ifelldownthestairs interviews DrLuck of A Loonatic's Tale and others!
skoolmunkee at 9:50AM, July 23, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This interview is of DrLuck, whose comics are:
A Loonatic's Tale
Renswick v Keeth
Flint Dartson in the Fourth Wall
(interview conducted by ifelldownthestairs!)

Before we begin, I'd like to thank DrLuck for being an awesome interview partner. So without further ado, um… stuff.

1. According to your profile, you are a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, are quite ambitious towards making comics, and introduced yourself in the forums as “that new weird person over there”; my heart is aflutter already, please tell us more :)

A: I'm one of the students at MCAD that can't for the life of me choose just one major. We offer a comic art major here (and I've taken two comic art courses), though my major is technically Web & Multimedia. Web & Multimedia is web design (as the name implies) and anything else that's considered interactive art. This kind of stuff includes installation (work made specifically for a location) and performance art.

I pretty much take courses in nearly anything as long as it doesn't involve shop work (furniture or sculpture, I fear spinning blades of death). I've taken an animation course, I'll be taking photography soon, I've done graphic design, and so on. To make a long story short, I consider myself a jack of all trades than I do an expert in one specific area.

My heart is mostly in comics though, honestly.

2. What drew you to art in general, and more specifically comics in the first place?

A: I've always been into art since I was five. I think I would have manic depression if I couldn't have an art-related job. I've always been drawing and making things. Hell, I was required to take a careers class in high school even though I already knew I wanted to be an artist. All my test scores for sorting me into certain categories always pointed me at art. That was a boring class.

As for what got me started on comics, it was the boring classes. A Loonatic's Tale started senior year of high school. I was really getting bored in classes, so I started drawing comics. Teachers typically didn't care if I doodled during class anyways, since I always got my work done.

3. Your work on the whole embraces a balance between humor and storyline; is this based on any specific influences? And if so, who/what?

A: Most likely my co-writer, Rick. We've been writing together for about six years now and we both shared the same kind of sense of humor and write stories together for fun. In fact, A Loonatic's Tale is those stories we started writing six years ago, just edited and put into comic form.

4. A little more than halfway through A Loonatic's Tale you switched up the art style from color to black and white, which was mentioned a lot in your reviews, but never explained. Why the change?

A: The reason for the change was for a number of reasons. First, the switch happened in a two year span. I stopped making A Loonatic's Tale at about the final colored one because no one was really reading it and I didn't really know what I was doing. I took two comic classes at MCAD and decided to pick it up again.

When I picked up the comic again, I found Roseart markers to be a bit lacking and I felt I wasn't good at coloring (I'm actually colorblind). I had this phobia of using color for a bit until Crossbones came along. I also took a huge liking to Film Noir's style, which I adapted into Stone Cold Crazy.

Because of Crossbones, I kind of rediscovered coloring and plan on reintroducing it into A Loonatic's Tale after Stone Cold Crazy's completion (because going from color to none to color again in the same comic book is kinda weird).

5. Holy shit, you're colorblind? When were you diagnosed as such? Or have you always known?

A: I was diagnosed this when I was in elementary, so it's not really a new thing. I mix up colors like browns and reds and others like greens and blues. If you have red text on a black background, I can't read it.

It's the reason I use digital coloring, actually. I hate not having things just so when it comes to art, so if a character's color is a bit off, it bothers me. The eye dropper tool helps me a lot with keep thing everything consistent. In the older colored pages, I memorized what markers went with what character.

6. Metal Gear, haha… “You've been playing the game for a long time….”

A: I see you enjoy DrunkDuck. Because I can read your mind.

7. A device you use frequently employ (always to great effect, might I add) is breaking down the fourth wall; any particular reason?

A: I'm an absolute sucker for fourth wall jokes. I love reading Deadpool and playing the Metal Gear games for that very reason. I kind of think of it as the ultimate “thinking outside the box” experience.

8. Speaking of which, your experiment Flint Dartson in the Fourth Wall seemed to be a very arduous endeavor! Tell us a bit more about that.

A: Flint Dartson in the Fourth Wall was actually my final for my installation class. My teacher was curious about my other work, and after seeing my portfolio filled with comics, mentioned the idea of combining comic into installation. I decided to take on the idea, and make a fourth wall joke of it (since he's in four walls of a house in the installation and ends up back within the fourth wall by the end).

I chose Flint because he's already the designated fourth wall breaker of the series and the voice actor for him is also my co-writer Rick, so he was easy to contact and get the lines done as soon as possible for the last part of the story. Also, I didn't want the viewers to feel bad for the character at the end since my aim was at the joke of the situation, so I chose one that people tend not to feel bad for (since he's such an asshole; hell, the first comment during the critique for that class was, “Wow, he's such an asshole”).

Overall I was probably the most happy with that project than I was with my other projects of the same class and plan on revisiting this kind of work again.

9. I can see how Flint would rub some the wrong way, but at least he's funny. Has anyone called Renswick an asshole? If I was to say that about one of your characters, it'd definitely be him. Something about that smug demeanor of his… or maybe my tendency to root for the bad guy got the better of me.

A: Renswick's personality is actually based a bit off Sherlock Holmes, who, if you read the original books, is a complete and utter smug asshole. It's great, I love Sherlock. He's also one of Rick's characters if that says anything about him.

10. Vagabond is a huge departure from your usual style, what inspired it?

A: After doing Renswick v. Keeth and Flint Dartson in the Fourth Wall for class assignments, I decided I wanted to take on doing what I call side comics. There's always the main comic of A Loonatic's Tale, and there's always a side comic at the same time.

Side comics must always be experimental so I'm doing something new each time, be self-contained stories so I can share them with anyone without them having to read how many comics of backstory, and are generally backstory for characters in A Loonatic's Tale to begin with. Most of the side comics are backstory to characters that aren't important enough to get a full chapter to themselves in the main comic, so they get a side comic instead. In short, Vagabond's a minor character in the main comic to begin with and had his own side comic for that reason.

As for what inspired Vagabond specifically, I'm going to say the Cardboard Tube Samurai from Penny Arcade. Rick and I wanted to do a samurai/western kind of story and that was one of the comics we looked at first when coming up with our comic. As a side comic, I experimented with inking style to look rough looking (since I always ink clean lines) and the story's tone compared to other comics.

11. How much planning goes into A Loonatic's Tale before you actually begin a page? How much of the story is further ahead than has already been illustrated and posted? How many licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

A: The story of A Loonatic's Tale is about six years old. Granted, it's gone through a LOT of editing and mixing around different stories that were written. A Loonatic's Tale started as something fun for Rick and I to do, since we both enjoy writing. Rick writes specific dialog for certain characters and I do the same. For example, Rick writes for characters like Laguna and Polly and I write for characters such as Flint and Zinc. We also took turns coming up with plots, but honestly Rick is far better with plots than I am.

We pretty much wrote every night for five or so years. We still write for it, but not nearly as often (we mostly go back to older work and edit it now). As for how far the comic is compared to the writing, this is a good way to explain it: Stone Cold Crazy should be ending before summer's done, and it's a story that's over two years old comic wise. It took us two nights for us to write when we originally made it. Keep in mind we wrote nearly EVERY night.

For planning a page, first Rick and I edit the story we want to use. Then I'll go through the entire story and storyboard it (it looks like scribbles). Then, I start making comic pages based on the storyboard I made, and edit as I go along. A good example is that in Stone Cold Crazy, when Zinc is going up the steps in the burned house, I edited out two pages that were unnecessary of basically him stumbling around. I've also edited around panel layouts, too.

Also, three licks. I asked an owl.

12. Crossbones is an impressive new effort; what's the inspiration behind it, and where do you plan on taking it?

A: Crossbones is another side comic with a character that isn't one of the main people, Troy McKelski. It includes King Malcolm from the main comic in it, but the story mostly follows Troy. We already had the backstory for King Malcolm ready to go, and I mentioned it'd make a cool comic so I made it the next side comic.

This one was about getting over my phobia of using colors in comic and really see how well I can color after these years of not touching it, and also experiments with a different kind of storytelling (with the main character narrating it rather than using speech bubbles). The plan for the comic is more action oriented and a bit more serious in tone than some of the other comics.

13. What's your favorite kind of artform, and styles/artists therein?

A: For art in general, I'm going to say animation. I love watching animation and could watch really good animation on loops all day. I also admire the amount of work it takes to do a traditional animation. For the kind of art I enjoy doing myself, comics. I love making comics since I like writing and art. Comics is a great combination of the two.

I love Film Noir when it comes to style. It just looks so badass. If I wanna be inspired by something, I pop in Maltese Falcon or The Third Man. It's also why I really like Will Eisner's work, since the original The Spirit comics are very Film Noir-ish.

14. Do you have anything else you'd like to add before we end the interview? ….too bad.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Gillespie at 6:28PM, July 23, 2009
posts: 194
joined: 2-23-2009
Since I actually know DrLuck's work, I actually read an entire interview for once. It was worth the read! Verry niice!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:36PM
ifelldownthestairs at 11:23PM, July 23, 2009
posts: 431
joined: 7-4-2007
Aw crap, I mixed up questions six and seven! I'VE FAILED YOU, DRLUCK!!
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
DrLuck at 12:49AM, July 24, 2009
posts: 134
joined: 1-4-2009
It's okay, it's a fourth wall joke.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
oldguy85 at 9:29AM, July 24, 2009
posts: 36
joined: 3-11-2009
Cool interview. Vagabond's art was something like I was used to and the story was great! I like the other side comics also.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:21PM

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