Interviews

Creator Interview: hpkomic of Galactic Hub Serreven!
skoolmunkee at 1:32PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Drunk Duck username: HPKomic
DD Comics/Projects: Galactic Hub Serreven (Soon to be Cosmic Dash), Panel by Panel (until it died horribly).
Age: Twenty.
In what part of the world do you live: A boring little city in California called Hemet.
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: Painfully single. T_T
Day job: Student and freelance artist.
Favourite TV show: Hm, right now? Dirty Jobs or Survivorman.



Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests and projects.

Well, I like drawing. I love animation and I want to become an animator. I am hoping to make it into CalArts which is where one of my favourite animators, Genndy Tartakovsky attended (as well as other luminaries such as Paul Rudish, Tim Burton, Brad Bird and Craig McKracken). I'm also a total Nintendork and love science and history.

Which project did you pitch to Platinum Studios for the Comic Book Challenge? Would you tell us a bit about it?

Well, the project was titled Ben's Book of Banned Beasts, and it's about a paranoid little kid named Benjamin Roland Vasquez who gets a magical book that keeps records of mythical, extinct and weird creatures and deities. The only problem is that the book is leaking and the creatures are getting out. So Ben is too terrified to set things right, so his friend Erin Acantha Simmons and Karma (a lizard god who escaped from the book and promised to help the kids in exchange for not being put back inside) do most of the work.

Complicating this is Erin's dad who happens to be a MiB-style Government Agent who was transferred to the nowhere town where all this happens due to his poor skills. Given he's the only one in this town, he's the only one who sees all of this supernatural stuff, and the kids have to make sure he doesn't get hurt. Similar to Inspector Gadget in this way.

The thing I am most proud of is the mechanics of the book itself, and all of the creatures. I don't even need to make any new creatures because history and folklore is full of unusual stuff. In this way, the project serves as a bit of an abstract history and mythology guide.

Why did you enter?

I originally developed the concept as an animated series to pitch to Oh Yeah! Cartoons before it became Random! Cartoons (you may be familiar with a little short called ADVENTURE TIME), unfortunately I was young, impressionable… and stupid. I did all of the work I could, panicked about how good it was, got over it, but then I missed the deadline. Since then I had the project sitting around. So when the CBC was announced for a second-time. I decided to throw my hat into the ring.

Could you briefly describe the CBC process for us, as you went through it?

''Panic-inducing'' is a good description. I was sure my idea was good, but given the types of comics that were being posted this year, and what was in the Challenge last year, I was worried my comic wasn't ‘'adult’' or ‘'dark’' enough. However I was confident that if I made it into the top 50, my odds of being in the top 10 would be excellent due to the strength of my idea alone and how suited it is for a franchise (which is one of the key things the CBC looks for).

An interesting note about how important getting to do the live pitch was for me was that the pitch was scheduled on the day of my Math and English finals. Because I had taken a six week crunch-course, that was really bad timing for me. So I managed to work out a deal to take my finals the day before, so I spent a very, very long time on the campus between my classes and my finals.

I did great in both classes though. :)



Did you think you would get into the top 50? Top 10? Top 3?

It was odd because I was really only worried about getting into the top 50 and by my abstract logic, if I were to get into the top 50, it meant my project was good enough and that the top 10 would be no problem at all.

The top 3 I just hoped for, but it just didn't pan out.

Why do you think your entry did as well as it did?

I think that it did as well as it did because it felt very cartoony and energetic. A lot of the competition (with several notable exceptions) felt very dark and drab (not in that being drab is a bad quality in this case, just that it felt a little less vibrant due to it's subject matter in comparison to the brighter stuff). I think it worked against itself as well though, because the concept had so much to it that a summary was difficult to pull off, and when you're being filmed and the time is limited… I wouldn't be surprise if my pitch suffered.

You didn't get the top spot… so what happens to Ben's Book of Banned Beasts now? Any plans?

Well, I'm tweaking the project a bit, really ironing it out for later, I am hoping to pitch it as an animated series next time Random! Cartoons holds open submissions. That's not to say I've given up on it as a comic though, I'm preparing a lengthier pitch-packet to send to a lot of publishers based on a suggestion Scott Kurtz (of the webcomic PVP) gave me.

Since I have some working relation with Nickelodeon Magazine (with the amazing KC Green) I wouldn't be too surprised if I had a chance of working something out with them. Dave Roman (comics genius and comics section editor of the magazine) is a cool guy and his suggestions are awesome.

What did you like about entering the contest? Dislike? Did you have any particularly good or bad experiences?

The free stuff was great. I'm receiving a Zune which I'm actually going to give away to a lucky reader of mine since I already have an iPod that works just fine. Platinum really went above and beyond for all of us, and we all came away with a lot of stuff. And even though I was only at Comic-Con San Diego for 20 minutes total (due to a family emergency) I got to go in as a professional (it said so on my badge).

Not bad for my second convention ever. My first two conventions as one of the ‘folks in the industry’ were through Platinum Studios.

How did you develop the pitch you had to give in person?

I did very little practicing actually, I knew what I wanted to get across, and I wanted things to feel unrehearsed. This was a good thing because Donald Faison started asking questions during people's pitches after a while, so being able to respond naturally was a good idea.

Any real effort went into making my tacky replica of the book from the project. I think it served me well in the long-run… I doubt that dictionary I used will ever be the same again though.

What was San Diego like? Giving the pitch, meeting other creators?

I love San Diego, I live close enough to visit, but I don't do it enough (Balboa Park is amazing, particularly the Globe Theater). It was refreshing to bump into a lot of creators I already knew such as McGranger and Tom Carroll. It was also great to bum around with Carly and Dylan. Particularly Dylan because I talked his ear off about Drunk Duck. I gotta say, he's a patient man. :D

Was there any feeling of competition among the people there to make their pitches?

Slightly. I was willing to share my project with anyone who was interested, but there were some folks who decided to keep their projects to themselves until the pitches. Everyone does this type of thing their own way, so there's really no reason to fault them for not wanting to share their pitch. Maybe they were worried about jinxing themselves?

What did you learn from doing the pitches?

Don't panic, because once you're under the lights and doing it, it's a lot less intimidating than you think, it's the build up that makes you nervous.

Would you change anything about Ben's Book of Banned Beasts, now? Something you would have changed if you had known, maybe?

I probably would have had a better sample page done for potential voters and the judges. In between the time I sent in the sample-image and the time the contest rolled around, I had actually polished the style further and tightened the character designs. Interestingly even now I am still working on the character designs. As I see it, any project should be in a constant state of flux and be flexible for you to try new paths and revise past events.

Do you have any advice to someone undertaking a similar endeavour?

Knock your comic down to some core elements; I focused on my three major characters and the nature of how they worked to deal with the book. You need to be sure your characters come off as interesting.

You also need to sound excited and convincing, the pitch is all about selling yourself and it's much harder when you're not sure what you want to convince someone of, or you seem unfocused at the task at hand.

Did you notice any commonalities between the comics that rose through the ranks? Do you think there is a type of idea or art that seemed more successful than others?

I don't want to say anything because it may give off the wrong idea, but supernatural themes are always big movers it seems. There was a lot involving monsters, aliens, and heavy violence that seemed to make its way into the top 50. That's not to say you shouldn't try something over the top and different though. You shouldn't make something that follows the trend, you want to start one of your own.

So how many times did you watch your own pitch video?

Once for each of the videos featuring me. I'm very shy and embarrassed of myself when it comes to these sorts of things.

Did you pester your friends and family to vote for you?

I wouldn't quite call it ‘'pestering’' because that implies I was bothering my friends with it. I simply showed them what the idea was all about and mentioned the contest and that several others were in the running. When it came to my family, I didn't bother them with it because I was just too shy to inform them of the project and ask them to vote for the best project. As I saw it, I was convinced they'd just vote for me without looking at anything else and I didn't think that was fair to anyone else.

Of course in hindsight, that was probably a big mistake on my part, I was too focused on making it fair for everyone in the Top 10. :P

What was the biggest surprise about the whole thing?

I think the most surprising part was just how well we participants were treated by Platinum, not to say I was expecting very little of them, but all the free stuff and fun things that were involved? It was a bit mind-blowing I guess.


The Interview, Part 2


What other projects do you have in development?

Well, as always I have two key projects, Worldwalker and Warped on the backburner (why do I have a thing for the letter W?). Warped was my first webcomic, and I've archived what little scraps of it I kept here onto DD. Worldwalker is… much more ambitious. The best I can describe it is that it's fairly similar in concept to The Dark Towers series of novels.


Your main comic on DD is Galactic Hub Serreven. Could you tell us a bit about it?

Galactic Hub Serreven is a comic-strip concerning life aboard a Galactic Hub set in my Cosmic Dash universe. It's a spinoff of the main comic, Cosmic Dash, and events and characters are swapped freely between the two. The main cast in GHS focuses around the characters of Angn D'azmuh, Enna Satruvestky Quilxoss, Maxine, and D.I.C.C.

Angn is the older brother of a major Cosmic Dash character, Enna is a likeable Syrien waitress, Maxine is a human Federation Police Officer (whom I borrowed from Hawk) and D.I.C.C. is the cynical and grumpy artificial intelligence who runs the major tasks of the station.

I understand there are some changes coming?

Yes, in fact, Cosmic Dash which has been exclusively a print comic for now is returning as a webcomic as well, and will be merged with GHS in a sense. They'll be posted in the same place, but the comic will jump between the stories and crossovers between the two will be much more obvious. Cosmic Dash should be showing up on my site and here on DD in mid to late October.

This means that Cosmic Dash and GHS will also be available in a printed format with bonus content.

How did you develop your artistic style?

Black magic mostly.

I actually study a few key artists and see how they do things and try to bring some of their qualities into my own work.

Do you have any particular comic influences?

Stan Sakai and Ben Caldwell for comics. Genndy Tartaksovsky in general.

Is it fun drawing aliens, robots, and monsters?

Yes and no. It's fun to draw such a large variety of aliens, but it also requires me to decide if I am using one particular type of alien too much. As of now I have over 30 alien races to choose from at a given time but it seems I tend to hover between using five and six of them for crowd scenes. This can be explained in the context of the races themselves, some are more common than others, but I try to avoid being complacent.

You not only work on several comics, but you seem to have your fingers in a lot of other pies as well. Want to give a mention about any of them?

Surely!

In a collaborative sense, I am assisting in outlining two webcomics projects, both of which involving my comic-buddy Poinko. One is a comedic-zombie comic called Necrocaust, and the other is with our mutual contact Shon Howell called Cantrip. That's more of Poinko and Shon's thing however, I've contributed very little at this stage, but that can change easily.

My close friend Sara and I have plans, but none of which have really gone anywhere yet.

Future collaborations that I've just NOT had time for is a comic with Hawk, a comic with MrRiot, and one with Cheeko, though she's super cool and keeps asking me to get on it.

I have two projects I am looking for collaborators on, both of which are comics where I handle the writing duties. One is a rather serious zombie comic (as I am a huge fan of George Romero, it will be very much a labour of love) the other is a sci-fi actioner set in the very near future (the next fifty years or so) that I would absolutely LOVE to work with a manga-artist on. If anyone is interested in these things, by all means contact me, I'd love to share. I can't offer much money, but I do what I can.

I also try all sorts of weird nonsense here in the forums of course. Keep an eye out for that.

What is it you like about doing comics? What do you like about doing the other one-offs and side projects?

Comics are the best way I have to express myself at the moment. I have a lot of ideas and I want to share them, so I can't think of a better way. Side projects allow me to get some of the ideas that I seem to be constantly creating ‘'on paper’' in a sense. Even if it's just to save for later.

Anything else you would like to add?

Please take a look at GHS, and eventually Cosmic Dash, I'd love to be able to get as many people to read the comic as possible, I'm always up for working with other folks, so if you're interested, just get in contact with me.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
hpkomic at 10:39PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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posts: 943
joined: 1-1-2006
If anyone has any other questions or whatever. I'll gladly answer them. The interview was fun, thanks Skoolmunkee. :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
anonymousposterchild at 10:51PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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posts: 444
joined: 1-2-2006
I have a question:

hpk, how come you dont dance no more?
Official DrunkDuck curmudgeon
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
hpkomic at 10:54PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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posts: 943
joined: 1-1-2006
anonymousposterchild
I have a question:

hpk, how come you dont dance no more?

Because someone I loved left me… a long time ago.

I put away my shoes then. I just can't dance ever again.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
anonymousposterchild at 11:20PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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hpkomic
anonymousposterchild
I have a question:

hpk, how come you dont dance no more?

Because someone I loved left me… a long time ago.

I put away my shoes then. I just can't dance ever again.

Question 2:

Why are you so emo, Emo McEmopants?
Official DrunkDuck curmudgeon
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
hpkomic at 11:27PM, Oct. 1, 2007
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posts: 943
joined: 1-1-2006
anonymousposterchild
Question 2:

Why are you so emo, Emo McEmopants?

Court Order.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Dragonaur at 12:16PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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joined: 5-14-2007
You mention “Ben Caldwell” as an influence. Qhat of his works in particular might you be referring to? I've been enjoying some “how to draw” books. Fantasy and Action.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:14PM
hpkomic at 12:37PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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joined: 1-1-2006
Dragonaur
You mention “Ben Caldwell” as an influence. Qhat of his works in particular might you be referring to? I've been enjoying some “how to draw” books. Fantasy and Action.

I own his how to draw books with the exception of the Manga one (is that out yet?), but I also own the two Dare Detectives books and I am really looking forward to future installments.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Allan at 6:50PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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joined: 2-15-2007
I enjoyed reading this. When you mentioned the free Zune I figured I'd give the interview a look and I'm glad I did. CBC sounds a lot more fun than I had thought, maybe I'll give it a go next time around.

Nice to know more about you, HPK!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
marine at 4:24AM, Oct. 3, 2007
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Yeah HPK, did you get that thing I sent ya?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
djcoffman at 5:12AM, Oct. 4, 2007
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HPK– it was great meeting you out there– I really loved Ben's Book of Banned beasts, you should totally do that up as a graphic novel series on the side, I can almost GUARANTEE you'd find a publisher– if you ever do, and can't, let me know, I know a few people who I think would love to publish it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
kcg at 8:23PM, Oct. 6, 2007
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HPK is my baby's daddy and HE WON'T CALL ME BACK D:


just kiddin, i LOVE ya, bud.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:14PM
Cthulhu at 7:07PM, Oct. 7, 2007
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kcg
HOLY CRAP, IT'S GOD.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:58AM
hpkomic at 10:43PM, Oct. 7, 2007
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posts: 943
joined: 1-1-2006
Cthulhu
kcg
HOLY CRAP, IT'S GOD.

Did you even read my interview or just post because KC did? 3:
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Cthulhu at 6:47AM, Oct. 8, 2007
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posts: 5,095
joined: 4-18-2006
hpkomic
Did you even read my interview or just post because KC did? 3:
Yes, I read your interview.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:58AM

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