Sunday, February 29, 2004

Adis says: The Quicksketch Spotlights are back this time with a look at everyone's favorite Q-Tanian comic strip, go KC! by Pat Henninger. I like how the characters remind me of a tasty gummy bear. But there's more to the characters, of course, here's what Pat had to say:

Who are you and what's your comic about?
My secret identity is Pat Henninger, mild-mannered (OK...outgoing is more realistic) Systems Analyst / Business Integrator by day. After the glasses come off, I'm a Comics Universe Generator. goKC! is a multi-genre comic about the adventures of four little alien guys (called Q-Tanians).

"go KC!" is such an effective title, it's dynamic and it reminds me of a saturday morning cartoon! Was that your intention?
Absolutely! I've always been a big fan of those types of cartoons. I draw my influences from a lot of different places including movies, cartoons, books, comics, etc. I've always especially enjoyed things like the old DuckTales cartoons. That show demonstrated the ability to take a group of well-rounded characters and drop them into any genre. That type of open Anthology is what I'm aiming for.

It seems that KC and the gang have been inside your head for quite some time, what's the story there?
They're quite old, in fact. I've always enjoyed cartooning. The original incarnation of KC was an idea that I came up with when I was about ten years old (that makes the concept almost 20 years old at this point!). Over the years, I continued to draw him and create friends, nemeses, and various adventures for him. As my artistic and writing style and ability evolved, so did the characters.

Why did you decide to make it a webcomic?
When I sketched comics for my own entertainment, they tended to be only pencil; rarely inked or colored. As I started to share my comic with others, I felt obligated to polish it a little bit more. The problem that I had was that it just took entirely too long for me to finish out an entire comic book adventure at once.
As the World Wide Web became more prevalent, web comics began to develop. The acceptable length of an installment of an adventure for a web comic is much more manageable. It also gives the artist a greater degree of flexibility in terms of installment length and physical dimensions. Economically, it is also far easier to reach a greater number of people over a much wider area with a web comic versus print.

What other webcomics inspire you?
Oh, several different comics for different reasons. I appreciate comics like Sluggy Freelance and PVP for their appeal to such a large scale audience worldwide. Machall constantly astounds me with its artwork. I also admire the folks that can keep good humor family-friendly, like the Quicksketch family of comics. Homestar Runner is a classic motion-based Flash comic that makes me laugh quite a bit. The list is really much longer, but that's what just popped into my head.

Could you please tell me more about how you came up with the character designs? I like the characters, they're sort of yummy.
*Heh* But they're not pickles! That's an inside joke. Read my strip archives! I was so young when I originally drew KC, I'm a little fuzzy on what I was thinking at the time. It's really the genesis of my own drawing style that has driven the look and feel of the Q-Tanians. Over time, I refined physical details (eyes and mouth), Fireball's hair shape, Gabby's bandolier, and developed a history or theory about how they developed, not just as characters, but as a species.

It's interesting how you seem to want an epic feel for your comic, while still keep it grounded and character-based. Um, how do you do it????
Not to abuse a too-popular phrase, but I feel you have to keep the characters real. I don't mean you can't have aliens or sheep can't talk, but characters have to have multi-faceted personalities. If your characters react well, you can drop them into any situation and it would work. That goes for one-off daily strips or epic adventures. From there, I pick a genre or adventure I'd like to see and put the characters into it.

Will other Q-Tanians pop up in the strip someday?
Definitely. I'm not sure how far out in the span of stories I will put that, but I have some plans for some other recurring Q-Tanians (and human) characters. I am also trying to gel a story about how the first Q-Tanians came to Earth.

What are your goals with go KC?
In general, I want to keep the comic going as long as I'm around. In the future, I'd like to flesh the site out more with games and educational material. In my ultimate fantasy, I'd love to see goKC! go cross-media. I'm talking cartoons, movies, comics, merchandising, and a theme-park association! If you're an enabler for one of these opportunities, give me a call!

Do Q-Tanians count sheep to fall asleep?
Of course! Some of them count differently than others. Icy likes to count in different number bases, Gabby loses count quite a bit...but they all count!

Thanks to Pat for his time! Now you know, go check out go KC for yourselves!
Now go to bed!

The first comic Today's comic

Count Your Sheep is Adrian Ramos.