When Worlds Collide!
So, where to begin? Take a breath Shaun. Well...
Matt Law at Kickman asked a bunch of different webcomic creators to appear in his series. he wanted some intern applicants for Kickman and Sidekick Matt to evaluate. Gareus of course was up for the challenge One problem though, Kickman was set in another world... don't worry I had just the MacGuffin:
A glowing purple transporting crystal.
Not original, fine, but that's sort of the point of T-LOG, its tropes mixed with someone taking advantage of them. So Gareus gets the crystal and he can now travel to different worlds. Boom, plot-hole filled.
After we did the Kickman crossover it got me thinking firstly that I needed to do a page or two to explain how Gareus got to meet Kickman but also 'Who else could I possibly cross over with?'. I sort-of disliked the idea of the crystal being only used for the one page so gave it thought and decided I would work on the 'Lost Summer' of Gareus (Lennon eat your heart out!).
With Kickman already included I asked another webcomic I really liked called 'Realm of Owls', where essentially civilization is re-imagined in ink drawings of society run by owls! Its fantastic believe me. The creators, Gheralf and Veyandil, were happy for me to include their little world in my work so I was off to good start.
Knowing I didn't want to create too much work for myself I decided on two more possible links with other comics only as my idea was to feature all these characters on the temple wall to allude to the worlds Gareus could travel to. So, I emailed two comic creators I liked most, my faves. BOTH responded with a yes!
That was Mike Allred and Mike Norton!
Allred was my introduction to the fact that comics didn't have to be Disney characters or traditional superheroes. I remember reading Madman at school in the early 90's, hunkered down in the library as my brain was exploding just taking in the pop, the colour, the kitsch, and the heart. I would sit at the table, sometimes through classes, just drawing Dr. Flem, Joe and Mutant Beatniks! Id draw monsters made entirely of eyes and musclemen with no skin. I'd ponder existentially on life while watching Frank do so too. Ah I love Madman! Madman became, and still is, my favorite comic. From silent issues (no speech bubbles) to comics made entirely of one panel, to issues where each panel is drawn in the style of a different classic artist, Mike Allred always provides the best experience in comic reading and it is a dream to have been able to draw Madman in this little story. But Frank Einstein was not alone.
Mike Norton, the big grizzly, also is a big inspiration. His Battlepug series, a webcomic (now published with Dark Horse) was my first introduction to webcomics really, and I was blown away. From literal laugh out loud moments where Battelpug returns obediently with weapons that have been thrown at him like a game of fetch, to incredibly foulmouthed children berating our hero. The humor of Battlepug, both in the art and the story, really got me thinking; 'Could I try my hand at doing a webcomic?'. I knew it wouldn't be Battlepug but I had wanted to do my own comic for years but just never found the right time or format. But with web publishing I could keep creating and whether 100 or only 2 people were reading it it didn't really matter as I could publish at my own rate and not feel that oppressive axe of '20 pages to do' being over my head every day, I could take it one page at a time.
I know this is a big trip down memory lane but this is of course what these comics provide me, memories, and great ones at that!
So after finishing the 'Hero of Heroes' story I am more amped than I have ever been to explore the world/s of Gareus, worlds that are now linked to my favorite ones from comic history! In a six degrees of separation situation Gareus is now linked to Superman and Hellboy by only two but to be honest I'm most happy with being linked to Madman and Battlepug by only one :-)
I can't quite explain how happy I am having done this, having been able to do this, so let me just say I am super chuffed and hope whoever has bothered to read this enjoyed the pages too.
Oh and just what was that talk about a world made of shrimp? I'll explain that another time perhaps, another time.