Friday, April 30, 2010

Q & Ages 25 & Up #16: April 2010

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

Monkeywrench from says: "It's time for the April Q & A! Here are the questions:"

Question #1 - Monkeywrench asks:
If you were going to introduce your comic to some new readers and could only choose 5 files, which 5 files would you pick and why?

1337W422102 answers:
Damn, that's a hard one. In no particular order, here are my choices. I would choose #21 "Silent Auction" because it's one of my personal favourites and an homage to one of my all-time favourite issues of a comic, ever - Larry Hama's unforgettable G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero! #21 by Marvel, the "Silent Interlude." I also like the scenario, despite how silly it is. The ending was fun, too.

Next, I'd choose Black Ops, Part One. The Black Ops story was short, but I really enjoyed it because it was so different from what I was used to.

Though it's rather lacking in several technical aspects, #04 "In the Clutches of Death" would be on the list, too, because it really captures a lot of the mood of the comic: light-hearted fun with overt sexual themes. Also, Clutch.

There would have to be at least one "Real American Teamup" issues on that list. (It's satire about a comic book character, not un-American propaganda!) If I had to choose just one, it would be #60, Part 2, which introduces my twisted interpretation of Captain America.

For the last one, I think I'll say #37 "The Reimagining," which I thought was pretty cool, even if you don't get the reference. I wanted to pay homage to one of my favourite books and movies, while simultaneously poking fun at Hollywood.

Question #2 - Monkeywrench asks:
Any updates on a possible TPB?

1337W422102 answers:
I want to do that, but there are a few things I have to do first. I want to offer fans what they want, so I'd make it a Readers' Choice-type of deal. People would submit a list of their 5 or 10 favourite comics so I'd be able to get a good idea of what's working for people and what needs to be in the book. Naturally, I'd want to have more than 10 or 15 comics, but costs and lengths of selected comics will be an issue, so I'll try to keep it simple. Of course, I'll add in more stuff like introductions, short write-ups about the individual comics, bonus stuff like the posters from Movie Madness, some quotes from readers (if that's okay with them), things like that.

But, before I can do THAT, I have to get the Archive back up and running so readers can navigate the site and find/read comics easily. Then, I'll have to go back to the comics' original Photoshop files and format them up for printing. Many issues will take multiple pages. And while I'm at it, I'll probably do some minor tweaks along the way.

It's going to be a big project that I want to do, but the trade will, for the moment, have to keep waiting. REAL sorry to those who've been waiting patiently. We're going to make it worth everyone's while when it finally comes out! I want it to be worth your while. Something I wouldn't feel bad selling to you guys, you know what I mean? Thanks for the interest and support; just keep hanging in there and don't give up just yet!

Question #3 - Night Viper 143 asks:
As the writer/director of Ages 25 & Up, is there any “actors” you refuse to work with?

1337W422102 answers:
As I'm sure you've noticed, I really don't like Hauser. Hell, his only appeared to talk out of his ass to plug Resolute, to and to fight the S.N.A.K.E. Eater and get written out. Because I'm a trolling bastard, I had him pop up in the last issue of the Tech Support story, in a full body cast, without moving for the entire comic. That's pretty much it, for now.

Question #4 - Ctrl Z asks:
How far ahead do you plan the storyline? Do you just consider the story arc you’re currently on or do you have a few planned out in advance?

1337W422102 answers:
To be completely honest, I have TOO many planned out in advance! All of the ideas I have bouncing around in my head right now would last at least until the New Year!

Question #5 - Ctrl Z asks:
For each strip, do you draw a story board sketch prior to shooting, or do you just already have an idea of what you want and just go for it?

1337W422102 answers:
First, I consult the writing staff and we have a big brainstorm session around a large, circular table. Steve usually brings doughnuts and Timbits. We have a 15 minute recess for every two hours of planning and we often have --

I'm just pulling your leg.

What I do is, I first come up with an idea. This is the hardest part! I develop the idea and think if it can make a decent comic or not. If not, I might just use it as a joke in another issue, or shelve it for later.

Once I've made up my mind about what idea I'm using, I flesh out the story. Who's going to be in it? How long will it be? Stuff like that, I think about. I plan out how the story is going to be spread out over the issues, and I start writing. I write the shooting scripts as simple text files, dividing the comic up into panels. I write relevant information like "Close-Up," "Add Photoshop Blood," or other things that I should know when shooting and editing. As I shoot, I put an "X" beside panels I've shot, and during the editing, I put "P" besides the "X" after a panel has been all Photoshopped up.

Question #6 - Ctrl Z:
You’ve given a few non-Joe toy lines cameos in past strips. What other toy lines can we expect in the future?

1337W422102 answers:
I don't want to say much due to spoilers, so I'll throw out some cryptic references as hints. Some of the guests will find the power. For others, nothing's gonna stand in their way. (Not tonight.) For some of the rest, information will be ammunition. And others still might have you shitting bricks. If I keep up these damn riddles, I'll have to get a Revoltech Professor Layton!

Question #7 - Ctrl Z asks:
The Ages 25th & Up-verse has a lot of characters, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all. Any plans to make a character bio page or a wiki page to cover the characters and maybe some other facts?

1337W422102 answers:
I've actually been thinking about making a wiki for the A25Universe. It's on my to-do list, after Remake the Archive and Get the Trade Sorted Out.

Question #8 - Nekoman asks:
What tips do you have for editing, and what program do you use?

1337W422102 answers:
I do all my editing in Photoshop. A handy getting-started tip: if you use the Shape tool (default keyboard shortcut: U button), you can choose Talk Bubbles from the Custom Shapes option. They're a great place to start, but I find them too restrictive, and most of my talk bubbles end up being custom-made from at least two separate objects which I then combine into a Smart Object and apply a few Blending Options (a Stroke so there's an outline around the bubble [colour and thickness depends on the character] and a shadow to make it stand out).

Photoshop is great, but don't overdo it. You don't need motion blur in every panel! Think of actual comic books to get inspiration. See how they do things like talk bubble placement, panel layout, size and shape of panels, etc. Don't be afraid to crop your photos!

Question #9 - Nekoman asks:
Ever checked out Might be a pretty cool place for any left over shots.

1337W422102 answers:
Haven't checked them out, but I don't have leftover shots, so I guess that cancels itself out!

Thanks to everyone who helped! As an added bonus, here are some questions my buddy The David Harris asked me so that you guys can get to know me a bit better. You know, if you're into that sorta thing.

Question #1)
Are you in fact, a robot from the future, or a replicant? Like Harrison Ford?

1337W422102 answers:
You calling me a skinjob? I'm just a regular Freebirth toad, like the rest of you.

Question #2)
I understand that you are a major fan of IDW. What are you opinions on the extensive universes of Marvel and DC?

1337W422102 answers:
I'm not a major fan. I followed and enjoyed their Transformers stuff before it got too complicated and turned to crap. They're doing a good job with the G.I. Joe license so far and I'm looking forward to their continuation of the Marvel series. With Larry Hama at the helm, it should be good.

Question #3)

It seems that the majority of your passions can be loosely considered to be Science Fiction. For example: Soldiers and Robots. Such as Transformers, Halo, and G.I Joe. Are you opposed to Fantasy-based material, or do you lack the knowledge and materials to actually delve deep into it?

1337W422102 answers:

I'm not interested in fantasy, except maybe for the odd game or two, if they're done well enough. Remember the oldschool ads for the first Fallout game? "The perfect RPG. Minus faeries, spells, and other crap." That's pretty much how I feel.

Question #4)
In the same area as the previous question, where are the Star Wars or Star Trek references? Do you not consider yourself a Jedi/Sith Apprentice or a Trekkie/Part of the Borg collective?

1337W422102 answers:
You perceptive readers know that we've already seen Star Wars AND Star Trek characters in the comic, such as Kirk and Spock in Army of Plastic, Bones in Project Helix issue, Uhura in the Christmas party, the Star Wars convention in the Father's Day issue, and Dash Rendar's appearance in Tech Support. There might be more, but these are all that I can think of off the top of my head. There will be more, though!

Question #5)
What makes Clutch your favourite Joe, and do you have any fan artwork of him? Or is he too "basic looking" to be made into fan art?

1337W422102 answers:
I take photos and Photoshop them into comics. If you're looking for fan art, maybe you should check out the JafariStew page.

Clutch is my favourite Joe because I enjoyed his personality the most when reading the Marvel comics. What I really liked about the comics is that characters are human, and as such, they have their own quirks and odd characteristics.

Clutch was the chauvinistic unshaven greasemonkey who'd never miss a chance to hit on Scarlett or try to get Cover Girl to make out with him during a stakeout. One of my all-time favourite moments was during the celebration in #33 (he even shaved for the event), he and Breaker tried to get Scarlet and Cover Girl to mud wrestle for money. Oh, Lance. Never change. Scarlett would get her revenge in her G.I. Joe Classified File in the back of Marvel's G.I. Joe #1: she's doing some target practise with her crossbow. Clutch watches, sitting on a crate of apples, idly chewing one. Naturally, Scarlett's aiming at the apple on Clutch's head. I laughed so hard when I turned to that page. Take a look at his original filecard. Genuine class. I really hate how they made him a brand-new one for his 25th Anniversary release, focusing on his abilities rather than his personality. Ah well.

He wasn't just a horny Jewish mechanic from New Jersey, mind you. His 25th filecard was right - dude's got the skills to back it up. When Cobra succeeded in inserting a Trojan Horse robot into the Pit, Clutch came up with a plan to stop it. Sure, it only slowed down the advanced Cobra tech, but it was a start! In another mission, the Joe team was captured by Cobra and about to be executed by a Cobra firing squad. Clutch crossed his arms, not taking any of their crap. Before the Cobras could mow them down, the VAMP's machine guns fired up as if on their own and took the Cobras out. Clutch was hiding the firing control remote when he crossed his arms Later, he was hitting on Scarlett via the VAMP's radio when a Cobra trooper tried to kill him. So what did he do? Beat up the Cobra, took his uniform, snuck into the Cobra bunker and jumped the Cobra Commander. In an even more memorable feat of masculinity, he and Roadblock managed to capture the Cobra Commander. It involved Clutch driving the VAMP down the side of a damned mountain in Europe. Badass? You bet. The cover of that issue had Clutch holding an uzi to the Head Snake's head.

And that's just the character. The figure was great, too. He had a unique vest with badass holster that none of the other Joes had. He had that big ol' black beard. And he came with the freaking VAMP, still my favourite Joe vehicle. Simple, effective, and classic. I still have the Clutch figure I had as a kid. Well, it was Clutch v2, in his tan desert uniform. He and Dusty would go on adventures. Good times.

Well, that's it for another Q&A! Thanks to all who participated. Check back tomorrow for a brand-new comic. Have a great weekend!

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