Like I promised, I actually have something bodering on orginial content this week. As the two of you that actually read this know, I am a big fan of the webcomic medium. Since I actually need to update this on a semi regular basis I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.
Today I'm talking with Jonathan Estis and Kitty Dalziel, better known as "Moose" and "Kitty", the team behind the comedic film noir webcomic "Cylde Winters: Internet Detective." Why don't you two tell me a bit about yourselves?
Moose: Hi! Thank you for letting us be here! I'm Jonathan, and I do the writing for Clyde Winters. I'm a freshman in college, I live in New Jersey... My interests include the Internet, video games, and nerdy things like that...
Kitty: I'm Kitty, and I do the page layouts and drawings for Clyde Winters. I'm also a college freshman and live less than a mile away from Jonathan. I like manga, cooking, and video games.
DABRB: Fellow scholars eh? Why don't you tell my readers down here at UA where you are attending?
Kitty: We both go to Drew University. Go Rangers!
Moose: We don't really have school spirit, but we try.
DABRB: Heh, I see. Well, let's get down to business. Where did you come up with the idea for Clyde Winters?
Moose: Okay, let's see. I've always loved the Internet (Wow, that sounds sad.), and kind of had this idea for a while about a story in which somebody somehow gets trapped inside of it. (Probably also influenced by similar ideas in shows like Futurama and Chapelle's Show.) And I guess a year or two ago, the idea of a detective just seemed to fit in with the idea. It also helped that I knew Kitty at this point, because it meant I had somebody who could really draw it for me, and get it to look the way I wanted it to! That's it in a nutshell.
DABRB: I can see the whole trapped in the Internet concept, but why use a noir style?
Moose: Excellent question, compadre. I guess what can you do with a detective besides have it be noir style? (Nothing.) Then I'd have to take into account other influences: Movies like Sunset Boulevard, The Maltese Falcon, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Then there's Sin City, even things like the DS game 'Hotel Dusk.' It all just seemed to fit together.
Kitty: I pretty much go with any excuse I can get to draw old-fashioned stuff like cigarette holders and backseam stockings. The idea of a noir theme was also interesting to me because it's something I've never really tried to do before. DABRB: Well how about that, I happen to have Hotel Dusk myself. I take it that's where you got Clyde's character from?
Moose: There's definitely a lot of Kyle Hyde's character in Clyde Winters.
DABRB: I know we've got a good number of art majors here. Why don't you enlighten us on the drawing process Kitty?
Kitty: Well, I have yet to take a college art class, so my method is pretty rudimentary. I use a ballpoint pen, a straight edge for the panels, and printer paper. Sometimes Jonathan has a layout in mind. When he doesn't, I just go on what I know from the layouts in manga and graphic novels.
DABRB: So how did Clyde Winters start exactly? I know I came across it early on, but it wasn't exactly the beginning. Give us an origin story.
Moose: I guess the first thing that I did was jot down in a notebook a bunch of ideas for names. I think some of the runners up were Clyde Hudson, Lemon... Yeah, it was bad. Having no experience with story based comics, I kinda just jumped right in and hoped for the best.
Kitty: Once Jonathan (Moose) had the basic idea, I did some character sketches for Clyde. At first I was drawing someone much more sophisticated-looking.. I think the influences for those early drawings were Kaori Yuki's "Cain Saga" and Zidane from Final Fantasy IX. There were vests, and puffy shirts, and blond hair. When I realized we needed someone more "manly", I thought of Dick Gumshoe from the Phoenix Wright series and Marlin Brando in "Guys And Dolls".
Moose: Ah, yes. Guys and Dolls. The epitome of manliness.
DABRB: You said you had no experience in "story" webcomics. Are there other projects each of you have worked on?
Kitty: I've drawn short (say, 8 page) comics for fun since I was in middle school, but none of them were ever on the internet. The only comic strip I ever did, "Faux Fur" was on the web for almost one hundred pages (with about another hundred drawn), but I basically abandoned it when it came time to start applying for colleges. It's still out there, somewhere.
DABRB: So tell me about Moose.tv.
Moose: I did one web comic a while ago called 'Action Tuna,' which was really a gag-based strip, with limited plots. It was... not destined for popularity. Much of it makes me cringe. This was all for another web site that I do with Ivan Hahn, a friend of mine, called MooseTV. MooseTV was (is) sort of our outlet to make funny videos and share them with the world. Some of them are quite good. Many are painful to watch.
DABRB: It seems thath you two have had a fairly easy time of getting started. Any tips for those out there that are thinking of starting their own comic?
Moose: It's funny because I did Action Tuna for so long with virtually no feedback from anybody, and it was often really hard to stay motivated. With Clyde Winters I knew we had a much better concept on our hands, so it was a little easier to feel good about it. The best thing I can suggest is to just keep at it. Always try to update on time, spread your comic through word of mouth (There's plenty of good promotion tools out there)... And don't expect it to be a hit right away. Our comic still isn't a hit, but we're getting there. Don't be discouraged by negative feedback, but don't ignore it either. Always contradict yourself. Eat your greens.
Kitty: I just try to give the web address to any friends I think might be interested.. Often it's an exchange, like, "I'll watch your stupid YouTube video if you promise to check out my comic". I've gotten a few people to link that way.
DABRB: I know some artists like to keep a backlog of comics so that they can update on time. Do you guys keep some in reserve or do you do one especially for each update?
Kitty: We only plan more than one comic in advance if we know we're going to be too busy the night before the next update.
Moose: It's all written in advance, but yeah, the pages are usually drawn and edited the night before. Is this the best way to go about doing things? ....Eh.
DABRB: Now for something along the same lines. How far do you have the story thought out? Do you have an ending picked out, or are you making it up as you go along?
Moose: I generally have an episode or two in advance laid out in my head, and there's specific ideas or story arcs that I know I want to do in the future. As for big things like an ending, that's a little more open at this point. Nothing's set in stone.
DABRB: I see. While we're still talking about the story, Yahoo, AIM, 4Chan, Myspace, Facebook, and Homestar Runner have all seen appearances in the comic so far. Do you have other memes or aspects of Internet culture lined up that you can tell us about?
Moose: I can say for certain that future episodes involve visits to YouTube, and Google. (or whatever dumb parody name we decide to give them). Others shall remain... a mystery.
DABRB: Oh you.
Kitty: I like to think that someday Clyde will be sucked into a vortex of self-pitying mall-goth blogs. Or maybe be stalked by someone who has used GoogleMaps for evil, evil purposes.
DABRB: I've got to know, what webcomics do webcomicists such as yourselves like to frequent?
Moose: Pretty much all the ones linked to on our site are the ones I check frequently. Highlights in my mind would be Dinosaur Comics, Penny Arcade and Wigu. I should also mention MegaTokyo as being the first to get me hooked on web comics.
DABRB: And you Kitty?
Kitty: Men In Hats is one of my all-time favorites. Perry Bible Fellowship makes me laugh so hard I cry. Fur Will Fly was probably the first webcomic that I read regularly. Also, Our Home Planet often overlooked, but has great, unique art.
Moose: Of course, we're huge fans of Family Circus.
Kitty: And Garfield. He's a cat! He's fat, and he hates Mondays! I cannot fathom that anything could possibly be more entertaining than that. And neither can Jim Davis. DABRB: I just lost all respect I had for you two.
Moose: We're being facetious... Or are we...?
Kitty: No, we ARE. I will die before I allow people to think that I tolerate anything remotely similar to Family Circus.
DABRB: OK, one last question and it's crucial that you answer truthfully.
Got questions for Moose and Kitty? Suggestions for other interviews? Desperate for any form of human interaction? Then post here or send one of those "e mails" I keep hearing about to email@example.com
Grim news for the Internet. Virgin's Europe division has announced that it will start limiting their users Internet to non Virgin regestered sights. This means that users that try to access sites like Youtube, Facebook, ect. will be faced with service that is intentionally slowed down in order to discourage usage. This is an ovious breach of "Net Nutrality" and is a huge step backwards in everything net wise.
That is not to say that this has gone unnoticed. This video was posted on Youtube shortly after the announcement and summerises things better than I can.
Note: I'd recommend turning off the annotations.
You may be asking yourself, "What can I do about this? Well for one you can bycott Virgin products and services. The ISP lost over 100,000 customers within 24 hours of the announcement, both here and in Europe. Another option is the old standby of writing letters to Virgin and your Senator explaining the importance of the freedom of information and Net Nutrality. Then there's always the more "active" way of handleing things.....
This brings us to my title. My sources tell me that Anonymous (best know for their "war" on the Church of Scientology) has declared a similar war on Virgin and has a number of net based attackes planned out against the company. While neither I nor the University (well duh) condone attacking the company, you can still excercise your freedoms. (see the 1st amendment for speech and assembleing) Protest the comprmise of net nutrality. Spread the word!
Nathan Gibson is a freshman majoring in electrical engineering. He enjoys candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and other cliches. He works on his blog when he isn't busy being broke, unemployed and single.