MisFit Month: Un - Censored Imaginations!

By Kevin Scott
July 17, 2005 - 16:18

Easy Cats :)

If this is your first visit to the Comic Book Bin, you’ve stepped into out third instalment of MisFit Month.

In Week #1 we got to meet the Co-Founders of MisFit Comics. Week #2, we got a more in-depth look at The Line from Shannon Chenoweth: & Eric Gravel.

And this time round we’ve got MisFit’s very own comedy duo…………(think Laurel & Hardy on crack) Alysha & Colin Mck!


Rain Coats Not Included

(1) Koncise: Yes Alysha, Colin, welcome to the Da Bin. How are you both keeping?

Alysha Mck: Drained, happy, and feeling creative. Plus, a little crazy.

Colin Mck: Busy. Very busy.

(2) K: How long have you been into comics?

AM: I remember reading the likes of Betty and Veronica when I was a little kid, but I was reintroduced to comics by my friends in high school. They had me watch the old "Pryde of the X-Men" cartoon, and since we liked to call each other goofy names, we decided that I was Dazzler. Oh boy, they didn't realize what kind of monster they created. I've been reading since then, so I'd say about 14 years.

CM: I read comics on and off while growing up. I was never really into them until I was in high school and a friend turned me on to titles like X-Men and Grendel. I didn't have the money in college to keep up with my habit, so I dropped them again until I met Alysha. She reminded me of what I was missing.

(3) K: What do you read right now?

AM: Too much. Almost anything by Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, or Mike Oeming; books like Fables, The Walking Dead, Strangers in Paradise. Ultimate books. As much as I love indie books like Hero Happy Hour or Western Tales of Terror, I'm an old school Marvel zombie for the most part. I'll read just about anything someone sticks under my nose.

CM: Too many titles to keep track of, I'm afraid. Ones that come to mind are The Walking Dead, Kabuki, Fables, New Avengers; I tend to follow writers instead of titles or characters, as far as mainstream titles go. I'm also big into small press and independent creators and titles so I pretty much just follow my nose with them. It's how I discovered creators like Adrian Tomine, John Greiner and Becky Cloonan.

(4) K: When in your minds did you decide to make the transition from jus reading to creating?

AM: I've always been a writer -- my fifth grade teacher used to have us write stories, and then they'd be typed and bound. I tried to write a novel when I was about 12 years old. Colin and I worked on a text roleplaying game and thought that some of our characters needed more stories. This just seemed so natural to me, and marrying someone who's a great artist helped immeasurably.

CM: It was the late 90s, if I recall correctly. I've been drawing most of my life, but I remember I hadn't been doing it for a while and decided it was time to start back up. I wanted to see where I was as an artist. Alysha and I always seem to come up with cool ideas for stories, and it occurred to us both that maybe we should try our hands at something not entirely unlike the books we were reading. That was probably late 1998 or early 1999. We were both working jobs we hated and needed a creative outlet to keep ourselves sane.

(5) K: So what do you think was the catalyst for this creative turn?

AM: It really is a way of blowing off steam for me; the book originally started as a large woman running around in lingerie shooting at things we didn't like, such as rap-rock fans. Quite a bit
like Evan Dorkin's "22 Bullets for Stupid" strip. We thought it was funny, then refined it more and more to make it something that wasn't just a gimmick.

CM: Well, working a shit job certainly got me off my butt to start working toward something I could actually enjoy. If it weren't for that, I'd probably still be drawing for my own amusement. I've never been very good at keeping my nose to the grindstone for a paycheck. The 9 to 5 work was a drain on me emotionally and psychologically and working on and drawing the stories Alysha and I came up with in our spare time was the only thing that made sense to me.

(6) K: So who does what?

AM: We're very much a creative team. It's very fluid as to who does what, but for conventionality's sake, I do the words, he does
the pictures. Trust me, you don't want me doing the art. We really temper each other.

CM: Our creative process is something we work on together. I might come up with an idea for an interesting character and tell Alysha and then we'll try to develop it into something we can stomach. I think that's my favourite part of the whole thing: breathing life into a new character. However, the short of it is that I'm the artist and she's the writer. Everything else that goes into it is a joint effort.

(7) K: In regards to the art, Colin, what sorts of references do you use to help with your imagery?

CM: If it's not already in my head, I'll just google image search whatever I'm looking for. I want to know how something looks before I decide how I want to draw it. Once I draw something a few times, though, unless it's something very specific, I won't need a reference.

(8) K: How long does it take you to put an issues art together (from a cover, to a page)?

CM: Too damn long comes to mind. I'm working on the art for our first Anthology at Misfit Comics and it's taken me a couple of months so far. It might end up being three altogether, but I think it's all subjective to what I'm working on. I have a variety of art styles I like to use and some take longer to render than others, so factor all that together and you get fleeb.

(9) K: Several art styles, how do you decide which to use for a project?

CM: I read the script to get a feel for what's going with the mood and the environment and decide what sort of message the writer is trying to put across. Then I consult the bones.

The bones say... NOTHING!

(10) K: And what do you want your covers to portray to the reader?

CM: I tend to prefer setting a mood or tone with covers over anything else. If someone sees one of my covers and thinks it looks like it could be a fun book, I'm happy with that. Covers also tend to be my greatest outlet for experimentation and I try to have fun with them where I can.

(11) K: And with the writing Alysha, do you give yourself windows in which to complete an issue or set number of pages?

AM: I've learned not to rush myself and just write when it feels right. If I try to write when it's not flowing, it either comes out garbled or I sit and over-edit. The first issue ended up being about five years in the making. I've often said that completing that script felt like giving birth.

(12) K: Well at least it didn’t give you stretch marks lol

What puts you both in the mood to do all this?

AM: Music helps a good bit. One thing I love to do is decide what musical style each character likes, and it really helps me to write. I have a folder on my PC marked "Writing Music" and it's full of things like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Michael Buble, and Sammy Davis, Jr. It just gets my creative juices flowing.

CM: I too listen to music while I'm working. I plop on the headphones and block out the rest of the world. I'm far too easily distracted to get any real work done without them so when it’s time to draw I lock the doors and windows and forward my mail. Seeya in a week or so.

(13) K: Chicago, Wizard World, that’s when your books dropping, right?

AM: The Full Figure Porn Scrapbook! It's from the point of view of our main character, Jamie. He's just a normal guy who was sucked into a life of superhero sidekickery as a teen, so he has a lot of oddball memories that your average person wouldn't have. He's going to be giving people a taste of where he's been, what he's done, and the absolutely insane people he's done it with.

CM: Yeah, actually. I told Alysha I thought it might be interesting to put together a book that would give the reader a peek into the story without it being an issue one. People would ask us if it's a preview or whatever, and I'm pretty loathe to label it anything other than it's something related to Full Figure Porn so just read it and see. But that description pretty much pisses in the eye of functionality, so we compromised and decided to call it a scrapbook. And that's just what it's going to be: a book full of scraps.

(15) K: So this initial book is like Jamie’s Journal?

AM: Pretty much. Pictures made to look like photographs, things scribbled in the margins, various doo-dads and extras. Jamie is just trying to get this all down and since he's a lot like me, this is exactly how he'd do it.

CM: Yeah. The idea was this scrapbook was what Jamie used before he signed on the blog. Now he puts everything that would go in the scrapbook on there. Isn't that the point of having a blog? No? Well, it is for him. So nyah.

(16) K: Was Rick Jones (Marvels sidekick supreme) an influence for you, in creating Jamie?

AM: You know what's funny? I hadn't even thought about him at all until you mentioned that. Jamie was originally a very minor player in the story, an afterthought. He was basically going to be the driver for the group of heroes, and possess a few computer skills. As we discussed him more and more, it just became natural that he was the lead. He's the anchoring character, the ordinary in the world of extraordinary.

CM: Alysha created Jamie. I created sliced bread.

(17) K: Making Jamie the new focus of the story, did that mean many changes to the framework you had in place?

AM: To a degree. Originally, we were going to open with Big Beat's origin, which takes place in the 1970s, and jump to the present day, with the bulk of the team being teens. Focusing more on Jamie meant making them older -- and therefore closer to our age – in modern day. It also opens us up to a lot more potential stories. I
couldn't be happier that it changed.

CM: It didn't feel like it for me. We're always trying to push the envelope with things like point of view and character interpretation, so it's no big thing. Every one of our characters has at least one story to tell, so it's just a matter of who to focus on. Jamie was a natural choice because he's just like you and me and everyone else. He's the easiest to relate to.

(18) K: OK, gravy :)

So what made you call it Full Figure Porn?

AM: Because Colin's a total pervert. And we know that sex sells!

CM: The fine details to this story are a bit fuzzy for me, but we were looking at women's clothing several years ago and I was drooling over the lingerie, as per usual. I asked Alysha if there was a section of said lingerie for full-figured women and she asked why. Why? For full-figured porn, naturally. This is the point where the lightbulb appeared over our heads and I mentioned how Full Figure Porn would be a great title for a comic book. So, apparently we take our own suggestions.

(19) K: So the title came before the story & concept?

AM: Very much so. We're usually saying things like "That would be a great name for a band/show/movie/etc" so why not a comic? We had
a silly title, and built the concept around it. It's a reminder to keep it goofy.

CM: Yeah, which is funny, because we usually come up with concepts and then agonize over what to name them. We should probably spend more time coming up with good names and working on the story from there, but then it would start raining amphibians and the sun would turn blood red and there would be fornication in the streets and oh look my kitty wants to play.

(20) K: Starting with the title as a building block, is there more pressure to find something sustainable to fill it out?

AM: Most of the time, I do tend to come up with a name first.
This one was a bit tougher though, since it's such a broad subject.
Porn? What do you do with porn? Our original idea was just so goofy, and there was no way to sustain it. I was at work one day -- when we were working for an online bookseller -- and came up with a faux-noir detective-type character named Jacqui Kerouac, after my favourite beat poet. Because of that, and the fact that I was listening to The Doors' "Texas Radio and The Big Beat," a character was born.

CM: Coming up with a name first tends to give a story a little more weight for me. It's like it already has a general mood, point of view, commentary and a slew of other stuff built into it. When I think of the name, I automatically have a focus. Then I just have to help birth the characters and raise them and get to know them and see where their lives lead them. Really, coming up with a title first allows me to skip to the characters. They're my favourite part of the process. They're some of the best people I'll never meet.

(21) K: OK, Alysha, when you create a character in the manor of Jacqui Kerouac, how long does it take to flesh out a story?

Or sometimes, do you have to let these cats fall to the wayside, as nothing comes to mind?

AM: I tend to save characters until something comes to mind that would be perfect for them. We've got a bunch of supporting characters just sitting in the wings, waiting for a story to appear. Very few characters are unceremoniously dumped.

(22) K: What was the creative process behind the books conception?

AM: Colin and I will sit there and say to each other "Wouldn't it be funny if..." and go from there. Or it might start with a sketch. One time, I asked him to draw me a busty pirate wench because, hey, I dig pirates. We liked what he drew so much that she became a character in the book.

CM: Well, I tend to refer to my sense of humour as simply "warped". So really, Full Figure Porn is a culmination of all the little warped things Alysha and I come up with while we're together. A lot of it comes from situations we find ourselves in while we're out together. Maybe we're at the grocery store or the department store or the arms dealer or the mob-affiliated night club/strip joint/whorehouse/crackhouse/landfill. Maybe we'll hear a scrap of conversation we find particularly funny or whatever. It's pretty much no-holds-barred when it comes to material for the book. Don't be surprised to see a bastardization of this interview sometime in the future.

(23) K: So does that mean I’ll see a check in the post lol

Did you, or do you have any fears that the title could scare off potential readers?

AM: Quite frankly, if someone is turned off by the title of the book, I don't know if I want them reading what's inside. It's a makes you want to know more about it. It pretty much sums up our sense of humour and if you can't get past those few words, you're not going to like the book itself.

And if we start making money off of this thing, Kevin, you'll get your check!

CM: Oh I hope so. Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Boo indeed.

(24) K: With the title, it implies that this book will break from the norm and interject characters of normal and differing sizes, within its pages.
What made you want to run with this ball?

AM: Of our main cast, two are plus-sized women, and one of them is in her late 40s. Being a "big girl" myself, we're not well represented in comics. In a world where Francine from Strangers in Paradise is lauded as a breakout character -- and don't get me wrong, SiP is my favourite book! -- you just don't see anything other than stick thin females with big boobs and hips. We're trying to project real people in this book, not idealized bodies.

CM: Alysha is right. There really aren't enough big girls, or for that matter, normal looking people in comics. And by normal, I mean people looking like people. I've always had this crazy notion that there's the real world and there's the comic world. In the comic world, all men are muscular, all women are gorgeous, and all wrongs are eventually righted by people who really have no business tackling any problem more complicated than eggs or pancakes for breakfast. I prefer to create comics that are set in our world, where most men can't get off the couch long enough to answer the door, women really don't care if you think they look good without makeup and wrongs stay wrong, pancakes or no. It's average people who are the most interesting to me because they're already skimming the ocean floor and they have any and every opportunity to do something new and different. Bill collector on the phone? Not now, Sir, I have delicates to wash and the Woolite expires in fifteen minutes!

(25) K: This will definitely be nice to see within comics. I mean, everyone has usually got a six pack, even little kids.

This’ll be a completely new genre……Normal People Comics lol

Can you give us a breakdown on what to expect from it?

AM: Wow, that's a tough question. Expect a lot of different sides to the story -- stupid comedy, light drama, romance, action, adventure...we have it all. Mostly, expect silliness and a fun little story that we've been honing for years.

CM: We like to think it's funny. I suppose that's up to the individual. But really, beyond that, we don't even know. This book is like genetic experimentation of the highest order, except we promise its animal friendly. Sure, there will be recurring characters and its set in the city where we live, but it's my experience that too many expectations can lead to disappointment. So you can expect it to be released as often as we have something to print and that it will still be Full Figure Porn. Beyond that, it's going to be an enigma.

(26) K: What format is this series, on-going, one-shot, etc?

AM: Yes. I pretty much expect to write it in a similar fashion to David Mack or Matt Wagner: a new mini-series for a story arc. We're dealing with a large portion of a 30 year olds lifespan, and we can write stories from when he was a teenager, or from the present, or anywhere in between. There's a lot of me in Jamie, so whatever you see is going to come from either my experiences or from my weird imagination.

CM: The primary format is a blog created and maintained by the main character and narrator of the story. It's a book about his life, really. I almost consider Alysha and myself observers, or documenters, and it's our job to tell the rest of the world what's going on with him. It's an ongoing story, but we're going to experiment with as many formats as we can muster. Life's just one big erector set. That's why we've come armed with Full Figure Porn.

(27) K: So we shouldn’t expect a set number of issues a year, but we should expect the story to continue?

AM: Defnitely. The book will come out whenever we're able to get it out and have a story to tell. And I have LOTS of stories in me with this bunch. They're like my crazy extended family.

CM: As long as there's porn, we'll be giving it a full figure.

(28) K: lol

You mentioned you’re also doing an Anthology book. Can you tell us a bit about that?

AM: It was fun, it was last minute, it's a testament to Colin's different art styles. It's essentially three true-life stories – one melancholy, one funny, one disturbing. Top that off with a nice fantasy short, and you have our Antho.

CM: Basically, the Anthology is an opportunity for the Misfit studio creators to showcase stories that aren't tied to their regular titles. It's called In Every Direction and it's going to have four stories with a children's storybook theme. We ran into some problems with having enough artists to cover it so I volunteered to draw the whole thing. And I'm glad I did. It's given me the opportunity to play with something different and cut my teeth in the comics industry in a big way. I think the Anthology is quite indicative of what to expect from Misfit Comics and I hope the readers will find it enjoyable. It has a forty-year-old man's naked rear end in it too, so that will automatically increase its collectability.

(29) K: You mention that this was short notice, why is that?

AM: It was put together rather quickly, by people who didn't really know what they were doing, i.e., us. I'm sure more time wouldn't have helped, we would have still been total doofuses about it.

CM: When we decided to finally do this thing I had maybe two months to get it done. Sure, pros could probably crank that out in two
weeks, but I'm new to this, so it certainly felt like last minute.

(30) K: Colin, did you purposely use different art styles with each story?

Or did the story dictate the art style to you?

CM: They dictate on purpose. Usually, I read the script and decide from there what style would fit best. In the case of the Anthology, since we already had a children's book theme, I decided to make them all cartoony to go with that.

(31) K: Was there a consensus to use real-life stories, or was it just coincidence that it turned out like that?

AM: Originally, I had two stories I was working on -- a story about one of our mascots, Mickey Fitzgerald, as well as the one that
was basically venting about my job. Venting became a priority for me, so that's the one that ended up in the Anthology. The rest was purely a co-winky-dink.

CM: Pure coincidence. I said I needed stories for the Anthology and Alysha and I decided on the theme after the fact. I thought it would add an interesting spin.

(32) K: Can you tell us who worked on each story?

AM: Shannon Chenoweth, writer of The Line, wrote the first story that appears; mine is the omega to her alpha.

CM: The other two stories were written by Tessana Nemenski, one of the Misfit Comics co-founders, and her artist on The Distance, Kayla Tepps.

(33) K: And any hints on what the stories are about?

AM: I don't want to give too much away, but you can see a nice preview on our forums -- Colin recently posted all of Tessana's story. That'll give you a nice taste. :)

CM: Thirty-six pages. There's some adverts in the back, too!

(34) K: Is there anything else you’d like to touch on before the cats in white coats take you………I mean, before you go?

AM: Hmm. Just to come check out the Misfits table at Wizard World Chicago if you're there, and make sure to take a peek at the FFP Scrapbook. It's a neat little look at our characters.

CM: Everything's been covered with my stylish yet sensible leather trench coat -- for now.

(35) K: Well, thanks for stopping by. This has been……scary…..but fun :)

Would you come back after this first arc or to talk bout other projects?

AM: Only if we can be even freakier next time. Deal?

CM: Of course. I like scaring you.

K: OK cats, I hope you enjoyed this third installment of MisFit Month.

I’m going to sign into the witness protection programme now, cause these weirdo’s have my e-mail address. But I still bring you next weeks goodness (from a secure location).

So remember to tune in and hear what the lovely Tessana Nemenski & Kayla Tepps have to say about the weight they intend to drop on the streets!

But if you want to talk to the crew before then, you can always stop by the MisFit Comics Message Boards! and pop a question there.


Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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