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Interview with KC Green (Gunshow, Horribleville and Others…)

24 Aug

I thought the site needed something big to kick off it off and in the world of webcomics there are few bigger than KC Green. Creator of several hugely popular webcomic series, most famously Horribleville – a semi-autobiographical series – and Gunshow – his current project – as well as countless others. As if that wasn’t enough in his time as a webcomic artist he has spawned memes, done guest work for many other strips and inspired budding artists to make webcomics of their own. With the ability to effortlessly draw the crass, the poignant, the grotesque and the funny we decided to ask this master of webcomics a few questions.

You have to be among the most prolific webcomic artists out there. How have you managed to stay so productive after so many years?

I managed to stay productive due to the desire to draw. It’s what I liked doing as a kid and doing growing up and it just became second nature. If I take breaks from drawing, I start to feel bad and useless. So I do it because it makes me happy and worth…full? Full of worth.

Despite a lack of continuity in your comics you have a large cast of characters you like to return to. What characters are your favourites to write?

Favorites come and go. I can never settle on a set of them and I also like to dip back into some old ones sometimes. I am writing a strip called ‘Literally All I Do All Day‘ or LAIDAD for short. Currently, I like writing the two characters in there because they are parts of me that I try to explore and figure out myself. I go back and forth.

You have quite a few finished series of webcomics. How do you know when it is time to end a series?

A lot of old ones aren’t really finished. A handful or less I would say are finished. A lot of them are abandoned but I keep them up anyway to show people that I didn’t start out great and I messed up a lot too. Anyway, I know something is done just by a feeling I get in my gut. It’s nothing I can calculate. Unless it is a story with a predetermined ending, then you can calculate that.

Your work can be found posted on many different sites as well as being used for meme templates. What do you think of people using your comics to create memes? Does it bother you when people post your work without giving you credit?

I think it used to bother me when it first happened with my Dickbutt comic and Dickbutt drawing, but now, like 4 or 5 years later when a number of of other little drawings of mine have become memes, I just can’t care about it. It’s neat I guess, but I am always making new things that interest me so I try not to dwell on the old stuff. I learned that the people on the Internet communities like 4chan and whatnot do what they like and it evolves naturally through them playing with stuff and that’s just how it is.

Unlike most webcomic artists, you are more well-known than your various series. Why do you think this is?

Most likely because I never had one series that I stuck with that people just knew of. Or maybe doing autobiographical things made people know me more than the comic I was in. I definitely believe it has to do with doing autobiographical comics and being put out there for people to get to know through those. Which is fine, but not always the whole picture.

Horribleville has to be the definitive ‘autobiographical webcomic’, a genre that traditionally isn’t too well-received. What do you think separated it from other comics in the same genre?

I’m not sure. A lot of my favourite autobiographical comics are ones where the artist is shown – flaws and all. Maybe people saw that in HV. It is not for me to say because I am on the wrong side of it all. But I know I tried to make it funny too. Slice of life stuff is fine, but I always have a predisposition to make a little joke out of something or myself.

Was Horribleville therapeutic in any way? Have you since resolved any of the anxieties mentioned during that series?

HV may have been a step in the right direction but I don’t think it was that therapeutic in ways some comics I do now are. I think I was just treating the band-aid and not the cut. Then telling people to look at how funny my Hello Kitty band-aid was. But I’ve got better since.

Gunshow was a return to the style of writing you did before Horribleville – less continuity, gag-based – was there a strong urge to return to that particular type of webcomic?

Yes, there definitely was. Before Gunshow became what it was I had a comic called Droop that was essentially what Gunshow is now and what HV morphed out of. But it was also filled with years of old comics from high school that might be a little daunting for new readers to trek through. Gunshow started at the same time I was still doing Droop (later renamed to Bee Power for no good reason). But when I stopped Droop and kept with Gunshow, which at the time was just a three-panel gag comic, I knew I couldn’t just stick with that forever because it was boring. So I made Gunshow become what it has become and made new characters to mess with, stories to tell, and jokes and weird things to draw.

Gunshow has changed quite a lot over the course of its history, has it developed in the way you expected it to?

I don’t think I expected Gunshow to become what it has, but I knew it had to when I was growing bored with the original three panel premise. I don’t have much of a plan when I start things, which is why a lot of the old comics were just abandoned and I moved onto something else. Luckily, Gunshow became something that can definitely thrive for a while.

You often do guest comics for other series. What do you think the advantages of doing guest comics are?

Exploring other people’s characters can be fun, especially if you’re a fan and had ideas yourself for different stuff. It might also be fun to mess with the format or just to help out your friend with a guest comic spot.

Finally, could you tell us a bit more about your recent Kickstarter project, Benign Kingdom?

Benign Kingdom is a publishing house where we print high quality art books from young and talented artists. I was actually dragged into the first one as a fourth member to round out the first art books, but I am technically a founder of the company and have helped on pre-press, layout and such for this next set of books with new artists. It’s an interesting thing that we never would have been able to do without Kickstarter’s platform and all our fans and everyone being so down for the idea of what we’re doing.

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