Nov 05

Under the Funnies: Kidthulhu

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In this interview series, I speak with other comic creators to learn about their work! Here, I speak with Martin E Brandt II and Charles C. Dowd of Kidthulhu.

Travis Blair: Gentlemen! I’ve actually been reading Lovecraft, and wanted to speak with you. How did the idea to create Kidthulhu enter existence? This character has certainly become more than a sketch on a Post-It note.

Martin E. Brandt II: The Dark truth is, he did start as a Post-It note. I was being driven mad by a conference call, which is just shy of being driven mad in a office meeting but with less coffee and donuts. He was part of a poem about the adventures of a young Lovecraft. Here’s the thing, people love cute evil things. I guess it’s the combination of opposites playing off each other that grabs ahold of them.

Kidthulhu has had a couple of incarnations trying to find the right combination of look and story to do it justice and it wasn’t until Charles came along that everything started to really click on the creative side. Character roles have been swapped, genders have been swapped, and over all feel of things has been refined.

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Travis: So the dreams of Kidthulhu were in your head. You then approach Charles with your vision. He illustrates what he sees, and you two delve further until your incarnation takes shape? The creation sounds eerily similar to the source material! Charles, what were some of the initial thoughts you had when working on the character creation?

Charles C. Dowd: I just wanted to make sure the characters were funny, cute, and horrible. All the things that make Kidthulhu  Kidthulhu.

Travis: Well, I think you succeeded. The eyes make me want to lean over and grin, until I take in the rest and then feel the need to flee. Martin, would Kidthulhu be considered a protagonist? How is the story told?

Martin: Haha, way to play down your role there Charlie. Kidthulhu is a protagonist in the same way a child would be. Sometimes you find them in both roles but you’re generally always rooting for them. It’s easy for a child to slip between the role of protagonist and antagonist depending on the circumstances and point of view. Generally the child would never see themselves as a antagonist, that definition would clearly be given by a more mature point of view. For example Kidthulhu is sneaking out of his room to grab some cookies without permission. As a child we root for him, because we can understand his motivations. While an adult/parent sees it the opposite way generally.

The story unfolds in nice fun chunks with an over arcing narrative. Keeping pieces short digestible hunks makes it easier for younger readers to get into with a larger story connecting the parts for the older audience. The key for us is to keep it fun and interesting.

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Travis: That is a great way to describe a child. Also, as a parent, I appreciate the format. As much as a child enjoys the story, there comes a time when it is best to resume later. Charles, how do you and Martin correspond initially when fleshing out a story? I would imagine a certain level of collaboration is necessary for this to come together.

Charles: Martin is the brains behind Kidthulhu. He comes up with the main stories, and I’ll pick them over and add my own 2 cents and send them back.

Then, Martin will tell me I ruined it and we’ll fight about it and out of those fights come finished scripts that are polished and hilarious. Then I’ll draw the script however I want and tick him off all over again. I’m actually very difficult to work with, but Martin is a masochist so it works.

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Martin: Our communications look like a murder mystery cork board in some fanatic’s house. Everything is scattered with thin threads connecting them, tables lay broken about the place with photos covered in crayon markings.

Seriously it’s a lot of emails, meetings over burgers, documents commented and marked up so badly they went into FBI protection.

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Travis: I imagine one of those cartoon clouds of dust with things flying out, only to reveal a finished product. You two seem to have things in good working order. How far along are you?

Martin: I’d say Charlie is about 8 months along, oh, oh… you meant in the book. Strike that last part. We’ve actually got more than 3 issues of scripts ready and we keep piling on new ideas virtually everyday.

Issue one has been thumbnailed and mostly roughed. There is a lot of inking and coloring going on behind closed doors. For me Thumbnailing has to be the hardest part of the process. It’s like a movie laying out shots on a story board. Once you got everything set then it starts to click and just flows out. Of course I’m just a lowly writer and part-time doodler, Charles would have a greater perspective on that.

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Travis: Charles, I hope issue one will be released soon – you’ve received such a strong response on Kickstarter! I saw on the Kickstarter page that feature artists are also working on Kidthulhu. Did Martin even tell you? How have you two implemented these additional talents into Kidthulhu?

Charles: Yes, as a matter of fact bringing on featured artists was my idea. I felt like Kidthulhu offered a great opportunity for both of us to work with other creators and create something really special. Kidthulhu is such a fun character to work with that we wanted to see other artists’ interpretations, and from the artwork we’ve seen so far, you will not be disappointed.

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Travis: I’m already looking forward to the comic, so the addition of featured artists is just icing on the Cthulhu cake. Thanks, Martin​ and Charles, for the details on how you both are creating Kidthulhu!

Charles: No Travis, thank YOU.

Martin: Thanks for having us.

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Check out Kidthulhu here!