Bill Holbrook is the creator of Kevin and Kell, one of the most long-running and delightful webcomics around. In addition, he is also the creator of two additional daily strips, On the Fast Track and Safe Havens which are syndicated to newspapers around the country. Luckily for us, he found time to answer ten questions from the Comixpedia community.
Who are your biggest artistic influences? —Alschroeder
The biggest artistic influences on me were the MAD Magazine geniuses, particularly Jack Davis and Mort Drucker. Walt Kelly also had a deep impact.
Who are your biggest storytelling influences? —Alschroeder
That would be Charles Schulz. Within four panels, there was nothing he couldn't do. For longer forms, few people can touch Will Eisner.
There's a lot of anime (Japanese cartoons) influence in most comics these days. How do you feel about them? –Rebelsun.
As with anything, I enjoy and respect the good stuff.
There's a lot of imaginative elements in most of your comics, from moat monsters, to variations of Art napping, to Wendy's attempts to break a (literal) glass ceiling, to a talking calculator for a mascot, to a granny in a mirror, to a kid hanging upside from wires god knows where that tied to, *gah* so many stuff I wish to list! How do you come up with such stuff?
I realy felt people should look up to you as much as Bill Watterson. Both you & the other Bill are special because of all imaginative elements in your work. –Altercator
Gee, thanks! If the question is where do I get these ideas from, I haven't a clue. I just try to imagine the lives of the characters, put them in situations that require a dramatic response, and see what happens next.
I'm often as surprised as anyone.
I'd really really like to know how do you do it to have so many daily comic strips done and not go nuts. —MaritzaCampos
Who says I haven't gone nuts, Maritza? 🙂 Seriously, I work on a three-week schedule. During this week, for instance, I'll be writing three week's worth of Fastrack material, and drawing the 21 gags I wrote for Kevin & Kell last week. Next week I'll write for Safe Havens while drawing the Fastrack batch. And on it goes…
On a typical day I'll begin by writing four gags by 2:00, then I'll pick up my daughters at their schools. When I return I'll begin drawing, usually doing about four strips. At night, after everyone goes to bed, I'll write two more gags. I end up the week with more gags than I need, and my wife picks the best ones.
That leaves weekends free to get caught up on E-mail.
What do you see in the future of newspaper comic strips? —MaritzaCampos
There are omnious signs all around. For the artform to survive and prosper, it will require a commitment from newspaper editors to support the section that is proven to attract and hold readers.
What do you think of other "furry comics?" Have you looked at any for inspiration? —Tcampbell
I admire so many 'furry comics' that I can't list them individually. I'll mention just one: Pogo.
Kevin and Kell's premise is very original: a carnivore animal marrying and living with her potential prey. How did you conceive it? –m_estrugo
I started with the idea of showing people overcoming differences and coming together. The predator/prey angle allowed me to comment on that in a universal way, without getting sidetracked into the particulars of a specific conflict.
You work very hard to make different species act… well, differently in Kevin and Kell. How do you balance storytelling requirements with 'realism' between carnivores and herbivores (and all the rest). —Websnark
It always depends on the requirements of the individual gags. When devising the behavior of species I try to follow the Roger Rabbit rule: Only If It's Funny.
Does Lynn Johnston have as foul a mouth as everyone says? —Boxjam.
She's never used bad language around me.
Bonus question: How is doing a webcomic different from doing a newspaper comic? Where do you think the future lies? —Alschroeder.
I wish I could see the future, but I'm just stumbing around like everyone else. To me, the main difference between webcomics and newspaper strips is the existence of archives. With past strips a click away, readers of webcomics can enjoy longer and more complex storylines without getting lost. Newspaper readers only have that day's strip in front of them.