Apr 09

Under the Funnies: Paeregrine.Cast

In this interview series, I speak with other comic creators to learn about their work! Here, I speak with Frank Marsters of Paeregrine.Cast.

Travis Blair: Hello, Frank! If you could, would you mind enlightening me as to the meaning of Paeregrine.Cast? The name of your comic was the first thing that caught my interest.

Frank Marsters: Hah! The name was born in a strange way, it’s funny you should ask. I actually set out originally to make a Twitch.tv streaming channel showing mostly DOTA2 and Star Citizen content. I also had already decided that if I was going to really commit to making this thing a reality, I had to invest something significant of myself into it. So I decided to go by the moniker “Paeregrine” since that’s been my Internet handle since I started using the Web. From there naming the channel was easy: it would be largely focused on me by myself, and at times would be very similar to a podcast. Thus the name Paeregrine.Cast was born. But before I really got any form of streaming off the ground at all, I had an experience at PAX East that galvanized me into the Webcomic direction and so I took the pre-established name and ran with it. And I never looked back.
Travis: I like how different interests can lead someone down a creative path. So your comic has roots in gaming. Some of your comics are about gaming, to include table top games. Does Paeregrine.Cast dictate the content, or does your life dictate the comic?

Frank: Excellent question, and the answer is: both. Very frequently ideas for comics just sort of pop into my head as I go about life pursuing the interests I had established before the .Cast came into being. However sometimes I will set out to experience something because I feel like it could hold a joke of some kind that I want to investigate. A good example of this was the new Godzilla film. I had some interest in it organically, but I went to see it because I was pretty sure there was an idea for a comic there and turns out I was right. I try to play a good amount of games each week though, and my weekly pen & paper RPG tabletop sessions have been a noted influence as well.

Travis: That’s a great point about seeing a potential comic in a situation. When drafting a comic, do you ever weigh the material and decide whether it’s too niche? Which is more important: writing for the most appeal, or staying true to the eyes of the comic creator?

Frank: I definitely try to make sure every comic is accessible. It’s one of the most important rules I have imposed on myself for comic creation. I don’t want any strip I make to require specific knowledge to be at least SOMEWHAT enjoyable. This includes knowledge of the characters themselves. I’ve always thought that it would be rather pretentious to require people to know the characters of this comic to get the jokes. Especially as the comic isn’t story-driven at all.

I definitely went through a swing during my first year where I was a bit more focused on reaching a large audience, but I’m feeling more confident now in what I’m making and so I’m back to trying to stay true to my personal humor/vision. I’m happier that way and I think it’s helping me improve as a creator.

Travis: You recently released a book of your comics. Speaking of learning, what experience have you gained from taking your digital comics and putting them onto pages?

Frank: Hah! I learned it takes way longer than expected to turn a bunch of Internet comic strips into a book. That was a rough one. Also distribution is way harder than I expected it to be. I come from a background of design for both print and web and so I’ve always considered the comics as being “print-capable,” but it definitely was an interesting move.

I also learned that people tend to interact with the strips themselves differently in print than they do on the web. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a different animal.
Travis: I’m willing to wager that you enjoy the knowledge you gain from your comic pursuit. Do you have any goals in mind, or plans for the near future?

Frank: I do enjoy it indeed! I’m learning lessons all the time and trying to always improve as I move forward. As far as goals in mind and plans for the future I’m exhibiting at Wizard World Philadelphia and East Coast ComiCon which are both significant milestones for me as far as being a professional creative independent.

I’m also wrapping up my first year of the Paeregrine.Cast (my first ever comic was posted April 14th) and with it I’m hoping to make a “Year One” book or something like that. This will be especially important as “The First 50” I already printed is a limited run and likely won’t be printed again.
Travis: Well, best wishes for success in all of your future plans! This coming from someone who considers even a learning experience a success. And I look forward to seeing more from you in the next year!

Frank: Thanks very much! I’ve been told by a few fellow Webcomic Artists that “Year 2” is tough and a hard hump to get over, but I’m feeling pretty confident. No matter what comes my way I plan to keep making comics and hopefully I’ll keep learning and improving along the way.

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Check out Paeregrine.Cast here!