It’s official! Zombie Boy has won best web comic of 2016!

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Voted on by a jury of his peers, Mark Stokes has won the most prestigious of all webcomic awards.  The Root Beer Party award for Best Web Comic of 2016.  It has been quite a year for Zombie Boy.  First marking his 900th comic and then being nominated for the Harvey Award and now 2016 has finally given him the top prize!  Congratulations Mark!  Zombie Boy is the best.

What can we say about the man who practically invented web comics?

Zombie Boy began back in ancient times, back in the 1980’s.  Mark was a visionary who was 20 years ahead of his time.  Working on the independent comic scene Zombie Boy comics made his comic debut in 1987.

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But it wasn’t until 2015 that we finally got the culmination of his work in printed form with Zombie Boy:  Some Kind of Horrible, the first volume of collected comics from Zombie Boy’s transition from comic book icon into the field of webcomics.

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Mark’s influence goes well beyond the medium of artist.  There are very few comic creators who have been so supportive of their time and talent to helping others in the field.  As we are ever expanding the rank and file of the Root Beer Party, in interview after interview, when asked about an important influence, Mark’s name seems to always come up.  He encourages people and offers them the advice from years of being in the business and he knows all the pitfalls and traps that he has either helped people avoid or helped them through.

If there was a patron saint of the webcomic world, Mark would be canonized by the voodoo  priests who brought Morgan McCorkindale back to life on his fateful family vacation to Voodoo Island.

We look forward to another year of Zombie Boy comics and if Mark keeps it up, we may find history repeating itself again in 2017.  So we raise our mugs of root beer tonight in honor of Zombie Boy and Mark Stokes!  We hope the party of the undead never ends.  Congratulations on the award Mark, you deserve it.  (There was a large cash prize that went with the award, but we spent it all on root beer, sorry.)

You can read Zombie Boy here: http://www.zombieboycomics.com/

You can order your copy of Some Kind of Horrible here: https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Boy-Some-Kind-Horrible/dp/0986440302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474158402&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+boy+some+kind+of+horrible+by+mark+stokes

Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer Always foamy.

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20 Questions with Comic Artists: Jonathan Murdock of Dungeon Hordes

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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:

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

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.

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

The highlight would be is that since I started this strip in January 1, 2011 . . . I never missed a day.  I started out doing a three day a week strip, and then moved to a daily and during that time my deadlines have been flawless.


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?

I do have a book ready but it’s so basic. The stuff that’s in the book people could just find it online . . . so to remedy that I’m gonna draw up some bonus comics, maps and character profiles to juice it up a bit.


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

Wow, there are actually too many to name . . . It takes me a couple hours to catch up on all of my favs.

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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?

Cartooning is a part of me. If it was taken away I don’t know what I would do. Being without it is like a surfer being without the ocean, I usually keep some extra pens and paper at work to help get me through the day.


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

No, but I do have advice for the victims . . . Don’t feed the trolls. If someone says something negative, don’t respond. Ignoring the troll is the best weapon.


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

I usually try and finish nine strips a week for a good buffer. As for motivation, drawing is my high so it’s easy to always keep the ball rolling.


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

We have a restaurant here called, “Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers” and their lemonade is epic!

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

If it’s like The Inglorious Bastards then consider me Hugo Stiglitz!

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

The most challenging it the sitting . . . I need to get one of those elevator desks.


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

I would like to finish this book as well as finish up my side comics. I also need to organize my strips and put them in order. Right now they are sitting in a huge box in my closet.

And there you have it True Believers, another new interview with the ever expanding Root Beer Party.  We work tirelessly to bring you all the best the web has to offer in comics and in root beer appreciation.  A special shout out to James Boyd of Sunny Side Up Comics for facilitating many of these interviews.  He is the Ambassador of the Root Beer Party.  Welcome to the party Jonathan, pull yourself a fresh mug of Barq’s root beer, (yes, we keep it on tap) and let us raise a glass to our newest member and to Dungeon Hordes, a comic which is long overdue to be inducted into the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.

As always, True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.     
 

 

 

 

20 Questions with Comic Artists: Anthony “Antwon” Hunter of Silent Sillies

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We are back once again True Believers with the induction of yet another new member of the Root Beer Party.  Yes, it’s Anthony Hunter of Silent Sillies.  Wow, what a big announcement this is.  One of the best web comics on the planet has stopped by the chat with us over  root beer.

It has been a long time since we have seen a great pantomime strip.  Not since Jon Esparza retired Mike & Mindy in fact.  In the tradition of Henry or Spy vs. Spy the pantomime strip is a classic medium in comics and one of the hardest to do consistently.  It demands amazing ability from the artist to convey in image rather than words the content of the strip. 

It relies heavily on the use of slapstick comedy which is very difficult to draw without great ability on the part of the artist who must have a great knowledge of anatomy in order to exaggerate the illusion of movement in a strip. 

Silent Sillies, which an be found here: http://www.silentsillies.com/ is drawn in the classic style of the cartoons of the silent era, right up to the advent of sound in Steamboat Willy by Walt Disney. 

But let’s hear from the man himself and meet the genius behind one of the hottest comics on the web today:

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity! I’m truly honored to be asked for an interview by Root Beer party. Learning you consist of so many wonderful web comic artists makes me so excited for this interview.
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I use to work night audit and so I had a lot of free time to work on comic ideas.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
With Silent Sillies being a classic cartoon comic I look to early animation for a lot of influence. I really love Ub Iwerks and Chuck Jones, but I also find influence in modern cartoons, comics, webcomics, and newspaper comics. I really found a lot of influence from Garfield strips for art, and for stories I love the early Mickey Mouse newspaper comics by Floyd Gottfredson and the Muppets comic strip by Guy Gilchrist.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I use to love Mug back in the 90’s, but now I live near an A&W and I really love that.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
Daily syndication has been a big dream of mine. I suppose a larger goal might be if Silent Sillies could become a profitable franchise with a daily comic strip, books and animations. That would awesome. I’m not sure if I have the following for those kind of dreams yet, but it would be awesome to see happen.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
Animation. I have a bachelor’s degree in animation, and I watch A LOT of cartoons. I think now is the time to try and animate Silent Sillies.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I think being a professional means more than 50% of your income comes from art, so if that’s the case I’m not a professional. But I’m building my resume, and I’m finding more art jobs lately, so hopefully my answer will change soon..
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I like to keep Silent Sillies fun for all ages, so I stick to slapstick comedy mostly.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I use google docs to write down my ideas and scripts and see what my best friend and Editor thinks. Then I use Adobe Illustrator to clean up my sketches. I also love how with Illustrator you can copy and paste existing art. This is especially useful since all the characters have the same type of arms and hands.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I have a bachelor’s degree in animation but I’m self taught with Illustrator and making comics.

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Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Honestly just knowing I’m helping to bring a laugh to someone is very rewarding. Watching people laugh when they see my art, and reading comments when I post a new comic is an amazing feeling. Also working on Lamebrains a comic book produced by a local comic book company was very exciting!
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I get pretty down that I don’t get to work on this stuff daily and when my computer crashed a few weeks ago I felt it was over, but I began finding some back ups here and there which helped me to continue. Also after I posted a video clip for an animated Silent Sillies and I saw how many people liked seeing that I knew I needed to finish it.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If so where?
I have some of my prints and comic books available on etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SilentSilliesShophttps://www.etsy.com/shop/SilentSilliesShop
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

There are many, but a few of them include;
Jimmy Steen creator of Drawn Closer. http://www.drawncloser.comhttp://www.drawncloser.com
Brad Perri creator of Pirate Mike. https://piratemikecomics.comhttps://piratemikecomics.com
David Reddick with Intelligent Life. http://intelligentlifecomics.comhttp://intelligentlifecomics.com
Andrew Morrice and his MANY comics! http://granitoons.deviantart.comhttp://granitoons.deviantart.com

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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?
Honestly cartoons make more sense to me than the real world. I can’t imagine myself without watching and making cartoons.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (No need to keep this answer clean.)
The mean spirited fanboys are really baffling to me. I still try to live by the golden rule so I just try to be a positive influence and help support others and share some silly where I can.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I try to stay a couple of months ahead with my comic, and seeing other cartoons and comics keeps me motivated. Positive feedback from others helps to keep me going too.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Pepsi, and Surge with the recent revival of that. But honestly I’m trying to cut out pop, so it’s mostly Coffee and water for me.

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Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
Is that an invitation? (Of Course) – Editor
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Life. Continuing to create after spending most of my day staring at numbers can be hard. Surprisingly the day job is also the biggest drive to work harder on art too.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m really thinking I need to animate the Silent Sillies characters. I dream of syndication, but for now I’ll be collecting each year as a comic book and creating new prints for sale.

So there you have it True Believers, the newest member of the Root Beer Party, the incomparable Anthony “Antwon” Hunter, so raise a mug of your favorite frothy blend to “Antwon” and welcome him to the party, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.