In Anticipation of BAMCon, I am pleased to be hosting an interview with guest illustrator, Paul Hollingsworth! Besides being an artist and designer, Paul also writes a web based comic strip Destroyed By Robots and has the distinction of being the person who designed the BAMCon logo.
Q: Well, for starters what are you looking forward to doing while at BAMCon?
Paul Hollingsworth: I’m looking forward to experiencing everything that this years BAMcon has to offer, which seems to be a lot of good folks getting together and celebrating the art and literature they love. A lot to be excited about there. I’m also looking forward to sharing some of my work and checking out work that I may not even know exists yet!
Q: Tell us a little about the new BAMCon logo. What’s with that raccoon?
PH: Last year for BAMcon 2012 there was a call for artists to come up with a logo for new convention. I was informed by the organizers and Crystal Howcroft that they were looking for a raccoon mascot. I tried my best to come up with a character that was as fun and graphically durable as I could. For 2013 I tried to do something a little more fun by incorporating a robotic theme, and frankly I’ve always wanted to see a Gigantic Robotic Raccoon. Two birds one stone. Both years it was an absolute blast to work on and the organizers are really great folks.
Q: How did you get into drawing and, more specifically, drawing comics?
PH: I used to get frustrated with building blocks when I was a young boy, so I picked up crayons instead and started coming up with stories about pirates , barbarians and monsters. I lived pretty far away from friends my own age so I drew all the time, coming up with things that let my imagination run around for a while. Then one day I found a stash of my father’s “Shang Chi : Master of KungFu” comic books in the basement and I was hooked on sequential art ever since. From about the fourth grade on, I got real serious about illustrating comics.
Q: Tell us a little bit about “Destroyed by Robots” (DBR). How would you describe the tone and story?
A: Destroyed by Robots is my attempt at a dark and sarcastic comedy set in the world of pseudo-science. Maybe with a little bit of heart thrown in. I wanted to take a look into the fictional workplace of people who create deadly robots for a living. I can remember playing games like mega man and crashing my way through hordes of robotic henchmen, and thinking it would be neat to spend a day with the workers responsible for the production of these minions.
Q: How do you find inspiration for the DBR strips?
PH: I like to look at the world of science fiction and pop culture and craft a gag that appeals to me. Then It’s up to the comic to turn that gag into a joke, that will hopefully hit in the last panel. A lot of my humor is character driven, so I l like to create a situation and just imagine how the characters in my strip would react to it. Sometimes you can mine a lot of interesting things just from this method. I always try to have an underlying theme of technological misuse and morality.
Q: It seems as though DBR started off as a comic strip about the fantasy adventures of a character based on yourself, and then suddenly shifted to the adventures of a team of somewhat maladjusted scientists. What happened? What was the muse behind this shift?
PH: I realized that I’m not really that interesting of a character. DBR started as a journal comic in 2008 that I would post every Friday – and it would put a cap on how I was feeling that week and try to make it funny. When I began drawing this strip again it took me about thirty posts to realize that I didn’t want to keep going in that direction. It takes a certain amount of bravery to write a really good and true journal comic. I thought I could do a more effective strip by taking myself out of it and focusing on fictional stories. I had plans and sketches to introduce a team of Robotics experts later as a gag – and I really liked their character designs. So I introduced Robert and Isaac – wrote for their world ever since. I think the strip is better off for it.
Q: BAM stands for Berkshire Anime and Manga. Do you have any favorite anime or manga?
PH: I have a lot of favorite Anime and Manga! In animation some of my go to favorites would be Last Exile, Speed Grapher, Fullmetal Alchemist (original FMA and Brotherhood), Basilisk, Rurouni Kenshin and Berserk. Even though the writing was questionable I still get a kick out of Tower of Druaga and Basara as my guilty pleasures. For Manga I really got into Ragnarok when I was younger and enjoyed the Kenshin volumes, I’ve recently got into Girl the Wild’s and Fate/Zero a bit. There are many more but those come to mind at the moment.
Q: If you were a supervillain, what would your power(s) be and what superhero would defeat you?
PH: If I were a super villain I would have the power to teleport from place to place. That way I could do more in one day than most heroes could do in 20 years. My victory would be imminent. I could set plans in place in Winnipeg and then be cooling my heals in Nebraska instantly. I don’t know why I’d go to Nebraska but it seems like a good place to hide out. And I like corn on the cob. The superhero that would be able to exploit my weakness would be some kind of super powered baker who could craft the world’s best donuts. Because in the end, the maddening search for those donuts is what lead me to be a villain in the first place.
Q: Please complete the following statement: “If I see a ______________ at BAMCon, I will just ___________________.”
PH: “If I see I Ninja at BAMcon, I will just consider myself lucky and ask for an autograph, because it’s the ones you don’t see that you have to worry about.”