Modern Borefare: What does the next year look like for SSLI? How far out do you have the series plotted and do you stick to that plan pretty rigidly or do you find yourself going off on tangents?
Ryan: More like what does next week look like. It kind of feels like we have just finished clearing our throats when it comes to the story.We have always had a lot ideas floating around, but until recently we weren’t always clear on how to get our characters from point A to point B. For instance, we have had a story to tell about Brooklyn since day one, but I don’t think we could have told it before now.I think it took us this long just to figure out who our characters were, where they were going and what they wanted. Now that we have a clearer sense of that I think we can start mapping out a bigger picture.
Eastin: The Hell arc was supposed to be three strips long. It turned into eleven. We knew the ending, so we just kept it going until we could reach that point naturally. So, we have a basic idea, but if something needs to be cut short or drawn out, we’ve got no problem doing either.
MB: What are your favorite webcomics?
R: No surprises. The ones I never miss are Penny Arcade and PvP. My favorite at the moment is probably Hark a Vagrant, just like everyone else on the planet. I also was sort of obsessed with this comic called Art Animals for a while. It was compelling in the same way as watching a car crash, I couldn’t make myself look away..With most other webcomics, like The Abominable Charles Christopher or Chainsawsuit, I tend to just swoop in every two months and make a run through the archives.
R: Wow, xkcd, that is so underground.
E: I usually like to Instagram xkcd strips.
MB: What, if any, webcomic trends bother you? What annoys you about webcomics? Conversely, what excites you about webcomics?
R: I hate comics about people’s everyday lives. There are exceptions to this rule but biographical comics mostly suck. Too often biography just means wish fulfillment or self-aggrandizement. I crave characters.
E: Yeah. Not really a fan of one-panelers with ironic captions, either. What I like though? I love that people are willing to create, do, and then put it out there for the world to see. It’s kind of like all those crazy ideas you had as a kid finally have an outlet, and some of them out there are pretty damn awesome!
R: Eastin just told me that he hates Sorry Comics. Now I hate him. Sorry Comics is great because rather than being wish fulfillment it is an unblinking confessional of all the times the creator fucked up.
E: ^ Rude.
R: What excites me about webcomics is that there is literally no gatekeeper for webcomics. Anyone can make one. Imagine if that was true of video games? Movies? Academia (cough, cough)? Anything else really? I guess it is starting to happen to novels with the Kindle, but I think it is still easier to put out a webcomic and get it in front of a lot of people than pretty much anything else.
MB: Any advice for people looking to start their own comic?
R: You just have to do it. Even if you are writing a shitty biographical comic that I am going to hate, you just need to make a publishing schedule and stick to it. The hardest part is making sure there is a new comic on the site every week.In that regard, it helps to have a partner who you are responsible to. No one wants to be the guy who draws the comic at his girlfriend’s house, but then forgets the scanner at home resulting in a late strip. Not that Eastin did that.
E: Get ready to give up your weekends. Forever. Get on the social networks and talk to other creators, a lot of them are really cool and willing to spread your work if you just ask. There’s actually a really supportive community out there.
MB: What are your favorite non-webcomic comics?
R:: I am working my way up the ladder to claim the title of the world’s biggest Thor fanboy.
Beyond that I love Conan the Barbarian comics. That means both the old Savage Sword of Conan stuff with its copious side boobs and the new Brian Wood/Becky Cloonan stuff. Obviously, I also like Wood’s Northlanders since it is essentially Conan + Thor.
My tastes are pretty omnivorous though. I will read anything. I just started reading Bone which I have wanted to get to ever since I saw it being serialized in Disney Adventures at age 12.
E: This list could go on forever. Taking a graphic novel class with Scott Snyder (RYAN: Name dropper.) really turned me into a DC fanboy, but lately, I’ve been branching out.
I’ll just throw out a few of my favorites:
Batman (Snyder and Capullo)
Animal Man (Lemire)
Sweet Tooth (Lemire)
Wonder Woman (Azzarello)
Wolverine and the X-Men (Aaron)
Peter Panzerfaust (Wiebe)
Action Comics (Morrison)
More and more I’m finding a lot of really good creator owned stuff, which is really exciting to see. There are comics about everything–so don’t ever let anyone tell you they have no interest in reading a comic book.
Oh and a really weird and depressing book that is beautifully illustrated is Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s worth taking a look.
MB: Going to NYCC this year? If so, do you plan on doing anything differently from last year?
R: Definitely! Last year we had no idea what we were doing. We just kind of wandered around handing out flyers and temporary tattoos. It was pretty sad actually. I think in total we got like 50 hits from all our “marketing.”
This year I think our approach will be more about networking and less about promotion. NYCC is such a sensory overload that no one is going to remember some webcomic guys who gave them a flyer. If we can link up with some other creators this year I would consider that a victory.
E: I’m totally pumped for it! Like Ryan said, last year we had no idea what we were doing. We probably passed by some really great writers and artists and had no clue who they were. I feel much more prepared this year.
And I just love browsing the vendors from the small ones to right on up to Midtown Comics.
Let’s get those badges!
MB: Do you see yourself eventually going to a 2 or even 3 times a week schedule?
R: We would love, love, love to do this. Hell, we’d put it out seven days a week! Once we successfully run a $100k Kickstarter and are able to quit our day jobs we will get right on it!
Truthfully though, three days a week would probably be the sweet spot for a strip like SSLI. We like doing longer strips, so a daily would be too ambitious.
The once a week thing is more a result of the time we are able to put in rather than a conscious choice.
MB:Anything I forgot to mention that you’d like to bring up? Feel free! (Rants are fine but I draw the line at screeds.)
SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #1: Which of you is more handsome?
R: You’re really too kind, but who could argue?
SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #2: What time is it right now?
SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #3: Which of you is still awake?
R: Not Eastin.
After the jump check out the original outline for the end of the Multar fight:
The important take away this week is thatwhen I say I’m not going to buy a book anymore, more often than not…I’m still going to pick it up. Case in point with:
Wolverine 310 – arts improved but what do you expect when Simone Bianchi is back on the title. I don’t think Loeb’s really bringing it this issue but I’m definitely intrigued as to how & why Sabretooth came back. He was killed via the Muramasa by Logan himself (apparently the only weapon that can kill Wolverine dead.) and once more in Hell. Yet he’s back, popping up the last few months. Other points of interest: a)Who could possibly pick this book up and figure out what’s going on? This is a perfect example of why a reboot is needed. Completely choked with bizarre continuity. b) So they’re up in Alaska and Logan’s savior shows up in a one piece bathing suit. You’re not cold?? c) Once more back to Silver Foxes and back to Weapon X. How many times is this material going to be revisited?
AvX 7 -Magick v. Scarlet Witch; this should be interesting.Here’s my problem with Wanda: her powers are so ill-definied that they could be anything. So she’s shooting hex bolts one minute, then wiping out 99% of the mutant race, then completely neutralizing the Phoenix? BE CONSISTENT. Speaking of, what did Clint shoot at Emma to completely scramble her? I know he continued on that road by soccer kicking her, Pride-era Shogun Rua syle. But then it ends poorly for Mr. Barton, but what did you expect, you kicked a demi-god in the face!Favorite line of the issue goes to The Black Panther and “…the Black Panther prowls the boundary between super science & magic”. Has anyone else noticed that they can never draw Hope right. Sometime she looks like a super model and other times ( like this issue) she looks like a 12 year old. Interesting move by Emma which leads to a fantastic splash page to close out the issue. Anyone else notice the cool little touch of Namor crushing the balcony he was holding on to after his disagreement with Cyclops?
Uncanny X-men 15 – Assault on Sinister! If Marvel’s 616 universe is happening in one analogous to ours, albeit with super heroes, how does anyone take them seriously? You’re telling me that the Marvel U 616 Conan isn’t making cracks at Cyclops’ red thong? Fox & Friends aren’t calling Emma a tramp? The Phoenix Five’s (still hate the name) condescension and verbal head-patting of the other X-Men is pretty funny. “Don’t get up, we’ve got this”. Somehow I expect Sinister to hand them their asses and need a save. But that’s just me.
Animal Man 11 – Very cool call back to the original Animal Man series to open this issue. Buddy gets a warning from his quas-saviors to “Be still, this will hurt very much. ” Alberto Ponticelli might be the perfect artist for this series; his drawings of The Rot are truly grotesque.
Swamp Thing 11 -We’re finally on the cusp: The Green & The Red vs. The Rot begins next issue! This issue is just the final set-up push to get there. Not really feeling Marco Rudy’s art for this series though, much preferred Yanick Paquette.
Thief of Thieves 6 – A question for anyone reading this book: The hand image that makes up a portion of the title on both the cover and the credits page…is that a famous image from something, possibly Hitchcockian? That image also makes up a Tumblr & WordPress theme so it has to be fairly well known. This seems like a bridge issue too; the big payoff looks to be (but probably won’t be) next issue. Which I think will help determine where this series is headed. Because right now it seems like this could just be a 7 issue mini-series.
Amazing Spider-Man 688- Synchronicity ( and not The Police album)! The Lizard shows up just in time to coincide with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s a question: how does Spider-Man heal? He gets the piss beat out of him on the reg but as far as I know he doesn’t have any sort of accelerated healing powers. My favorite part of this issue is when Mary Jane called out P.parker for his incredibly dumb new motto “When I’m around, no one dies”. I think she’s the mouthpiece for the comic book community because that is just the absolute thing SM has ever said. Another issue: does SM have some sort of voice modulator in his mask or something? He bursts into Horizon labs where he works with people (geniuses, mind you) that he begins shouting at. How do they not match Spidey’s voice with Parker’s? C’mon!
Amazing Spider-Man 689 – Moebius drooling over bloodwork is a perfect tough, as is The Lizard pretending to cry.”What is the proper human response to the? Ah. Flailing limbs. Wet eyes. Mewling.” Madame Web lives in my neighborhood (Astoria!!).
More after the jump, including the Book of the Week.
This is what happens when you slack off; you have to combine two posts into one. NOW YOU KNOW. Let’s get to it:
Animal Man #10 – The exceptional run continues. Buddy Baker’s wife continues to ignore good advice, his son with the exceptional mullets meets someone unexpected, flying dogs to the rescue and Buddy finding out what’s in store for him…good issue.
Avengers vs. X-Men #05 – GAH. My brain…definite points for coming up with an ending I did not see coming. Whether that ending is any good…I’ll discuss further in the comments to keep this as spoiler free as possible.
Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #01 – So torn on buying this book but in the end, what are you going to do? Not buy it? It’s Watchmen, for chrissake. Even if it is a complete and utter train wreck. But you know? I didn’t hate this issue. There were some interesting allusions made, some tentative groundwork laid. HOWEVER. Was Watchmen so successful due in some part to the fact that you didn’t have the complete story? That even after 12 issues, you had to drawn your own conclusions? Whatever this series becomes (I’m talking about the entire Before Watchmen plan DC’s got) I’m hoping it doesn’t trample upon the original too much. I’ll definitely be reading the original 12 after these all wrap up.
Detective Comics #10 – Seemed like a placeholder title, honestly. I’ll give it until #12 before I decide whether to continue reading or not. The villain had a cool design at least.
Harbinger #01 – YES. SO AWESOME. I have zero idea how old you are or how long you’ve read comics, but I first became aware of Valiant Comics through my local comic shop & Wizard back when I was still buying every shit derivative Blood/Fire/Death/Hell/Stryke book Image was putting out. By then it was too late; the early books were way too scarce and way too expensive for someone with a 20 hour a week minimum wage job to pick up. But the sense that these were somehow different and better definitely permeated the first few years of Valiant, before they expanded their line, got caught up in the creative and production death spiral that was Deathmate (look it up), started pumping out double chromium covers on everything and eventually got bought by Acclaim before finally dying an ugly death. WELL. Now it’s back and back to basics and it F’N RULES. Buy this. X-O Manowar too. So excited to see where these go from here. Toyo Harada is a bad mutha.
Swamp Thing #10 – This also had the feel of a tweener issue. The artist also swapped out for the book, so that was a bit disconcerting. I’m intrigued by Anton Arcade though. Seeing as how he killed Swamp Thing and all this…
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11 – Like Phil Collins said, I don’t care anymore. Sorry Miles, I’ve been with you for 11 issues and I’m getting your book out of habit more than anything else. Time to break on out of here.
Uncanny X-Men #13 – I think Marvel wants me to stop giving them my money. At least for X titles. Storm narrating how her husband The Black Panther beat the shit out of her? “He eventually got his K.O.”? Is this a video game? Then Rulk snapping Psylocke’s arm via joint manipulation? LIKE HE WOULDN’T HAVE JUST TORN IT OFF AND BEAT HER TO DEATH WITH IT. GTFO. Then some story about some X third stringers I don’t care about. Then a last page appearance by Super Slut Force. (See comments as I don’t want to give any spoilers here).
XO Manowar #02 – Can I just read this every week? So awesome. In case I didn’t say it strongly enough earlier, you should really be reading these Valiant books. Especially with Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong on the way.
Oof, last week’s reprieve was only temporary. Here’s what I picked up this week.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39 -Remember when annuals was synonomous with rushed out garbage aimed at collecting a fast $2/$3 trading, featuring terrible stories and worse art? Clearly I don’t because I bought THREE this week. That’s what happens when you’re an adult with disposable income.
Animal Man Annual #01 – See above. Also, please be good.
Batman Annual #01 – See above. Also, please be good.
More after the jump: