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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So Pen Ward, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and Jaime Hernandez Walk Into Meltdown Comics

Ziggy Comic from all artists that night

Not a joke, not a dream or an exaggeration of them coming in over different periods of time. Pen Ward, Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors; Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim; Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets and Thomas Herpich, Adventure Time, White Clay were interviewed Thursday night. These masters of cartoons and comics were in the dank, sweaty, some how up to code Nerdist Theater in the back of Meltdown Comics on Sunset to a sold out crowd of fans. And man were they nerdy, they are possibly the nerdiest group of people to walk this Earth.

This was all thanks to the Kickstarter-funded Inkstuds 500 Interview Roadtrip Bonanza by Robin McConnel and Brandon Graham, known for King City, Prophet and Multiple Warheads. They were also nerds. They asked questions or at least Robin did, Brandon Graham just wanted affirmations to stories he was telling, about nerdy insight into the comics world and animation. At least one story about Thomas Herpich's hot ex-roomate and another about how much he poops that his landlord told him how to flush rounded out the evening of awkward sigh and silence in-between questions.

No evening may have ever been as nerdy this year at the Nerdmelt Theater. Robin, who was hosting the event made it clear, along with Brandon, starting with, "Weird long walking in." As the comic artist and cartoonists walked in it was at an award pace, silent, so silent that Robin had to make fun of it. They didn't know where to sit, so they awkwardly plunkered down one after the other. In a total nerd moment, not acting cool, Bryan Lee said, " When did they put the lights there, " as he was blinded by them slightly.

Each of them would answer a series of questions, each of them wore glasses and each of them had a mic way too close to their faces. Were the mics put there so they could make it as awkward as possible to see them? The answer is: yes.
Robin (glasses) and Brandon

The first question from Brandon and Robin, "What's the first thing you do at a comic store?" They explained their favorite was ruffling through the example of going though Meltdown's $1 bins.

Jaime, "I go everywhere." Pen, 'I look for minis; stuff with staples, " ending with the sound of "Eh." Lee, " Whatever looks cool, " then he named dropped the layout of Secret Headquarters on how he picked up his favorites.

The questions shifted to the shame and fear some comic book fans have of getting comics and then hiding them. "The shame, " Bryan Lee sounded out. "I'm a shame cartoonist, " Pen Ward said.

Brandon Graham then complimented Adventure Time on multiple levels. Pen Ward replied, "Thanks Man."
Pen Ward

Brandon shifted gears and talked about finding any cosplay for Jaime's Love and Rockets, of which three Google image searches found nothing and Jaime himself couldn't recall any cosplay except for a cosplay contest at a comic store years ago.

"It was like my goal at eleven, " talking about working for Marvel, Brandon was asking about what heroes these indie artists would want to work on if they still cared too. They were all hard pressed. Bryan answered with Cyberforce and X-Men. Jaime with Wonder Woman.

The conversation switched with Tom talking about having to grow up and making a living from his work. He now storyboards on Adventure Time beyond his indie comic starts. He had an almost private, nerdy conversation of what Pen Ward has to do  when it comes to work.
Thomas Herpich and Pen Ward

"I don't have to talk to anybody I don't want to, " Pen said. Thomas was then inked on by Pen if he might be pitching a show and Thomas said he might be.

"Don't bring Phil into this, " Pen told Thomas when asking about working on cartoon shows an acting like an adult. He wasn't the only former AT crew there with Ako Castuera. Still working on the show; Jesse Moynihan and Any Ristatino were also back in the audience. Hannah Nance Partlow, of the Adventure Time: Cookie Capers comic even asked a question to Pen. So some percentile of the audience was heavily involved with Adventure Time.

Pen finally got into which hero he would want to draw. It was Ziggy. "How would that work?, " Brandon asked. Pen asked for a piece of paper and this reporter in the first row was taken notes, so a rip and throw later Pen Ward and the other artists were all doing a Ziggiy comic together. Ziggy farts out of his nose. 

You can see it above.
Bryan Lee O' Malley and Jaime Hernandez blocked by mics

As Pen started doodling Bryan mentioned how he would listen to Final Fantasy soundtracks while doing Scott Pilgrim. Music was still in the ear with Ape Sex, a band in Jaime's comics making a cameo in the interview. The band was real and Jaime was part of it. He stole the name for his comics. Him and his brother also did many fliers for local bands of LA years ago.

"You do make more money by putting a song in your episode, FYI" Thomas said. He was telling Brandon after he mentioned the music in Adventure Time.

Thomas recalled the recent Lemonhope song being made fun of by the voice actress of Princess Bubblegum. Thomas had written it and he remember sitting outside of her recording session while she made fun of how bad it was.
Hannah Parlow asking a question

"I can't do scripts!", Pen Ward shouted. He was conveying how difficult it was when he started Adventure Time. He's first script had Finn and Jake doing funny faces, but on paper it's no way as funny as it would be on a storyboard. 

Brandon mentioned himself working on the show, storyboarding an episode. He brought up a quote picture on the storyboard wall of Adventure Time. "Say a funny joke, make it funnier." Pen got animated about this acting out he's thought process works and pretending to write even sillier jokes.

"I don't feel good about the stuff I make," Pen said. He was telling the audience that he hates looking back on his work.

The hosts brought up if the work they did was an outlet for them. Bryan Lee answered, "Is it like therapy? No, I go to therapy now. It's like analyzing a dream."

Thomas answered, "My comics are beyond personal." This shifted into the personal story of Thomas' bathroom time that beat out the story of Brandon telling us how hot Thomas' ex-female roommate was  exercising in front of them one day. "My landlord told me to wipe in-between my flushes, " he told a shocked, but laughing audience. Brandon asked how does your landlord know such personal happenings. Thomas answered with an old septic tank flooding onto his landlords lawn. This was not a topic easily flushed off.

The interviewed ended as awkward as it began with applause and some of the cartoonists going off into the night or some staying to sign.