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Fanboy Comics Interviews Jim Kersey of ‘Amok Bros.’ and ‘We’re Detectives’

The following is an interview with Jim Kersey. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Contributor Madeleine Holly-Rosing chats with Kersey about his inspiration for his web comics, the influence of 3D design on his work, and the countless other projects and collaborations on which he is working!

In my wanderings around Twitter and Facebook, I ran across Jim Kersey and after reading his Amok Bros. and We’re Detectives comic strips.  I knew he had a fun sense of humor which I liked. I mean who doesn’t like two robots discussing etiquette and politics? So, here we go . . .

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Fanboy Comics Contributor Madeleine Holly-Rosing: We’re Detectives just kills me. I love seeing these same two detectives in the same position in every strip talking about everything from the existence of God to problems with the wife and kids. What was your inspiration for this strip?

Jim Kersey: Hey, thanks! Clearly, there’s a heavy influence from Max Cannon’s Red Meat and Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics, but they started as something I could do to keep some sanity while my wife and I were getting lots of no sleep as new parents. Most of them were done at odd hours on an iPad using Strip Designer, but it’s really hard to remember.

As oversimplified as those strips are, they’ve really served me well as a springboard for ideas. The two robots became The Amok Bros., and the one inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still has a script outline, as well. The detectives . . . no plans to give them their own story, but I think I have a few more strips to do before they’re retired.

MHR: I saw that you had hooked up with writer Jeremy Wetzel to illustrate a comic called Blood Lust. How’s that going, and how did you and Jeremy meet? Are there any other writers you are collaborating with?

JK: That was a great project to work on. I met Jeremy on Twitter, and I read a comic he wrote that followed the short life of a tumbleweed. I wouldn’t have thought I could be emotionally engaged with a dead shrub, but Jeremy really made it work. Not long after that, we heard the Death Saves anthology was looking for submissions, and, within a few days, Jeremy gave me a script that was a fun take on tabletop roleplaying games.

Just before that I worked on a story in Heather Antos’ Unlawful Good anthology with writer Rob Humphrey called “The Bulldog’s Bite.” She put a call out for contributors, and I took it as a sink-or-swim chance for me to get serious about making comics. They were both great to work with. I’ll definitely toss my name in the ring if there’s a sequel anthology.

MHR: I see you support yourself as a Programmer in Austin, Texas. (Yes, I read your Tumblr page.) To be specific, unlike most of us you deal with technology as a creator and a user. Other than paying the rent, does that influence the perspective of your characters, especially in The Amok Bros.?

JK: There are probably some underlying influences, but it’s more that I recharge from each by the other.

Of the two, though, I think drawing influences my programming. Drawing the diagrams and figuring out the structures visually is super fun (for me).

MHR: I see you’re a 3D madman like my friend, Jesse Toves. I saw some of your 3D work online, and it looks pretty interesting. Do you have a 3D printer? If yes, which one and do you like it? Why or why not? Are you just using it to render some designs for work or yourself?

JK: I haven’t taken the plunge into 3D printing yet, I’ve seen some of the things just go haywire, and I worry I’d be tweaking the machine more than making stuff. When HP makes a color 3D printer, though, I’ll be all over it. Mostly printing space army robots and dinosaurs.

Most of my 3D work recently has been trying to automate sprite generation for a Fallout clone I want to make before I die.

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MHR: Tell us about Wizardryish.

JK: Making games was a big motivation for getting into programming. The horror stories I heard about insane work schedules put me off from wanting to get a job making games, so I’ve just been tinkering with different parts of game building.

I coded Doctor Robot over a couple of months in Javascript, but my goal is to make an old-school RPG. Wizardryish is me trying to capture the 3D-ish dungeon crawl from Wizardry. But, it’s still missing character generation, combat, inventory, quests . . . lots to figure out.

MHR: You are clearly a Nikola Tesla fan. (Thank you for the fan art, by the way.) What do you think you and he share in common? Or, if you can’t think of anything, what would like to have in common with him? If you could meet him, what question would you ask him? (You only get one.)

JK: Indeed! I share his love of tinkering, but I understand he had great showmanship, which is something I just don’t.

I’d either ask how he got by on so little sleep or if he’d mind giving me a copy of the plans for his death ray machine. It depends a lot on how my day is going.

MHR: Are you going to be at any local conventions? If yes, which ones and how do you like working a table? Are you the hide-behind-the-table type or do you hunt down potential customers like a velociraptor?

JK: I’ll have a table at the New South Fest in Austin on June 6, which I will definitely use to hide behind. I’ll have a few things there, but I’ll probably just draw trading cards for anyone who makes eye contact.

MHR: Fun question . . . what do you think about Idris Elba being cast as a villain in Star Trek 3?

JK: I heard a rumor about Bryan Cranston being a villain for Star Trek 3, too. I think those guys teaming up against the Federation would be pretty hard core.

But then, they’d also be great as detectives . . .




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