Interviews

Hunchdebunch interviews usedbooks of Used Books, Gelotology and others!
skoolmunkee at 11:09AM, Nov. 28, 2010
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posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This interview is of usedbooks, whose comics are: Used Books, Gelotology and others!
(interview conducted by Hunchdebunch!)


Hi usedbooks! How would you like to greet the lovely community of Drunk Duck?

With cupcakes for all! Splenda ones for the diabetics and dieters.

How long have you been making comics? You seem very good at it, so I’d guess it’s something you’ve done for a while and taken very seriously?

Thank you, but I never really deliberately drew anything until graduate school, aside from little doodles I made my mom when I was younger.

What first got you into comics?

Like most people, I did read “the funnies” as a kid, mostly The Far Side, which is great because all the professors I had in college had at least one strip on their office doors. I never picked up a comic book until I ran out of episodes of my favorite anime series Case Closed/Detective Conan. I bought the manga to help fill my craving for new cases. When the new plot in those tapered off, I decided to try my hand at creation.

Used Books is a massive comic of 866 pages; how long has this comic been going for?

Four years.

How on earth do you stay motivated enough to create such a long comic? My longest comic pales in comparison!

Simple answer is that it's practically all I have going on in my life. :P But to be less emo about it, I love creation. It drives me crazy to be unproductive. Plus, I'm the biggest fan of my work, so the whole thing is basically a fan fiction of itself. Being on DD has probably added a huge additional motivating factor. I was shocked when other people started reading it and liking it too. Suddenly, I'm not the only person anticipating the next page, and once I start doing things for other people, I up my ante a bit to be worthy of their attentions.

Your art style is pretty interesting; I’ve never seen anything quite like it, actually! (In a good way!) What influenced/inspired your style?

Like I mentioned, I started drawing Used Books to fill my need for new stories in reaction to running out of new Detective Conan to watch. So my first attempts at graphic novel art was trying to mimic that style. It's not a beautiful art style, but I thought it would be easy to emulate, and then I just had to write as good as them to make up for it. I was completely wrong. It came very unnaturally to me, so I started allowing it to evolve in a way that I found comfortable. My archives almost chronicle that development. Heh.

I always liked the simplified kinds of art styles in animation, but I never cared for the exaggeration and distortion in some anime genres.

Gelotology is a lot less serious in tone; did you need this as a more light-hearted project?

Well, kinda. Part of the reason for its creation was a brain dump for all the juvenile silly crap cluttering my head. I can't tell my stupid jokes in normal conversation or forums because they either are misinterpreted and lead to a long, boring, misinformed political discussion (which confounds me. Politics and science should never mix but always have…) or just make people think less of me. Plus, the gags in my mind are highly visual and don't make good jokes anyway.

The main reason for Gelotology, though, is to appease my mother. When I started Used Books, I told my family I was drawing comics, and Mom was incredibly disappointed to find out that I wasn't drawing the silly science gags I used to doodle for her when I was a kid. Plus, UB wasn't something I could generally share with my family, due to the length and involvement of it. So, I started a strip I could share without any backstory or explanation. If asked what UB is about, I'd have to explain it in a stumbling sort of long but blurry way. But for Gelotology, I just say “It's science humor.”

Other than your comics, what do you enjoy?

I'm a biologist (sporadically employed in part-time, seasonal stuff :P ), so my first love is animals. I live with my parents, seven cats (three are mine), and 30 pet rats (all are mine). I enjoy spending time with them. I also like to read and watch a lot of TV. I rewatch my favorite series a lot (Lupin III, Detective Conan, and Get Smart). I like to download and play freeware and shareware games of all kinds. However, most of my time is devoted to making comics and job hunting.

You have a big love for mystery/detective stories, right? What began this love?

My granddad. We were on vacation in Maine, and Dad was looking in the local newspaper. He noticed a play being performed at a small local playhouse. He asked if I'd like to go to a play, The Spider's Web. I asked what it was about, and he told me it was Agatha Christie. I had read a few of them because a teacher friend had lent me one, and I enjoyed it. My granddad seemed really excited by the play too. I love plays, so we went, and it was a fantastic little theater, very small and eclectic. Each seat in the audience was different. There were rocking chairs, recliners, folding chairs, a church pew, etc. Anyway, I loved the experience, and it burned itself into my memory. I felt connected to my grandpa by it, and we talked about Agatha Christie books and mysteries quite often during his last year (he lived for one year after that trip). After he passed away, we went to Atlanta to go through his apartment, and I found 70-some Agatha Christie books on their own shelf. No one else in my family wanted them, so I got to keep his collection. Those paperbacks remain my most treasured possessions.

What brought you here to Drunk Duck?

My brother, who created a webcomic called The Real N, pressured me to upload my crude pages to the internet. I did a search of webcomic hosts, and I liked what people were saying about DrunkDuck (particularly in the ease of uploading and maintaining), so I chose that one.

Does it feel strange to be interviewed by a teenager?

Nah, especially not on the internet. No one is the age they seem on the internet. One of the most mature people I've met online turned out to be eight, while there are 40-somethings with the grammatical skills of preteens with massive head trauma and crushing finger injuries texting their friends.

Why should the lovely people of Drunk Duck read your comics?

Because I love them, and they love me, and I love my comics, and they'll love them too. ^_^ Seriously, if you are overeducated but with a juvenile sense of humor, you'll like Gelotology. I'd recommend Used Books to anyone who can forgive a developing art style and love archive diving. (Or anyone who's okay reading plot summaries instead of archives.)

What are your working methods when it comes to your comics? How do you make them?

For UB, I draw on computer paper with a mechanical pencil. Then I scan it. I change contrast, add text, and clean up my outlines in PaintShopPro. Finally, I add a layer for color over the pencil art. With Gelotology, It's almost the same, except my sketch is rough; I draw vector lines over it before deleting the sketch. A UB page takes three days. I finish a Gelotology strip in one evening.

Oh, and in terms of scripting, I write whenever inspiration hits. I redraft scripts many times. For UB, I also draw drafts and thumbnails galore and often change things in each step of the process.

What is your favourite animal, and why? (This is a great and totally relevant question; it can reveal a lot about a person!)

Probably the Mountain Lion although I don't want to meet up with any in the wild! Their appearance always appealed to me as a kid, and I think it's neat that they are essentially giant “small cats” rather than a “big cat” like a lion or tiger. These days, I have a lot of respect for them as the dangerous animals they are. – Oh, plus they are American and have interesting natural histories, but that's my biology geek side speaking.

Do you have any weird habits/rituals that you have to do every day?

The weirdest is that I wake up twice a day. I'm up at seven AM to give my cat an insulin injection. Then I go back to bed and sleep until ten or eleven. (When I'm not working.)

Do you have any other websites where you work can be seen?

My main hub is http://curiousv.com/

If you could meet one of your characters, who would you choose, and why?

My readers won't like this, but I have to say Raidon. He's generous and makes a good show, knows all the best places, and could probably even get me a job. Plus, I figure, as long as I'm with him, I'd be relatively safe.

Anything else you would like to say to the Drunk Duckers?

Party at my house Saturday! BYOB! I'll bring the cupcakes.

Well, it’s been a pleasure interviewing you, usedbooks! Thanks for your time!

You're very welcome! Thanks for the great interview!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:44PM
harkovast at 12:54PM, Dec. 1, 2010
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posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Great interview, Hundebunch makes her questions seem really lively.

As for mountain lions, those American big cats may look impressive, but we British cats have a quiet charm too!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
Genejoke at 1:01PM, Dec. 1, 2010
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posts: 3,075
joined: 4-9-2010
Quiet charm? Hark you are such a pussy… cat.


I swear I have seen a black panther in the new forest, so we do sort of have big cats here in britain, excluding hark that is.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
DAJB at 2:42PM, Dec. 1, 2010
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posts: 1,462
joined: 2-23-2007
Lovely interview! Great questions and even better answers!

Shame I'm going to miss out on the cupcakes, though!
:(
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
Hunchdebunch at 2:11AM, Dec. 2, 2010
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posts: 379
joined: 4-22-2009
I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, guys! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:51PM

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