The hope and idea of the Issues with Perspective feature is to provide a more in depth look at the creators who makes comics and their process/influences/environment behind the making of the issues/series. I am terrible at naming things (take the podcast Pages and Panels, holy shit I hate that name) but the thought is that you will get a better perspective of the issue/series by learning more about the process and the actual creator who made it (Issues with Perspective, get it? Nah). I hope with this feature readers will get a further look into the books they love and the amazing people who make them.
For the next installment of Issues with Perspective I was really excited to be able to talk to the creator Andy Suriano about his series Cosmic Scoundrels with Matt Chapman. It is really hard to talk about why this series is great because to me it just seems obvious. Andy and Matt are two extremely gifted creators. The two of them have made a bright, fun, bold space adventure book. Pretty much explains it self guys. Cosmic Scoundrels is a celebration of Andy and Matt's talent in every way. Again, to me at least it seems obvious why Andy's style is so great. It captures his work in the animated industry but embraces the often absurdity and freedom of comics. Always full of life and energy while still being loose and free flowing. In short was super excited to talk to Andy about the series.
I would like to give a huge thanks for Andy taking the time to talk about Cosmic Scoundrels. Below, Andy talks about working on the series, meeting Matt, influences and why he loves working on the series. The series is available free to read on the Cosmic Scoundrels website and 2 treasury sized print editions are available to purchase as well.
Andy Suriano and Cosmic Scoundrels
Who is Cosmic Scoundrels?
The idiots that brought you Samurai Jack, The Mickey Mouse Shorts, Gravity Falls and Homestarrunner.com Andy Suriano and Matt Chapman, respectively bring you a series about two other idiots and their adventures.
What is Cosmic Scoundrels ?
Cosmic Scoundrels follows the (s)exploits of Roshambo and Love Savage, two intergalactic bachelors on the run from literally everyone.
Why should readers get Cosmic Scoundrels ?
'Scoundrels inception was to fill a void Matt and I felt for FUN comics. We grew up on Treasury-Sized Editions and healthy doses of 2000AD comics. If anyone ever wanted to know what Marvel's Starfox and Jack of Hearts starring in The Hangover was like, they should check it out. Matt and I bring our knowledge of obscure French comics, pop culture, history and skills in TV and comics, not to mention pure love for the medium and pour it into each page.
When/Where/How can readers get Cosmic Scoundrels ?
There are two ways currently to experience Cosmic Scoundrels. Matt and I jam pack cosmicscoundrels.com with tons of Easter Eggs, bonus material, commentary and extra pages. We also created an oversized, 11x17 print version, exclusively available only from cosmicscoundrels.com or at the few conventions our schedules allow us to attend. The format of the book was meant to evoke the feeling and wonderment of holding one of those giant-sized Treasury Editions from our youths. We put exclusive content specific to each format so you get a little bit more content either way. Plus the book version includes super fun spacesploitation "Liberty Justice" stories by the amazing Tyler Shainline and myself.
What was a normal workday/drawing session like for you when working on the series?
Both Matt and I have 9 to 5's working for Disney TV Animation. I am a designer on the new Emmy Award winning Mickey Mouse shorts and Matt and his brother Mike are back to doing shorts for Disney called Two More Eggs which is similar in tone and format to their groundbreaking Homestarrunner.com cartoons. So any Scoundrels we do are late at night and after we've put our kids to bed. Our own kids. Not each others...
What is your work space like while working on comics?
If I don't use my office space at work, I have a home studio that I use; especially when working through the night, usually with a movie on in the background.
What are the tools/applications/ you used most in the creation of Cosmic Scoundrels ? What medium are you working in?
Cosmic Scoundrels is almost entirely done on a computer, in Photoshop on my Wacom Cintiq.
What is the situation that gets the most productivity out of you?
Working with Matt! When Matt and I first met at Disney, I spent a lot of time in his office, gushing over his long box collections of early 80s comics. We were immediately in sync and spitting out ideas.
What media have you been engaged with during the creation of the Cosmic Scoundrels series(music/movies/books/games) that helped the creation process or that you just happened to be into at that time?
Like I wrote before, 70s and 80s comics, particularly 2000AD, Valerian by Mezieres, Druillet's Loan Sloane, The Incal by Jodorowsky and Moebius, way too many other obscure European Comics. Any Avenger's back issues that had them go into space. We spent weeks analyzing 2001, Krull and other lousy Sci-fi movies of that type. With music, I personally cannot get enough of British Progressive rock--total space-age shit way ahead of it's time.
For readers who enjoy Cosmic Scoundrels what else would you suggest to them that they might enjoy that has a similar tone/style/message of your work?
Any and all of what I mentioned above. Oh! And Brandon Graham's PROPHET is pure genius. Fil Barlow's ZOONIVERSE was groundbreaking too. I'm going to beg IDW to do an Artists Edition of those!
Has your approach changed to the style and layout of your work with Cosmic Scoundrels being released first digitally? I love how loose and bright everything all the art feels.
Thanks! It's definitely doled out in a more serialized cadence. The format we chose also limits being able to do 2-page spreads. Even though we've got the entire story mapped out, we keep it loose enough to explore tangents and linger on certain parts of the story. We also tend to "improvise" pages, changing or adjusting as needed up until the minute Matt uploads it to the web--and sometimes even after.
Cosmic Scoundrels is tons of fun to read and I have to imagine you and Matt must enjoy this project a lot. It feels very unique to both what you and Matt do best. How does it work as a creative team between you and Matt? Are you guys plotting and creating the series like you would a normal print series you have working on?
Well, we've laid out the entire first act, knowing certain milestones we need to hit, then Matt will create a shared google doc of the script and I'll take it from there. I'll rough out a page at a time and send it to him where he will sometimes come up with better jokes or visual gags after seeing it "on paper", so to speak. And THANKS!
Process Pages for Cosmic Scoundrel
While there are two issues in print, it feels like the best and most complete way to enjoy the series right now is the web version. The footnotes of each page add so much humor, lore, and context to the series. What was the idea behind that element of the book and at what point in the creation process do you guys work on them?
I was looking at the books I had on my con tables at the time: Samurai Jack, Doc Bizarre MD and Charlatan Ball (both with Joe Casey) and I felt like I wanted a giant book that stood out amongst all the rest. I also wanted to do a book where I didn't ask a publisher for permission to print. We did it ourselves. And if we were going to do it ourselves, we could do it any format we wanted! Everyone warned against printing that size, but we've been selling out of the stock we bring at every con we go to. Plus I wanted to make adhering to my airline bag weight limit a nightmare.
As of me writing these questions out you guys are 69 pages in. How has the project evolved from when you two set out to make Cosmic Scoundrels?
We still have this first story arc's end goal in sight, but we've taken our time getting there exploring parts of the story we probably wouldn't have been able to under any strict publishing deadlines.
Was there anything that you have found particularly challenging or blocks you hit in the creation process? On the same note what was the most enjoyable part of your creation experience?
Our first incarnation/Beta version of the Cosmic Scoundrels site was was more ambitious for just the two of us to keep up with--at least at this point in our lives. I am still hoping one day we could maybe set up a kickstarter or something to get us the resources to do it the way we intended. The best part about this experience, is just deciding to do something creative with a friend. Not asking someone to let us. We wanted to do it. We did it. It's about the overall experience of making Scoundrels, not necessarily the end result. The fact it's been received so well has been such a great added bonus for us.
Best thing you could say about Cosmic Scoundrels ? Why do you love Cosmic Scoundrels ?
I love Cosmic Scoundrels because it's a fun, funny, action filled universe inhabited with characters I want to hang with. That's why I make it in my free time--it's an escape and foray into pure creative freedom. Oh, and buy a teeshirt from cosmicscoundrels.com !
Was that your voice for the character Andy Suriano in an episode of Dexter's Lab?
Hahahaha yes it is!