For years Mike (Grimwit the Clown) Rojas has been alternately entertaining and horrifying readers of Natch Evil with the story of Saffron, a maniacally gleeful female "lust killer." It seemed fitting in the month of Halloween to interview the creator of one of the most entertaining homicidal maniac in webcomics.
Hi hi. I am, indeed, here.
What can you tell us about yourself? I know you’re a phone lackey, self-described…so no wonder you use a homicidal maniac as your main character! *Grin*
Actually, Iâ€™m a shipping lackey now, I just havenâ€™t changed my description. Umâ€¦ you want a recent history, or just my personality in a nutshell?
Whatever you feel comfortable with.
I am particularly fond of Horror movies, Anime, Comics, Mysteries (Books, Anime, Comics, what have youâ€¦) and food. All in that order.
Mark me not surprised by the horror movies….
Heh. Iâ€™m generally friendly, and if you talk to me for too long, Iâ€™ll start figuring you out and play with your mind. Itâ€™s just what I do.
That’s okay, you wouldn’t have that much to play with in my case…. Where’d you get the idea for Natch Evil…or did you just answer that?
Natch Evil started as a 3 page comic I did when I was in college. It was a short about a girl who killed her high school crush in a blind rage when he rejected her at a subway. She cut off his head and took it home to "Enjoy" it, so to speak.
I could see Saffron doing that, easily…
Back then, she was called Kess.
She appeared in another incarnation later on.
As a high school girl who was sent to live with her aunt in a town full of sin.
Which she doubtless depopulated…
That story was eventually going to spin out of control and end with her trying to escape with her sister, who was possessed. It never got off the ground.
In fact, I had quite a few comics in College that never got off the ground.
Wanna see a picture of Kess?
That’s interesting though… Sure!
I keep them in the Extra’s page. Some day, I’ll upload the original comic. If I can ever find it again.
Kess doesn’t quite have the same joy of life â€“ or joy of death â€“ as Saffron.
Not in this incarnation. Kess was a defender of life, and of innocence (her little sister).
Natch Evil came up and it just felt right. So I went with it. A serial killer just getting into a town full of killers.
Saffron sounds a little more fun.
That’s probably why she took off so well.
After I started the comic, I made a decision there and then â€“ Natch Evil would be my training grounds, for a craft I wanted in on â€“ Comics.
Also, Natch Evil would be an experiment to see how dark I could get humor.
You’ve seen the rest.
Which leads us to another question… what artists influenced you the most?
Let’s see… if I can remember some of them…
David Mack and Michel Lisner are the top two artist in my head. Maybe Dave Sim…
Mostly, I go for cartoons.
I could see that… a lot of Sim…
They tend to influence my art style. Countless hours of Anime: Bubblegum Crisis, Explorer Woman Ray, Crystal Triangle, Key, the Metal Idol.
Then the American cartoons, of course.
Which American ones?
Count Duckula, Danger Mouse, Thundercats (is that one japanese?) GOD I love Thundercats.
In fact, I used to draw Count Duckula comics when I was in middle school.
I LOVE Danger Mouse and Duckula. And Penfold.
Um…Before the "hospital" took them away.
Oh, yes. I find myself unconsciously quoting Penfold.
Oh… When I was 13, I was in a sort of Mental Ward for observation and such.
Like anyone couldn’t tell, My childhood wasn’t the most balanced of them all.
Should I ask why? Suicide attempt? I tried that when I was thirteen…
Suicide Attempt, and some other things.
I tried to burn down a house, I would hold tons of emotions back, and then explode, paranoia, blah blah blah…
That’s about the time I learned to draw everything out.
(Nodding.) For many of us adolescence was our most fragile time…
Makes a great release, though â€“ (drawing, that is â€“ )
*nods* It’s a hell of a lot more effective, too.
What storytellers and humorous writers influenced you? Or are they the same as the others?
No, no. I’ve been influenced by only the best.
And away we go: Dr. Who, Sapphire and Steel, Lupin III, Rex Stout, Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, Christopher Mason, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Anne Rice…
Want more? I got more.
If you want. I caught the Rex Stout, from the "Nero Goodwin" character â€“ or was it "Archie Wolfe"?
No no. It’s Nero Goodwin.
Not particularly proud of that name, but I had to tribute the second greatest mystery writer of all time, in my humble opinion.
Who’s first? Conan Doyle or Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler…?
Doyle, of course.
Every year or so, I go back over the Holmes collection I have.
Brilliant. Simple brilliant.
He certainly made the most famous detective of all
Writing influences come from all over.
I make fun of everything around me, and argue the philosophy of everything around me.
*Grin* I’m a Baker Street Irregular. I’ll email you the references later. Back to the comic…. who’s your favorite character besides Saffron?
*thinking about it*
Well, I guess I can’t beat about the bush forever â€”
I’d have trouble too. But I like her helpmate who only wants to be offed herself…
Ah, Sherry. But for me –it’s gotta be Devil Joy.
Yeah, Devil Joy almost takes over the strip, sometimes.
My friend, Zaph, tells me that one day, Devil Joy, like Opus, will simple take over the strip and there won’t be a damn thing I can do about it.
I guess it’s because she’s cute and marketable.
Could be. But there will be a lot of us Saffron-boosters who will miss her â€“ and that insane glint in her eye â€“
Maybe you could make Devil Joy a spin-off strip…
Love her now. In a couple of years, Saff will be gone, and I’ll have to start writing about Red and Black.
Hmmm… A Devil Joy Spin off, huh?
That’s a particular thought to ponder.
Maybe. Um…. "Red and Black"?
Red and Black are the Brother and Sister you see at the beginning of the "Dateing Game" story.
Oh, right! Ooooh. Yeah, they WOULD make a good strip.
Red is the blond in the Red Dress, and Black is the bartender. They are very very old characters of mine.
And the most developed, so I know exactly what they’ll do at any given situation.
You’re going to be the Edward Gorey of serial/series webcomics.
Gorey’s got quite the notorious following. hee hee.
So does Stephen King, who treads some of the same territory…
I’ll bet his fans haven’t sewn one of his book titles into their foot, huh?
"Natch Evil" is sewn in your foot?
No. One of my fans sewed the title into one of my fan’s feet.
This is why I’ll never post my address.
Wow. Now THAT’s dedication. Or something… a little… wow.
Yep. But I guess that’s no surprise, given the subject matter…and maybe King HAS had fans like that. Remember Misery.
Yeah, I wish I could’ve seen my own face when I first set eyes on the .jpg in my email. *shudders*
You know, I think one of his fans set their own fingernails on fire for him, too.
One can only HOPE for that kind of dedication.
Suddenly I’m very grateful for the fans I have…
I suppose it comes with the Horror genre territory.
Right. If they were disturbed by "creepy", why would they be reading…?
Yes yes. But I wouldn’t trade my readers, no matter how insane they are, for the shiniest diamonds in the world.
Do you have some sort of ending envisioned for Natch Evil? Is that "Red and Black" as their own series the real plan, or are you playing things as they come, without planning too much?
Natch Evil was supposed to be a 3 year experiment.
Like going to art school for 3 years or something, while I experimented.
How old is it now?
It’s about 3 years.
It’s since turned into a 5 year experiment, and probably a 7, then 9, and so on.
5 more years of gleeful slaughter â€“ I wonder what your fans will have done by THEN…
Hunt me down and break my legs, most likely.
Not if they don’t know your address…
Ultimately, Saffron’s story must have an end point.
One that will sum up everything that has happened. That’s the way all good stories are written â€“
And you have a definite ending in mind, I see. Very interesting.
I’ve got 4 more chapters to write in her chronicles, and then, somehow, I don’t know how yet, but somehow, her reign of terror will cease, and it will most likely involve Jill Abberline, Sherry San Merte, and Red Prett.
(Nodding.) Any other big projects planned besides (possibly) the Red and Black thing…?
Well, now that you mention it, there is a comic I’ve always wanted to do, but I doubt I’ll ever have the time.
What would it be about?
I read a comic called Latex Blue a while back and was unimpressed. My friend Chuck and I talked about it, and I bet him that I could draw a bondage comic that had nothing to do with sex, but was still funny. Just a dominant/submissive lifestyle, or something to the effect.
The trouble is, it’s pretty tricky to write something meaningful, yet devoid of a large part of the lifestyle.
*shrug* I’ll probably never do it, but I’ve already drawn up the character. Seems a shame to waste them.
But it would be an interesting challenge….
Yes, THAT’S why I wanted to do it.
On the opposite end of the scale, I know THIS sounds stupid, I wanted to draw an all-age comic called Lyric. Who knows what’ll happen in the future. Most likely, it’ll be something I haven’t even thought of, yet.