Interview: Monsterplex Artist David Schlotterback (Zuda Competitor)

By - February 22, 2010

Early this month we spoke with SuperFogeys creator Brock Heasley about another comic he has written, Monsterplex, a comedic entry in DC Comics’ February Zuda competition. Monsterplex was #1 at the time. Island Alone has moved into first place, but Monsterplex is running strong. So this week we asked Brock’s Monsterplex artist Dave Schlotterback about the whole process.



Monsterplex art by Dave Schlotterback. We were privileged to be the first to show an advance copy in black and white. Here it is in all its full-color glory.

Llama: How does the process of creating a comic differ when you’re creating it specifically to be a webcomic?

Schlotterback: Well for me, I’ve never made comics any other way. I’m very new to the comic-creating world and I was introduced to it through the webcomic medium. I would think the process would be easier than print form, due to the immediacy of the medium. Coloring can be a bit of a technical headache, as well, when dealing with printing in general when trying to match the color on screen to how the printer will actually print the color on paper. So, I would think in that aspect webcomics provide an easier environment to work in.

Llama: Magazines are failing left and right. Hundred-year-old publications are closing down because the Internet is sapping their readership away. How do you see the relationship between webcomics and comic books?

Schlotterback: I’m sure there could be a symbiotic relationship in there somewhere, however I’m not sure how that would happen. People are generally in front of the internet more than their in front of the newsstand, so once again, the immediacy wins over.  If a publisher was to use the web medium as a way to get readers to go to the newsstand and purchase a print copy that would certainly help. How one could actually do that, I have no idea. I’m by no means a marketing genius.

Llama: What comics do you read – online or in print?

Schlotterback: I honestly don’t read very many comics. I was heavily into comics in my grade school years, but fell out of it once junior high came around. I recently have been reading a little more thanks to Brock (my cohort on Monsterplex), he has thrust several top-notch books in my face and I’ve enjoyed getting in touch with that medium again.  Now that I’m helping create a comic myself, I find that I notice a lot more subtleties in major comics that I never noticed before. Paying attention to the detail in art and noticing the tricks to making the art help the story flow better have been revelations to me when seeing a pro do it for a major publishing company. So, nowadays I read for education on how to improve more than for enjoyment of the story.

Llama: Besides the chance at getting a contract to keep producing Monsterplex, has this competition already benefitted you in other ways?

Schlotterback: Certainly! Exposure is the main thing I’ve been hoping to get out of this experience and exposure I’ve gotten. The amount of people that flood Zuda to see your art can only benefit you, never hinder.

Llama: How did you and Brock meet? Or for that matter, have you met in real life at all? We’ve spoken with creative teams that have not yet met face to face.

Schlotterback: Brock and I work together at the same company. We’re both employed as artists and have known each other for several years. I followed his other comic Superfogeys since it’s inception. I think we’re both admirers of each other’s creative abilities in one way or another. That mutual respect has helped, I’m sure, in the creation of Monsterplex.

Llama: It really seems like more people should be voting on all the Zuda comics. Why aren’t there more? Is it hard to explain Zuda to people?

Schlotterback: Well, one would think it’s not rocket science, but it appears there are still people out there that don’t understand how the internet works. I’ve found most people have trouble or are annoyed at the fact that they have to ‘sign up’ to participate. So, I’m sure that right there knocks several potential voters outta the ring. With that said, I’m not advocating that we do away with the ‘sign up.’ It’s definitely necessary to keep the competition fair and to show DC who’s comic actually is generating response enough for them to invest in.

Llama: Are there ways Zuda could improve the process?

Schlotterback: The biggest complaint I’ve been receiving from people about Zuda in general is that their computers can’t handle all the information that the Zuda site is giving them. Not everyone has a top-of-the-line Mac, so Zuda and anyone making a site should keep that in mind when designing the interface. Other than that, most everyone has been enjoying the process and the competition.

Llama: What are you doing to promote the comic?

Schlotterback: We’ve utilized the big three obviously: Facebook, Twitter and Email. Forums have come in handy. We’ve recently added an ad campaign through Project Wonderful. Our Monsterplex blog has been a major tool as well in creating dialogue between us and the readers. But, more than anything, just word of mouth can get you very far. If it’s good, they will come! I’ve seen people come out of the wood works to support us and that is the most gratifying feeling in the world.

Llama: The comic that was #2 has pulled into #1. Your comic can just as easily jockey back into first. There have been numerous months when the #2 comic surged ahead in the last 48 hours.

Schlotterback: Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

Llama: About the comic itself – Monsterplex deals with such a variey of characters, creatures. Which is the most fun for you to draw?

Schlotterback: Sorry for this generic answer, but they are truly all great to draw because they are all so drastically different from one another. One of the great aspects of Monsterplex, coming from an artist’s point of view, is having so many outrageous creatures and monsters to draw. Nothing opens up creative drawing like a good monster! I always thought the folks who designed the Star Wars creatures had to have had a field day with the universe Lucas created. I feel the same about drawing Brock’s universe. Very satisfying and fun! Thanks for the interview!

Read MONSTERPLEX at Zuda Comics:
If you like what you see, then register, rate it, and vote.

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