Posted - 01/15/2010 : 12:52:36 PM
Creator/Writer/Artist for Boy, I'd Hate To Be Made Out Of That Stuff!
Published by: Laconil Publishing
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur
Rich: Why did you decide to create this comic?
Robert: Virtually no comic strip in the papers dealt with space aliens so I thought I would give it a try. I’m glad I did because I really like these characters.
Rich: What is the basic storyline?
Robert: Four moon people visit the Earth and become “guests” at the home of Professor Philip Jones. Although he is a music professor, he recognizes this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe alien life up close.
But the moon guys only serve as foils. After all, The Lunar Antics isn’t about elitist moon inhabitants but about us Earthlings!
Now this begs the question why doesn’t anyone else on planet Earth notice these antennal creatures walking around in geeky light blue uniforms? The answer of course is that people want to see what they want to see. And since space aliens don’t exist, the sentient creature babbling technical nonsense must be another person of some kind.
The moon people understand very well the existential threat their presence might mean to the Earthlings. So they only take Professor Philip Jones into their confidence. They demonstrate this confidence by zapping the professor with their blasters.
Rich: Can you tell us about the main characters?
Robert: There are four moon people:
· Zeno is the leader of the gang. His mission is to make sure you know that he is superior to all Earthlings.
· Zed is the shyest and most cautious of the group. He is also particularly good at math.
· Linda knows all too well how poor Elaine must have felt as the only woman in the Seinfeld troop. Well, multiply the obnoxiousness 1000 times when dealing with hyper-advanced moon men. However, Linda more than holds her own with Zeno.
· Drusus is the more philosophical of the group. He spills the beans on why they are invading Earth: tax relief.
And finally there is the sole human who puts up with these guys, Professor Philip Zachary Jones. He borrows the university telescope one fateful day and ends up with four antennal guests. He holds up humanity’s side of the interplanetary battle of wits pretty well.
Rich: How would you describe the art style in the book?
Robert: Simple. Faces are complex and varied things. Everyone’s eyes, mouths and noses are quite different. Yet when we read someone’s expression, we simplify it in our head as simple cartoonish lines such as a single broad ‘u’ for a smile or a v-shaped squiggle for scowling eyebrows.
So simple cartoon drawings effectively and quickly evoke human expressions. And part of the fun is tweaking these lines so they bring characters to life.
Rich: Did you find it easy to use humor to tell this story?
Robert: No, humor is never easy. I am constantly writing down ideas and placing them in a database. Periodically, I scan these ideas and work on them. Then only the ones that become funny (I hope!) are used.
Rich: I often wait a month or so to see if the idea is still funny. I have had the experience of thinking something was really funny then returning a month later and saying to myself “what was I thinking? How did I ever think this was funny?” Time is many times a great editor.
Rich: Why have the aliens be from the moon?
Robert: I wanted them to be local! One of the running jokes of The Lunar Antics is that the moon guys are convinced they are absolutely superior to Earthlings.
Now a couple of billion years ago, both the moon and the Earth were created. But guess what? Over time the Earth transformed itself from a lava nightmare to the beautiful blue globe we know today. And the moon? Well, it’s still basically a rock.
So one could say that their insistence on their superiority is a deep seated jealousy of how nice we have it here on Earth. I would be tempted to call this a Freudian defense mechanism, but I don’t think Freud analyzed space aliens.
Rich: What made you go from a webcomic to the printed page for this comic?
Robert: A comic strip is a video on paper. I draw four frames and the reader’s imagination provides the motion. So I want this type of communication on paper.
Even with the Internet, books still compete very well. For longer works the “technology” of a book is advantageous in terms of lack of glare, portability and iteration of long passages. An anthology of comic strips works well. Although the individual strips are short, the cumulative effect is that of sharing time with characters you have come to care about.
Rich: Where would one order this book from?
Robert: The book is available at LunarAntics.com. Signed copies and free shipping offers are available.
Rich: Will there be more adventures of the Lunar Antic Players?
Robert: I’m creating more strips at the moment for future publication. In the meantime you can read what they are thinking by visiting their Twitter accounts. Zeno’s Twitter name is @LunarAnticsZeno.
Rich: Do you have any ideas for other comics?
Robert: Oh no! Five characters where four of them are antennal already over-tax my ever-dwindling neurons!
Rich: What comics would you recommend besides your own?
Robert: I would highly recommend Bloom County. Since they left the comic pages in the early 1990s, a surprising amount of people don’t know about this great strip in spite of the fact they have been online for quite a while. Right now they are releasing the complete works so this is a good time to check him out.
Rich: What comics did you read growing up and do you read now?
Robert: Before I began the strip I devoured Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Bloom County, Dilbert and Doonesbury.
Unfortunately, I don’t currently read other people’s comics so I have ”plausible deniability” if my ideas coincidentally are the same as another strip. This is a big loss in my reading life, but I think it’s a wise policy.
Rich: How can someone contact you?
Robert: Just visit http://lunarantics.com/contactus.phtml.
Rich: Any final words of wisdom?
Robert: Laugh when you can! And thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.
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