Interview: In the Mind of a Web Comic Artist
Question and Answer (October, 2014)
Why did you decide to do a web comic instead of a traditional printed and published comic book?
If it was up to me, I would have jumped straight to animation. Webcomics offer a lot of freedom in that I get to be the sole dictator in what happens to Dexter and his entire universe of characters. (Notice how I said “dictator”, MUHAHA!) But seriously, whether Dexter is published or animated, that would involve many other people and could mean I might have to sacrifice my original vision. With the webcomic format, I can grow my own fan base and set up Dexter as an already proven/established franchise that I can use as part of my pitch when I finally do take it to an animation studio.
My real dream has always been seeing Dex and Thing as a fully animated series. Which is why the comic has such a “Saturday morning cartoon” look to it, or so I’ve been told."
Who or what influenced your artistic style the most?
Ren and Stimpy. As a kid, I really loved the crude humor and style of that show. Originally, if you look at the first few pages of the first issue, Dexter the Alien started out with that same crude style. Only now he’s sort of transitioned into something else. I’m not sure what exactly because I think the comic had found its own style by the time I finished the first one. But I will say that it’s probably a mix of all my other influences like The Simpsons, Animaniacs, Calvin & Hobbes, and even video games like Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank.
In fact, I see Dex and Thing as kind of a reverse Jak & Daxter. In the game, Jak was the quietish hero and Daxter was the sidekick who provided all the comic relief. In my comic, the sidekick, Thing, is a mute who is also the real hero while Dexter is kind of the bumbling fool. No offense to Dexter or bumbling fools.
If you could travel in a time machine would you go back into the past or into the future?
Hm. Well since we can’t really predict the future, I would have to say the past. What if I go into the future and the Earth has already been sucked up by a black hole or something? At least we’ve studied the past and I could pick a cool time period like the dinosaur age… Of course that could backfire, too… This was a hypothetical question, right?
Heck, I’m pretty content right now. Maybe I’ll just go two minutes into the past. That way I can at least think of a better answer to this question.
Issue #2 of The Misadventures of Dexter the Alien
If you could be a superhero what would your name be and what would be your superpower?
Well, we’re all superheroes if we look really deep within ourselves. Just kidding, that’s the boring answer. I’ve always wanted to be Spider-man. I thought he had the coolest powers and yet he was still a really grounded person. Plus I loved his sense of humor… Did I say Spider-man? I meant Wonder Woman.
Tell us in one sentence why we should read your web comic.
If you love sci-fi, action, adventure, comedy, or drama, well, it has all of those things.
Also, it’s free to read online. That’s two sentences, I know. I cheated. Make that five sentences.
What has been your biggest reward since starting your web comic?
The response and support I’ve had from my readers and the webcomic community. Also, just being able to share my story with the world and learn who I am as an artist has been a reward in itself.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give anyone aspiring to do a web comic?
Don’t give up. And you have to be willing to take criticism. Be sure to set as high of a standard for yourself as possible until you’re completely happy with what you see on the page, but always keep in mind that it’s a learning process and you’re going to have to make mistakes along the way. Nothing is ever going to be perfect.
Also, I’d like to mention that ComicFury.com and WebcomicUnderdogs.com are great online communities for webcomic artists.
Who’s the closest character in your comic to your own personality?
Wow. Tough question. I would like to say that all of them resemble me somewhat since I created them, but I’m going to have to be honest with you and go with Dexter. I don’t know who wouldn’t be able to relate to him. I think we all relate to Thing a little, but really, Thing is like an unstoppable force and nobody in real life has that kind of bravery. That’s the point of Thing, he’s fearless. He didn’t start out that way, he earned it, but now he’s become something of a powerhouse. Thing has the mental and physical ability to adapt to any situation since he can stretch his body into any shape.
But Dexter, he has no superpowers. He’s the furthest from being any kind of superhero. And yet he still goes out there and tries to do the best he can even when the odds are against him. Sure, he makes a ton of mistakes along the way, but his heart is always in the right place.
And if you want to go deeper, I would say that Dexter is probably a manifestation of my inner child. Or so my therapist tells me. Cue rimshot.
How do you react to criticism?
Well, typically I would react with something like… “WHAT?! HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT?! WHO ARE YOU TO CRITICIZE ME?!?!?!?!” …Of course those are my initial thoughts. But I try to react positively and apply any criticism I’m given, especially if it is coming from another artist. Sometimes I will even seek out criticism, constructive criticism, before I post a page.
It’s hard dealing with criticism. Dexter the Alien is my baby. It’d be like someone walking up and criticizing your kid. But if what they’re saying makes sense, I will always take it into consideration.
Why is Dexter the Alien yellow?
Well, you see, when he was younger he fell into a vat of radioactive yellow food dye and… No, I think if I had to pick a reason it would probably be because yellow is the most harmless color I could think of. Likewise, Thing is probably green because it’s a serene color and Thing is like the peacekeeper. Or they could just be random colors, who knows?