The following is an interview with Robert Livingston, writer of the comic book series, Bite and Tom ’n Artie. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Livingston about the inspiration behind the series, his creative process in working with the respective creative teams, what he hopes that readers will take away from the stories, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your comic book series, Bite and Tom ’n Artie! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell these stories?
Robert Livingston: Thank you very much! Working on these two projects has been a long time coming, so let’s get the easy stuff out the way. Tom ’n Artie is about two mercenaries, the stoic military vet unicorn Tom and his cartoon wildcard buddy Artie! They travel across different dimensions in search of profit and adventure, taking any contract offered to help make ends meet. Bite is about three shark humanoids who used to work for an evil organization called DREAD. They left after the group collapsed, but elements of the past are trying to drag them back in.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with the respective creative teams to bring these stories to life, and what have been some of your creative influences?
RL: Tom ’n Artie was inspired by the adventures of Sam & Max by Steve Purcell along with elements of Atomic Robo and SCUD. I set out to tell an adventures story with the duo ,where each issue would be them on a new job in another dimension. The reader could take in the absurdity of the settings they find themselves in as they read while the duo treats everything as if it’s normal.
I work on the comic with artist Chunlin Zhao, letterer Micah Myers, and editor Mike Stevens. Together, we form an invincible team of comic creation! Zhao gives the comic a very colorful and cartoony vibe with her artwork. We originally started working together from an old superhero project but branched away from that on the realization that Tom ’n Artie was a lot more fun to work on. Micah was my first pick for a letterer when I saw his previous work after searching for a while. I originally was going to try lettering myself, but after seeing his work, I knew I just had to get him onboard and, luckily, he agreed! Mike has been my friend for years; we both started out as two writers with ideas and helped each other build up from nothing. He’s my go-to man for ideas with his vault of pop culture knowledge! You ask him any movie or cartoon, and he’ll know it!
Bite was inspired by Street Sharks, GI JOE, and several Robert Rodriguez films. The project originally started as a joke R-rated Street Sharks reboot, but I took to liking the idea by itself. I began to change some aspects, asked my friend/editor Mike (Yep, he’s on this project, too.) to help out, and then Bite was born. It’s being drawn by Roger Bonet Martinez, colored by Esther Pimentel, and lettered by Cristian Docolomasky.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work, and do you feel that there is a recommended age group(s) for each series?
RL: For both comics, I seek to entertain my readers. I love hearing about how they enjoyed the action sequences and jokes of the comics. I want to tell a story that people can just relax to read after a long day. The age group I am for with Tom ’n Artie is all-ages; kids can read it, but adults can also get a good laugh out of it, too. Bite is rated M, but let’s be honest: There will be teenagers that find someway to get their hands on the book.
BD: Do you have a certain number of issues planned for the series?
RL: I have the first arcs planned for both comics. Tom ’n Artie is more episodic while Bite will have a more linear storyline.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
RL: If I could I would take both comics into the animation industry. Tom ’n Artie, I feel, would make a great episodic show for a channel or streaming service. Bite I always pictured for Adult Swim and made by Titmouse; its rampant action and violence would line up perfectly with their shows. I also pictured Bite to have sidescrolling shoot-em-game similar to Metal Slug or Gunstar.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
RL: I’m currently working on one project that is unnamed. It is a Kaiju-focused comic (There need to be more of these on the market.) about a Kaiju mother who is going through a tough part of her life, having to raise her two teenager children as a single mother, a task that’s harder than taking down any city.
I’m also acting as the editor to Mike Stevens’ upcoming superhero project, Fridge-Girl!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Bite and Tom ’n Artie?
RL: Tom ’n Artie can be read FOR FREE on Tapas.
And the spin off version Tom ‘n Artie Tales which has the duo in shorter adventures but each one illustrated by a different artist.
Also, you can find our social media for all updates on Twitter (@ArtieTom)!
For Bite, there is going to be the full-colored ashcan released publicly soon, but follow us @BITE_COMIC for more updates down the road!