Round 6: GiantPinkWalrus interviews JoeL_CQB of CQB Epics!
skoolmunkee at 12:35AM, March 12, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This interview is of JoeL_CQB, whose comic is CQB Epics!
(interview conducted by GiantPinkWalrus!)

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Joe Lai, and I’m 21. I’m currently a third year at UC Santa Cruz, and I’m studying Art. Fine art supposedly. I’m probably going to be a super senior because I’m a year behind on my requirements to graduate with a degree. I’m currently living in Santa Cruz, California, but I usually travel around from here and San Francisco, crashing on other people’s couches.

Besides working on CQB Epics, I also work for a campus news paper as an illustrator. I might be working as a pizza delivery guy sometime soon though.

Time not spent on school, work, or comic is usually spent on Rock Band.

Your profile says you like Rock Band, what's your favourite song in it?

I don’t really have a “favorite” song, I enjoy most of the songs and the DLC that it has. I even have the Country pack and Texas Flood (which is considered Blues).
I usually play expert guitar, so the songs that I like playing the most would be: Red Devil by Yngwie (pronounced ‘in-vay’) Malmsteen; My Last Words by Megadeth; The Hellion/Electric Eye and Screaming for Vengence by Judas Priest; YYZ by Rush; Panic Attack by Dream Theatre; the Green Grass and High Tides cover; and the occasional Caprici Di Diablo by Yngwie again because I’m one of those silly people who like to do the absurdly hard songs. The best I’ve done on that is four stars.

How did you find out about

I first had CQB Epics over at comicgenesis, and they had a bunch of downtimes. Eventually I was frustrated with the server problems so I decided to find some other hosting, and Drunkduck was one of them. I think I found it over at comicgenesis, when one of the people posted a “Hey look at my stuff” thread which linked here. I don’t remember what it was. The same time I signed up for DD, I also signed up for my own domain.
For about a year or so, my activity on DD was pretty absent because I was busy working on my own site. I soon started to get active here because of the lack of community that I had over at my own host. I actually care more about CQB Epics being here than at my own site because of the guys here. I think I’m behind on a update on my own site.

A quick question before we move on to the comic, what's your favourite comic here on drunkduck?

I should read webcomics more often… One of my favorites on DD is “A Pathos of Kittens” because it’s funny. I generally prefer light hearted things. I don’t really use the DD favorite system. I tend to keep a mental note in my head to check back those that I read.

What programs do you use to make your comic? How long does it take?

I’m currently using Photoshop CS4 for the layout and coloring. I actually draw each panels individually mainly because I don’t have an 11x17 scanner, or space to do something that large. It is also handy when I am in a boring lecture. If I actually sat down in one sitting and worked through, it would take me about three hours.

The art in your comic is excellent, is there a secret behind this or are you just a natural born master?

I’d say both? People often say that I am talented, but I spend a lot of time just drawing. To me, I guess “talent” more like the ability to improve, because looking back at work that I’ve done a month or a week ago, I sometimes get that “ugh, did I do this?” feeling.

I’d say keep on drawing and do stuff that is outside of what you’d normally do.

The story in your comic is better developed than in most comics on Drunkduck, do you find it hard to create such a well-developed story?

Uh… I don’t know what to say because I don’t sit down and write. I have a general plan of how the story should go, and what happens in the in betweens. And then I just think what seems the most reasonable/logical, like how should the characters act and stuff. I guess it ‘s all about stepping back at what you have created, and taking a different point of view of it. From there you see what’s wrong you’ve created and then go back and fix it and repeat.

CQB Epics had been rewritten several times in the past but now I’m sticking through with the plan.

From what I gather, your comic is about terrorists and ‘elves’ in a scifi setting, how did you come up with that?

Funny, because part of my inspiration for CQB Epics was basically CQB or CQC which is close quarter battle/combat. The others that factored into the idea process dealie, was the British SAS, World War 2 mostly Germany and the Nazi’s, and Roman and Greek art. The last three are related because the Roman’s art were based off the Greek’s, and the Nazi’s art were heavily influenced by the Roman’s.

At first, CQB Epics mainly consisted of humans and the undead. I was playing Age of Wonders at the time. And I was like how cool would it be to have these skeleton zombie guys be organized. I mean sure, having a horde of undead would be scary, but having them all organized like a military force, and have them sweeping the street death squad status would be ten times more scarier.

And then I got to a point where I was like, “how the hell would this all happen?” And then I went back to thinking and still playing AoW. In the game, the elves ruled the world, and humans came and fucked shit up. And I thought, how about something that is the other way around. Kinda. At first it was the humans and the elves living in harmony, and then the undead come in and fuck shit up.

That didn’t seem to come out right when I started the first chapter so I scraped that. And then again with the video games, I started playing Warcraft 3. I tried making a AoE based off CQB Epics for it, but most of the WC3 community were all about fantasy swords and stuff. So that didn’t go well. It was too modern and not sci-fi enough, which was the feedback that I got. All of the weapons in CQB Epics exist today, except for the swords.

I was also playing Magic the Gathering the same time. Elf decks are a bitch. So were the nightelves in WC3. In both MTG and WC3, they seemed like they have this “La-di-da, We’re better and smarter than you in every aspect.” And it felt like it was super overrated, so that is when things started to click. It’s like, you know that kid in class who always has something to say just to prove that s/he’s smarter than everybody else in the class, and you wanted to stab him/her in the face because of it? That was basically me and elves with any fantasy game.

What really helped me developed the elves in CQB Epics, the one that you’re reading now, was the Lorwyn set in MTG. The whole flavor text got things ticking, like the whole “beauty determines rank in a elvish society” and “what isn’t beautiful by their standards doesn’t deserve to live.” And stuff. Eventually the face stabbing will come later.

Also on a side note, I find it interesting when people don’t know who’s the protagonist when they start reading CQB Epics, because of the stereotypes.

How has the comic affected your life?

It has sucked the essence of life out of me…. Not. Actually it hasn’t affected me at all. I enjoy working on it, and it feels like it’s part of my daily life.

Did you have a specific goal when making this comic, if so, what?

One is to get it done. Second is to get the world of CQB Epics set up, which brings us to the next question…

Do you have any other projects planned?

I titled the comic, CQB Epics because CQB which now thinking back on it, it’s kinda silly naming something based off combat techniques, and Epics, as in more that one story. The one that I’m working on now is to set up the world.

The others would be different stories. Not dealing with the same characters that we’re reading about. The first versions of it had way too characters and too much going on at once which made it hard to explain, hence why I scrapped them. So then I figured I’ll separate them, so that they each have their own story. I kinda fear that it might be seen as one of those never-ending comics.

What advice would you give to the aspiring artist?

Keep drawing and experiment with other mediums. And also, don’t stick with what you are familiar with. You’d be amazed with what new things you learn when you go back to your tool of choice.

How do you feel about deep-sea fishing?


How do you feel about TIM BUCKLEY?

I’m not a fan of CAD and that’s basically the extent of it. I do like “Bigger Than Cheeses” spoof off the miscarriage event.

Anything else to say to wrap this up?

Stuff! I’ve said this on my own comic, but I’ll repeat it here anyways: if anybody here plays Rock Band 2, add me to your friends list or something and we’ll play.

360: PumaDriftCat

I tend to prefer to play on the PS3 more because of DLC and the Warbeast. And my roommate is a bitch and won’t fix his guitar or get DLC for the 360.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
smkinoshita at 6:28AM, March 12, 2009
posts: 240
joined: 8-20-2007
For about a year or so, my activity on DD was pretty absent because I was busy working on my own site. I soon started to get active here because of the lack of community that I had over at my own host. I actually care more about CQB Epics being here than at my own site because of the guys here. I think I’m behind on a update on my own site.

I'm with you all the way – it's all about community! It's the reason why I don't put much time into Comic Genesis, even though that was my first host too. Even if DD had more downtime, I'd still come back because of the people here. :)

Oh, and your art does rock.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
Nergal at 7:00PM, March 20, 2009
posts: 214
joined: 3-7-2006
Nice interview, some randomness to it but overall fun to read. It's nice to see all the thought that goes into CQB Epics.

The artwork really is great by the way.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:11PM

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