Interviews

Round 8 - jgib99 interviews Harkovast!
skoolmunkee at 5:01AM, July 13, 2009
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This interview is of harkovast, whose comic is Harkovast!
(interview conducted by jgib99!)


1) So, tell us a little bit about yourself. Anything new happen in your life since the last interview?

My name is Daniel Stribley and, as you can tell from my avatar I am a giant talking cat with a grumpy expression….what? It could be true! You don’t know!
Okay, just sensible answers from now on.
I live in Rotherham, South Yorkshire in England with my wife Julie and our 5 kids. I draw and write my web comic, Harkovast, and my wife colours it with coloured pencils.
Big changes since last time I was interviewed? Well my wife is pregnant with yet another little Vastling! Hooray! Our brood grows ever bigger! Though I think this will be the last one.

2)What made you want to enter the wonderful madcap world of webcomicking?

I have always had a lot of ideas and concepts floating around in my head for games, worlds and stories but I have never had a medium by which to express them to a wide audience. Getting a book published is VERY difficult!
I started reading a couple of web comics and the thought occurred to me that this was something I could do.
When I first told my wife she thought it sounded a bit bonkers but she has ended up being a central part of the comic we create together. I think it’s great that she got involved because it gives us something to cooperate on and also gives her an insight into the odd things I am always thinking about (and her colouring is completely awesome too!)

3)Describe some of the different species who inhabit Harkovast.

Harkovast has a LOT of different species and cultures, something like 28 at the last count.
Each culture is modelled on an animal, but also draws inspiration from historical cultures.
I am a big history buff so I love to include interesting details or concepts that seem strange to modern audiences.
Every species looks like an animal for ease of identification and also simply because I think they look really cool.
The Darsai are like medieval Europeans (and cats) and so act as a good starting point, something people are reasonably familiar with.
The Ano-Chee are like Native Americans (and foxes). I think these guys are a fun addition because you don’t seem to see native American influences in many fantasy settings, so they add an interesting element stylistically.
The Tsung-Dao are Japanese in style (and lizards), which gives me the opportunity to include Samurai, kung-fu and a nice contrasting style and look.
The Junlocks are a fun one. They are wolf people who are modelled on ancient Gauls and ancient pre-roman Britains, Dacians and other cultures the Roman’s campaigned against. These are some really interesting historical cultures, but not ones that many people are familiar with, so I can surprise people with some of the interesting things. For example, they use cool forward curving swords called Falx. Several people asked if these things would even work in real life. When they seemed to work pretty well when the Dacians had them, the Romans considered them a fearsome weapon! It makes me smile when I use something historical and everyone assumes I just made it up.
We haven’t seen much of Nymus culture yet (they are bird people) but it is stylistically like ancient Greece, which is another cool distinctive look that I am looking forward to show casing later on.
So far the Southern Continent of Vellastrom has been the only area to feature in Harkovast. In later books I intend to deal with some of the other areas (such as Jaydia, which has a lot of influences from the Middle East, India, various parts of Africa.)

4)Which character is your favorite in Harkovast?

Pick a favourite? Ah man! now you are asking tough questions! This is a crappy cop out answer but I like them all in different ways!
I try to put something into all the important characters that I really like about them.
The title of favourite sways around a lot but a few things that stand out-
I love Ki’s arrogance. He is just one cool dude!
I love the way Shogun is just a slicing machine when ever a fight starts!
I love how crazy Sir Muir is. The idea of an old crazy knight who looks like he should be half dead by now really amuses me.
I love the whole look of The Speaker. The idea of a sinister preacher, combined with the Vulture look has come together really well.

But if I have to pick a single favourite…. (and this is only what I feel right now! It could change at any time!)….I think I would have to pick Chen-Chen. The scene where she is trying to be polite when the Darsai are getting in her personal space turned out so adorable! Also she has just revealed she knows some seriously cool kung-fu!

5)Who are your main artistic influences?

I honestly don’t really have any strong influences. I just started drawing characters when I was young and they’ve always sort of looked the way they do.
I pick up a few tips and ideas of page layouts and things from other comics (I deliberately made all the characters eyes bigger when I started, as I wanted them to look more expressive) but there is no one thing I can point too as inspiring me.
I do remember my brother telling me I was good at drawing when I was a child, which probably spurred me on!

6)Out of the whole Harkovast story so far, which page or story arc do you feel is your personal best?

Damn it, I hate picking favourites! I have a terrible tendency to like which ever page I drew last!
I was frustrated at first with Sir Muir because unlike Ki and Shogun, he did not initially get a big reaction. I think a lot of people thought he was just an extra who was going to get killed off (like the Knight in the opening battle!) So when people started to realise he was bonkers and get behind him that felt really good!
As I mentioned, the whole personal space page with Chen-Chen was great fun, as was the recent page where she goes crazy with the Kung-Fu.
I love doing whacky page layouts now and then, such as the second page where the wood keeps on going outside of the panels.
I quite meaningful page is the one where the Heretic and his minions talk to The Speaker and The Speaker goes all down one side of the page. I liked the idea that The Speaker is dominating the scene literally as well as figuratively.
Also any page that surprises the readers is always a lot of fun!

7)I noticed that you’re quite active in the forums (DD’s and The Harkovast Forum). How important is it to you to connect with readers through the forums?

I am really glad you asked this question, because the Harkovast forum is a really important part of the comic.
When I first made it I just wanted to be able to post maps and background info, I never imagined people would visit it very much, but the forum has been a huge success and lots have people have posted questions, comments or just come and read some extra background. The level of interest in the world of Harkovast and the rules that govern it has really blown me away.
I’ve had a lot of feed back from people commenting that they love all the extra information that is out there and the extra depth is gives the comic.
I’ve even started adding other, unrelated sections, such as talking about movies I hate (I rather generously call these reviews, but they are more like me beating the movie to death with a stick!) and talking about Batman: The Animated Series and discussing what I thought of each episode.
I love that I can talk directly to the Harko-fans (as I like to call em) and that I can fill in the blanks for them any time they ask. This sort of communication is really excellent for both me and my readers.
On the DD threads I love to get our there and get involved, which is also a great way to get noticed and attracted readers. Most posts are usually very silly, and a few people have clicked on them just to see how weird my comic is!
I am a big fan of playing DD Mafia on the forum too, and I would recommend everyone give it a go. It look confusing until you try, but once you get going it is really awesome!

8)What is, without a doubt, the most unusual comment that someone has left in the comments section?

Someone commented that it was appropriate that the Ano-Chee should be red (as in red Indians) which had honestly never entered my head in all the years I have been thinking of Harkovast! (Probably about 12 years at this point!)
“Ooooh, Mr. Freeze is going to be appearing soon. :D” was an odd one…but it made sense in context at the time!
“Run! Fangirls!” is another one that mades me chuckle.
There are probably loads more but those are a few that stood out as I was scrolling through.

9)What are some of your favorite webcomics and print comics?
I don’t read many print comics, though I am aware of most of them.
I suppose my favourite would have to be the true classic of the genre, Watchmen. There simply is no better comic in print.
Online, I enjoy Order of the Stick, Goblins and MS Paint Adventures.
Here on the Duck I am very keen on Rock Paper Cynic and I am partial to Love/Curse, a comic that is building a bit of a following and I think is one to watch. I think it is long over due to get featured!
Go and read it for yourself!
http://www.drunkduck.com/Love_Curse/index.php

10)What is the craziest anthropomorphic character that you’ve ever created?

They have yet to appear in the comic but the Camel-Like Xateem are pretty strange and the Wahdaq are even weirder!
Also the Tendu are pretty odd as the women look nothing like the men and their ideas of gender are…I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I?

11)Okay. I answered this question for you in my interview. Now its your turn. Can you give us any hints on what’s going to happen in the future of Harkovast?

Oooh, you want spoilers, do ya?
Well let me see…
One for the near future…the Junlocks in this ambush still have a secret weapon left to play!
Further a field, The Heretic has some outside help coming in that he hopes will turn the tide in his favour.
New characters? Pretty soon we will meet Shan-Zu, a samurai who is Chen-Chen’s best friend. She develops in some very interesting ways as the story progresses. Keep an eye on her!
If you want any more sneak peeks, click the TWC button above the authors notes on Harkovast! (Shameless plug time) Your vote helps support the comic AND I put up bonus art and clips from future pages.
Right now you can see a character who has not yet appeared….

12)What is the worst type of Hell on Earth that a human could go through? A] A world where free speech is forbidden? B]Being trapped on a deserted island filled with venomous snakes? Or C] Being forced to watch The Patriot over and over again?

Free speech is a fundamental human right and essential to society. To give up or restrict free thought or expression is to give up what is best about ourselves.
Waking up covered in masses of slithering snakes that sink their fangs into my flesh, leaving me writhing in agony, praying for my own death would be an unimaginably horrible fate.
So keeping those two points in mind you will understand how much I truly hate The Patriot and everything about that damn movie when I say-
Answer C! Definitely C!
My personal war against Mel Gibson rages on!

13)Is there anything that you would like to add before we bring this interview to an end?
Thanks for the great questions, I think they really showed you had taken some time and considered the comic you were asking about.
I want to offer my thanks to everyone who reads Harkovast and everyone who has supported it!
People really have been great about helping to boost the comic, and I want everyone who has contributed (either time, donations, comments, forum posts, or just turning up each week to read it!) to know that we appreciate their help tremendously!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
harkovast at 5:39AM, July 13, 2009
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That was possibly the most important piece of journalism in the history of the internet!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
Ironscarf at 5:45AM, July 13, 2009
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Second only to your review of The Golden Compass.
As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Ozone,
I know there's something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 7:40AM, July 13, 2009
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posts: 1,340
joined: 9-2-2007
Great review guys. Nice to learn a bit more about the man behind Harkovast ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Niccea at 11:22AM, July 13, 2009
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Did you call them Vastlings before I asked about them?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:13PM
harkovast at 11:59AM, July 13, 2009
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posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
Niccea, I'm not sure whether I thought of that myself or got it from you, but it does sound good, doesn't it?

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
Niccea at 12:22PM, July 13, 2009
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joined: 8-10-2007
harkovast
Niccea, I'm not sure whether I thought of that myself or got it from you, but it does sound good, doesn't it?
Well I thought of it myself cause I never saw you use it. But we could have just had the same idea. I will not charge royalties just this once.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:13PM
NickGuy at 3:25PM, July 13, 2009
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posts: 988
joined: 2-22-2007
good interview, harkovast. keep up the good work, buddy.

“Kung Fu Komix IS…hardcore martial art action all the way. 8/10” -Harkovast
“Kung Fu Komix is that rare comic that is made with heart and love of the medium, and it delivers” -Zenstrive
“Kung Fu Komix is…so awesome” -threeeyeswurm
“Kung Fu Komix is..told with all the stupid exuberance of the genre it parodies” -The Real Macabre
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
Wordweaver_three at 4:38PM, July 13, 2009
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Oh, Gosh! A glowing recommendation from the Vast man himself! I'm touched! Thanks!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:51PM
Exzachly at 9:49PM, July 13, 2009
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posts: 565
joined: 4-21-2007
What the hell is this? I turn my back on you for one second and you're out interviewing other people?! I thought we had something you hussie!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
harkovast at 5:24AM, July 14, 2009
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posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
Exzachly we just grew apart.
It's not you, its me.
I just think we need time aprt, to interview other people.
I didn't want you to find out this way!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
Gillespie at 9:57AM, July 15, 2009
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Good interview! Finally found the time to read it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:36PM
harkovast at 4:03PM, July 15, 2009
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I just watched a bit of the patriot on TV….
I was wrong.
Even watching it once is a worse punishment then anything else!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
waff at 6:17AM, July 21, 2009
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harkovast
I just watched a bit of the patriot on TV….
I was wrong.
Even watching it once is a worse punishment then anything else!

That bad huh? (I haven't watched it my self).

'there is no “overkill” there is only “open fire” and “time to reload” rule #37
the things on my box are a dead squirell, a medal and a paper bag hat.
ow! I have shards of the fourth wall in my eye!
WAFF-MAN!! as of mafia VI
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:44PM
harkovast at 4:50PM, July 21, 2009
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Waff then fate has been kind to you!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM

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