Creator Interview: LowResAtari of Mixed Bag Comics!
skoolmunkee at 12:59AM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Username: LowResAtari
Comics: Mixed Bag Comics, Monkey Island
Age: 19
In what part of the world do you live: Texas
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: No comment :O
Day job: Retail

Before we begin, I just want to note that although this interview is about sprite comics, I don't want anyone to think that LowResAtari is the representative of the sprite community or is willing to put up with a bunch of people who want to pick a sprite fight with him. :) I wanted to do this interview to shed a little light on the issues around sprite comics and I find him to be an informed and well spoken individual who would make for an interesting interview.

Should we clear up what the general definition of a ‘sprite comic’ is, for those who might not know?

Sprite comics are pretty much comics that use computer sprites (normally ripped from video games) and graphical effects for the “artwork” of the comic.

Do you have a personal definition that differs from that?

I can't say I ever call what I do artwork. All I ever do is write up and interesting story and play it out with stuff that I'm familiar with.

Why do people make comics with sprites?

Well… for most people… it's EASY. Quite a few people get into sprite comics just because they have a visual story they'd like to tell, but can't draw worth beans… so they go into spriting due to the ease of it all. Anyone that says that making a sprite comic is difficult is just trying way too hard. I can say that it's sometimes time-consuming though.

You make a point of distancing yourself from ‘the average spriter’ in your profile.
Why do sprite comics have such a bad reputation?

The stereotypical spriter is within the age-range of around 14-15, types like a 5 year old on crack, and create quick, messy comics with nauseatingly random humor, then quit in in 5 days to start another comic. And while I actually have seen these kinds of spriters before, I also know a lot that aren't like that and put quite a bit of thought and effort into their comics that go unnoticed due to the widely accepted view on the spriters in general.

Sprite comics are relatively controversial in the webcomics world. How much of that, do you think, is based on stereotypes?

I often noticed that the hatred of sprites usually came from the popularity they gained. In the early days of DrunkDuck, the argument against sprites is that people generally do little to no work to create them, looking for some quick popularity. While artists worked their butts off doing what they do to create a beautiful work of art only to get little to no recognition at all. It was kind of a competition I guess. It's kinda weird though, because I was rarely caught up in any of it.

In your opinion, are there instances when using sprites is a perfectly fine way to go about making a comic?

In my opinion? It's perfectly fine to use sprites, just as long as you actually know what you're doing before you start. It also helps that you don't ever claim that you're an artist, and you certainly shouldn't think you're better than anyone. I see that a lot, and those people disappear pretty quick due to the drama and uproar they cause.

What are some virtues of doing a sprite comic?

All I can think of is the fact that it's helped me develop my writing skills and sense of humor.

What types of things help a sprite comic stand out from the pack?

This is going to sound kind of weird talking about this particular subject, but original ideas are the best things you can have for getting noticed. Random comics, “Let's all fight for absolutely no reason” comics, and massive cameo comics are among the things you'd want to avoid if you don't want someone to roll their eyes and move onto something else.

Does it bother you that the stereotypical spriters seem to be tarnishing the image of the others who want to distinguish themselves?

A little, but considering the nature of the internet, there's not much anyone can do about it, is there? :P

I don't really know much about spriters as a community, it seems kind of insular. Can you enlighten me?

Well, those that I talk to are just regular people like you and me. Most just have a bit more of an undying love for video games.

Are there different ‘classes’ of spriters?

If there is, then I haven't noticed it.

I find it really interesting that however much people look down on spriters, there are more of them than there are people who do traditional comics. Is there much connection between the two groups or is it more of a Morlocks-Eloi sort of thing?

It all come down to the whole “easy” thing I mentioned earlier. There are more spriters because there are more people these days that want to have a hobby, but don't want to put much effort into it.

Why do you think sprite comics draw such devoted fans?

On most occasions, it's because of the fact that they revolve around video games. In some rare occasions though, it's because the writer of the comic actually does a decent job in writing it.

Some traditional webcomic creators dislike sprite comics not because of the stereotypes or spriters, but because they feel that sprites are too visually limiting as a medium. Care to comment on that?

Sprite comics are pretty visually limited. A lot of spriters will settle for the point of view their sprites give them (most often a side-view). But I have seen a few sprite comics that create their own three-dimensional backgrounds and create custom sprites of their own just to give the comic a depth that others don't. It just depends on the spriter I guess.

Tell us three things that would improve the average sprite comic. (I'll note that these tips will almost certainly improve drawn comics as well!)

1. Textboxes � If there's one thing I can't stand about over half the sprite comics on the internet it's their textboxes being messily done. I despise poor textboxes so much that I even created a tutorial on the DD Tutorial section about it.
2. Story � A sprite comic that is created with no clear plot or direction usually crashes in a week or so due to lack of ideas. Sprite comics are a pretty difficult medium for standalone jokes. I've really only seen it pulled off by a single comic.
3. Detail � Sometimes an attention to detail will get you going a long way. Instead of using each tiny sprite at regular size with no facial expressions used or even attempted, you could be zooming in on what's going on, and trying to make each sprite actually look like they should be saying what they're saying. Someone shouldn't be saying “GRRR, I'M SO PISSED OFF” with a blank stare on their faces.

Can you recommend some good sprite comics to us, and tell us what you like about them?

To tell ya' the truth I don't read too many sprite comics these days. A couple of the ones from the Duck I still read are Spritely by Twin, and Dungeons and Dumbasses by Senretsu. I read Spritely, because it's one of the few that is based around stand-alone jokes with clever writing, and D&D because it reminds me of my buddies.

You do Mixed Bag Comics. Can you tell us what it's about?

It's about a couple of groups composed of various video game characters that travel the universe. The actual plot of the comic just depends on where the characters are. A central theme to the comic, though, is that reality is just a computer program created by a couple of little nerdy imp-creatures (who make frequent appearances in the comic). This of course opens up things like glitches in reality, reprogramming of characters, and viruses in reality. I really do have a lot of fun coming up with new ideas for it.

Why did you choose to use sprites for your comic?

I started in sprites because I wanted to se what all the fuss was about. Then I started having fun with it and kept on :P

What do you feel distinguishes MBC from many other sprite comics?

One big thing is that I make an effort to create a comic every single day for my fans. Of course sometimes life does get in the way and I'm forced to create a filler of sorts, but even then I make an effort to make my audience laugh. Sometimes, as a special treat, I'll also make cute little flash cartoons and gadgets (people STILL go back and try to solve the puzzles in my 2007 April Fool's flash). Mixed Bag is lighthearted, simple, and funny and I make it pretty obvious that I'm having a good time doing what I'm doing.

Did you used to do some of the things that some people so dislike about sprite comics?

HA HA HA! Oh heck yeah. EVERYONE does their first time around. The first few comics of MBC is proof of that one.

Has the prevailing opinion on sprite comics affected the way you do your comic in any way?

I do know that it became the reason I strayed away from the way the comic was done in the beginning.

How long have you been doing Mixed Bag Comics now? How have you improved from when you began?

It's actually been over two years since I started MBC, and I am definitely so much better than I was when I started.

What do you enjoy most about MBC?

Part of it is writing the stories and jokes for the comic, but a lot of it comes from the people that read the comic. I love the fact that I can actually make people laugh.

You tried to do something different with Monkey Island. What did you want to do differently, and why?

Erm… I actually started Monkey Island because of a weird doodle I made during class one day that made me want to see if I could make the doodle into something in Fireworks. So I did, and that eventually became a comic.

Why did you stop working on it, and do you think you'll come back to it?

I stopped working on it because I started switching over to doing my own photography for backgrounds and my camera busted :(

Speaking of islands, if you're stuck on a deserted island, what 3 things would you want with you?

I was gonna say my cell phone, so that I could call someone to come and get me… but oh, the roaming charges…

Just kidding, though. In all seriousness I'd want to have a hammer (for the coconuts), one of those doo-hickeys that lets you create drinkable water by leaving it in the sun, and a little emerald colored miniature bear thingy that my best friend gave me to remind me of her. Bringing a cell-phone or a GPS is the wussy way out :P

Where in the world do you want to visit more than any other?

I'm not much of a roamer, but I guess I wouldn't mind going up north during the winter some time so that I can actually know what snow is like >.>

I guess as kind of a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I do not have any favor toward either the spriting community or the artist community. I have a certain kind of respect for each.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
crocty at 6:46AM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 6,676
joined: 8-16-2007
I find it funny how right after he was banned for insulting Volte for a while, he's interviewed.
Oh, how do I edit this again?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:50AM
KazeFire at 9:44AM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 9
joined: 1-28-2007
From what I've heard MixedBagComics is pretty good. Probably one of the best people to interview on sprites. xD

Kaze,Hex,Zeek,Zephyr,Frost-CNA crew
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:14PM
Kamikazi productions at 11:17AM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 25
joined: 11-12-2007
I'm happy to see a Spriter get interviewed for once.
Even if it's because Skool is a great admin and a friend of LowRes. XD
Next step, a featured Sprite comic. XD
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
skoolmunkee at 1:09PM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Kamikazi productions
Next step, a featured Sprite comic. XD
I'd love to but I've never found any that both used original sprites AND were high quality… we can't feature comics that use others' properties, like fan comics :/

Actually that's not completely true, I've found a few, but they all stopped updating a while ago. :[ I still look every now and then though for new ones.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
KazeFire at 1:51PM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 9
joined: 1-28-2007
Maybe a sprite comic where everything was custom, would that have a chance of being featured.

Kaze,Hex,Zeek,Zephyr,Frost-CNA crew
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:14PM
Kamikazi productions at 1:56PM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 25
joined: 11-12-2007
Kamikazi productions
Next step, a featured Sprite comic. XD
I'd love to but I've never found any that both used original sprites AND were high quality… we can't feature comics that use others' properties, like fan comics :/

Actually that's not completely true, I've found a few, but they all stopped updating a while ago. :[ I still look every now and then though for new ones.

We're working on it.
We've read the feature rules and we think we've found a way to do it, but it'll take time…“”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
Seelinkrun11 at 2:57PM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 45
joined: 7-16-2007
I'm happy with this interview.
I think LRA really made a point to say that not all sprite comics are bad, and that some people put a lot of effort into them (like me B) Sure, mine's not perfect, but I always try to improve it:))
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
CoyoteLongshot at 10:38PM, Feb. 11, 2008
posts: 162
joined: 10-10-2007
Yeah, I think this was a great interview. I think most people, except the people who regularly read them, just casually pass off sprite comics as being all the same… Heck, I do that most of the time ^^; But it puts an interesting perspective on things. There are people, like LRA, who really make it an art. Very cool.
I'm on the Hairway to Steven, baby!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:47AM
Ndraxian Zero at 11:26AM, Feb. 12, 2008
posts: 6
joined: 9-13-2006
Way to go Lowres.
But I think there are several spriters (or groups of spriters) now trying to prepare a comic for the featured spot.
I for one.
But its nice to know they haven't been featured yet
reason is due to copyrights and not bias.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM

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