Nicole Sixx: When did you first start making comics?
Paul Taylor: Although I had been drawing since I could hold a pencil, I hadn’t started work on really drawing comics until about 14 years ago. Originally, Monica and Dietzel were going to be the characters in a short stop-motion film that I wanted to make; however, the characters and stories where growing faster than I would’ve been able to produce in stop-motion. I had to start writing down the ideas and cataloged them in a storyboard format. My wife was the one who suggested to me to do my stories as a graphic novel as well as publishing them online. The drawing of my comic began back in 1998, and it was September 2001 that my comic first went live on the web.
NS: What is your comic, Wapsi Square, about for those who don't know?
PT: Wapsi Square is best summed up as a slice of supernatural life. I like to include a big dose of paranormal things into every day problems and joys, also a balance of cute and macabre elements. Monica, Wapsi’s protagonist, came about when I was thinking about a friend of mine, who although was naturally thin and very busty, was not what society would label her.
Monica has run-ins with the paranormal at an early age and thinks of this as normal; however, what she perceived as normal is anything but, and this leads her family to think that she is mentally unstable. This leads to her having a very skeptical view of the world, and she shields herself from anything challenging by hiding behind books and science. As the story progresses, she gets tossed back into a world of the paranormal and also has to deal with her own anthropomorphic personal demons.
Some of the characters in the comic are supernatural beings that live over thousands of years, and they don’t answer for their actions in the same way that society would hold someone accountable for their actions. Thus, they have to live with what they do and eventually (hopefully) reconcile with their actions, and possibly grow. I feel the main messages of my comic are redemption, overcoming personal demons, and to never be afraid to be yourself.
NS: How has your experience in comics been over the past years? On both the web and in real life.
PT: Overall, I’ve found the whole experience very welcoming. Having not grown up reading comics or graphic novels, I’ve always felt like an outsider and thought I’d be labeled a fraud or ignored. My biggest fear was when I went to my first comic convention as a creator. I thought I was going to sit for the whole convention and no one would come to my booth. Thankfully, the opposite happened and I was overwhelmed by how many folks came to talk to me, ask me questions, and have me do sketches for them. It’s been this way online, as well. Word of mouth from current readers has helped my audience to grow, and I can also thankfully say that I make a living doing my comic and other illustrations. It’s awesome to think that I get paid to have an overactive imagination.
NS: Do you have a favorite character?
PT: Crazy enough, my favorite character, Luci, I give the least amount of screen-time. I think because I like her so much and empathize with her so much, I don’t want to turn her into a Mary-Sue of sorts. I think my next favorite character would probably be Bud (Acacia).
NS: What would you like to see happen next for Wapsi Square and/or yourself in comics?
PT: I would love to see a web series, live-action or animated, based on Wapsi Square that could grow alongside the daily comic and possibly evolve in its own way. My idea was to maybe have a series based on Tina, Wapsi Square’s barista. I don’t want to mention more about her so not to ruin any surprises for potentially new readers.
NS: Thank you so much for your time, Paul! If you would like to learn more about Paul’s work, he has provided us with the following links:
Fantastic art! I appreciated it right away, the first time it was shown to me; unique and fun.
Thank you for joining Paul and me for this issue of Indie and the Geek. Feel free to get to know both of us better. If you would like to schedule your own indie interview with Indie and the Geek, please message us on our brand new Facebook page.
Join us two weeks from now for my awesome interview with Peter Shinkoda.