ADC Interview: the creators of PENGUINS VS. POSSOMS!

14 Apr

by Orion Tippens

Penguins vs Possoms cover 1Did you know that penguins and possums are sworn enemies in a secret world war? Of whom did I learn of this?

Enter Sebastian Kadlecik and John Bring, the creative duo behind the indie print and webcomic, Penguins Vs. Possums. As the title says, this story concerns the bitter rivalry between the two, in an epic (and violent) struggle for species supremacy. Along the way, we have much action, drama, and perhaps a little romance.

This unique story is in good hands, as the creators deliver the details as best the audience should enjoy – as a home-brewed black and white indie comic, but with all the grandeur one could find in an issue of (insert overrated mainstream pop title).

Last year, I had the good fortune of meeting the duo in the Artist Alley of the 2011 Long Beach Comic Convention. On their small table, fresh copies of Penguins Vs. Possums are revealed in print. They welcomed my curiosity, with much enthusiasm and words on this fun concept. I also recorded a conversation, that was a bit short as I finally continued our discussion after the last WonderCon in Anaheim.

The results was some cool insight on their creative work. Further in, something also special; words detailing the mindset and process of the conception and processing of the epic feud. All, of which I now share in the following interview:

ADC: What creative work do you do on Penguins Vs. Possums?

John: We both wrote it, together. I drew the majority of the comic. Sebastian drew the cover, a few pages in the comic and the pinups in the back.

Penguin armory

Gettin' ready for WAR

ADC: Where are you from?

John: Born in Jacksonville, Florida, but grew up in a little town called Valdosta, Georgia. I moved to California about 7 years ago.

Sebastian: I’m originally from San Jose, CA. I left the Bay Area and came out to LA about 6 years ago.

ADC: Are you both now operating in Southern California?

Sebastian: Yup, both living in Southern California now and it’s our base of operations for all things JBSK.

John: Yes, live and work in Burbank.

ADC: How did you two originally meet?

Sebastian: We originally met at work. We were working on a TV show, him in production and me in production accounting and we sat next to each other in the bullpen. We realized each of us had a love for drawing and comic books and it was like being in 3rd or 4th grade all over again!

John: We had a mutual friend in the office who encouraged us to show off each other’s drawing work. After seeing that Sebastian was an exceptional artist, I felt I had to up my game. I had drawn a few pages of a comic book (which was just for portfolio purposes), and had fallen out of it a bit to work on filmmaking pursuits. After meeting Sebastian, though, I started breaking the pages out at work and it went from there. It didn’t take long before we had to work on something together, and EPIC was born out of that. Penguins Vs. Possums wasn’t far behind.

ADC: How did the Penguins Vs. Possums concept come about between you two?

Sebastian: I had the original idea for Penguins VS. Possums back when I was in college. Actually, I had a Penguin character that I would draw in High School that had spiky hair and Oakley sunglasses. In college, though, is where the larger idea took shape. I had a class called Art In the Computer Age and we had to develop a website. Well, I made the most of that assignment and created a story/mythology where Penguins and Possums were fighting each other to rule the world. These were the forces in the darkness that were actually wrestling for dominance. These forces would one day bring about the battle of Armageddon. At the time, I used photos/drawings of my friends and each person would align themselves with a side. I’ve also always loved mythology so I had a lot of prophecy references and hieroglyphs pointing to “the truth” of this turmoil. It was Armageddon of Biblical proportions I was dealing with.

Penguins vs Possoms strip 1

"Aim for their black, soulless eyes!" AWESOME.

After college, I would every now and then do something fun with Penguins Vs. Possums, most notably a bunch of t-shirts and spray paint stencils to perpetuate the story. I always had hopes of revisiting “PVP” in a bigger way, but never had the right opportunity. Or perhaps…the right collaborator…

Enter John Bring!!!

John: When we were working together, we had started a Post-It comic called EPIC, which was just something fun to do around the office. By the time we got to the third chapter of EPIC, I had seen the site for Penguins Vs. Possums and thought it was hilarious. I loved the design for the penguins, so I incorporated it into the EPIC comic. That comic was all “artistic improv,” so Sebastian had no idea I wanted to use that character. Basically, after drawing the penguin for a few panels I said that I would love to do a spin-off from EPIC starring the penguin. Sebastian said we should do Penguins Vs. Possums, and the ball got rolling. Eventually, both EPIC and “PVP” were made into websites, and we decided to do a real-deal comic book out of the “PVP” story, if for no other reason than it’s just fun to draw. The rest is history.

ADC: In this world of Penguins Vs. Possums, could you tell us a bit more about the role of us humans, and where we stand in the conflict?

John: It is our modern day. It is the world we live in, 2011 but this conflict has sort of went on the background. They have always had a sort of code. They keep the humans out of it, because humans ruin everything. If they start meddling in their affairs, it will just blow up in their face. It’s a special blood feud in the shadows

John: There are humans in the comic but they are in the background. They are in the first issue at the San Diego Zoo and the penguin sanctuary, where they (the penguins) get a sneak attack by the possums.

Sebastian: And we learn their world is not confined to the penguin sanctuary. What we humans see, is just the tip of the iceberg and it opens up to just how grand their world is, how organized they are. The difference between our worlds are all about mechanics, about industry. The penguins are mechanical, very cold, technology based. The possums are much more about guerrilla warfare. They use spears, stabbing weapons whatever they have necessary. The penguins use machine guns, uzis, rocket launchers, things like that.

ADC: The comic seems to be a magnificent blend of drama, action, comedy. What is the central genre you would categorize for Penguins Vs. Possums?

John: That is a actually a good question. Because that’s actually hard to pin down, because our life time of ambitions of always wanting to put a comic together, culminated in this..so we kind of threw everything we could in there.

Sebastian: It is an action book, there is some drama, a tiny bit of romance. There some mystery, intrigue.

John: If I were to pick a genre, it would be awesome.

Sebastian: Yeah, definitely the genre of awesome.

Penguins vs Possoms squawk

SQUAWK!

ADC: How about the emerging e-reader market, what are your thought on this developing outlet?

John: We haven’t tapped into that yet. I personally am against e-readers. I certainly like the feel of a comic book. I can never see myself reading a comic book on a tablet. I know you can have the motions and touch-screens but there is something physically awesome about touching a comic, I don’t know if its just nostalgia. It probably is.

Sebastian: That’s the main reason we went for a printed comic was because we grew up with comics, buying comics, having comics, having them in our hands, looking through them, I don’t think we could ever do just an e-reader thing. But then again, if that becomes the standard then obviously, we will go more into that.

John: It’s not that we would ever do an e-reader thing or something digital because we do and we have a pdf, but it would never be strictly that.

ADC: What are your next plans for Penguins Vs. Possums?

Sebastian: We just had a great run at WonderCon and are trying to build our fan page. We’re currently working on Issue Number Two and have developed a series arc we hope to continue publishing. We’re looking for opportunities to spread the good word wherever we can! We have a submission out for the Xeric Foundation Grant, as well as a submissions to a couple comic book companies. Beyond that, we are trucking along with creating this incredibly unique world.

John: I am very excited for future convention appearances, and of course Issue Number Two and beyond. We have a really fun property on our hands, and I look forward to seeing it grow.

ADC: Do have a final message fans or potential fans of Penguins Vs. Possums?

Sebastian: Choose a side, picks penguins or possums.

John: Choose a side. I can guarantee this is something you never seen before. It’s a lot of fun and unique.

Keep up with for Penguins Vs. Possums on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PenguinsVsPossums and check out further works at www.epicwebcomic.com.

– Orion Tippens, traveling writer, amateur photographer, and lover of comic books.

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One Response to “ADC Interview: the creators of PENGUINS VS. POSSOMS!”

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  1. A quick heads-up « All Day Comics - June 7, 2012

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