KaBoom! will soon be having a "Good mornin'" indeed!
With KaBOOM!'s adaptations of Cartoon Network hits Regular Show, Steven Universe, and of course the pop culture phenomenon Adventure Time already part of their all-ages line, BOOM! is now adding one of the channel's newest popular shows, Uncle Grandpa. Created by Peter Browngardt, Uncle Grandpa debuted last September and became runaway hit. On October 1, 2014, it will make its comic book debut.
The Uncle Grandpa series itself will be sort of a MAD Magazine-inspired with short stories as well as games featuring the show's zany roster of characters. The first issue will feature stories by Adventure Time and Regular Show alums Zac Gorman and Jimmy Giegerich, along with Kevin Burkhalter and Pranas Naujokaitis. Newsarama was able to talk to Gorman and Giegerich about their contributions to the premiere issue, their influences as cartoonists, and why they thought Uncle Grandpa is as successful as it is.
Newsarama: Zac, you have your webcomic Magical Game Time, and freelance as well, and Jimmy, you do the same with your various projects like This Place Sucks and Executioner and Friend. What was it about Uncle Grandpa that made you both sign on for the first issue?
Jimmy Giegerich: I was really excited to start working on Uncle Grandpa mainly because of it's wacky sensibilities and sort of "anything goes" stories. I really appreciate the fact that I can get as, if not more, goofy with the stories for Uncle Grandpa as I do with my own work, which isn't something that many freelance artists are able to do with client work. It seems like my sense of humor fits really well with the show's, so I was really excited to get the opportunity to work on the comics!
Zac Gorman: I love Uncle Grandpa. It's one of the few cartoons left on TV that really goes all in on that "anything can happen" wackiness that I loved from cartoons when I was a kid. It throws everything else out in favor of fun and silliness to the point of absurdity and I love working with the characters.
Nrama: Tell us a little bit about your styles and influences. Zac that David the Gnome piece you did is just astonishing, and Jimmy, that Conan poster is amazing, too!
Jimmy Giegerich: I have a pretty big list of things that influence my art and style, and they're pretty all over the place. It's funny that you mention the Conan piece that I did because I grew up on fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta, Boris, and Brom when I was a kid, and that definitely shaped the kind of stuff that I do today. I've always been (and still am) totally into anything gross and weird, so guys like Ed Roth and Basil Wolverton and things like "Ren and Stimpy" and "Madballs" have always been huge influences on me too. In terms of comic work, I love Japanese horror comics from the 60's by guys like Go Nagai and Kazuo Umezu and I'm really into French comic artists like Joann Sfar, Christophe Blain, and Lewis Trondheim.
Gorman: Thanks! Stylistically, I think I take a lot of influence from French BD artists like Sfar and Trondheim as well, but I kinda filter that through this quintessentially American 90's kid version of pop culture, Nintendo games, Marvel comics, cartoons, manga, there's too much to mention honestly!
Nrama: When you both accepted the the gig, did you need to do a lot of research or were you both fans of the show already?
Jimmy Giegerich: I was actually sort of unfamiliar with the show myself and had only heard about it online or from friends, but once I checked out a few episodes of it I knew that I would take to it pretty easily. Like I said before, the show's sense of humor and my sense of humor seem to line up with one another pretty well, so it wasn't too difficult for me to get into the swing of things when writing and drawing stuff for the comic.
Gorman: I was already a fan of the show! Actually, I'd just wrapped up on storyboarding an episode of "Uncle Grandpa" when I drew my comic for the first issue—which feels a bit like cheating but what are you gonna do?
Nrama: Did you know what you wanted to do for your story or did it take a while to fall into the sensibilities of this world?
Jimmy Giegerich: Like I said earlier, it wasn't too hard for me to come up with stories for the comic. I feel like there's a real "anything goes" sort of structure to the stories and the humor, so I was sort of like a kid in the sandbox when it came to coming up with ideas. I guess the only challenge with coming up with stories for Uncle Grandpa, or any licensed property for that matter, is making sure that you stay true to the characters and the ways that they would react to the events unfolding before them.
Gorman: "Uncle Grandpa" on the surface is this unbelievably lighthearted show, and so my first instinct was to try to find the little tragedies that belie that. I think sadness in the midst of all that happiness is funny.
Nrama: When you started working on your contributions, did you have any particular characters you just had to work on?
Giegerich: Man, I gotta say, I love me some Pizza Steve. I think he shows up pretty significantly in most of the stuff I've written for the series so far.
Gorman: I just wanted to tell a distilled Uncle Grandpa story honestly. He's surrounded by such a wacky cast of characters that are tons of fun to work with but at the end of the day, it's his show and I really dig the core concept of him just going around helping out kids in trouble.
Nrama: On the flip side, did you have any favorite characters that you really wanted to incorporate into your stories but couldn't find room for?
Giegerich: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger cracks me up a lot, and I haven't been able to work him into anything just yet. We'll see if he makes an appearance though!
Gorman: I'm a BIG Pizza Steve fan. He's just terrible. He's such a terrible person. And everybody absolutely knew people like him growing up. In a way you don't blame him for his egomania and compulsive lying because it's obvious that beneath the surface he's really incredibly fragile, but he's just so awful. He's definitely the funniest character on the show.
Nrama: Outside of BOOM!'s already established Cartoon Network adaptations, what is another cartoon you'd love to see adapted into comic form?
Giegerich: Man, I want to see a really rad Herculoids or Silver Hawks comic. Those shows were so cool, and I feel like they were pretty overlooked.
Gorman: That's a good question! I think it might be a little late in the game but I'd love to read a new Pirates of Dark Water series.
Nrama: To finish up, do you have guys have anything down the pipeline you'd like to talk about?
Giegerich: Yeah! I'm currently working a new comic that I'm going to self-publish called Fight Frogs, which is a doofy post-apocalyptic story about rival animal-people gangs rumbling in the wasteland and is coming out at this year's Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD. I'm also working on a new Executioner and Friend story that will probably end up as an ongoing series!
Gorman: Well, I've got my first book, Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers coming out in October from Oni Press and Double Fine. I'm working on a bunch of other projects but they're all so far off that I unfortunately can't share much yet, but I'll be around!