Category Archives: Uncategorized

Non Sequitur Coloring Bears

Hi. Yes, I’m still here. Just wanted to post this.


(All copyrights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

About a year ago, Wiley Miller, of Non Sequitur fame, started treating his Sunday strip as a (roughly) once-a-month coloring page. He’s gotten some push-back on this from some of his more hostile readers (who apparently don’t like his political views), but on the whole the reception for these strips has been overwhelmingly positive. The artwork is great, the scenes are imaginative, and even in black and white they’re fun to look at.

Unfortunately, while the Japan Times does run Non Sequitur occasionally, they don’t have the Sunday strips. On the other hand, I do get the Sunday comics pages from two different papers from family in the U.S. twice a year. And in the latest batch, I received these two strips. I also have a small collection of 10 colored pencils – not enough to get a lot of nuanced shades of any given color, but adequate for this job. Note that the camera washed-out a lot of the color and the uniformity of the pencil work. The photos are close enough to give a pretty good idea of what the finished coloring work looks like. (Using a scanner would have been worse.)

It’s oddly satisfying coloring in the panels, but a little stressful having to sit still and shade in everything like this. I am amazed at myself, when I look at the finished strips – I think they look pretty good. There’s no particular reason to keep them, though. It might be different if Wiley had a full coloring book for sale, I’d be tempted to keep that after I was through, but he says that he’s got no plans for collecting the Sunday B&W strips into a book because there’s no money in it.

Might be justification for putting together a kickstarter…

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The Joys of Microsoft – And a New Hiatus

Ok, so I have this little laptop PC that I bought as a discontinued product a little less than 6 years ago. The fan has always been a bit noisy, and for months the system status has said that I should buy a replacement battery. But it’s been a real soldier, acting as both my work machine, my photo touch-up system, and my video editor. So, a few days ago I had to prep the laptop for use on Google Hangouts for a Japanese translation course I’m taking. As I’m going through the Hangouts setup, I notice that the internal microphone on the laptop is permanently on. This is not ideal, because an outsider could hijack it and use it as a listening device. So I go through all the Windows menus for changing the microphone settings, and none of them actually disable the internal mike. By “accident” I click on “advanced settings” on one of the screens and the next thing I know, I’m in the activation screen for Microsoft Voice Recognition.

I don’t want this so I exit out. Unfortunately, Microsoft has other plans. Over the next couple hours, I’m getting random characters showing up in the documents I edit, and corrupting filenames as I try to type them in. I try deactivating the internal mike again, and to find some way to turn off voice recognition. Every time something appears to be working, the noise comes back. I try cutting up a new headset microphone jack and soldering the wires together to ground the input lines to make a dummy jack, and that only works for a short while. The noise comes and goes, with no real pattern. Sometimes it looks like it might be the keyboard burning out, other times an oversensitivity of the touch pad mouse. I don’t use the keyboard, I deactivate the touch pad, and even if the noise subsides for a bit, it still eventually comes back worse than before.

I went online to see if anyone else had the same problem and if there’s a fix for it. I found a few people pleading for help in deactivating Microsoft voice recognition as far back as 2010, and no one had ever gotten a solution that worked for them (a few people turned off their speakers to prevent feedback whistles, and had tried taping over their microphone slots, but Microsoft apparently just voted to ignore the issue).

Bottom line is that I’ve had to wrestle my way through the mess in copying my files off the old laptop and on to a new machine. I don’t know if there’s a point to sending the old laptop to a repair center to have it cleaned up and a fresh copy of Win 7 reinstalled on it. But, I may be willing to pay for that, because I prefer using a smaller keyboard than what I have on the new machine. Thanks a lot, Microsoft!

Anyway, it’s taking time to set up the new machine with all the applications I need, and things have been really slowing down on Basket Case the last couple of months. It’s been getting increasingly harder to get cartoonists to respond back to my requests for interviews, or to give me their answers after I send them the questions. I think I may have to take a hiatus and rethink my approach to how I run Basket Case. In the meantime, thank you, everyone, for your support of the blog so far, and I apologize for wimping out like this. I don’t know about you, but *I* enjoy reading these interviews, at least.

Bill Holbrook interview

I wrote about my interest in Bill Holbrook’s works in March, and I’m happy to say that Basket Case is proud to be a patron of Kevin and Kell. [Edit: Added the strip I appear in.]


(Me, in the KnK universe.)


BC: What personal information do you think is important for readers to know about you?
BH: I grew up in the Space Age atmosphere of Huntsville, Ala. in the 1960s. On graduating from Auburn University I was hired by The Atlanta Constitution as an editorial staff artist. After several attempts at syndication, my office strip On the Fastrack was picked up by King Features and debuted in 150 papers on March 19, 1984. Eleven days before that I’d met Teri Peitso on a blind date. We were married on Pearl Harbor Day, 1985, and now have two daughters. That also gave birth to a second strip about kids called Safe Havens.


(from Safe Havens)

BH: In September 1995 I began a new strip called Kevin & Kell which is now the internet’s longest running daily webcomic. I was named Cartoonist of the Year at the 1998 Pogofest, an annual gathering in Waycross honoring the great Walt Kelly and Pogo. Kevin & Kell was given the Ursa Major Award in 2003 for Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, and in 2016 it was one of three nominees for the National Cartoonists Society’s Silver Reuben award for Best Online Comic (Short Form).

BH: I also collaborated on the comic book A Duel in the Somme, written by Ben Bova and Rob Balder.

BC: Do you consider yourself an artist, cartoonist, or something else? How did you get started as that?
BH: The term cartoonist best sums up my skill set, so it’s what I’ve always called myself.

BH: As for getting my start, there were a number of crucial moments. In one sense you might say my start was drawing constantly as a two-year-old, but the biggest leap was in July 1983 when King Features responded positively to my submission of On the Fastrack. They flew me to New York to meet the staff, and I signed the contract in December of that year. Fastrack debuted in papers on March 19, 1984.

BC: Which of your works are you happiest with or most proud of?
BH: I’m proud of all of my works, but I’m always trying to improve them. I keep introducing new elements so they stay fresh.

BC: Where can we find your collections?
BH: Readers can find all of my books at the Bill Holbrook Store.

BC: How do you get started when you sit down in front of that blank sheet of paper?
BH: I write every weekday, and the process begins by focusing on the characters of which strip I’m writing for that week. From that point I let my mind wander, imagining scenarios that force the characters to respond. Usually they surprise me.

BC: Your strips have been running on “cartoon” time, so one year strip time isn’t one year of real time. Yet, your characters age and go through various life changes. How do you decide to have a strip leap forward a few years to get to the next stage (Rudy graduating high school, Coney exiting diapers and entering school, the Safe Havens kids growing up, etc.)?
BH: The strips all take place on different time lines. Safe Havens is completely chronological, currently depicting life in April 2017, and the characters age accordingly. In Kevin & Kell the characters age, but slowly; since the strip’s debut in 1995, five years have elapsed. Fastrack takes place in “comic strip time” in which the characters are frozen at specific ages, yet always interacting with current events. This leads to some anomalies, like that in Fastrack Dethany will always be a lowly personal assistant, but in Safe Havens we’ve seen that she has risen to become the project manager for humanity’s first mission to Mars.


(from On the Fastrack)

BC: What was the inspiration for Dethany, and why move the focus of On the Fastrack from a group of functional computer geeks to a death-obsessed goth? Has her reader popularity changed over time? Has she generated any reader push-back? Has anything about her surprised you within, or outside the strip? [Followed by: How popular have the strip-related twitter accounts been? What was the rationale behind setting them up? Have there been any advantages or drawbacks to having the accounts, or having the presence of the strips in so many web outlets?]
BH: Dethany’s arrival in Fastrack was entirely by accident. When I created her I figured I’d get a few gags out of her unusual nature before she moved on, but I was astounded at how easily the material flowed when she interacted with the other characters. That was confirmed when the strips featuring her began appearing, and readers would send me messages simply saying how much they loved her. None of this was part of a master plan, but I went with it.

BH: This naturally leads to the question about social media. It was online interaction with the readers that reinforced my initial feeling that I was on the right track with Dethany.

BC: Are there any real differences between doing a webcomic versus a syndicated newspaper strip? Which format do you prefer? Kevin and Kell seems to offer you the greatest leeway in terms of addressing social issues (trans-species/transgender, mixed marriage, non-traditional family structures, etc.) – Does political commentary belong in a family “comic”?
BH: Webcomics don’t have to follow the same format restrictions that newspaper comics do, but I still work within them for Kevin & Kell since I’m most comfortable inhabiting those structures.


(from Kevin & Kell)

BH: That said, I created Kevin & Kell expressly as an outlet for social commentary that newspaper editors might find uncomfortable. I knew that my stances would generate some hostility in certain quarters, but that was part of the terrain I chose to take. The good news is that the positive comments have outweighed the negative ones by 100 to 1.

BC: I know that this interview is going to be printed too late for this question to be relevant, but are there any plans for any of the characters in the strips to do something for Earth Day (Apr. 22)?
BH: I don’t have anything planned in the strips for Earth Day, but I do plan to personally take part in the March for Science in Atlanta that day.

BC: [Later] How did that go?
BH: The march went very well. I haven’t seen the official numbers, but the crowd was in the thousands. It took about an hour to cover the 2-mile route around Candler Park, which is in a residential neighborhood close to downtown Atlanta. Here’s a picture of me and my sign. 🙂

BC: With Samantha’s current involvement in preparing for the Mars mission in Safe Havens, have you gotten much in the way of a reaction from NASA or any other space program world-wide? Are there any Safe Havens strip clippings on the fridge on the ISS? What’s your reaction to the Trump administration’s plans to cut funding to NASA or any other program?
BH: I grew up in the space program, as my father worked for the company that tested the boosters of the Apollo and Space Shuttle rockets. Obviously I have a personal emotional investment in NASA’s funding. I haven’t gotten any feedback on the Mars mission in Safe Havens, though, but that may change when they launch in January.

BC: Are there any plans for future story lines for any of the strips you’d like to tell your readers about?
BH: I have plans for future stories in Kevin & Kell and Safe Havens, but they’re all surprises. (For the latter all I can say is, yes, they’ll be going to Mars.) For Fastrack, I let trends in technology and cyberspace determine the direction. (It was that intentional openness to improvisation that allowed Dethany to take center stage.)

BC: After going over your bio again, I went back and reread the Duel in the Somme. What was it like working on that? Any high points or challenges? I also follow Erfworld, so, how was it working with Rob Balder? Did you use any reference materials for the planes or battle fields?
BH: I drew Duel in the Somme during the first half of 2010, and I really enjoyed stretching my illustration muscles. The requirement was that the planes would be historically accurate down to every detail, which meant a *lot* of research on Google. I worked directly with Rob Balder, which was a fun collaboration. He’s a true Renaissance man.

BC: Kevin has been kind of a mirror for the progression of computer technology ever since KaK started. Are there any trends you predicted successfully? Any trends that you regret had died out? Any tech trends you’d like to predict now?
BH: I wish I had crystal ball to see tech developments ahead of time, but the industry continues to surprise me.


Exhume Yourself

BC: If your strips had soundtracks, what would they be?
BH: It’s hard to say what kind of soundtrack would accompany my strips, since they all involve a wide emotional range. It would depend on the situation, and be fairly eclectic. That said, there’ve been three songs for which I wrote the lyrics:
Dethany- Exhume Yourself
Bambi- Free Range Love
Kevin and Kell- Underneath the Fur
BH: The voice on the songs “Exhume Yourself” and “Free Range Love” is my sister, Susan Holbrook Ridarick. She’s a professional singer. “Underneath the Fur” was created by Tom Smith.

BC: Do you follow any other comic strips right now?
BH: I’m a fan of any comic that’s created with personal honesty and possesses a unique perspective.


Underneath the Fur

BC: Any appearances scheduled for conventions?
BH: I have three appearances coming up this year:
June 30-July 2 Anthrocon, Pittsburgh PA
Aug. 10-12 Otakon, Washington DC
Sept 1-4 Dragoncon, Atlanta GA

BC: If Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or anyone similar ever succeeds in establishing a commercial tourist business for space travel, would you buy a ticket (for yourself or for someone else?)
BH: While I’d love to go, I’m afraid my skill set wouldn’t be much use on an interplanetary voyage, even as a tourist. 🙂 I’ll just leave that to the professionals who know what they’re doing. Like Samantha.

(All artwork here has been reproduced with the permission of the artist. Fastrack and Safe Havens (c) 2017, King Features Syndicate, World rights reserved. Kevin & Kell (c) 2017, Bill Holbrook, World rights reserved)
(This interview is the copyright (c) of Curtis H. Hoffmann 2017. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author.)

Congrats to Greg Cravens!

Reprinted from the Hubris site with permission from the artist.

Memphis Cartoonist Named to Board of National Cartoonist Society (NCS)
Memphis, TN: The National Cartoonist Society (NCS), formed just after WWII by cartoonists returning from USO tours to entertain U.S. troops overseas, has named Memphis-based cartoonist Greg Cravens to their incoming board of directors. The decision comes after Greg was the local coordinator of an NCS/St. Jude event last May. The event brought more than 200 internationally known cartoonists to Memphis to draw for St. Jude patients and to fundraise through a series of cartoon art auctions and live events.

Greg’s artwork is familiar to residents of the Memphis area over the past twenty-five years. He has illustrated advertising for FedEx, The Memphis Flyer, The Peabody, Rock 103, The Grizzlies, Redbirds, Shoney’s, Perkins, The Memphis Zoo, Jack Pirtle’s Chicken, Keras Chevrolet, and hundreds more businesses. Because of his work on the syndicated comic strip The Buckets, he was allowed to join the NCS in 2002, and shortly after was nominated for a Silver Reuben award for his work on the Memphis Flyer.

His duties for the NCS will involve screening new member applications. He will also take on duties for the NCSFoundation, which will involve more work with their children’s hospital program and their “Cartooning For Kids” events. He says, “I’m looking forward to more NCS events at St. Jude, and other children’s hospitals throughout the Southeast. Also, since I’m the only NCS member for a couple of hundred miles in any direction, I’m especially looking forward to seeing more members come here more often.”

Steve McGarry, president of the NCSFoundation, said, “He did a really great job with (NCS/St. Jude) logistics in Memphis and I’m sure we (the NCSF) will keep him busy.”

Information about the National Cartoonist Society can be found at www.reuben.org.
Greg’s syndicated comic strip can be seen in newspapers in the U.S., Thailand, Australia, and at www.gocomics.com/thebuckets.
Webcomic Hubris! is at www.hubriscomics.com.
Advertising portfolio is at www.cravenscartoonist.com.

Olga Makarova interview

Olga contacted me through the Basket Case About page, and I started reading “Gifts” shortly afterward. The concept behind this Russian webcomic is as fascinating as the person herself. I’m pleased to present Olga here.

BC: Who are you?
OM: My name is Olga Makarova. I’m making a sci-fi webcomic Gifts of wandering ice about curious things people find in ancient icebergs.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: What personal details do you think are relevant to readers to know about you?
OM: I live in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, one of the republics inside Russia. I’ve never had a chance to travel and see the world, so that must be where my love for sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure stories comes from: I just travel in my imagination.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

OM: I was born in 1985, grew up as a shy bookish kid, got interested in sports as a teen (I began with bodybuilding, then have been studying Aikido for 12 years, and have recently started Muay Thai). I have a degree in biology and was on my way to becoming a geneticist after Uni, but didn’t get my PhD due to financial problems in my family. I still love science, though, and all my stories are full of that. Right now I’m a 32 year old woman, married, with a kid, and work in a small animation studio. I’m a 3D artist there. What I do is mostly shading, sometimes also sculpting and modelling. The best job I’ve ever had.

BC: Has the animation studio you work at produced any works that westerners may have heard of?
OM: I guess not. But maybe they heard about comics this studio (“Muha”, it means “fly”) used to make in 90’s. I heard some were printed in other countries.

BC: Why Muay Thai? It’s one of the more painful martial arts to learn, isn’t it?
OM: I fell in love with Muay Thai after I saw people spar in a gym my husband goes to. In Aikido you don’t spar ever. You may train for years and years and not know whether you’re worth anything in a fight. After 12 years of Aikido it became to get to me. I realized I wanted to fight, wanted to know whether my skills were worth something. I chose Muay Thai over classic boxing because of how beautiful and effective it is. And, as I said already, I fell in love with it at the first sight. All martial arts are painful to learn. I just don’t care about pain much. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I fought a lot and got beaten a lot. I guess I’m less sensitive than an average person. Bloody nose and bruises are not a big deal for me, and it’s the worst you can get when you spar, because sparring is never done at 100% strength. You can get seriously hurt only in a ring. I’ve never fought in a ring before (I’ve been practicing Muay Thai for only 4 months yet), but I’m looking forward to it.

BC: Do you consider yourself a cartoonist, an illustrator, an artist, or something else?
OM: I’m a storyteller. Writing, drawing, conversation – these are just different ways to share a story with other people. I don’t feel like I’m actually creating stories. They already exist in my head and I can watch them just as I watch movies. What I do is adapting them to the real world so that somebody else would experience them, too. I used to write stories for most of my life, but during the last three years I’ve been drawing one.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: How did you get your start as a storyteller?
OM: My parents told me I’ve always been a storyteller, since I learned how to speak, and they have several written books with illustrations I made in my preschool years in the family archive.

BC: How long have you been at it, and what do you think your biggest breaks were?
OM: Well, all my life, I think. My best years were at the Uni. Happy time, many friends, big dreams, lots of inspiration, to make the long story short. I wrote my best books in these years. After that I faced some real life problems, got depressed and stopped writing. I decided to learn to draw somewhere at that point. My initial goal was to make decent covers for my books since I was too poor to hire an artist, but it went further.

BC: With working at an animation studio, studying Muay Thai and raising a family, when do you have time to draw? How do you manage your time?
OM: I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and have 28 days of vacation each year. I draw 1 hour a day from Monday to Friday (usually in the morning before work) and 2-3 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s enough to produce 2 comic pages per week. When I’m on vacation or have a day off because of some holiday (we have a lot of these in Russia) I can draw extra art for Patreon. I started Muay Thai too late to become a professional fighter, so there is no point of sacrificing everything to it and training like twice a day. I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, just like most people who only want to stay fit do. Each class lasts for an hour and a half, and the gym is only 5 minutes walk from my home. As to raising a family, I’m not doing it alone. There are four adults in my family: my husband, my parents, and me. We help each other a lot and are very close. It is common in Russian families and really does make everything easier: raising kids, caring for seniors, paying bills, etc.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: What led up to your starting Gifts of wandering ice, and do you have any other pokers in the fire right now?
OM: When I was a kid of 17 I wrote a short story Gifts of wandering ice. It was rather shallow and not particularly exciting, but it had an interesting idea: melting icebergs with artifacts of a dead civilization inside them. After many years I decided to make a comic based on that story, just for practice, since it was short. It was meant to be only 20 pages long. But as I began sketching it I realized that the idea about icebergs and artifacts deserved a much better story, and then I saw it in my mind, an opening scene of a long black and white movie, and it was breathtaking. It had huge icebergs looming on the horizon, little islands of columnar basalt connected with shabby cableways, and beautiful people who survived the apocalypse without turning to barbarism. I was speechless. I don’t remember much of that day. I guess I just watched the movie and paid little attention to the real world. That’s how the new story of Gifts of wandering ice was born.

OM: As to the other stories, I have two unfinished books. They are on hiatus until Gifts of wandering ice is finished.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: Which of your works are you most happy with, or proud of?
OM: Omnis Trilogy (three parts: Cold obsidian, Hot obsidian, Smoky obsidian), a techno-fantasy (sci-fi with a few fantasy elements) I wrote in my best years. It’s a story of a world with originally unstable magic which was stabilized by technological means. The balance is fragile at best, though, and allows multiple anomalies to exist. We follow two characters here: an outcast guy who becomes an apprentice of the creators of his world, and a boy who was raised by a rebellious order of magicians and scientists with the purpose to destroy or exile the creators. Reincarnation and genetics both have a say in this story.

OM: I dream of translating Omnis Trilogy into English one day. I could’ve started now, but, damn, it has several poems in it (they are essential to the plot and cannot be omitted), and I’m helpless at translating poems.

BC: Can you share part of one of the Omnis poems in the original Russian?
OM: Sure. There is a legend about two brothers: a tyrant openly hated by everyone and a power broker unknown to common people. Its title translates as “The second one”. This poem was the key to a riddle in part three (Smoky obsidian). And yes, most poems in Omnis Trilogy are long 😦

Второй

Есть мир далекий, мир иной,
где в небе две луны.
От моря там подать рукой
до сказочной страны.

И ту страну в недобрый час
увидел я во сне:
там о беде пророк кричал
и дело шло к войне.

Как две луны на небе том
восходит из-за гор,
так правили страной вдвоем
два брата с давних пор.

Я их имен до сей поры
не вспомнил наяву.
Я лучше Первым и Вторым
двух братьев назову.

И если Первый был король
и правил на земле,
то незаметен был Второй –
как тень при короле.

Да, был тираном первый брат,
но тот, кто из теней
смотрел, опасней был в сто крат,
коварней и страшней.

Страна такая – злой сосед;
пришел войне черёд.
И Первый на виду у всех –
в бой армии ведет.

Громит чужие города,
пленит детей и жен.
Он на виду у всех всегда
и всеми проклят он.

Дела Второго не видны,
как смертоносный яд.
Шпионы, воры, колдуны
ему благоволят.

Они являются везде,
где их никто не ждал.
Не раз в ночи такой злодей
ворота открывал.

Врывался враг, и град тонул
в безжалостном огне…
Казалось, как плохому сну,
не знать конца войне.

Меняли облик колдуны;
царил повсюду страх.
Бывало, другом в дни войны
прикидывался враг.

Но вот в печальный год потерь
нашелся свой герой,
в бою безжалостен, как зверь;
фанатик и святой.

Он королю другой страны
на верность присягнул;
переломил он ход войны,
надежду всем вернул.

Златой грифон всегда при нем –
зверь множества легенд.
Сияет меч его огнем;
он сам – оживший свет.

Крушит врага в бою герой,
могуч, непобедим.
И той же раненых рукой
врачует паладин.

Но смерть оставила печать
на благостном челе;
ему жизнь мирную начать
нет права на земле.

Гадалка молвила, смотря
в огромный черный шар:
«Цена победе – жизнь твоя,
несчастная душа».

«Что ж, я готов,» – сказал тогда
герой, потупив взгляд…
И вот уже недолго ждать,
последний замок взят.

Встречай последнюю зарю,
осталось жить чуть-чуть…
Не внемля страху, к королю
он прорубает путь.

Сражен в бою грифон златой –
сей знак несет беду.
Речами же гадалки той
надломлен гордый дух.

Он молод, он дитя еще,
как можно не жалеть
о том, что дням подходит счет,
что скоро умереть,

что, кровью землю и траву
своею напоя,
он сложит светлую главу
за злого короля…

Он принял бой, и в том бою
сражен им был тиран.
Герой же, кровь пролив свою,
погиб от страшных ран.

Его народ в тот славный день,
ликуя, горевал.
И, неприметен, словно тень,
Второй на то взирал.

«Что ж, ведьма верная моя, –
он обернулся к ней;
та, хладнокровна, как змея,
смотрела из теней, –

Сыграла ты гадалки роль
Прекрасно. Что ж, виват!
Свершилось: мертв святой герой,
и мертв мой старший брат.

Глупцам недолго пировать
на выжженной земле.
Я – Тьма, а Тьма умеет ждать.
О новом короле

пророки скоро закричат,
и я верну свой трон.
Настанет, ведьма, день и час
нам править здесь вдвоем.

Так выпьем вместе за войну,
что я так долго ждал!» –
сказав так, ведьме протянул
Второй вина бокал.

Кроваво-красное вино
та испила до дна.
Но, знайте, с темным колдуном
не стоит пить вина…

Смертельный яд был в чаше той,
и ведьма умерла,
и тайну страшную с собой
в могилу унесла.

Погиб злодей. Что впереди?
В земле почил герой…
А меж тенями, невредим,
момента ждет Второй.

BC: Do you have any paper or e-book collections on the market yet?
OM: E-books can be bought on Gumroad.
Paperbacks can be bought on Lulu.
Alas, everything is in Russian for the moment, but I’m working on the translation. Once Book One of Gifts of wandering ice is finished, it will be available in both languages and will cost just a dollar.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: How do you approach that blank sheet of paper when you decide to start your next strip or panel?
OM: I have a movie for every story in my head already, so the first step in making a new page is usually just watching references with poses and landscapes to get the details right.

BC: If your strip had a soundtrack, what would it be?
OM: Gifts of wandering ice would have a lot of Celtic music in it. It suits this world.

BC: Who are your favorite artists/writers? Have you met any of them?
OM: No, I haven’t met anyone.
My favourite novels are The Book of Atrus, The Book of Ti’ana, and The Book of D’ni (the “Myst” trilogy) written by David Wingrove with assistance from Myst’s creators, Rand and Robyn Miller. These books have just the right mixture of everything I love: science, exploration, world traveling, magic (or technology that looks like one), selfless people who love learning, exploring, and very believable strong and clever female characters. My favourite movie is Joss Whedon’s Firefly (+Serenity). It’s very well written and well played. As to other things, I haven’t found my absolute favourites among them yet.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: Do you follow any other comic strips right now?
OM: Yes, I follow some.
O human star“, a great geeky sci-fi comic with big heart.
Mare internum“, sci-fi comic about Mars (and I love everything about Mars).
The book of Atrus“, a comic based on one of the “Myst” books, drawn in perfectly Myst-like sketchy style. Unfortunately, it’s on hiatus now.
Camp Weedonwantcha“, a comic about kids abandoned by their parents in a camp. It’s both sad and funny.
Bicycle boy“, a post-apocalyptic comic with lots and lots of strong and charismatic female characters.

BC: What do you look for when you read someone else’s strips?
OM: The strips that are perfect when looking at them make me see the story as a movie in my head. It doesn’t happen often, so when I find a comic that does it I follow it.


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: What do you think makes for a good comic?
OM: A good story. Good art is important too, but the story comes first.

BC: Do you use Patreon or Kickstarter? How do you think they are changing the face of webcartooning? Do you want to plug your site?
OM: I use patreon. Here is my page: www.patreon.com/mildegard.
I often see that patrons’ support allows people to quit jobs they don’t like and start earning money by doing what they love (be it comics, music or other stuff). I think it’s wonderful!


(from Gifts of wandering ice.)

BC: Do you have any projects coming up? Appearances scheduled for conventions?
OM: There’s going to be a convention in Samara (the city not far from Ufa) in May. I don’t know yet whether I’ll be able to attend it, but I’m going to send a poster there.

BC: Do you have advice for any other Russian readers who might want to start up their own webcomics?
OM: My advice is to make webcomics bilingual with both Russian and English versions. Comics and webcomics are not popular in Russia at all. Only a tiny fraction of people reads them, so even if your webcomic is super cool you’ll never have a big audience if you don’t have an English version.

(All artwork here has been reproduced with the permission of the artist. Copyright Olga Makarova (c) 2017. For non-commercial use only.)
(This interview is the copyright (c) of Curtis H. Hoffmann 2017. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author.)