Kevin Wolf was the only other artist booth I checked out at A-Kon22, drawn mainly due to a character sculpture,Kyle, that reminded me of Crow from MST3K. I zoomed forward to caress the little statue and started chatting up Kevin about his web comic. Ridiculously charming and easy to talk to, Kevin allows me to pet Kyle and tells me a little about the comic. It deals with several…creatures doing, from what I can tell, not much but living life!
Kevin, thanks for agreeing to an interview, I loooooooove web comics so I’m glad for the chance to expose people to yours! If you don’t mind, let’s jump right in!
L: How often do you update the strip?
KW: When I began work on my third book early this spring, I’ve started to update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with guest strips and other stuff on the weekends. Prior to that I treated the website and comic as a fair-weather friend. I gave it a great deal of attention when I had time, and put it on the back burner longer than I care to admit. Since I started drawing Panagea in 2006, I’ve only worked on it for a few months of every year. Necessary evils like grad school, jobs, and Megaman have stepped between me and my drawing board.
L: Is something you wanted to do, or did things just end up this way, with you having this hilarious comic?
KW: This is something have I wanted to do for a long time. Growing up I read Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County voraciously. I loved the silliness, the adventures, and even the philosophical, adult themed jokes I didn’t completely understand. Then as I grew up and reread the books, I found new layers of meaning I had missed before, and loved them all over again. I have always wanted to be a cartoonist. I just didn’t realize it until I was 25. By then I had put out the first Pangaea collection locally, mainly to say, “ Hey look everybody! I made a comic book!” with little intention beyond amusing myself and my friends. Then I got an award from the St. Louis RiverFrontTimes for ‘Best Local Comic’, with an amazingly sweet write-up from editor Paul Friswold. Among other nice things, Paul said that Pangaea was every bit as good Pearls Before Swine or Get Fuzzy, two of the best comics in print at the time. Maybe not visually, as my drawing was very rough back then, but in terms of writing and character development, the review said I had the potential to be up there with big guns. That pretty much sealed the pact for. I was going to be a comic stripper.
L: Heh, stripper. Do you have a day job as well or is your focus Pangaea?
KW: Yeah…..unfortunately. I teach part-time and do free-lance photography work. Both of which I enjoy, but I’d rather be drawing Kyle spitting out the head of a decapitated celebrity than photographing a wedding. I hope in the future, once I gain some more business savvy and popularity online, that I can turn Pangaea into my sole focus.
I know that if I could make enough to support a meager subsistence and draw 24/7, the strip would grow exponentially. Maybe it could even become a series of Hallmark greeting cards some day…
L: Since we’re a geeky site and I met you at a freaking anime convention, do you have any geeky hobbys? Closet comic enthusiast? Model builder?
KW: Current geek hobbyies include, but are not limited to:
-The Kingdom of Loathing
-NES 8-bit gaming
-Reenacting world events through large scale Lego building (9/11, Abut Gharib, The Kennedy Assasination, Urban Blight, etc)
L: I find Pangaea funny because, I swear, I have half these thoughts and don’t voice them so it definitely appeals to me as a reader! One of my friends turned me onto the comic and said I’d love it and I do. Do you get recognized, like, do people ask for your autograph?
KW: One time I had an attractive young women ask me to draw her a full-body Pangaea tattoo, but I think we were dating. Other than that, I have some local street cred in the St. Louis comic scene, a modest fanbase online, and maybe a few excited readers that come to see me at conventions. Despite it’s limited success, I feel that Pangaea has incredible amount of potential. People who get the one of the books or read through the archives generally like the strip more than a little. It covers a lot of different topics with a large cast of evolving characters. While every artist caters to certain niche or target market, I feel like Pangaea does a fair job of sampling what goes on in the average nerd’s everyday life. There’s gamer references, political commentary, slice of life comedy, office humor, slapstick, organic gardening, social commentary, lucid dreams, celebrity decapitation, killer robots, and a lot of absurd jokes. I’m still figuring out exactly where I’m going with the strip, but like I tell people at conventions, “If you like Calvin & Hobbes or Bloom County, you’ll probably like Pangaea.” I think they share the same broadband appeal that any comic reader will enjoy.
L: How do you generate buzz for your comic?
KW: Social networks, word of mouth, and link exchanges with other comic artists and bloggers. I’ve been meaning to start a Project Wonderful account for some time now, but I keep getting distracted by shiny objects and Mexican food.
L: I forgot to ask Jennie, but since I ask all my interviewees, if real honest to God aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what position would you want? I know I’d crap my pants.
KW: Given her interest in pirates, Breeden would likely aspire to space swashbuckler.
But assuming the aliens have no use for an absurd comic strip, I would have to go with bounty hunter. Cloaked space-craft, jet-pack, laser gun, and a witty amphibian sidekick that does a good Groucho Marx. I’d end up selling Jennie and her space pirates to Jabba the Slutt, and killed shortly thereafter by an angry mob of snow yetis protesting the use of fossil fuel in such an advanced civilization.
L: Dammit, now I totally wish I lived in space!!! Please dear readers, check out Kevin’s amazingly funny web comic, Pangaea! It’s worth it cause it makes ya laugh and we ALL need a laugh sometimes!!