This interview is of Evil Hare, whose comics are: Jake the Evil Hare and Darkfell!
(interview conducted by Genejoke!)
1.So first of all, Evil_Hare naturally the name comes from your comic, but can you give us a little insight to the man behind the Evil hare?
Well, I'm a small, muscular, ornery guy, but not as hairy as a rabbit. I've been an artist all my life, but went to college intending to go on to grad school and become some artsy professor type, but things just didn't work out that way. I've worked a lot of different kinds of jobs, and now find myself returning to my art.
I guess you could say I've got a permanent chip on my shoulder and a bit of a loner.
2, How would you describe your comic to potential new readers and why should they read it?
It's the story of a rabbit who really wants to be a hero, but is often led astray by his violent temper. You could say he's a likeable a**hole in story that starts out as a parody of the super hero genre but will evolve into a study of violence, corruption, and what it really takes to be a hero.
3, Is there some funky story behind the comics origin?
Yes! Many years ago there was some sort of contest in LA for animated shorts, and I kept trying to come up for ideas for it. The deadline passed, but I continued doing sketches of an evil-looking rabbit. There was ‘Drugs Bunny,’ a drug-dealing pimp rabbit, and a few others I won't mention, then I tried coming up with a badly behaved rabbit with a violent temper. I tried a bunch of names, but decided on Jake. The original story started with him going into a psychotic rage if someone called him a bunny, and one of the early strips had him beating someone to death for this offense and then being on the run because of it.
Once I started adding other characters like the Alpha Male and the Gingerbread Man, it just didn't seem to fit that Jake would be truly evil, but rather that he was being blamed for the crimes of another rabbit who didn't even look like him.
During all this, I was watching a good bit of boxing, including Mike Tyson stuff.
While Jake is a hare, his overall appearance is based on a mini-lop, while his overall skull shape is modeled after the shape of Mike Tyson's head. If there's ever a movie, I might ask Mike to be the voice of Jake :P
4, I can imagine him in make up as a little white rabbit. Or rather Hare… Why animals? Are you an animal lover (keep it clean please)?
I do like animals, and I think I've liked rabbits since the first time I saw the TV version of Watership Down. At one point I even had a pet rabbit, though it was a female dwarf rabbit and she was gray, which was Jake's original color. Back then there was going to be a story where he got dyed pink, and I might still do it.
Elihrairah (the father of all rabbits in Watership Down) is still a favorite of mine, and future Jake stories may well include a gambling incident between Jake and the Black Rabbit… Then there's the art of Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit, etc), which probably also influenced my liking of rabbits.
5.In JEH you recently posted some great looking art for an upcoming project called Darkfell (i think) what is that all about?
Thanks, I've been working hard on getting my drawing skills back up to par… some years ago I sustained some injuries in a car wreck, and I'm now just starting to draw like I used to.
Darkfell is going to be a serious epic fantasy set in a world scarred by an ancient war which resulted in the disappearance of a mysterious civilization known only as the Stone Prophecy Dynasty. The title character, Gladden Darkfell, is sent to track down a scholar from the Order of Arsa who may have uncovered the location of the Fetters of Wizardry, an artifact set in place by the Stone Prophets which is believed to have set boundaries and limits on all magic, and therefore could be the key to ultimate power. Gladden and others soon find themselves caught in a conflict that could engulf the entire continent.
6. How have you found it returning to art? Have you had to relearn skills at all?
The biggest challenge at first was holding on to the pencil/pen/etc. The accident left me with nerve damage so I sometimes drop things or lose control of my hand for a split second (which sometimes has entertaining results). Redeveloping control for drawing has been frustrating at times, and it was very much like having to relearn anatomy and basic drawing again. Some of this probably shows up in some pages where my lines aren't very smooth, and I haven't been very daring with poses of certain characters just yet. In the last couple of months, though, I think I've improved considerably, enough at least to start trying to draw some Darkfell stuff. At this point I'm starting to think I'll eventually be better than I was back in the day.
7. Aside from the obvious genre differences how does it differ from Jake the evil hare?
This is going to have a lot more planning in the story. So far, I've been working on the backstory for nearly two months now, drawing maps, developing a history for their world and cultures for the nations occupying it. The art is definitely going to be different… better, I hope, and there is a total turn-around as far as the type of characters involved. Jake is a bright but foul-tempered and somewhat child-like hero, whereas Gladden Darkfell is an adult, youthful for a half-elf, but seasoned by a lifetime of violence and struggle. There's going to be some humor here, and there, but the overall tone of the story will have a strong sense of tragedy, the bitterness of purpose lost, and the weight of history, all set against the personal strength of characters fully determined to set things right, or wrong, depending on the character.
There will be much more depth in the relationship between the characters that is going to be challenging to put to paper.
It's also going to differ greatly in pacing. JTEH has been, for me, very experimental, with a lot of fooling around, but Darkfell is going to have much more structure, partly because of the seriousness of the story, and partly because it ties together numerous stories I've written over the last 17 or 18 years.
8. Sounds pretty cool, I do like the fantasy genre but it is one that I don't think is represented all that well in webcomics… or comics at all really. What do you feel you can offer that others of the genre do not?
I think fantasy as a genre is challenging to put into comic form, and that may be a factor in why there have been relatively few great fantasy epics in comics… though I'm hard put to think of more than a few. Twilight Monk looks good so far, and The Path has caught my interest… I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Now, to toot my own horn… I think Darkfell offers a more complex story than what you might find normally, with both characters and people-groups having a definite history and culture beyond fancy runes and magic spells. The elves who live in the Plains of Moab, for example, have a ritualistic culture that seems barbaric but possess a tremendous knowledge of medicine and geology which is central to their religion. They are likely to bear a strong resemblance to Australian Aborigines… so don't look for any girly looking elves in Darkfell … I've actually based the look of the forest elves on the Lakotah, with their high lord Moab bearing some resemblance to Crazy Horse.
Darkfell's main hero probably won't fit the mold of the typical heroic figure… indeed he is hardly regarded as a hero by most of the people in his world, but is generally regarded with scorn (at a distance) and fear (when close by) because of his history as an assassin, dragon killer, and Ku'umah ('chief') of the Red Axe Clan among the ogres of the Dark Fells. The art I posted early was a shot of Gladden.
Another thing different from a lot of fantasy work is that there isn't some Dark Lord in a tower somewhere plotting to enslave everyone, but instead there are nations and cultures making their way in the world in the usual selfish way, with characters and leaders challenged as much by the consequences of their actions and the problems they have created as they are by the power struggles with their enemies.
Also, dragons will be, I hope, very distinct from most fantasy in their temperament, culture, and personalities… I've been giving a lot of thought to how differently someone would see things if they were 20,000 years old… Let's just say our dragons might think of Smaug as an uppity whelp, but they'd probably like the Queen Mothers of Pern, and they'd probably get along with LeGuin's Dragons.
And, for a final note… there will be some technology involved.
9. Is darkfell also going to be black and white or are you going to colour it?
I'm considering color, though I havent decided whether to add the color in by hand or computer… if I can find an 11x17 scanner I might do the pages in watercolor for a funky look, though some of the Darkfell stuff looks nice in B/W
10. Yeah finding a larger and reasonably priced scanner is tough… I haven't managed it as yet either.
Do you plan to run the comics concurrently or will you wrap up Jake the evil hair first?
I'm probably going to wrap up JTEH Week One first; after that, JTEH will continue, but I'm going to try Hark and Stair's suggestion of making it a single page gag series, so most of my studio time will be put into Darkfell.
11. Speaking of the hark and stairs, how did you take the review they gave? Do you agree with much of it?
They had some useful criticism, though at times it seemed like they didn't read the story… for example, they thought Jake picked a fight with Bulk Brogan for no reason, when in fact, Bulk attacked him for not wanting an autograph. It also seemed like they were judging it like a serious comic at times, and at one point one them almost sounded like he was going to start ragging on the art and then corrected himself. The trend I'm seeing with readers is they drop off at around pages 20-40, where I kind of lost direction with the story, and reader activity spikes back up after the whole Bracers of Issachar thing. So they were right in some regards about the story. Jake has been a big experiment for me, basically my first time trying to put together a long comic story in more than a decade, so there are some burps along the way. Overall, I'd say they were a bit on the harsh side, as JTEH is just intended to be amusing and silly, but they did get me thinking more about the story and getting back to fully planning my pages, which i think will help with Darkfell… btw a bit of a preview of it is going up in January. So I guess I don't know whether to give Hark and Stairs the finger or thank them, maybe both
12, If it works thank them I guess. How tightly have you scripted Darkfell? It sounds as though you have a well planned setting so I wonder if the script follows suit.
I'm still working on the script, but it's going to be a much tighter script than JTEH, so the breakdown will be panel-by-panel, line-by-line. Basically I'm almost writing it as novel, which I think is going to help the story move well.
13, What is your scripting process? Is it you locked away in a dark room and typing into the computer?
Actually I have a dungeon with a writer I keep in a pit. “It puts the lotion on its skin…” Just kidding. For JTEH, I have an overall idea for where the story is going, then I do an outline, and make decisions about the details of events. After that, I type out a more detailed outline and decide on page breaks and stuff like that after I've written it. This is usually where I make decisions on dialogue and gags. At least that's what I've been doing for the last 35 or so pages. Usually during this process I do a lot of thumbnail roughs or sketches of some of the major scenes and it comes together around then. Quite a few of the pages were traced onto Deleter manga paper from my newsprint sketchbook… one of my better pages came from a doodle I did of the Jake vs. Wendel fight on the back of the script… so it's a very mixed process which will probably change as time goes on since this was my first webcomic and I really had only half a clue at the start.
14, When you are creating do you find is hard to step back and properly analyse you work?
Sometimes. I think in the beginning that might have been an issue because I was having so much fun with the gags that the story suffered a little for it. Now I'm starting to deliberately use JTEH to work on my craft so to speak. I don't think I've gotten all my bad pages out just yet…for example, looking back, I really didn't like page 21, and I despise Nadine as a character… she's just boring.
I find it helps to work on the series only on certain days. One day I do scripting and roughs, another day I pencil, etc, and then a day or so later I do the lettering in Manga Studio, and the breaks in between make it easier to see the work with fresh eyes.
15, What advice would you offer newcomers to the world of comicking?
First, no matter what, GET STARTED. Then, draw all the time, draw, draw, draw. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; like Will Eisner said style is the result of our failure to achieve perfection, so make the most of your imperfections as an artist. I'd tell them to keep their workspace organized. The first 45 pages of JTEH was done in a ‘studio’ area of about 5 square feet, but I never had trouble finding anything. Whatever tools/medium you're going to use, go with whatever is most comfortable, and don't be afraid to experiment. Read other people's work– there are some great artists/writers out there in webcomics that we can all learn from.
Some examples would be James Riot's The Path, here:
http://www.wevolt.com/project/The_Path/, or Burn - http://www.wevolt.com/Burn/.
I'd reccommend reading Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art, as well just reading in general. Study people and places, their sights, smells, sounds, stare at people till they think you're creepy, then follow them around with a camera or sketchpad while muttering and scratching yourself vigourously… ok, maybe not that last part.
Also, have some FUN! Take a break, run around screaming, work in some other media, hit people with fish if you have to, so you don't end up being the hunchy backed guy with inky fingers and a permanent leer.
However, for sheer quality of life, personal enhancement, and to become just plain sexy, read Jake the Evil Hare.
16, Before we wrap this up is there anything else you would like to mention? any other comics in the works or things that have inspired or moved you deeply?
Well, I am very excited about Darkfell, though it may be months before it even starts, since it's way more structured than JTEH, and I'm pretty pumped up about some coming changes to JTEH. Maybe it's bad sign that I'm looking forward to killing off a character, but I have to admit I feel an almost spiteful glee about it, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I do have some future plans for Jake, as much as I'm tempted to just turn it into a 1 page gag series. There may be storylines called ‘Splitting Hares,’ ‘Hare today, Gone Tomorrow,’ and ‘Duck Season.
As far as inspiration, some of the works that I’ve found inspiring were Hulk: Lonely Man, one of the best fanfic pieces I've ever read, Burn, which I mentioned above… simply great storytelling.
General inspiration for me as far as my art goes has come from a lot of places, ranging from the Bible, Garcia-Marquez, Tolkien, Julio Cortazar, Kafka and others to Cerebus, Bone, The Hulk, and Milk and Cheese… I'd say more but then I might start sounding like a paranoid shut-in with a gimpy leg and a shotgun.
Oh wait, another inspiring event: apparently a certain former pro wrestler is following me on Twitter, so no matter what anyone says, I think Jake beating up someone resembling Hulk Hogan paid off in serious cool points there.
What would also inspire me greatly is if everyone out there were to read Jake the Evil Hare and then download it on Wowio when it's released next week
Genejoke interviews Evil_Hare of Jake the Evil Hare and Darkfell!
skoolmunkee at 9:45AM, Dec. 27, 2010
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:44PM
I Am The 1337 Master at 3:33PM, Jan. 3, 2011
I love reading these things when I catch them.
First furry one I've read though.
First furry one I've read though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:55PM
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