Interviews

Creator Interview: tyrapendragon of Slugs of Mystery and the Fusion!
skoolmunkee at 6:31AM, June 4, 2007
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
User: tyrapendragon

Comics/Projects: Drunk Duck Fusion and Slugs of Mystery. I'm also working on getting a Science Fiction novel published.
Age: 33
What part of the world do you live in: Seattle, Washington, USA
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: Single
Children: None (unless you count my two cats)
Day job: Book Buyer at Amazon.com

Tell us a bit about yourself! Family background, your work, taste in music, any of that kind of stuff.

I grew up in Seattle, but was born in Sunnyvale California. I went to Lewis & Clark University in Portland, Oregon. I taught English in South Korea for two years.

I don't have any brothers or sisters and my parents divorced when I was 16.

I have been writing since I learned how. I'm more of a writer than an artist, but I started drawing to illustrate my stories. I am almost finished with a science fiction novel which I started writing in high school. I'm currently re-writing the last few chapters.

Does any of that have any bearing on your comic making process or creative decisions?

Not really, at least not for fusion. It was my Mother who inspired my personal comic, Slugs of Mystery. Whenever someone was being lazy she would call them a “slug of mystery.” When I was about 10 my friend and I each decided to do a comic about that phrase. She ended up drawing this girl talking to her psychiatrist. In the last panel the doctor turned out to be a slug.

I started playing D&D (the ancient tabletop Role Playing Game) when I was eight at YMCA Daycare. I decided to write my comic about a group of adventurers that were slugs. Thus Slugs of Mystery was born.

Before the big crash I had posted these original comics as fillers. Maybe I'll post them when I finally finish the first chapter of Slugs.

You also run your own comic here on DD. What is Slugs of Mystery about?

It's about an elf who travels from her own fantasy world to a world full of anthropomorphic insects. She ends up joining a group of slugs and goes on adventures. Her nemesis is a wizard from yet another world who is a Robin. He's the one who used his magic to transport her to the strange world she finds herself in. She really just wants to go home, but that seems to be impossible. The wizard, Robinian has been trying to get home for years and years and still hasn't managed it.

What got you into web comics?

A friend of mine was doing one and she got me started reading comics on line. I had the comics I had done as a kid and decided to try my hand at drawing again.

Why Drunk Duck?

It was the first free hosting website I came across. I signed up and started posting and really enjoyed the format and the people on the Duck.

So you are currently running the Drunk Duck Fusion projects. Can you tell us what the Fusion is and how it works?

Fusion is a community comic where each artist does a single panel. They odd part about it is they can only see the panel right before theirs. It's like that game telephone or where you write a story, but can only see the sentence before yours.

I post a thread on the forum for each Fusion and people sign up with their e-mail address. Once we have at least 10 people(or it's been a few weeks) I create a list of the participants. I usually ask for a volunteer to do the first panel. Once the first person finishes their panel they send a copy to me and a copy to the next person on the list. It continues until the last person does the last panel. I then post all the panels at once.

Do they usually end up making much sense?

That varies quite a bit. It makes more sense when each artist puts a little something from the previous panel in their own panel. If they go off on a complete tangent it doesn't make as much sense.

We did one Fusion backwards. This actually turned out to make more sense then others because the artists had to imagine what the panel before the one they received would be. We should try it again sometime.

How long have the Fusions been going on?

I started organizing them in 2004. I have panels back to May 2004. There are three Fusions that Ronson organized before that. I'd say January 2004 is the approximate starting date.

How many people usually participate?

Between 10 and 20. We had more than 20 on a couple of Fusions, but it took so long to finish I decided to limit it to 20 at the maximum. Fusion 17 just got it's 10th artist thanks to MagickLorelai.

What do people like about the Fusions? It seems like a great way to get yourself out there, do something fun, and participate in the community.

It is a lot of fun working with other artists. It also gets you seen, although for some reason people only ever comment on the last page of Fusion these days. They used to comment on every page and leave notes for each artist. I guess I can understand people only wanting to leave one comment since I post all the comics on the same day.

I also used to put links to people's comics on each page, but I've gotten lazy about that. I do it when the person's comic is linked in their signature forum. I suppose with the new system I could easily look up their comics from their profile. I should do that so that people can easily go view the comics of the panels they enjoyed.

So about how much time does it take a person to participate? I think people get the idea it will take a lot of effort, but it's really just one panel isn't it?

It doesn't take much time at all. It is just one panel and although I ask people to finish it in three days, I'm not strict about it. If you let me know, you can always have more time. Unfortunately people do drop out sometimes because of the timing. I'm happy to move them down on the list, but sometimes people decide they just don't have the time.

Why do you think some people don't participate?

I think people do think it's more work then they have time for. There also seem to be people who are new to the Duck and don't know what it is. Occasionally they ask on the sign up list about what the comic is. Once I explain they often sign up.

A comic that updates only once every few months seems to have a hard time being seen. Fusion gets a bunch of views and comments 2-3 days after I post it, but that's about it.

Is there a specific time limit for artists to finish their work and pass it to the next guy, or is everyone included in Fusion just really excited?

Some people are really excited. A recent participant did their panel in two hours. Others I have to remind that they signed up. I do ask people to finish their panel within 3 days, but again I will always give an extension.

Are people allowed to bring their own characters into the story, or must they work with made-up or fake characters?

There are no rules as to characters in Fusion. People could use their own characters if they wanted to, but I don't think people do. Part of the fun of Fusion seems to be just making an extremely silly panel where anything goes.

So how long does a Fusion take, from start to finish?

The shortest Fusion we ever did took two months. Usually it seems to be more like three or four.

I think it would take a lot of dedication to keep something like a Fusion going- making web comic artists work together, argh! Organizing a Fusion sounds like a big job! Why do you do it? Are there things you do or don't like about it? Do you find yourself using any particular organizational skills to keep things running?

I do it because I enjoy it. I love being the one who gathers the panels together and see the first one who gets to see the final product. It's also fun doing little comments on each panel. They only thing I don't like is when we don't get many participants or when we get a lot, but people keep dropping out.

The organization part isn't all that hard. The difficult part is waiting for people to let me know if they can't do a panel. Lots of people seem to forget to check their e-mail and then when they do they say “Oh yeah, I forgot I signed up for that. I don't have time anymore.”

Recently I tried starting the sign up list for the next fusion when we were half-way done with the last one. I think this was a mistake because it meant that it was months since people had signed up before they actually got a panel. I think I'm going to go back to giving people two weeks to sign up once Fusion 17 is finished.

There have been some pretty far-out, or strange things people have brought up in the fusion before. Are there any certain boundaries the public should know of, or is Fusion just a no-limits collaboration?

Fusion is rated for Everyone because so far no one has submitted a panel with Adult material. Someone recently asked me about sex and violence in the Fusion, and I said that although it is rated for Everyone, we have had some edgy panels in the past. I just haven't seen any panels that would make me go “That's to extreme.”

skoolmunkee's note: I actually had to up the rating to Teen because there are a small few panels that do have some mild language in them�¢ï¿½�¦ E comics can't have any at all. Sorry tyra! :( A T rating won't restrict anyone from reading it however, and I do want to stress that it really is an E comic with just a tiny few exceptions.

Sometimes there are themes, aren't there? What seems to work better, one with a them or a more freestyle one?

We've had three theme comics out of 17. The first one was when the first panel ended up being Fusion 100. The entire Fusion is about breaking the fourth wall. The next one was reverse fusion, which wasn't really a theme, but a different order for the panels. Then Fusion 13 was all about luck, good and bad.

The theme Fusions do seem to be a bit more cohesive then when there isn't a theme, but then part of the fun of Fusion is the randomness factor. I wouldn't say that one was better than the other, just different.

Lastly, do you have a favorite Fusion?

My favorite Fusion is Fusion 9, which I titled "Don't talk to Bears." I just love the Kung Fu Monkey.

Now everyone go sign up for Fusion!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
Tyrapendragon at 10:02AM, June 4, 2007
(online)
posts: 577
joined: 1-1-2006
skoolmunkee
There have been some pretty far-out, or strange things people have brought up in the fusion before. Are there any certain boundaries the public should know of, or is Fusion just a no-limits collaboration?

Fusion is rated for Everyone because so far no one has submitted a panel with Adult material. Someone recently asked me about sex and violence in the Fusion, and I said that although it is rated for Everyone, we have had some edgy panels in the past. I just haven't seen any panels that would make me go “That's to extreme.”

skoolmunkee's note: I actually had to up the rating to Teen because there are a small few panels that do have some mild language in them� E comics can't have any at all. Sorry tyra! :( A T rating won't restrict anyone from reading it however, and I do want to stress that it really is an E comic with just a tiny few exceptions.

Thanks for the interview Skoolmunkee! And don't worry, I can understand why you decided to move it to T.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM

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