Welcome back to Newsarama’s Wide World of Webcomics, our continuing look at the best of the web! Today, we’ve got one of the craziest and most hilarious creators online with KC Green and Gunshow.Gunshow (Gunshowcomic.com), is…well, it’s everything. Produced in a wide variety of styles ranging from simple black-and-white panel strips to elaborate full-color multi-page stories, the one thing its tales have in common is that they’re very absurd, very dark and very, very funny. Whether it’s taking on zombies, fanfiction or the too-close-to-home adventures of the Anime Club (whose complete saga you can buy here, there’s something for everyone at the Gunshow.
We talked with Green about his strip, his plans for the future and more.
Newsarama: KC, you've done a couple of different strips at this point. What have been some of the biggest changes you've seen in webcomics, both in the nature of strips and community of creators, since you first started doing original material online?
KC Green: I don't really know. There was interesting stuff online when I started and there is interesting stuff even now! I think it is that there is more interesting stuff online now. It's easier for anyone to put that stuff online. Good and bad. More good seems to be jumping online which is great.
Nrama: For that matter, how do you feel you've evolved as a writer, artist and a person since you started posting comics online?
Green: I've learned not to push myself too much, but let it flow out – the stories and jokes. I've also mellowed out a bit without being less weird and dark, which is a perfect mix for me. I can only now work to perfect that.
Nrama: Tell us a bit about your process for writing and drawing the strip.Green: There's no set process. Any idea can come to me when I am not thinking directly about it. Sometimes when I am out driving and riffing to myself on things I see or when I am thinking of how a scenario I could be in could go wrong.
I don't actively search for ideas, because anyone can get an idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, what matters is how it's executed. If it makes me laugh, think, cry, etc. Sometimes I will free write ideas and whatever nonsense is in my head, but that is still just letting it flow out and picking up the pieces afterwards. More actively, I suppose.
Nrama: “The Anime Club” represented a longer story within the strip's context -- do you see yourself doing a similarly long story in the future, as opposed to gags that play out over a few strips?
Green: Probably. I have a couple of ideas I am working out and writing out more that could be a long-ish story.
Nrama: Aside from the club, what are some of your favorite recurring characters in the strip – are there some with whom you'd like to do more?Green: I like the two rabbits I use for things a lot, because they are so simple but there are a thousand and one things that you could do with them. I like drawing their round heads. The people in the office are fun too, for kind of the same reason. Just a bunch of people who have to be around one another. Then introduce an element that they have to deal with. Any element. It's fun!
Nrama: You mentioned recently the future of the strip is up in the air -- do you see yourself moving on to another strip soon?
Green: I only meant that in terms of me doing other work that is not comics. Like if the animation industry calls to me, which, to be honest, has been happening more and more frequently. But because I live on the East Coast, I miss out on some opportunities and it's just tough to work out that schedule when all the major studios are on the West Coast.
So I'm thinking of moving out to LA and if something big happens, then that is what I mean by the comic might have to be on the back burner. I like making comics tho, so I am not against just doing comics forever. Gunshow is a good mix of anything I want to do I can. I can do a big story, I can do gags forever, I can do character arcs with the handful of characters I have.
I started up a comic called Literally All I Do All Day (http://laidad.com/) which was gag-based and centered out two people who were parts of myself. But, to be honest, they could have just been a part of Gunshow or any of their jokes/stories could have been Gunshow jokes and stories.Gunshow is kind of the perfect thing for me, right now. LAIDAD was fun but it doesn't mean much to me that Gunshow couldn't be. It's all weird and only makes sense to me.
Nrama: What's the biggest challenge in doing gag-oriented comics?
Green: Making myself laugh, and wondering if it should be all contained to one page or multiple pages. Also getting rid of ideas I spend too much time on. That is it.
If I am going around an idea, trying to make it work in some way, the easiest thing to do is toss it and do something else instead of wasting time on it. Gotta learn to drop the preciousness of your ideas/comics/art/anything.
Nrama: Confess your geekiest anime moment. We're watchin' you – be honest now.
Green: watching Tenchi Muyo late nights on Toonami Fridays, and downloading They Might be Giants songs on Kazaa. Maybe watching DBZ movies at a sleep over with friends? I was always a shy kid about what I enjoyed, so I kept most of that to myself.Nrama: Despite the darkness of the strip's humor, there's also a real philosophical and emotional undercurrent to many of the jokes. What draws you to this type of material, and what are the biggest challenges in combining sincerity with crudity and awful stuff happenin'?
Green: What draws me to it is realizing that, though I am (an) introverted guy and have been, comics have always my way of reaching out to people and connecting. I only sort of realized this in the past year or so, and it makes me less against letting myself be vulnerable in the strip and even online. Because that's who I am. This is me. The biggest challenge is being real about it.
People take what they want from it, that's something you can't stop. But you can at least feel good about being you. Maybe someone out there agrees and gets it too.
Nrama: What's coming up in Gunshow? You indicated you have a little storyline going with Satan...
Green: At this point, the storyline with the office girl – unofficially named Ima, tho I have never said it in the strip – who is also Satan, has already happened. Had to figure out if I wanted to leave her as Satan or do a thing where I rip them apart and Satan becomes his own character again, back to status quo. Wondered if people would get confused about all the very little continuity the strip has. Decided to keep her as Satan and moved her down to Hell.
ANYTHING ELSE: uh, back to the same old stuff. Gags and some story strips, maybe. Eggnog is a fun subject in my comics and the grocery store is already selling them.Nrama: Something I'm asking everyone in this series is what new opportunities do you feel have opened up for individual creators and larger companies from doing comics online, along with new delivery systems such as iPads and smartphones, and what creators and companies can do to better take advantage of these opportunities.
Green: I think Shiftylook is doing the best thing right now, which is a big company tagging all these indie and webcomic artists to do webcomics and stuff with Namco's game properties. The biggest thing that is happening here is they are trying something new and another big thing is they are paying people also to make this stuff for them. Wow, what a concept!
Nrama: What are some other comics and creators you're currently enjoying, online and off?
Green: I've been a piece of crap and haven't been catching up with a lot of my peers and others' work. Mostly playing video games. I recently did, however, get my copy of the Cucumber Quest book. That is a great comic. Any of the comics I link to on Gunshow on the right side of the blog are guaranteed hits.
Nrama: What's next for you?
Green: More Gunshow and a short story I am doing for Ryan Estrada's The Whole Story pay-what-you-want comic platform (http://the-whole-story.com/) Won't be up ‘til January, I believe. And working on the next collections for Gunshow and a new midnite surprise book which collects random art and strips from my Tumblr blog.
Head on over to the Gunshow at www.gunshowcomic.com.
Next: Busy webcomic writer Kevin Church takes on a magical quest in Wander! And coming up: Polar with Victor Santos, The Meek with Der-Shing Helmer, and more!