Round 5: the2ndredbaron interviews Mizukane of Story of a Robot!
skoolmunkee at 2:54AM, Feb. 27, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This interview is of mizukane , whose comic is Story of a Robot!
(interview conducted by the2ndredbaron!)

1. Would you care to introduce yourself for the readers?

I am the almighty Mizukane, also known as Jim Woodall. I have a truly magnificent beard.

2. Tell us a little bit about your taste. What is your favorite comic here on Drunk
Duck, what is your favorite comic in general?

Ohh, that’s a tough one. On Drunk Duck, I’m particularly fond of Opey the Warhead and White Noise, because I love post-apocalyptic genres. In general, I, like so many others, adore Watchmen but also have the hots for Templar, Arizona.

3. Has living in London had an impact on your story?

Not much, because I’ve only lived here for a few months. My university course keeps me busy, so I don’t update as much as I did. However, in a later chapter I do intend to include Northwick Park tube station, which I walk through nearly every day.

4. How about being in a Film and T.V. course at Westminster?

Very busy and very exhilarating. They don’t waste time teaching you stuff, they just throw you in at the deep end. “Here, I know you’ve never done any live TV stuff before, but why not direct a live music video, the hardest thing that is possible to do live. Okay, go!”

5. How did this story start?

My good friend Jacob was bored one day. He got out a notepad and asked me what he should draw. I said a robot. The result was this adorable little robot with a hat and a briefcase, whom he christened Humphry. We loved him so much that we made up an entire story for him, then forgot. Later on, though, when I got my new Mac, it came with Comic Life. So I thought, “Well, I might as well use it” and stole the idea. The comic is very different from our original idea. The only similarities, I think, are that he likes jazz and the character of Penny. Jacob has been credited and I try to let him have an input. For example, the character of Vincent was his idea.

6. Many of your robots use hats (or bows, bandanas, etc.) to express their identity. Why hats?

Is not so much hats, more the head. You may not have noticed, but I am not the most brilliant artist in the world. I wanted people to be able to recognise who was who just by their faces.

7. Stories about robots are almost commonplace now. Is there something different about your story? Some particular reason that makes your story special?

I like to think it’s more quirky than most sci fi. People don’t attribute sci fi to being cute or a little weird. Plus, I think SOAR really taps into how a creature who is new to personality would react. Also, we actually explain how it is possible for a robot to get a personality, which most similar stories gloss over.
I will point out that I started this before WALL-E came out.

8. And speaking of robots, why robots?

Like I said, the character came first. If you want to know why I suggested for him to draw a robot, it was because it was the better of the two suggestions I had in my mind. The other was cheese.

9. What use does a robot have for love?

Ah. That’s a story for another chapter. Chapter 10, I think it’ll be.

10. Your comic switched to color at a very pivotal moment in the course of the story. Was that planned from the beginning or did the idea naturally evolve as the story progressed?

No, I decided to do it halfway through Chapter One. For me, SOAR was always going to be just a small project I could do in my spare time which would be fun but not too demanding. That’s what made me decide to do it in black and white to begin with. The decision to switch to colour was mostly down to realising that choosing a colour is not much more difficult than choosing a shade of grey.

11. Although your story uses very familiar science fiction settings, robots, near future, ect, it never comes off as a science fiction story, instead it seems more like a comedy. Would say your story is science fiction, or are you trying to move beyond that genre?

I don’t think any story can truly belong to a genre, rather that it draws on elements from many genres. If pushed, I would probably say it is science fiction, because it has robots and is set in the future, two very common sci-fi devices. I would not say it is comedy. It is humorous (I think it is, at least) from time to time, but it is also sad occasionally too (just you wait until the end of chapter 6).
If pushed even further, I’d just say it was quirky.

12. So far I believe we have only seen four humans in this story. Are they going to come into play later on in the story or are the lack of humans intentional?

Is it four? Let me see. Herman von Haßlich, Sebastian Cradle, Dimitrij Sokolov…a tonne of extras. Who's the fourth?

This was intentional only in that they’re so hard to draw. You may notice that Herman von Haßlich starts off with three fingers and has four later on. But humans do play a very important part. We will see Sebastion and Herman again, and there will be two very important human characters in chapters 7 and 8. And there will be a cat. Called ‘Skank’.

13. I know I already ask what makes your story special among robot stories, but going beyond that, what makes your comic unique among all the other webcomics?

Not much, I imagine. There’s no doubt that the webcomic market is stagnant with material. My artwork is hardly exceptional, but I think it is unique in that the story is quite engaging and it has a very loveable character. Now, there are many comics that do this, but most of them don’t.

14. What are some stories, ideas, comics, books, etc., that have had an influence on you and your story.

Well, there hasn’t been any conscious influences, but I suppose I was trying to go for something like Digger by Ursula Vernon, mixed with some of the Animatrix.

15. Your have well over a hundred pages, you have been featured, looking back is there anything you wished you could change about your comic.

Oh, lots. There’s a whole horde of mistakes and things I forgot to mention. Like, I never should have said there were 95 robots in the Epsilon class. That was just asking for trouble. Generally, though, it’s just forgetting to show props that they’ll need later. There was one point where I published a page, and came up with a better idea whilst walking my dog straight after (That idea was Atman and Artisan).

16. Starting to wrap this up. As you point out in one of your covers, Story of a Robot, spells out S.O.A.R., was that intentional?

Nope, but it’s pretty cool. The name is actually a secret pun that amuses me. In Edinburgh, I saw a nifty show called Story of a Rabbit, and it’s based on that. Plus, I thought the name needed more than just Robot.

17. Is there any advice you would like to give the writers and artist here on Drunk Dunk.

I wouldn’t want to be that pompous, but I would say that perseverance is key and try to end every page with something prominent.

18. Any new comics in the works?

I’ll try getting this one out of the way first, especially when I’m so short on time. But there is something I’ve been cooking up with a friend of mine. We’ll see how it goes.

19. And final question. Cake vs. Pie, who wins?

I am one of the few people who hates Cake. Good old steak and kidney pie!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Custard Trout at 4:39AM, Feb. 27, 2009
posts: 4,566
joined: 2-22-2007
I'm with you there, cake is dull. And trying to make it exciting usually just makes it too rich.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:01PM
smkinoshita at 6:53AM, March 6, 2009
posts: 240
joined: 8-20-2007
Woot! Another Opey fan! :)

And sheesh, I hate the whole “Cake Vs. Pie”. SPECIFICS people, SPECIFICS. Like are we suggesting birthday cake duking it out with apple pie in a fight? Do they get a choice of ice cream? Is heat an option? What flavour cake? How well made is the pie? Butter or Lard?

BAH! BAH I say on cake vs. pie!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
Sophiness at 3:25AM, March 14, 2009
posts: 8
joined: 4-7-2008
Jim! This makes me happy :) it makes me think of English lesson where we would discuss what might happen next, and times you wouldn't tell us but just smirk evileeeeeeey :P and yay! I'm glad you are still going to include “skank”…great name, great name.

Ah ha! and yes yes, this was all started waaaaaay before WALL-E came out! *nods*
My name is Sophie…and guess what? I'M REAL.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM

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