Interview: Blitz (Ted Dawson, Zuda Competitor)

By Superherologist - October 21, 2009

Zuda entry Blitz

Zuda entry Blitz

As fans of older comics, we’re always looking for comics that remind us of the classics, whether that means in terms of story, setting, or artistic style. This month’s Zuda Comics competiton from DC Comics includes two black-and-white comics – one currently at #1 in the contest and the other at #10, bookending the ranks. While Pluck struck us as one that would appeal to our blog readers, Ted Dawson’s Blitz seemed most likely to interest the readers of our flagship comic The Ongoing Adventures of Rocket Lllama. So we discussed this month’s competition with Ted.

Llama: Are you a big fan of older comics? Your style for this story would seem to suggest that.

Ted: I’m a fan of any writer/cartoonist who can tell a story well. I’m a fan of old newspaper comics because then cartoonists had more room for storytelling and illustrating. It’s something to see a comic strip stretch across eleven inches in an old newspaper. Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs was on my mind when I came up with Blitz.

I love the work of Stuart Immonen, John Romita, Jr., Mike Kunkel and others. I’m not a big fan of the Jim Lee-inspired stuff.

Llama: People have called your work “Bone-tastic” and “Pogo-riffic,” comparing it favorably to other creators’ works. What do you feel the greatest influences on your work have been?

Ted: Honestly, those comparisons confuse me. I don’t draw anything like Jeff. I’m close to his age, and that’s the way I’ve been drawing forever. The references to Bone are obviously due to the little alien is a character, who I’ve had sitting around in a box of unused sketches for several years. I reckon the Bone references from readers reflect their reading experiences.

I like Walk Kelly, but I’m not influenced by Pogo. It’s well-known that Jeff was, so some assumed I am by association. Cartoonists who have influenced me are Dan DeCarlo, Ernie Colón, Hank Ketchum, Charles Schulz, Milt Caniff, Chester Gould, Jack Kirby, John Romita, Al Hirshfeld, Norman Rockwell, Roy Crane, Frank Thomas, JR Jr.

Llama: Why did you feel the need to tell this particular story?

Ted: I’m a glutton for punishment. Blitz was first designed as a newspaper comic strip. I wanted to write and draw a strip the way I felt they should look: Full-page width with as much action, adventure and humor as I could fit into five panels. One that could easily be adapted to graphic novels. I knew the syndicates wouldn’t accept it, but I just needed to get it out of my system.

Llama: And why did you bring it to Zuda?

Ted: Zuda offered the opportunity to explore the characters further and try to tell a fun story. I thought Zuda might be more forward-thinking than the comics syndicates. I misunderstood how things work at Zuda. I thought each page would appear once a week in succession. Blitz was designed to be read with a break in-between each page/strip. It doesn’t work as an eight-page story. The tension and anticipation get watered down. Just an unsatisfying ending, instead of a sense of “What happens next week?”

Llama: What kind of comics would you like to see more of at Zuda? Or not just at Zuda, for that matter.

Ted: I’d like to see a Zuda for Kids or for All-ages. The Zuda readership seems to be a very tight demographic. When I told friends and family to go read Blitz on Zuda, I had to warn them that some of the other comics weren’t appropriate for all readers. I wouldn’t mind seeing the comics rated in some fashion, or a disclaimer, so readers can be prepared for severed heads with blood pouring out of them.

Llama: How long ago did you actually complete those eight pages?

Ted: Blitz was done earlier in the year in the period of about one week. They were drawn close to the size of the comic strips of the past, at five inches by 25 inches.

Llama: Has Zuda changed your routine for this month? How’s it affecting the people around you?

Ted: Well, Blitz has been given an audience, which is both fun and scary. I’ve placed my work in a popularity contest, which is unsettling. I’m reading comments by readers who love it and hate it.

Llama: Who do you see as the Blitz audience?

Ted: I’d like to see people reading Blitz with their kids.

Llama: If you win, what will you hit the audience with on the very next page?

Ted: Cyborg vampire babes swoop into the alley and confuse our little alien with Bone. They decapitate him and run off with Blitz to Cancun.

Blitz is finishing last at Zuda, so I have to admit I haven’t given much thought to “what happens next.” But if by some reason Blitz works up to the Number One spot and wins, I’ll make a solemn promise: I’ll use the above scenario for the next couple of pages, and I’ll ask “Weird” Al Yankovic to write them.

Llama: And beyond that, what are you most looking forward to?

Ted: I’m working on a children’s picture book in the style of Alex Ross.

Read Blitz at http://zudacomics.com/node/1491.

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