We are back once again True Believers with another entry into our world famous interview segment 20 Questions with Comic Artists. Today we have with us the newest member of the Root Beer Party, Jonathan Murdock.
His comic can be seen here: http://www.dungeonhordes.com
Dungeon Hordes is a comic about a video game, or life within the video game, as the character sprites have achieved self awareness and look to elevate their position in life, or better put within the game.
The comic centers around 2 level 5 bosses Tiggz and Tomes who are looking to finally beat Player One and rise in the ranks in order to pay off their bar tab. Dungeon Hordes is a game that was released in the 1970’s and again in the 80’s and finally the newest version has been released and the level 5 bosses want to make a name for themselves finally. This is one of the more clever concepts for a comic that I have seen as it explores a world within a world, I would highly recommend you check this one out. Now let’s meet the man behind the innovation: Jonathan Murdock:
I’ve been drawing comics since I was 12 when I started my first comic called “Harry and Larry”. Back in 1985 I got a cassette recorder for my birthday and I started doing little skits and made up two characters called Harry, a tall harry guy, and Larry, a short fat harry guy. They were based off these puppets that K-Mart used to sell and I actually got one for Christmas. A friend and I used to make him say all this stupid stuff that was hilarious for a kid. These tapes were pretty vulgar and I think I had around 6 of them. I would let my friends borrow them and I guess they made copies of them and they got around school. I remember at lunchtime I heard some kids in the next table talking about one of the stories that I did and laughing, but was too embarrassed to say anything. Needless to say the principal got a hold of it and found out it was me. This principal was also the Bishop of our church and he called a meeting with my Mom and I to listen to one of the tapes. He told my Mom, “Mrs. Murdock, I want you to listen to this tape that your son made.” Well, we listened to the whole thing and I ended up laughing at most of it, which got me in even more trouble. After that I started to make comics about them for my own amusement.
In high school I decided to expand the Harry and Larry universe and created a character that I called Funny Feet Man. Funny Feet Man was this clown who made pizza using his stinky feet and is a personal favorite of mine. I’ll sneak him into a Dungeon Hordes strip every once in awhile. I would also do mini comics of video games that I was playing at the time . . . Super Mario, Double Dragon, numerous Dungeons and Dragons comics.
As I got older I did another series called “The Adventures of Jim Sarvary” that was based off of a co-worker, and that is when I saw it . . . My Wife used to get me books on drawing from the library and she ended up getting, “How to Make Webcomics.” This really blew me away because I could actually have a real audience and share it with the world. I spent that whole night thinking about what kind of comic I would like to see . . . I really like the chibi art in the old 80’s Nintendo manuals so it would be that set in a fantasy setting. . . That was when Dungeon Hordes was born.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
I actually have more than one. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird when they did the old black and white “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, through them I discovered Stan Sakai, creator of “Usagi Yojimbo”, Sergio Aragones who did cartoons in “Mad Magazine and creator of “Groo the Wanderer” also a big Dungeon Hordes influence and finally, Tetsuo Hara who illustrated “Hakuto No Ken” which was my first introduction to manga. I was never a big DC or Marvel fan even though I would pick up a book every once in awhile.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I would say Barqs . . . It’s got a nice bite and really goes down smooth with some peppered habanero jerky.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I would say I’m accomplishing it right now . . . drawing comics helps me to relax and forget about the world for a bit . . . when I draw I just let go and let the ink flow for a couple hours. I liken it to meditation.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I like to draw fantasy art and I want to dabble in some acrylics. I also want to get back into fantasy miniature painting again.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I’ll just say I hope that something I do for myself turns into a profession.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I try to keep Dungeon Hordes family friendly . . . although I do other comics that can push the envelope a tad bit.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I pencil with a Zebra M301 0.5 with hb lead . . .I’ve been using this since 2012. For inking I use numerous Sharpie pens, and then I finalize it with an old school Photoshop CS3. As for my style I love drawing in black and white . . . I did a poll at Deviant Art to see if people wanted color and they chose black and white. I then started to do a Sunday color strip and got good reception so I left that in. The style that I draw my characters in was based off the chibi art that I saw in “Kid Icarus” Nintendo game manual.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Nothing, really. I just drew a lot.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
The low point is when the week is so busy that I start to get behind. I end up having to draw for well over ten hours straight to get caught up for the week.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?