virginia, and North Carolina.

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