Interviews

Drunk Duck Creator Interview: IronSpike, dueeast, heymelby, and Titan One!
skoolmunkee at 12:15AM, March 3, 2008
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
It's a long one this time- I asked the same questions of 4 creators who have an overweight character in their comic. It's quite interesting to read, in my opinion! Especially when it comes to where and why their answers differ!


Username: IronSpike
Comics/Projects: Templar, Arizona
Age: 29.
In what part of the world do you live: Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: Married, 4 years and counting.
Day job: What dayjob? This is it!

Could you tell us a little about your comic?

Templar, Arizona's a story about a town, and the people who live there.

That's kind of a cop-out, but it's the best way I can describe it. The town is imaginary, and I usually describe the comic as taking place in an alternate dimension where innumerable small things have gone differently than they went with us. Different subcultures, slightly different world history, that sort of thing. It's really just an excuse to get weird when I feel like it. The world' as different as my whims or the story requires.

The comic's very character-driven instead of plot-driven. It stars a group of people who all live in a single apartment building. Scipio is a huge, good-natured guy with dreadlocks, a kilt, and a hard-on for Buddhism. Reagan is like a living id, a very tall, very fat woman who dresses like she fell backwards into a drag queen's wardrobe. Gene is an musical savant, a musician with a kindergarten-aged daughter who's quickly outpacing him in the brains department. And Ben just moved in from Washington state. He's the reason we're there.

Could you tell us more about Reagan, your co-main character? What is she like and what is her role in the comic?

Reagan is one of those characters I had to teach myself to use carefully, because it became really obvious early on how easy it was for her to steal every scene she's in. She's got this accent, this overpowering attitude, she's pushy, she's flashy, she's super-expressive, and she's prone to lewd and insensitive commentary, so all attention gets focused on her without much effort.

She wasn't conceived as central to the plot at all, strictly supporting cast. But that's changed, big-time. She's perfect when it comes to moving stuff along and saying what needs to be said, things Scip's too polite for, Ben's too shy for, and Gene's too stupid for.

Why did you choose to make an overweight character? Is her weight an important part of her makeup?

Reagan is my “Bill the Cat” character. I once heard Berkeley Breathed (the “Bloom County” and “Opus” guy… Does anyone even remember “Outland?”) say that, when he did Bill the Cat's character design, he just went for the direct opposite of what he knew people liked. Bill was the anti-Garfield. Reagan's like that, she was seriously designed to not be liked. Not just by way of looks, but her personality was meant to be abrasive and obnoxious. I still think it is. I mean, I gave her the least-agreeable accent in the English language. She swears like a sailor. I'd probably run across a freeway to avoid her if I knew her in real life. But I think I'm the only one who feels that way. Lots of fun to write and probably fun to read. Not so great to know.

Her weight is part of her make-up as a walking shrine to hedonism. She smokes, she drinks, she's an aggressive flirt, she overeats. She wears bedroom slippers in the street, she laughs loudly with a snort. You would probably give your friends a “Holy SHIT, did you SEE that?!” look if you saw her walking down the road, and she would know you did that, and she'd feel she'd done her job. If she bothered to give a crap at all.

Do you consider Reagan overweight? Does she consider herself so? Does she have any issues with her weight? If so, what? If not, why not?

I definitely consider Reagan fat, and Reagan considers herself fat. She calls herself fat in the comic. She's got a zero-bullshit policy she lives by, and that kind of lack of self-awareness is way outside her character. I think what's extraordinary about her is that I'm convinced she's completely OK with it. How fat she is isn't something she feels the need to bring up. It's not at the forefront of her thoughts.

Why she doesn't care probably has a lot to do with her personality in general. She doesn't care about a lot of things, first and foremost what other people think. Not in a “rebellious teenager” sort of way, in a pathological sort of way. As if that part of her brain is horribly atrophied.

Well, maybe that's not exactly true. She's AMUSED by what other people think. She has fun with it, she likes reactions to her behaviour. But she's not restrained by them. I think that's probably the most unusual thing about her.

Do you have any opinions about the social stereotypes surrounding overweight people?

“Ridiculous” sums it up pretty nicely.

Because it is so visual, weight is an immediate identifier of a person. Many of their actions are judged in light of their weight, especially when it comes to certain subjects. How conscious are you of the stereotypes about overweight people when you are making your comic? If they've affected how you do your comic, could you give us some examples?

Who isn't aware of fat stereotypes these days?

I think one of the primary ones I felt the need to mess with is reflected in the way Ray dresses. It's not unusual to fat women to be dressed in revealing clothing in cartoons and comics, but I think it IS unusual for them to actually be portrayed as looking good that way, and for the character to be aware of how they look. Ray is wholly aware of the fact that her size, coupled with her unique sense of fashion, is going to get her stares. But at the same time, she pulls it off. She doesn't look like a punchline. She looks plenty weird sometimes, but she leaves the house knowing that.

More specifically, how does Reagan compare to weight stereotypes? Was that conscious or unconscious on your part?

Well, I'm convinced there's nothing glandular going on there. She eats a helluva lot; it's part of that whole “id” thing I mentioned earlier. That's why she's fat. I know that's probably unpopular to cop to, but that's the story. She could be way more in shape than she is, she just doesn't want to be. That's not how she wants to spend her time. There's no instant gratification there, which is her primary motivation. But simultaneously, I' think she has some real muscle mass, which kinda goes against stereotypes. She's a glutton, but she's not lazy. I picture her as deceptively strong. Dramatic as it sounds, she can probably fight, but in the sense of a brawl in the street, the kind that ends when someone gets knocked off their feet. Ray's probably good that that, and she probably wouldn't hesitate to pop anybody in the nose if she felt they were asking for it. She certainly talks like that's always an option, and I don't think she's bluffing. She's not a hair-puller or a cat-fighter. Bitch'll body-check your ass. In three-inch heels.

Do you think your comic reinforces any positive or negative stereotypes about overweight people?

Honestly speaking? I don't care either way.

Ray isn't a statement about fat women. She's a fat woman. She's not representative, she's just some chick. I think there's a tendency to read some sort of political or social statement into her, but I don't intend her to be interpreted that way at all. At the same time, though, I can understand the tendency some people have to see messages there. She's unusual. A fat girl in a comic, front and center, who's not the butt of jokes or obsessed with her BMI. She's funny, she's entertaining, and she's even depicted as sexy, something that would likely go entirely without comment if she were skinnier. And it's kinda sad that she stands out so much that people think she MUST be a statement, but that shit is not my responsibility.

Do you get many comments about Reagan? What do people like or not like about her? Has anyone commented specifically about her weight?

Ray gets more comments than just about everyone, and 99 times out of 100, they're positive. The rare person who feels the need to say anything negative usually thinks she's obnoxious, and they're right, she is. Any and all comments about her weight have been positive. Women write me to thank me for drawing her. Men write to tell me they think she's funny and/or hot. I'm appreciative either way.

How important to the comic is it that your main character is overweight? Are you trying to send any messages or attitudes about weight with your comic?

Nope.

Are you trying to challenge any other stereotypes in your comic?

Nope.

As we well know by now, the percentage of overweight people in the populace is growing. Why do you think this isn't reflected more in the media? For example, comics?

I could go on for days about that, Jesus.

It's not just about weight with me, though. I think the entire mainstream beauty and fashion industry is run by vultures and ghouls who rely on keeping everyone and everything dissatisfied and unspeakably miserable enough to think they need $75.00 eyeshadow and a new pair of jeans every week. Unreasonable physical requirements guarantee that there's always a market, because anything that can be achieved stops being profitable. Weight is just a part of that. I'm not exaggerating when I say that i feel it's reached truly demented proportions.

I don't think flattering depictions of realistic people are a fiscally responsible approach to marketing dissatisfaction. We might all start thinking we were okay or something.

How is it different drawing an overweight person to someone thinner?

It's a lot more fun, actually.

When I draw Ray, the primary things I focus on are

A) Fat is soft, and

B) Gravity exists.

She wears a lot of tight clothing, so there's a lot of hems cutting into her and material hugging her curves. When she moves, she sags and bunches in different directions. It's actually quite a challenge, getting everything figured out and normal-looking. Ben, my primary character, is this poor tiny underweight guy, with his ribs and hip bones poking out.. He's not nearly as much fun.

Did you find it strange that someone would want to interview you just because you have an overweight character in your comic?

I'm used to it by now. Ha!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
skoolmunkee at 12:16AM, March 3, 2008
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Username: dueeast
Comics/Projects: Due East, co-conspirator on Off Hours
Age: 38
In what part of the world do you live: Austin, Texas
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: married
Day job: computer tech support

Could you tell us a little about your comic?

Due East is about a multiracial family that's trying to come back together after a bitter divorce. The ex-husband/father is mixed Chinese and White. The ex-wife/mother is African-American. They have two daughters, ages 16 and 20. The oldest daughter, Sapphira, lived with her father after the divorce while her sister stayed with their mother. Six years have passed and the parents stayed in touch to keep up with their children's lives. In the process, the parents have fallen back in love again, to the point where the father decided to move back (his job took him to Canada while the mother lives in Texas) and reconcile. But as real life makes clear, it's not always so easy to put things back together once they've been broken.

Could you tell us more about Sapphira, your main character? What is she like and what is her role in the comic?

Actually, the whole Hu family and Brielle's friend, Carolyn Maye, are the main characters (as shown in the comic's banner). Since our purpose is to show a “realistic” family, there really aren't any specific roles in the comic. It's their story (and no, they are not based on real people). Sapphira is spunky, independent and fairly to-the-point. She is also sympathetic and funny.

Why did you choose to make an overweight character? Is her weight an important part of her makeup?

My wife and I co-write the comic and we decided to make her plus-sized (I don't really like the term “overweight” - it begs the question “over whose weight?”) for a couple of reasons. First, it was a result of her stopping smoking, which she did for health reasons (she was getting respiratory infections). Secondly, we wanted to really physically distinguish her from her younger sister. A 50-pound weight gain will definitely do that. Her weight is a part of her makeup but I wouldn't say it's an important part. She's fat but her life isn't defined by her weight, it's defined by what she does with her life.
Do you consider Sapphira overweight? Does she consider herself so? Does she have any issues with her weight? If so, what? If not, why not?

My wife and I consider Sapphira fat (again, not liking the term “overweight”). She's a little over 200 pounds on a 5'6" body. She knows she's fat. But she had a choice once: her doctor told her if she didn't stop smoking, she would likely die. She knew people often gain weight as a result of stopping smoking. She'd rather be fat than sick or dead. She's confident enough in herself that even if she does have occasional misgivings about her weight, it doesn't show. And she doesn't take any grief from others about her weight, either.
Do you have any opinions about the social stereotypes surrounding overweight people?

I think the social stereotypes about fat people are as epidemic as the supposed “obesity crisis” and it's really sad. There's a lot of ignorance about the subject in general. People think you have to lose weight to be healthy, when that simply isn't the case. In fact, one can maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes some form of exercise and eating healthy foods and live to be a ripe old age, independent of weight.

Because it is so visual, weight is an immediate identifier of a person. Many of their actions are judged in light of their weight, especially when it comes to certain subjects. How conscious are you of the stereotypes about overweight people when you are making your comic? If they've affected how you do your comic, could you give us some examples?

We avoid the stereotypes altogether. That's not to say we haven't addressed the issue of Phira's weight at all. When she visited with an old friend in Book 3, her friend (who hadn't seen her in 6 years) asked how she'd gotten so big? Her response was to laugh at the silliness of the question, especially since her friend was not thin herself. Sapphira asked her if this was a problem, if she accepted her anyway, even though she's fat. And her friend did.

More specifically, how does Sapphira compare to weight stereotypes? Was that conscious or unconscious on your part?

Like I said, she defies the stereotypes. She's not eating all the time. She's not a bumbler, she's arguably one of the coolest characters. She's not ugly, stupid, lazy or uncoordinated. She's more of an anti-stereotype. She's a valid character who's self-assured, likeable, beautiful and knows what she wants. She's not infallible, she's very human, but she's not “just the fat girl.”
Do you think your comic reinforces any positive or negative stereotypes about overweight people?
I think it breaks the negative stereotypes. It doesn't really create a new positive stereotype since it tries not to be stereotypical at all.
Do you get many comments about Sapphira? What do people like or not like about her? Has anyone commented specifically about her weight?

Yes, people – especially women – really seems to relate to her. They like the fact that she's confident, they think she's beautiful, too, regardless of her weight. Some people specifically like her curves.

How important to the comic is it that your main character is overweight? Are you trying to send any messages or attitudes about weight with your comic?

It's significant to point out Sapphira is not the main character, the whole Hu family is as well as Carolyn Maye. Yes, one of the main characters is fat/plus-sized but perhaps only because she is not the negative stereotype of a fat young woman. If we are trying to send any messages about weight, it's basically “look, these are real-looking people, like people you may know. They don't judge each other based on their weight.” And it's good to have examples in front of you that demolish stereotypes. That's what breaks down barriers, seeing people as they are, not as the stereotypes that define prejudice. When you get to know people and see that they have lives and red blood, just like you or I, it makes it harder to see them as some stereotype.
Are you trying to challenge any other stereotypes in your comic?

Yes. This is basically a Christian comic but there are tremendous amounts of stereotypes about Christians and Christian characters. Thus far, we only have two Christian characters and only one of them is a main character (Carolyn). We've seen an angel and the Devil in Brielle's dream, and we showed that Brielle was saved from a fire by a miracle. But Carolyn Maye is nothing like Ned Flanders on The Simpsons or any other negative stereotype. She's a sympathetic teenager who really cares about her friend, Brielle. She's not judgmental or a hypocrite or secretly evil somehow. Nathan Maye, her father, shares her faith and supports her.

Also, by showing a multiracial family in a realistic setting, it also breaks any stereotypes people may have about interracial families. They're just as human as any other family. This we do from our own experience, as my wife and I are interracial (she's African-American and I'm White – and we have 2 sons).

As we well know by now, the percentage of overweight people in the populace is growing. Why do you think this isn't reflected more in the media? For example, comics?
Interesting question! I think it reflects built-in prejudices within the media industries. Concerning comics, it is more challenging to draw plus-sized characters and also, people have romanticized the thin ideal shown in the media. But I think that is slowly changing. And ironically, I think we may have reality tv to thank. As people see more “real people” in the media, the more they want to – and probably even demand it. Some people will always have stereotypes in mind concerning fat people, but with more exposure to them, they can see they're just like anyone else. I think it's also an acceptance that traditional weight loss methods (weight loss diets, the gym, etc.) are useless and make people fatter. People also have had so many conflicting messages about “obesity does this” that they've become skeptical.
Hopefully, we will see more realistically proportioned characters in the media – including comics – in the near-future.
How is it different drawing an overweight person to someone thinner?

It's not that radically different. The curves will be different, the face may be wider, there may be a second chin (or not). You just have to consider where the character carries their weight. Specifically, what is their body shape? For a woman, is she a pear, an apple or an hourglass shape – and then how to proportion it. It's important to not have everyone look the same.

Did you find it strange that someone would want to interview you just because you have an overweight character in your comic?

It's flattering. We know that plus-sized characters in comics are still pretty rare, so it makes sense that it might be a topic of interest. So, for the record, we're proud of Sapphira. She's turned out the way we wanted. Her transformation from thinner to plus-sized went well and was understood, accepted and even appreciated by our readers. And she's just a fun character to write. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about her.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
skoolmunkee at 12:17AM, March 3, 2008
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Username: heymelby
Comics/Projects: Chad the Fat Kid
Age: Almost 30
In what part of the world do you live: ….Michigan
Are you single/boyfriend/girlfriend/married: Happily married
Day job: Teacher, illustrator freelance designer etc.

Could you tell us a little about your comic?

CTFK is a comic about growing up and surviving high school. It mostly centers on Chad, a chubby fat kid with low self-esteem and is constantly preoccupied by the opposite sex and his lack of a girlfriend. Although exaggerated the stories are based on real life experiences that either I had as a kid or have seen or heard of.

Could you tell us more about Chad, your main character? What is he like and what is his role in the comic?

Chad is the central character, he has all the problems that most kids in his situation have, single mom (his dad is a mystery right now), poor, over-weight and unpopular. There is something of every outcast in Chad. Through him readers meet other characters from different archetypes (hicks, jocks, smart kids, druggies, etc) As an underdog you can't help but root for Chad.

Why did you choose to make an overweight character? Is his weight an important part of his makeup?

His is a fat kid because I was a fat kid, Chad sees his weight as the one thing keeping him from being popular and having a girlfriend. So yes it is an important part of his makeup.

Do you consider Chad overweight? Does he consider himself so? Does he have any issues with his weight? If so, what? If not, why not?

Yes, yes, absolutely. He hates himself because of it. Psychologically he sees it as the source of his depression. But he lacks the will to change.

Do you have any opinions about the social stereotypes surrounding overweight people?

Sure, they are all true. That why they are stereotypes, Fat people are fat because of a variety of reasons, barring major physical issues simple diet and exercise can cure a person of excess girth. For my personal experience I lacked the confidence and self esteem to really try and lose weight, so I suffered in anguish.

Because it is so visual, weight is an immediate identifier of a person. Many of their actions are judged in light of their weight, especially when it comes to certain subjects. How conscious are you of the stereotypes about overweight people when you are making your comic? If they've affected how you do your comic, could you give us some examples?

Well if you are talking about being politically correct….hell no. I know all the stereotypes, I WAS all the stereotypes when I was Chad's age. I didn't exercise, go out and play, I sat in front of the TV and ate junk food, I hated myself because of my looks and was too apathetic to do anything about it. I had no one to turn to about it either.

More specifically, how does Chad compare to weight stereotypes? Was that conscious or unconscious on your part?

Oh conscious definitely, Chad is everything I went through and more.

Do you think your comic reinforces any positive or negative stereotypes about overweight people?

There are positive stereotypes to being overweight?

Do you get many comments about Chad? What do people like or not like about him? Has anyone commented specifically about his weight?

Most comments are people being reminded of things they went through, I don't think anyone has commented about his weight. Generally everyone that reads this comic loves it. If there are issues out there no one is telling me.

How important to the comic is it that your main character is overweight? Are you trying to send any messages or attitudes about weight with your comic?

All I want is people to empathize with Chad a little, laugh at his misfortune and come back the next week to see what happens. This is entertainment, not social engineering.

Are you trying to challenge any other stereotypes in your comic?

Challenge? No, but there are plenty of stereotypes (see answer above) to be had. People who do not fit into a stereotype are rare, the very nature of a stereotype is that a large majority of people behave a certain way. They do it because subconsciously they think they need to fit into whatever group they want to be a part of.

As we well know by now, the percentage of overweight people in the populace is growing. Why do you think this isn't reflected more in the media? For example, comics?

Well first of all Human nature is vain and selfish whether you want to admit to it or not most folks don't want to see what is not socially accepted. Media exploits what society deems beautiful, sexy etc., thin and stupid are celebrated on TV, film etc. For me conforming to that is awful, when I draw women, they have meat on their bones, not fat, but healthy weight which can be size 6-16 depending on bone structure, physical fitness etc. Realistic proportions also make it easier for readers to empathize with a character. Most people have nothing in common with a size 0 airhead or the equally dumb muscleman.

How is it different drawing an overweight person to someone thinner?

Well if you care about proportion it can be a challenge either way. Skinny characters: you need to pay attention to bone structure and muscle, if some one is bad at anatomy you can tell when thinner characters are drawn real easy. With fatter character you can hide some bad proportions with the curves to some degree. Personally I try to be as realistic as possible even when drawing in a cartoon style like in CTFK. If you look closely some of the thinner girl characters have some overhang around the waist (which is more realistic). Curves are also more fun to ink for some reason.

Did you find it strange that someone would want to interview you just because you have an overweight character in your comic?

Yes, weight is not the only thing going on in CTFK
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
skoolmunkee at 12:17AM, March 3, 2008
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Username: TitanOne
Comics/Projects: Aurora of the High Seas, artist for Craving Control, co-conspirator on Off Hours


Could you tell us a little about your comic?

Aurora of the High Seas is a heroic fantasy comic set on the planet Marla—a lush and tropical planet in another solar system with a technology similar to Greco-Roman Earth.

Could you tell us more about Aurora, your main character? What is she like and what is her role in the comic?

Aurora is an adventurer in the tradition of Robert E. Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Why did you choose to make an overweight character? Is her weight an important part of her makeup?

Her weight is very useful to the strength of her persona. Instead of bluster, she possesses gravitas. She is extremely feminine, yet decidedly not a woman to be trifled with.

Do you consider Aurora overweight?

Over whose weight? ;)

Does she consider herself so? Does she have any issues with her weight? If so, what? If not, why not?

She is comfortable in her own skin, but she's not 100% immune to body issues, because she was once slim (-as will be revealed later visually, in the story). Her girth has changed
considerably in recent years, like many a real-life person's.

Generally speaking, however, the planet Marla in its dark age is much less “fat neurotic” than 21st Century Earth. And Aurora reflects this to a large degree.

Do you have any opinions about the social stereotypes surrounding overweight people?

I think they are schizophrenic to a degree; it's natural for human beings, especially women, to be fleshy unless they are starving. The “epidemic of obesity”, in my opinion, is not an epidemic but a correction. I do think people are too inactive nowadays, and that may be a contributing factor, but the ‘skinny chic’ of the 20th Century was an aberration, in my opinion, bolstered by mass consumption of tobacco and drugs.

Look at the size of the people in the paintings by Michelangelo and Rubens. That was a long time before the invention of candy bars, cheeseburgers, and Dr. Pepper.

Because it is so visual, weight is an immediate identifier of a person. Many of their actions are judged in light of their weight, especially when it comes to certain subjects. How conscious are you of the stereotypes about overweight people when you are making your comic? If they've affected how you do your comic, could you give us some examples?

I prefer to deal with any problems people might have with a large female character by being direct. She is fat; it is obvious; I don't generally cover up her stomach, or even have her ‘sucking it in’–as you can clearly see on page Five of the current chapter! She is who she is.

More specifically, how does Aurora compare to weight stereotypes? Was that conscious or unconscious on your part?

I'm almost trying to address female stereotypes as much as fat stereotypes. I'm an admirer of strong, intelligent women.

Aurora radiates strength and beauty, so I would like to think she's a character feminists–or fellow male admirers of strong women–would like, even if they are ambivalent to the weight issue. But I'm aware that a large percentage of the audience finds her physically attractive, as I do.

Do you think your comic reinforces any positive or negative stereotypes about overweight people?

No, I don't think so. At least no negative ones. I wasn't aware that there were any positive stereotypes.

Do you get many comments about Aurora? What do people like or not like about her? Has anyone commented specifically about her weight?

Actually I get a lot of compliments on her “character design”, so I think a portion of the audience finds her weight refreshing, in a comic book world that has–oh, to cite just one example–Supergirl flying around with chiseled abdominals, ribs, and serratus muscles on an 18" waistline.

How important to the comic is it that your main character is overweight?

It's important. It doesn't define who she is, but it's an important part of her persona. In the same sense that Indiana Jones wears a brown fedora hat and carries a whip. If you take away the whip and the hat, he can still be ‘Indy’, but the character is not complete.

Are you trying to send any messages or attitudes about weight with your comic?

Mostly that, as a logical thing, a female warrior who fought with heavy weapons, on a Bronze or Iron Age battlefield, might tend to be large.

Study the early Greek statuary; although you will see rippling abs on slender males–as depicted in the film “300”–you will also see females who are both thick and well-padded, athletic or not. Not as heavy as Aurora, but substantially bigger than, say, Angelina Jolie or Jessica Biel.

There were no hollow cheeks or tiny waists on Greco-Roman goddesses. The Venus de Milo, for example–given back her arms and translated into human flesh–would weigh close to 200 pounds.

Are you trying to challenge any other stereotypes in your comic?

The main stereotype I think Aurora really challenges is the outdated 20th Century notion that ‘fat women are not attractive’.

Beauty comes in all sizes.

As we well know by now, the percentage of overweight people in the populace is growing. Why do you think this isn't reflected more in the media? For example, comics?

Oh I think it will be reflected, over time. I may just be one of the first to embrace it.

How is it different drawing an overweight person to someone thinner?

I think it requires more subtlety…generally speaking, anatomically, it's much easier for a comic artist to draw a bodybuilder in tights than a realistic figure. The more the clothing (or body) folds, and the more gravity affects the figure, the greater subtlety is required.

Truly thin people require subtlety, too. Thin people, old people and fat people standing normally are much harder to draw than, say, a sun-bronzed muscleman in spandex flying through empty space.

That is not to say that I am disdaining superhero art–in fact, I've given some thought recently to creating a new webcomic depicting superheroes.

Did you find it strange that someone would want to interview you just because you have an overweight character in your comic?

Not at all. Obesity has become an oft-discussed topic in modern life.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
JustNoPoint at 9:28AM, March 4, 2008
(online)
posts: 1,321
joined: 3-16-2007
Well if anything it's made me have to practice drawing them more since I work with both Due East and Titan One a lot now.

Drawing attractive overweight women is very hard for me as I had never done it before. Titan One is very correct when he states that normal sizes and muscular people are much easier.

And nit picking an interview is a bit much IMO. Makes one look as though they have beef with someone instead.

Too bad the front page news didn't get fixed before these interviews were posted :/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
smkinoshita at 10:03AM, March 4, 2008
(online)
posts: 240
joined: 8-20-2007
APC: Gonna agree with Skoolmunkee and not just because of the admin status: The revealing factor is that crack about Craving Control.

anonymousposterchild
Yes, well, there's a term for the crowd you managed to attract from Craving Control.

A quick cheap-shot at TitanOne, Craving Control, and anyone who likes Craving Control, eh?

Little counter-point: Marilyn Monroe, one of THE sex-symbols, would have been considered ‘fat’ by today's celebrity standards.

Getting away from cheap-shots, I'd like to put my two-cents in on those interviews.

There's a key point in all the interviews: It's not the weight, it's how you carry it. You can drown in it, you can be comfortable in it, or you can throw it around.

Chad's problem isn't his weight, it's the fact that he's apathetic (and a bit of a jerk) with low self esteem. He's not willing to work to change his situation, so he just succumbs to his wants and dwells on what he feels is out of reach. If his interests were different – say sports – then he wouldn't be fat, but he'd still be apathetic and have low self esteem, but how he'd deal with it would be different. (likely picking on easy targets like… fat kids)

Then there's Sapphira. She's comfortable in her own skin. Yes, she's heavy but obviously doesn't care. Since she doesn't care and doesn't see a problem, she's not going to try to ‘fix’ it – unlike giving up smoking, which WAS a problem that she did fix.

On the other end of the spectrum is Reagan and Aurora. Reagan has self-esteem and confidence to KILL for – a blatant disregard for anyone else's opinion. People respond to confidence, as well as loud, brash characters. Her physical appearence is just about inconsequential. She could be a lop-eared, giant mutant vole who wears a teddy and spits liquid stank and she's probably still be popular. And Aurora obviously is the type to throw her weight around. Plain and simple: Mass does provide leverage. You will note that in the strong-men competitions, those guys do not look like the ripped pro-wrestlers. As to feminity, honestly women are supposed to have more body fat. Breasts are made from fat. Women have tummies. They're designed to survive while creating another human being inside them.

I mean, I can try to excuse my own characters Skull Girl, Jenny the Kat, and Devil Girl because they're based off/parodying traditional comic book characters, or because they're young, or because they spend a lot of time at the gym AND their powers are tied into a potent metabolism, or because they're simple cartoony types… but when it boils down to it, no they don't have realistic forms.

I found all the interviews very interesting and informative. Oddly enough, the question really isn't so much “why do you have a heavy protagonist” but more “So why did you decide not to conform?”

(For those wondering, yes I spent about a half hour on this little informal, improv essay. Once I start, I find it hard to stop)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
trevoramueller at 1:21PM, March 4, 2008
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I think these are great interviews for some very unique and diverse comics. I think the conversation about plus-sized people can be a controversial one, partly based on one's personal viewpoints and experiences, and partly based on media-fueled bias. However, the idea of putting a plus-sized character into your story is an interesting one, I think. It's not something that's done very often, in my experience. Few of the comics that I've read (online or offline) contain main protagonists who could be considered “fat.” They tend to shoot for that media-induced “ideal figure,” which is usually thin and athletic in appearance.

However, that “ideal figure” is far from realistic, and shouldn't even be considered a goal to strive for - that's how self-image issues and eatting disorders can happen. I think that dueeast paints a pretty realistic image of a person here in this fictional story, and I encourage them to continue to tell the tale that they want to say.

Great stuff, everyone! :D
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:33PM
ozoneocean at 3:42AM, March 5, 2008
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Actually, I really liked the idea of interviewing using a theme, it was great, like a magazine article or an interesting news piece. This was one of my fave interviews because of that, well done :)

You can compare all the different answers and reasonings. I LOVE that aspect. I bet you couldn't do this sort of thing too often, it'd be tricky to conceptualise. Hey, and it gives a lot more insight into what seems to be a popular thing at the moment.

Hmmm, you could maybe probably do something similar with manga themed work, or something else like that if you wanted I suppose. It's a great nifty idea. :)

-The only nay-sayer with anything interesting to say was APC. Muntron, Killersteak, Crocty; For being tools here you got your comments deleted. Don't be tools.

Good interviews. Multiple perspectives of the same questions are a joy to read!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
DFWRebel at 7:25AM, March 7, 2008
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OzoneOcean is right, and I apologize. But since he brought it up, I wonder if “Craving Control” will ever qualify to be included here… :-)

This idea of doing the four similar interviews was a great one. I have always been a major fan of Aurora and all of TitanOne's work. That much is obvious from my other posts and don't need to be restated here.

“Templar, Arizona” has suddenly become one of my favorite pastimes, and that was before I read IronSpike's interview. I fell in love with Rae almost immediately, both from the beautiful way that she is drawn and the outrageous things she was given to say. Now that I have some idea of what to expect from Raegan, I plan on enjoying this comic even more. I owe that much to this interview, and I do appreciate it!

I have to admit that “Due East” is not a comic I enjoy, though it is good to get an insight into what the writers are trying to say. That is especially true with regard to the things Allen had to say about BBWs and fat people in our society in general. The main thing that keeps me from being able to relate to “Due East” is its Christian preachiness. At least I see it as being overly preachy, though it is very subtle in some ways. This is a personal problem that I have with a lot of Christian works (and a lot of Christians), and shouldn't be taken as an attack on this comic or its writers. I haven't found the rest of the comic entertaining enough to overcome that aspect of it, even though any of the issues with BBWs are handled very well. Lastly, the creators of “Due East” have scored a solid hit with “Off Hours.” I want to thank DueEast for that!

I didn't like the few issues of “Chad The Fat Kid” I have read. It offered absolutely nothing I liked, but wasn't worth the effort of any further emotional response. Now that I have read the interview with Heymelby, I've decided that it may well be worth the effort of actively disliking it. No more than that, but at least that. I am glad however that his comic and his interview were included in this series. It did a great job of adding some balance and showing that life still ain't easy for fat folks, even in comics.

And those are my thoughts for these interviews.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
killersteak at 7:50AM, March 7, 2008
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DFWRebel
I didn't like the few issues of “Chad The Fat Kid” I have read. It offered absolutely nothing I liked, but wasn't worth the effort of any further emotional response.

Yeah I was disappointed in the lack of large womens boobies too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:15PM
skoolmunkee at 5:37PM, March 8, 2008
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I just deleted a bunch of replies that were more about people's pet issues than about the interviews. A few valid comments got the axe by virtue of same-post association, sorry about that. I welcome discussion about controversial issues raised by the interview, but this isn't the debate forum nor is it the place to ‘fix facts’.


One interesting thing I noticed when getting these responses back was that all the fat characters have a ‘reason’ for being that way. Their hedonism (Reagan), health choices (Sapphira), lifestyle choices (Aurora), or laziness (Chad). I'm working on a comic with an overweight character and she has a ‘reason’ to be fat, too.

Funny how that same thing doesn't apply to characters with thinner or more average builds, does it? Most average-joe characters just are. But if they're overweight they're supposed to need a reason? What if they just like food? :) Maybe the same is true of any deviation from average? Then again I don't know. Most comics don't bother to explain why a character is so pretty or so tall or so black…

  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
usedbooks at 12:49PM, March 9, 2008
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Funny how that same thing doesn't apply to characters with thinner or more average builds, does it? Most average-joe characters just are. But if they're overweight they're supposed to need a reason? What if they just like food? Maybe the same is true of any deviation from average? Then again I don't know. Most comics don't bother to explain why a character is so pretty or so tall or so black…
Eh. I don't think comics need to state explicitly reasons for anyone's appearance as long as it “works” and isn't incredibly unusual or out of place. No one ever asks me why I wear glasses. No one would unless I lived in a world where only a few people wore them. Very few people in real life feel a need to mention why they look like they do, because all people are different and yet share many similar traits – and most are quite mundane. If you're in a foreign land and stick out by appearance, accent, etc., people will ask you where you came from. And most any visible scar or anomaly will trigger discussion.

If the reason behind someone's appearance is interesting, it might be mentioned. Some people are skinny due to genetics and/or diet. But some have an eating disorder (which the writer would probably choose to mention) or might be impoverished and unable to buy food (again, probably worth mentioning in the plot). – Or maybe they are an alien. Or, more often, that's just the way the artist draws all his characters, so it is the norm and therefore requires no explanation.

Anyway, maybe that is the reason for this trend you noticed, skoolmunkee. Fat comic characters require reasons because they are not abundant in their fictional worlds. In a comic about Lane Bryant, however, the skinny people would require the explanations.

(That or the fact that you interviewed them about the characters. Next interview, make sure you ask the artist why his main character is tall or buff or blonde or male. I bet he'll have a reason too. ;) )
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM

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