An Interview with Brian Babendererde, Creator of Soul Chaser Betty

Brian Babendererde started serializing his comic Soul Chaser Betty on the web in 2001.  Later in 2003, it became one of the titles on the Graphic Smash anthology website.  Serialization of the comic continued throughout 2004 until the story was finished.  I know — a webcomic adventure tale with a beginning and an end, fully published online within approximately four years.  Normally that might take a decade or more! Okay maybe a slight exageration, but it strikes me that Babendererde's initial run on Betty is no small accomplishment, given how many dramatic, longer-form comics run off the rails for long hiatuses before finishing (if ever).

So why are we talking about a webcomic dating from the beginning of the decade?  Well in 2007 Bebendererde went back to the comic to redo many of the panels and re-work some of the story, in preparation  for publication as a stand-alone graphic novel in print.  The book has been available for awhile but more recently Bebendererde placed it in the Diamond monthly catalog making it available to comic book stores.  I was interested in talking with Bebendererde about how the new push for the book is going and what it's like to work on a specific comic over the course of almost a decade.

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Saturday Morning Webcomics: An interview with Monty & Kelli

Planet Saturday by Monty Kane bills itself as "adventures in childhood and parenthood" and it is a charming collection of tales of Emory (who is basically a stand-in for Monty), roughly half with him as a child and half with him as an adult, father of a daughter.  It in some ways suggests that the comic is really about Monty himself but it doesn't feel biographical as the stories seem to be more universal than uniquely revealing of one person.  There's a touch of nostaglia at times, but particularly in the stories with the Emory as father and the daughter Dot it's also very much about two well-drawn characters and their father-daughter relationship.  Maybe it's simply because I'm a dad with daughters myself, but I do enjoy these stories.

I got a chance to interview both Monty and his wife Kelli Stevens Kane by email this month about the comic and its first collection in print.

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You’ve Got To Chill: An Interview with Leroy Brown of Ice Cubes

Leroy Brown is the creator of Ice Cubes about a motley crew of characters living within the Artic Circle in Alaska.  I had not been previously familiar with Brown’s work, but he submitted a design for the February cover art to ComixTALK that I liked and wound up using.  It’s got a similar set up to Tyler Martin’s Wally & Osborne, but beyond updating more regularly the last year (hey now! rim crash… I"ll be here all week folks!), it’s just a different animal entirely. The comic is very new (unfortunately the website doesn’t currently have a very navigation-friendly set-up but you can get through the archives by clicking on the "strips" category) so it’s easy to check out the archives to date.

Read on for my interview with Brown about his comic Ice Cubes.

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American Erfs: Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi

Erfworld is a hilarious adventure comic set in a world that seems to operate according to the laws of a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons.  The main character Parson is from our world and he is suddenly thrust into the world of Erfworld in the midst of a titantic battle between various factions.  It's funny on a lot of levels.  Yes you will probably laugh more and longer if you've ever played a role playing game but even if you haven't Rob Balder's wordplay and Jamie Noguchi's artwork will still entertain you.

Rob Balder is well known to many webcomic creators and readers for his work on Partially Clips, a satirical comic that uses clip art.  He's also a musician and an associate editor of the fiction and fandom 'zine Nth DegreeWe interviewed Rob for ComixTALK once before back in 2004.  Jamie Noguchi currently has a day job as a self-described "multimedia monkey" for NASA and used to work as a colorist with UDON Entertainment.  He also illustrates various things including Erfworld and hopes to someday move into doing full time illustration.

I've known Rob and Jamie for years now – I met Rob initially at SPX and have hung out with both at local Washington Webcomics meetings.  They both strike me as passionate about comics and story-telling and I was not at all surprised at the success of Erfworld.  I got a chance to interview them by email about the state of Erfworld and plans for 2009.

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Interviewing Bryant Paul Johnson

Bryant Paul Johnson is the creator of the long-running "semi-historical micro fiction" webcomic title, Teaching Baby Paranoia.  I met Johnson at an SPX several years ago and I've always enjoyed reading his wonderfully smart, intellectually wacky comic.  It's a bit like reading the history of a much more interesting world than our own.  He also created a limited comic series for ComixTalk titled The Antecedent that might be described as semi-historical micro nonfiction and often illuminated many interesting parallels between American history and our recent era under that Texas yankee who used to be President.

I was really happy he was able to do a cover for us last month and than an interview now.  Especially interesting is an update on the graphic novel titled The Lower Kingdom that Johnson is working on along with a preview of its first chapter.

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My Life in Webcomics: An Interview with Grant Thomas

Grant Thomas is the creator of several comics including the more personal My Life in Records and the more adventuresome Graphic Poems.  I think Grant has been creating some of the more interesting and challenging comics I've seen in webcomics and his stuff is well worth checking out.

Grant's also been a contributor to ComixTALK, creating the cover art for ComixTALK for December of 2008 and writing several features for the magazine, including a three part series on creating mini-comics.  I got a chance to chat with Grant recently about his plans for 2009, including the next chapter of My Life in Records and the inclusion of his work in an upcoming book from Fantagraphics.

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Peachy Keen: An Interview with Donna Barr

Donna Barr was born in the mill town of Everett, WA.  She is a prolific cartoonist and writer who embraced the web relatively early on as a means to further expose the public to her creative work.  She is probably best known for her comic series, The Desert Peach, about Pfirsich Rommel, the fictional homosexual younger brother of Erwin "The Desert Fox" Rommel — it has been in publication since 1988.  Another comic series from Barr is titled Stinz — it is about Steinheld Löwhard, a centaur in an imaginary land called Gieselthal where humans and centaurs live.

I got a chance to interview her via email over the last couple of months and really enjoyed our exchange.

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Catching Up With Jim Zubkavich

Jim Zubkavich isn't "oldest school webcomics" but he's awfully darn close.  His debut webcomic, The Makeshift Miracle garnered instant notice online at the time.  Ironically, despite the intentional use of limited colors in the comic, the coloring is one of the things I remember most about it.  Zubkavich has also been a heck of a nice guy to comics, sharing his knowledge through tutorials, teaching and a column at ComixTalk.

I got a chance to do an interview with Jim this month looking back on The Makeshift Miracle and looking ahead to 2009.

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So A Tamarin And An Axolotl Walk Into A Bar…

Robbie Allen aka Pembroke W. Korgi is the creator of Femmegasm and a contributor to Radio ComixFemmegasm is new this year and mostly a sendup of pop culture, heavy on the videogame references with an awesome recurring Popeye-hates-pirates joke.  (Despite the name of the comic it has no Slipshine-qualifying content in it)  Check out my interview with Pembroke below for more on this new webcomic.

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