Saturday, April 3, 2010

6 Questions With...ROB ANDERSON

Here's Rob Anderson, his story is called Animal Control:SCU, with art by Leandro Panganiban.

Tiny Electric:Is this your first published work?

Rob Anderson:Yes, this is my first published comics work. My other published work has all been non-fiction -- stuff like newspaper columns or journal articles, that sort of thing.

TE:What's the sentence pitch for your story?

RA:Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit follows the lives of two animal control officers in a world where scientific breakthroughs led to the spread of patchwork, designer animals like Panda Dogs, 'Gator-Snakes and Horned Mastiffs.

TE:Was your story an idea you already had, or did you come up with it in class?

RA:The idea long pre-dated Andy Schmidt’s Comics Experience class, but it was the class that finally helped me take it from a bunch of partial drafts and plots to finished stories. AC:SCU is a concept that has been rattling around in my head for about a decade, at least since the year 2000, when artist Eduardo Kac convinced a French geneticist to create a "transgenic" rabbit with jellyfish traits that glowed in the dark. Things have gotten stranger since then (here in the real world) and when it eventually, inevitably gets out of control, there will be Animal Control officers dealing with the mess.

Already, you can find pictures out there of things like a mouse with a human ear growing out of its back -- although it can be hard to sort out the Photoshop fakes from the real transgenics. I've had more than one person come to the Panda Dog Press website via search phrases like "how to make a Panda Dog" and "are Panda Dogs real"? (ha) They're not real! (yet)

TE:Do you hope to expand it into something longer?

RA:Absolutely! I'm self-publishing right now, but my goal is to do an initial 3-issue miniseries with an established publisher. I have ideas that would fill a monthly series for a very long time.

At this point, I've got three stories completed and headed to the printer -- two AC:SCU stories that follow the officers, and an all-ages spin-off set in the same universe, Panda Dog Adventures, that follows my favorite mischievous hybrid.

The very first AC:SCU story appears in our Tales from the Comics Experience anthology available via IndyPlanet now. All three stories will appear in a Preview comic that will be available at some conventions this summer (first up, Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC on June 4-6) as well as via the Panda Dog Press website.

TE:Talk about your artist and the look of your story.

RA:The AC:SCU story in Tales from the Comics Experience was penciled and inked by Leandro Panganiban, a very talented guy based in the Philippines. I was looking for an artist that could give a realistic feel to the book, despite the unusual animals. Leandro had done some sample Spider-Man sequentials that really showed his ability to draw real-life scenes -- great facial expressions, realistic proportions on the people, etc. His style of artwork was just what I envisioned for AC:SCU and he delivered, and then some!

The collaboration with Leandro has been great, and he's actually just finished penciling the second AC:SCU story, "Feral." He raised his game to another whole level in this second story. I can't wait for everyone to see it. I hope Leandro and I (along with Letterer/Designer E.T. Dollman, and now also with inker Steve Bird and cover colorist Coleen Allen) get the chance to play in the AC:SCU universe for a long time.

TE:What comics have you been reading lately?

RA:My "can't-wait-for-the-trade" favorites right now are Walking Dead, Fables, Terry Moore's Echo, and Luna Brother's The Sword. My favorite recent trade paperback was Locke & Key, Volume 1. I keep lobbying to break that one down in Andy Schmidt's Book Club. That's some entertaining sequential storytelling, and one way or another, I want to spend some time studying it. (ha) Basically, I have an entire bookshelf of backlogged trade paperbacks. It's overwhelming sometimes, but I just keep buying them. I'll never catch up!

You can check out Rob's comics at PandaDog Press or follow him on twitter.

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