The following is an interview with indie comic book creator/writer/artist Sebastian Kadlecik, who is the author of Penguins vs. Possums, an epic series that depicts the titular rivals in interspecies armageddon. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon talks with Kadlecik about the PvP‘s journey from web comic to printed issue, why he chose penguins and possums, and what is in store for the secret battle that is Penguins vs. Possums.
This interview was conducted on April 30, 2012.
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Even before I had the chance to read the first issue of your comic, Penguins vs. Possums, I knew from the title alone that I would be hooked! What inspired you to write this epic story of bitter rivals?
Sebastian Kadlecik: It had to be told! Well, I’ve always been into mythology and mystery and have always enjoyed a good conspiracy theory. I actually had a class project where I had to create a website as my final, and I wanted to tell a story with my project. It would be an epic tale that dealt with secret things that humans don’t totally understand. So, what took shape in the wee hours of the night/morning was the idea of two forces at odds with one another, hidden in the shadows, and that their struggles had the potential to rip our world apart! This ancient feud began at the dawn of time and would one day bring about Armageddon! Now…why Penguins? Well, I had this Penguin Prince character I used to draw as a joke…so I sort of riffed on that and created a larger, grander mythology. As for their rivals, the Possums…I always say it just came to me from on high, but we did have possums in our back yard occasionally…and one should never underestimate the power of alliteration.
BD: As a man of many talents, you had a chance to be a creator, writer, and artist for Penguins vs. Possums. Did you find that one aspect of the creative process was more challenging (or more natural) for you?
SK: I have been drawing since I was a kid, so that’s what comes most naturally to me. I love storytelling, but I think the writing process is a little more challenging for me. What was most challenging during this particular project was time.
We really wanted to get this issue printed in time for LBCC, and we all work day jobs. My job was particularly busy at that time, and, thankfully, John (Bring) really stepped up and knocked it out of the park to get this issue done on time.
BD: In addition to your work on the series, John Bring and Lindsay Calhoon rounded out the creative team. Can you tell us about the process of working with a creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
SK: It was a great experience. It was truly a team effort, and John really carried a lot on his shoulders for this comic. Going into it, we knew he would have to draw the majority of the comic. That was the only way it could be completed in time, and as you can see his art was a perfect fit for the comic. I was really impressed with the work he produced. So, we would write the story together, do layouts together, and plot it all out. Then, John got to work on all the interior artwork, and I took on the cover, the pin ups, and 3 pages of interior art. Lindsay was a great contribution as a writer on the project, as well. She’s really funny and her voice was a great addition. Lindsay and John also took the lead on the Kickstarter portion of our project. They set up the account and wrote all the updates. I’m so glad this was the creative team for this project. It made for a fun, rewarding process and a stellar product.
BD: As you mentioned, like many independent creators you initiated a Kickstarter campaign for the project. Did you find the campaign process to be a positive experience, and would you recommend it to other creators?
SK: I can’t say enough positive things about our Kickstarter experience. We had so much support, and it totally energized us about our project even more. There’s also a community on Kickstarter that is looking for projects to donate to, and we definitely benefited from that, as well. I highly recommend Kickstarter to other creators.
BD: Penguins vs. Possums exists as both a weekly web comic and a printed comic. Did you hope that the story would exist in both mediums?
SK: It’s funny. The web comic came about in such an organic way. John and I used to work together, and we’d send post-it drawings back and forth to each other. Those post-its turned into a huge sprawling story, and in that story John drew a Penguin from my Penguins vs. Possums mythology. This was before we had ever discussed working together on Penguins vs. Possums in any medium. The post-it war we had going was really an artistic improv, so the drawing of the Penguin was a complete surprise to me. That post-it spawned the Penguins vs. Possums web comic. The web comic is crazy and ludicrous and full of pop culture references. The comic has a very different tone. I think both are perfect for their art forms, and I’m ecstatic that it exists in both mediums.
BD: As you have already released Issue #1 of the series, are you already at work on the next issue, and how many total issues do you foresee for the series?
SK: Yes!!! We are excited about Issue #2 and are hard at work making it amazing. We have a clear 6-issue arc we are working toward. There’s a lot of story to tell, so there may be more than 6, but that’s the number we’re working with to conclude this arc.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite comic books and graphic novels?
SK: Hm, so many! 100 bullets was awesome. The storytelling and that particular team up of words and pictures was excellent and inspiring. I also like Proof. The web comic False Positive is also pretty great. Dark Knight Returns will be in my collection forever, as well as all of David Mack’s Kabuki. The Frank Miller/Bill Sienkiewicz team up on Elektra was awesome, but now I’m going way back in time. Currently, I’m reading a few of the New 52 books, Hulk, and catching up on a lot of stuff I’ve missed the last few years.
BD: What is the most important piece of advice that you can offer to comic book fans, young and old, who aspire to work in the comic book industry?
SK: With tools like Kickstarter, online printing, and even Facebook, printing a comic book is totally within your reach. We used Kickstarter to fund our first issue. We used an online printing company to print it. And, we used Facebook to get the word out. We’ve met so many awesome people at conventions or little indie signings, and it’s been the realization of a dream I had when I was 10 or 12 years old. That right there is rewarding and completely satisfying.
BD: On that same note, which creators have inspired your work?
SK: I grew up on Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee – all that ’90s stuff. Also, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was huge for me, and I really ate up all of David Mack’s Kabuki. I think Erik Larsen and Frank Miller have definitely inspired my work, and their influence can probably be seen to some degree in my art style. Outside of comics, I’m a big fan of the graffiti duo Herakut.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Penguins vs. Possums?
SK: The best place to keep up with us is www.facebook.com/PenguinsVsPossums. Our website is currently under construction, so Facebook is where we update everything. So, while you’re whiling away the hours on everyone’s favorite social network, click on over to our page and say hello!