Interview with Christopher Reineman (Feel Afraid)

19 Oct

If the title alone doesn’t tell you, Feel Afraid is a comic series in a world which is often despairing, supernatural and unsettling. Yet here the demons are lovelorn and the ghosts are weighed down under the pressures of haunting houses. This is where the strip’s success lies, in creating a disturbing world with characters who are strangely loveable.

The title ‘Feel Afraid’ immediately establishes the darkly comic nature of your series. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the title?
The title seems to have caught on well, I didn’t really think much of it when I started making the comic but I’ve never heard anything negative about it so I guess I did well.

Your comic can be very unsettling, often focusing on the supernatural and horrific as well as issues of existence and mortality. What attracts you to these themes?
I’m really into the sort of theme of the realism of being alive and how it can be interesting or boring, and adding an aspect of supernatural stuff to it? Sorry if that might be a boring answer but it’s something that just comes naturally so I’ve never thought about it much.

Many of the typically supernatural characters are portrayed as having everyday problems and anxieties. Why is this such a good source of comedy?
I suppose because there’s something really relatable about everyday anxieties and fears, and when you put those issues into some sort of of creature that’s normally seen as being very removed from real life – there’s a humour to it. Or something.

Are there any characters in your strip that stand out as favourites to write? Any that fans particularly love?
I could honestly write Tiny Ghost comics every day but I don’t really want to overdo that. People seem to be pretty into Tiny Ghost, which is understandable – he/she is pretty cute.

There are hints of other dark writers and cartoonists on your work, a few strips that wouldn’t be out of place in a Lovecraft novel. What are your influences?
As far as dark writing I don’t think I can pick out any solid influences. It’s all about notions really, a bunch of novels and pop culture mixing around in my skull.

The artistic style of Feel Afraid has strengthened as the series progressed, something quite common with webcomics. Is this because you became more confident about your skills and the nature of the strip, or are there other reasons why the style has developed?
Really what I’ve tried to make sure of is that I ALWAYS have fun making the comic, and one thing I don’t find fun is sticking to just one style or not changing for the sake of keeping an aesthetic or something. I’ve also become a lot more comfortable with drawing.

You used Kickstarter to help establish the strip and get it going. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Well, the strip started out on a forum with a pretty limited number of readers and I was strapped for cash so I just made a Kickstarter to get money for a site. It worked out well! Was funded within 24hrs, I’m pretty sure with enough to get hosting for a year or so.

Facebook is not as commonly used by webcomic creators to market their work as other sites. You use it for Feel Afraid however. Are there any advantages Facebook provides that other sites are unable to when it comes to marketing your comic?
Honestly that’s a bit of a mystery to me but people seem to like it. I use rss feeds to follow comics myself, but I just try to make Feel Afraid as available as possible to however people prefer keeping up.

Finally, what is the future for you and Feel Afraid?
We’re going to drive this comic car off a cliff and explode in a million pieces.


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