20 Questions with Web Comic Creators David Hurley from Don’t Pick the Flowers

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Here we are once again True Believers with another installment of our popular series of interviews with web comic creators.  Today we bring you David Hurley from Don’t Pick the Flowers.  This is a classic gothic strip in the vein of the original Addams Family, but with more heart.  The strip can be viewed here: http://www.dontpicktheflowers.com/

Don’t pick the flowers is one of the most interesting and original strips on the web and if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out now and without further ado, we bring you David Hurley:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

I basically wanted to be a comic artist for many years, or at least in the back of my mind through the years. With the advent of webcomics I was able to start doing it on my own.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

That would be hard to say, but I would go with Berkeley Breathed. My work is nothing like his but he is one of the reasons I wanted to make comics.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

Haha, is this a trick question? Actually I’m not really partial to any brand but I will say A & W.

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

To continually get better and I hope to inspire and entertain others.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

There are many things that interest me like music, film and other visual arts. If you are asking if I plan to create art outside of comics, painting.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

There is a certain distinction when you say professional cartoonist by the majority of your income that comes from cartooning or who you are employed by, so with that being said I consider myself a cartoonist who tries to be professional.

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

I believe a person has the right to create what they want. I personally don’t like to produce “trashy” comics or anything with foul language. It doesn’t fit what I’m doing with Don’t Pick the Flowers.

Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?

For my comic I sketch out the drawings and usually ink with Micron pens, and then color in Photoshop.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I have degrees in Studio Art and Art Education plus some Digital Media. But I never trained to be a cartoonist. It has and is a learning process.

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

When I create something I’m really proud of, no specific moment.

Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

Again, it’s not a moment but when I’ve created crap. But you pick yourself up and do another one.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Yes and lots of things planned. I would suggest following Don’t Pick the Flowers on Facebook for updates. If you aren’t on Facebook, links will be provided on Don’t Pick the Flowers website: www.dontpicktheflowers.com And this is being updated so it’s best to check Facebook.

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

I can tell you my top 5 favorite comics (now this will exclude the obvious ones like Peanuts, Bloom County, The Far Side etc) and of course these are in no particular order and I can’t read them on a daily basis unfortunately. I love Dark Side of the Horse by Samson, Lio by Mark Tatulli, Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, Zombie Boy by Mark Stokes, and I am sure there is someone else . . . but I will keep you guessing.

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Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

A positive impact of course, but like everyone else I can’t see the future. I just want to keep challenging myself to try something new.

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

It’s best to block them and not engage with them, otherwise it’s a waste of time.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

Always, but I love doing it and that’s a good motivation.

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

Milk

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

I was waiting for the invitation!

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

I do work so it would be my day to day work schedule.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

Always move forward.

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And there you have it True Believers, Another great interview brought to you by the Root Beer Party, So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Web Comic Spotlight: Zombie Boy by Mark Stokes

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Zombie boy comics ( http://www.zombieboycomics.com/ ) is the brainchild of comic artist and one of the first really big webcomic creators, Mark Stokes.  The series has had many interpretations over the years as a comic book series before finding it’s home on the web as a gag a day comic strip.

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This is cast of characters on the site currently.  The strip follows the lead character of Zombie boy as he makes his way in the world of the living and the dead, but the strip is not limited to just the exploration of Zombie boy, in recent years Mark has expanded the Zombie Boy universe to include a collection of bug characters that give the series an almost “Through the Looking Glass” kind of feel as we begin to see Mark form a sort of worlds within worlds in the Zombie Boy universe.

He does play with some seasonal themes as well, with my personal favorite character of Gorr in his many guises as the leaf bandit in the fall and the snow bandit in the winter.  Under the guise of leaves and snow, Gorr gets into all sort of hijinks which often overlaps into the many worlds of the Zombie Boy universe.

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The supernatural aspect of the strip is downplayed in the web comic and it is much more of an all ages comic with supernatural elements, but a gentle humor which offsets the morbid origins of the series.  I often refer to it as the Addams Family meets Peanuts in it’s sensibility.

After about a year of harassment by myself and others, Mark finally gave in and published the first collected volume of Zombie Boy, which can be found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Boy-Some-Kind-Horrible/dp/0986440302

It is a great collection and in full color, so no short cuts were taken in the production of this book.  I got my own copy from his Kickstarter campaign which was a huge success to provide funds for the publishing.  Many people already know the wonder of Mark Stokes and the Zombie Boy Universe.  He is one of the most prolific and consistent artists on the web and his comic is nothing less than “magical.”

Check out Zombie Boy comics, I highly recommend it, and if you don’t want to take my word, check out David Hurley’s interview with Mark Here: http://www.dontpicktheflowers.com/blog/?p=3201 or his write up in Best web comics here: http://best-webcomics.com/artist-zombie-boy-webcomics/ or an extended interview on the webcomic show here: http://gooberandcindy.com/interviews/mark-stokes-of-zombie-boy

I think we are all in agreement that Mark is at the top of his game and Zombie Boy is truly one of the best webcomic series out there.  So for those of you who don’t already follow Zombie Boy, as Zombie Boy himself proves, there is always time.  So check it out now.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

20 Questions with Comic Artists: Frank Page from Bob the Squirrel

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Well True Believers, today we deliver once again on our popular segment of interviews with comic artists.  Today we have one of the biggest and best known web comic artists on the web Frank Page (Sound of cheers fill the theater)  Frank produces a comic every day as well as doing his popular “Squirrel-osophy strips as well, that’s 2 strips everyday, something even most syndicated comic artists couldn’t manage.  He has been working at this unbelievable pace since 2001.

You can check out Bob the Squirrel here: http://www.bobthesquirrel.com/

This is the kind of drive and dedication unheard of in the web comic business where people managing outside lives as well as other careers often publish once or twice a week at most.  How does he accomplish this?  We find out in the interview below.  So now I give you the maestro of the Sciuridae set:  Frank Page

> Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist. Doing a series is just an extension of that.

> Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

There are so many influences… In the past, I’ve pegged a few individuals as greatest influences but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I take a little bit from almost everything I see… to say that one creator is the greatest influence of all would be doing the others a disservice. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole bunch of cartoonists to make another cartoonist.

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> Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

Saranac Diet Root Beer. Saranac is a brand that is brewed in Utica, NY… about 15 miles away from where I live. It’s the best diet root beer I’ve ever tasted… just like regular root beer without the caloric guilt.

> Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

There are several things. I want to tell a good story. I want to populate the world with believable and likable characters. I want to be able to support my family with my comic and I want to make it so when people see a squirrel, they think “bob”.

> Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

In 2010, I finished up work on my MFA in visual art. In the two years that it took me to graduate, I was exposed to a plethora of different forms of art. I’m pretty much open to anything: painting, sculpting, music, writing.

> Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

I definitely consider myself a professional cartoonist… I wouldn’t want to work this hard and NOT be considered a professional.

> Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

I’m not in this to offend or hurt anyone. I stay away from violent, sexist, racist stuff. In the seven seconds a day I get someone’s attention, I want (hope) to make them happy… not intentionally (or unintentionally) piss them off.

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> Question 8: What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?

I like to keep my setup as old-school as I can. Brush pens, non-photo blue pencil on bristol board. I do use photoshop for coloring and indesign for putting my books together.

> Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I have a BFA in illustration from Cazenovia College and an MFA in Visual Art with emphasis on Sequential Art from the Vermont College of Fine Art.

> Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

Walking into a store and having a complete stranger come up to me and ask, “Where’s Bob?” That is the best feeling ever.

> Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

Back in 2011-12, I was strongly considering ending my comic strip. I did a lot of thinking and thinking… for a moment there it looked pretty bad. I was ready to lose my best friend. Thankfully, good sense prevailed and I didn’t end it.

> Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

I have over 20 books available on my website http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bobthesquirrel. Yeah, that’s a LOT of nuts. (

> Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

I admire anyone who is willing to put in the work and discipline involved in producing a daily or semi-daily strip. It’s not easy… and it’s even harder to maintain.

> Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

I often joke that if I could do it all over again, I’d be a plumber… I usually say that when I have to call a plumber. Honestly, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

> Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

Try thinking of 365 funny ideas in a year. If you can do that then you have the right to be a jerk… if not, shut up.

> Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

Thankfully, the psyching of myself up is not a thing I need to do. I set myself up into routine and I stick to it. No motivation is needed when you already know what you need to do.

> Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

Coke Zero. It’s the best.

> Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

To quote the late, great comedian Groucho Marx: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

> Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

Thinking of new ideas. That will never be easy.

> Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

I’m just going to keep doing what I do and hope that people dig what I do. That’s all you really can do.

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(Frank also has a Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/bobthesquirrel?ty=h)

Once again True Believers, the Root Beer Party has brought you all the information you need to know.  Bob the Squirrel is one of the best and most consistently funny comics on the web, even his recent spat with Wikipedia over the deletion of his entry is the kind of stuff legendary comics are built on.

You really can’t say enough about Frank Page or Bob the Squirrel, it is really what all web comic creators aspire to be.  Frank has carved a part of the web out for himself and presides over the kingdom of comics with a sharp wit and a relentless drive to improve.  His Squirrel-osophy pages recently have contained a detailed rendering of squirrels, just to change the feel and look of the strip and flex his artistic muscles.  He   is not kidding when he says: Bob the Squirrel is the best comic you are not reading.  So True Believers, Check out Bob and all his crazy adventures and enjoy one of the best strips on the web and until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Web Comic Spotlight Vol. 2 Bubblefox by Jon Esparza

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Bubblefox by Jon Esparza can be found here: http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com/

Bubblefox is one of the many comics created by Jon Esparza, one of the co-founders of the Root Beer Party.  Bubble is an all ages comic which often plays to Jon’s love of the sight gags and pantomime comics that he was inspired by like Spy vs. Spy.  His art has a clean simple style which leaves out the unnecessary as Charles Schulz used to say.  Everything in the strip is designed to lead to the storyline or the gag in someway, there are no unnecessary lines.

Bubblefox is the latest creation of Jon’s and the best to date.  It brings together the continuity and storylines of Peppertown with the crazy pantomime of Mike and Mindy.  The characters are a loveable lot and include the main character:

Bubblefox: The loveable lead character who seeks out to right the wrongs of life in his simple and innocent way.  He often comes across all sorts of crazy problems and adventures and works them out with even wackier and crazier schemes of his own, but like any great lead in a comic, he is often along for the ride with other characters in the strip like

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Willow Fox:  Bubble’s girlfriend and the sensible mother figure of the strip.  Willow often is the voice of reason to the crazy antics of Bubble, but do not cross Willow, for she has a crazy side of her own and is not afraid to use it.

there are also the Triplets: Sap, Mooch and Clover which add the youthful exuberance of the strip and often are the benefactors to Bubble’s crazy schemes.  There are many co stars which drop in and out of the strip in recurring roles as well,

Bubblefox is a good hearted strip that is often hard to find in today’s cynical world of snips and sarcasm.  It is a refreshing change from the usual insult comics which dominate the comics market today.   Jon brings his creative energy to this strip and brings to life a magical world of characters

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from dragons to rabbits and bully bulldogs, Bubblefox addresses all the complex issues of life without the harsh cynicism of the modern world.   It is a great escape to read Bubblefox if only for a few minutes a day and indulge is a world where good deeds are rewarded and justice is meted out with a good dose of helium and a few  laughs:

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Jon is also one of the most encouraging and selfless people in real life as well, organizing web comic challenges and helping out web comic artists with guest strips and helpful advice.  The web comics community of artists is one of the best things about the internet, and Jon is a huge part of that.  Bubblefox also has a bound volume of the first years strips which can be gotten at Amazon Here: http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Gas-Bubble-Fox-1/dp/1508525668/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444629349&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=bubblefox+by+jon+esparza

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So join us True Believers in getting your bi-weekly dose of Bubblefox.  One of the top rated comics on the web.  As the newspaper strips are dying, the world of web comics has gotten even better and more diverse, so check it out for yourself, True Believers and until next time, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

20 Questions with Web Comic Artists: Byron Wilkins 1977 The Comic

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Well, True Believers, we are back again with our famous interview segment 20 questions.  Today’s guest is Byron Wilkins a famous graphic artist and creator of the comic 1977 the Comic.  You can check it out here: http://1977thecomic.com

Web comic creators 20 Questions:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

As a young boy, I wanted to draw comics like Charles Schulz. Then, at age 50, I was looking at a changing my careers. So I Googled “comics on the web” and found “Girls With Slingshots” and knew that was the path for me. Been drawing ever since.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

The Sunday comics in the 1960s. Everyone says Charles Schulz, and certainly he influenced me considering my age. But, I have to say it was Danielle Corsetto who inspired me the most to get back into drawing. I met here in 2010 and she was the nicest person.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

A&W. Hands down. Great taste and what memories of going to their old Drive-Up Restaurants as a kid in the family station wagon.

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

To re-train myself in digital and traditional drawing methods. It has done that very well.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

Rock and roll. I play electric bass and played in bands back in the ‘70s. I also build a ton of model kits. Mostly Sci-Fi kits and cars.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

No, I’m a professional. It is my second career choice. I’m still climbing the ladder, but I’m a professional at this point. I was hired to do my first Ad Agency work this summer, that “certified” it in my head.

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

I do not do political or religious humor as a rule. I’m not going to change anyone’s minds, so why beat them up with my point of view? Also, those subject matters are very touchy for most people and I’d rather not have that kind of negative attention to my works.

Question 8: What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?

I do everything on a WACOM Intuos 4 tablet and draw in Manga Studio EX5. My style has been called “sexy-innocent” to “Archie on steroids”. I emulate Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Jonny Quest and Space Ghost in my own opinion.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I’m self-taught. I took art and drawing courses in High School and College, but that’s it. School of Hard Knocks, as they say.

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

Two things. Being hired to draw illustrations for NASCAR/NBC Sports, and working with the gang over at the Webcomic Alliance.

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Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

The early days when I was struggling with not only digital technology, but re-learning my art. I was often made fun of for my lack of body proportions and content. At first it really hurt, then it made me mad enough to want to prove them wrong. Which I’ve done.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Strictly on the web. I do attend the occasional comic convention to sell print materials, but that’s rare. (You can get Byron comic here: http://1977thecomic.com/1977-store/1977-comic-books/)

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

A lot, trust me. If I name any, I’d have to say Dawn Griffin of “Zorphbert and Fred”. She’s kicked my butt and inspired me to do better. She gives me constructive critiques and that’s what you need to grow as an artist.

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

At this point, I’m going to draw until the day I die. Seriously. I’m 58 years old. I have maybe 25 or 30 years left in my life. I don’t intend on doing anything else but draw. As long as my health holds up, which at this point looks very good.

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

Fuck them. At first, I let trolls bother me, then I realized they’re not my audience. Move along. I’m lucky that I rarely have anyone leave nasty comments at my comic’s website. If they do, I just politely let them know they can move along or “change the channel” if they don’t like what they see. It’s hard not to let harassment bother you, but it’s best to ignore it. You’ll be better off by doing so. Also, don’t engage in their arguments, you’ll never win.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

Yes, I do my comic for every Monday. If you don’t have deadlines, we as humans will not do it.

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

The one and only Mountain Dew. For beer it’s Killian’s Irish Red. My favorite mixed drink is a 7&7. Yum.

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

LOL! No, I’m not. I’m old I guess.

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

Time. I have SO many ideas. But you have to structure your time to finish things. If I started drawing every time I had a creative idea, I’d never get anything done. Finish what you start, then move on to the next.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

“1977 the Comic” will retire in 2016 and then I’ll launch my new comic which will be a Sci-Fi comic which nods its hat at the Sci-Fi TV shows I grew up watching. I do intend on to join a rock band again and start playing at small bars again. That was a lot of fun back in the day.

Byron is also a regular guest and member of the Webcomics Alliance Chat podcast which can be found here: http://webcomicalliance.com/chat-podcast/alliance-chat-40/

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Byron is also planning on going to Manila for comic con, you can help here: https://www.gofundme.com/byronrocks

As you can see True Believers, we web comics come in all shapes and sizes.  Byron does more of a standard comic book as opposed to the many newspaper style comics that we have covered recently.  There is a vast world of great comics out on the web and each week we will be brining you interviews and spotlights on the different series out there, so stay tuned to upcoming posts for new and exciting introductions to the best the web has to offer.  Until next time, May your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Webcomic Spotlight Vol. 1 Vinnie the Vampire

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We have a new segment here on the Root Beer Party site True Believers, where we spotlight great web comics and help to introduce them to the world.  Since it is October the haunting month I think it is fitting to highlight one of the best comics as the subject of our inaugural spotlight.  Let’s start it off with none other than Vinnie the Vampire by Tim Green.

You can read this strip by visiting his site here: http://www.vinniethevampire.com/ and even buy Vinnie the Vampire Vol. 1 here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Let-Bloodbath-Begin-Vampire-Collection/dp/1500497886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418520533&sr=1-1&keywords=let+the+bloodbath+begin&pebp=1418520523694

Tim green sums up his work right on his site, an excerpt of it is here:

“The idea for Vinnie the Vampire came to me in late 1993. I created the “Vinnie”, “Sunny” and “Mom” characters then and a loose idea for the comic setting. I wanted to do a family of suburban vampires but I realized I’d have to bend vampire rules a little to get there. My vampires age but at a much slower rate than humans, about one for every ten. For example if Vampa is 900 he is about 90 in human years. I really didn’t have a dad growing up so I never felt inspired to create a dad for the family. Eventually, the comic was placed in the bowels of my “idea coffin” and left to lie for years. A few times I found the comic and thought “Ya know, I like this idea, I should develop it further.” Then once again it would go into the “idea coffin” for some additional years. In the latter part of 2011 I came across the characters and decided I would give this comic a shot. Vampa was created pretty quickly after that and I began creating the early comics you can see today in my archives. I’ve always been a big fan of “Peanuts” and I thought I should develop a pet for Vinnie. A bat seemed like a cool choice and the rest is history for Belfry. Bob came to me after I was rolling pretty good with the comic ideas, I liked the thought of a non-vampiric character I could play ideas off of. I went online with the comic shortly after my birthday in July of 2011 when my family bought me the domain name “vinniethevampire.com . I’ve been going at it as hard as I could since then and the support and kindness of my friends and family has been overwhelming. I’m not sure where this comic will take me into the future but I can’t imagine my life without it. The characters feel like old friends that I lost touch with over the years and it feels so good to introduce you all to them. I hope you enjoy the comic as much as I do creating them. Thank you all.”

Vinnie is your typical teenager in suburbia trying to figure out life and make his way in the world, he is surrounded by his family, a omnipresent “mom” which never directly appears in the strip, but is the glue holding this dysfunctional family together.  There is his 900 year old “Vampa” who bullies Vinnie about life in the really old days and of course, his little sister “Sunny.”  What can you say about Sunny?  Homicidal tendencies must skip a generation.  She makes Vlad the Impaler look like Mr. Roger’s and her favorite target is none other than our lovable hero Vinnie.

Vinnie also has two pets, Belfry which is a vampire bat he saved after he ran into a tree and he has been a mooching houseguest ever since and of course we have Bob, who comes from a long line of dogs who serve and protect vampires.

One of the things I love about Vinnie is the little touches of suburban life that Tim Green brings to the strip, the little juice boxes of blood, how every vampire has their own favorite type of blood and you can’t help but love the youthful exuberance of Sunny and she does what vampires do best with such relish and innocents.  It is a hard thing to make a blood thirsty killer so adorable, but somehow Tim has done it.

Tim writes Vinnie the Vampire like most web comic cartoonists, in the precious moments he can steal away from life, It is not easy and in the past year he has had two hiatus’s where Vinnie rested in his idea’s coffin.  it is important that we support web comic artists that we like and show them the support that is so vital to their survival.  So check out the comic and if you enjoy the exploits of the Vinnie and his gang, then buy Tim’s book or donate a few dollars on the site.  He would do it for you, that’s just the kind of guy he is.

I’ll leave you with a few more highlights from Vinnie the Vampire below.  I highly recommend you check out this site and enjoy some of the best laughs this side of the grave.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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20 Questions with Web Comic Creators: Joe Flanders (Ninja & Pirate)

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Well, True Believers, we are back again with the long awaited addition to our world renowned 20 questions segment with web comic artists. Today we have none other than the man who made the world’s coolest web comic, it has a ninja and a pirate, the two coolest things ever in one comic and it even has a pet owl named Dr. Who.

He is also one of the few people who truly dislike the Eagles rock band, and there is an Urban legend that if you meet Joe and yell “Hotel California,” he will bring up Pandora on his phone and it will be playing that song without fail.

So how? do you ask, did we get the biggest name in web comics today to sit down to an interview with us? Well we told him we had free root beer and the director’s cut of the new Godzilla movie with an actual appearance by Godzilla in the movie on Blu-Ray. ( We don’t have that really, but he didn’t find that out until after the interview.)

You can check out the coolest comic on the web here: http://www.ninjaandpirate.com/ So without much further ado about nothing, here is the Joe Flanders interview:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

Well there I was, totally paying attention to high school algebra when I started doodling a comic. The comic grew to several pages long and my friends really seemed to like it so when I got a position at the prestigious high school newspaper I decided to start a comics page. We didn’t have one already so I wondered why anyone bothered reading our paper in the first place, but I digress. Ninja and Pirate became fairly popular around the school and from that point on I realized “Wow, people actually seem to like my stupid goofy drawings. I wonder how long I can ride this? Also, how long has this belly button lint been here?” And the rest is history.

Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

Tough question. When I was young and dumb I loved Garfield. However, I also thought Jar Jar Binks was the pinnacle of cinematic comedy at that time, so take from that what you will. As I grew more sophisticated and refined, well as sophisticated and refined as someone who still snickers when he hears the word ‘duty’ can be, I fell in love with the work of Gary Larson and Bill Watterson. Bill’s art is beyond compare, as is his dialogue and Larson’s sick and twisted humor has always stuck with me. I don’t think anyone can surpass those two in terms of ‘influence’.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

Honestly, it’s probably Barqs root beer because it has caffeine in it. Many a long night at SCAD working on a project were completed thanks to that caffeine intake. I didn’t care for regular cola too much, and the diet Mountain Dew was turning my urine an unsightly shade of lime green so I switched to cream soda. When I learned cream soda had little to no magic ‘staying awake’ power, I went to the closest thing to cream soda: root beer. The convenience store by my dorm had Barq’s and things went from there.

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

I just want to make people laugh. I want people to feel good and cheer up. I want them to identify with the characters in my strip and enjoy when something wacky or goofy happens. Life is far too short to spend any time of it depressed and as someone who suffers from depression I feel that if I have the ability to make people feel happy then I have a responsibility to do so. There’s a sort of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ vibe. Can I coin that? I don’t think any comic has said that before.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

Every artist has artistic interests outside of their field. Only a poor, single-minded moron will only study one aspect of his or her passion. An artist just interested in comics is like an accomplished chef who only makes sandwiches. Sure, sandwiches can be their specialty, but a good chef will know good food even if it’s not between two slices of bread. Also, I’m hungry right now.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

I am 100% a professional cartoonist. I never let a deadline go by without putting something up on Ninja and Pirate. This is my job. My no-paying, high-effort, low-reward job and I love it. Mostly.

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

I do my best to make Ninja and Pirate family friendly, i.e. nothing in it that couldn’t be shown on a Nickelodeon cartoon. While there’s nothing wrong with adult humor, I want Ninja and Pirate to be something parents can read with their kids.

Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?

I use a super old frustratingly out of date Mac and a Wacom intuos tablet. My style of drawing I like to call ‘Roundabout’ because everybody is made out of circles and calling it ‘Circle Jerks’ wouldn’t be kosher. Although coming up with a name for your own style of art is kind of a tool-ish thing to do so let’s pretend I didn’t do that.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2012.

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

Whenever somebody comes up to me at a convention and knows my work and enjoys it is a great feeling to me.

Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

Whenever I stay up late to finish a comic and it gets almost zero circulation is a heart breaker. Each one of these is a unique creation that I labor at and it’s a real downer to see it all be for naught.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Yep! Volume 1 of Ninja and Pirate is available on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Pirate-1-Joe-Flanders/dp/1499294581/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1443313083&sr=8-10&keywords=ninja+and+pirate)

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

Every single one. These people work so hard to put out content for free, exposing it to the harshest critics around and they keep doing it. That is admirable no matter how you look at it.

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

Cartooning and comicking makes me happy. It calms me. Whenever I feel depressed or misanthropic I can always draw it out. No, I can’t see myself not creating art. When I moved to Oklahoma in the seventh grade, I was just starting to draw. It was like a drug, or at least I’m assuming it’s like a drug as I didn’t grow up in the sixties. I had to get a stick and sketch out terribly proportioned drawings with no perspective. Drawing is something I just have to do.

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

If you want to effectively troll, know what you’re talking about. Read their entire strip backlog before you start talking badly about it. Otherwise you look like a doofus.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

The deadlines are more than enough to keep me posting on schedule. That and the panic and stress I get from thinking of missing a post.

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

I love Mtn. Dew White Out and Voltage, apple juice, chocolate milk, Angry Orchard, blood of countless virgins, chocolate milk…you know how it is.

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

I’m antisocial for the most part. I spend parties hanging out with the host’s dogs.

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

Getting it seen, holy cow is that a pain. For about four years now I’ve been putting out what I think is a quality product and still don’t have very many dedicated viewers. It’s like throwing a message in a bottle into the sea made entirely out of messages in bottles.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

I just go day to day and hope that one day I can support my family with my art. That’s really all I can hope to do.

There you have it True Believers, the man himself Joe Flanders of Ninja and Pirate. This is truly one of the best comics out there, I highly recommend checking it out, the art and draftmanship alone is a living lesson for anyone interested in learning the field. Joe is plucking away just like Will Eisner did with his comic magazine, quietly changing the course of comic history. I have no doubt that he will soon be recognized as one of the greats. So jump on the bandwagon now so you can say “You knew him back when.”

The comic has a unique style and is incredibly funny, I imagine he works hard at it, but he makes it look easy putting it out twice a week for free. So if you get a chance, check out his site, you won’t be disappointed. Until next time True Believers, may you mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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