Just the FAQs, ma'am...
Tonja was actually written into the script, for a couple reasons. One, it bugged me that the story didnít have a strong female character. There was Julie, but she got kidnapped right away, and it was Damien and Darronís job to save her. Two, it bugged Chris, a good friend of mine. So, he helped me come up with a concept for her, right down to her horrible middle name (I still wonít tell). She was written into the script to curb Darron and Damienís testosterone rampage, and sort of ended up being the main character and having the comic named after her. Figures, I guess.
Oh, yeah. Mindy was written in, because I needed a.) a cute kid, and b.) someone who could match wits with Tonja.
Book? What about the strips? I know not about this book.
The reason I brought up the books first is because they were first. The first story for the books was started in high school, while I didnít actually start drawing the books and the strips until my first year of college. The initial intent of the strips was just to use up jokes I didnít have room for and/or didnít fit in the books. I started doing the strips after I was accepted at The Pointer, my campusís newspaper. And, to this day, Iím still trying to get hate mail from angry born-agains, PETA people, and parent groups.
Whatíre your influences?
Well, if you havenít guessed by now, Disney movies, as well as any other Western animation. Iím still getting accused of stealing Caleís hair from Titan A.E., even though I redesigned Darronís hair before I even saw previews for the movie. So, in reality, Cale is a Darron wannabe.
Anyway, any sort of style thatís complex in its simplicity is appealing to me, at least on the cartooning angle. Calvin and Hobbes, Zits, Liberty Meadows, and Grand Avenue are my favorite comics to read, as well as to look at. You can tell all these artists are amazing illustrators, but they donít visually brag about it by rendering every little thing. Backgrounds are just enough to set a place or an action.
Go figure. As far as comic books go, Iím a fan of Strangers in Paradise and The Legend of Mother Sarah; probably some of the heaviest hitting, most gorgeously drawn stuff Iíve laid eyes on. I donít really read comic books a lot otherwise; I read a bit of manga for the stories; the style does absolutely nothing for me. With the exception of Strangers and a handful of others, the mainstream comics out there are all about babes, guns, explosions, repeat, and once again, donít do anything for me. Iím in it for the characters and little bit of substance. And Powerpuff Girls.
Speaking of which, they rule, along with Johnny Bravo, and Cheers, my all time favorite TV show besides Xena.