The Firestorm Fan blog sat down with Brian Clevinger recently. Among things talked about were Clevinger’s webcomic that put him on the map…
FF: One of your best known creations is the webcomic 8-Bit Theater. What spawned your humorous take on Final Fantasy, and how did the popularity of 8-Bit Theater shape your career?
BC: I never played the original Final Fantasy until something like 1998. So, it was this weird and dated experience with characters who never spoke on a world-spanning quest that is hardly defined but appears to involve saving the world and maybe time travel.
So, y’know, as I’m playing the game I’ve got this on-going narrative about it in my head. Y’know, the faceless characters with no lines of dialog that you play, you can’t help but project personalities on them based on their performances, abilities, etc. It was just this weird personal story that stuck with me.
Then in 2001 I took an independent study course at the University of Florida. The basic idea was to make a comic book to test a variety of academic analyses of comics pages. The basic idea being: what was the thought process behind different elements of the page. Was it for “art” or was it to meet the practical realities of the page? Was it both? That kind of thing.
Only problem: I can’t draw. Like, you know how little kids can’t draw? I’m worse.
But then I remembered I just happened to have downloaded most of the images from Final Fantasy. I’d found them online somewhere or another over the years. So, what the hell, right? Just use those images. I only needed stand-ins so you’d know the difference between Character #1 and Character #2, etc.
… his current projects …
FF: Looking back at the work you’ve amassed, what are you most proud of? What do you consider a high point both personally and creatively?
BC: Atomic Robo, without question. It’s everything I love about comics and storytelling wrapped up into one package.
… and, of course, the Fire Storm.
FF: How did you get the Firestorm assignment?
BC: DC called me up one day and offered it to me! They said they were looking for “a voice from outside of DC” to launch “a fun and accessible Firestorm book.” If Atomic Robo is anything, it’s wall-to-wall fun and accessible. Lots of banter, lots of sci-fi, lots of action. Sounds like a pretty good mix for Firestorm!
FF: What aspects of Firestorm did you enjoy writing the most? What aspects did you find the most challenging to write?
BC: Even though I lobbied hard against it, I came to really enjoy the merging dynamic. It’s so weird and comic booky and it allowed for a lot fun interaction between the guys. The most challenging part has been giving it up. I got really attached to the guys and the idea of helping to bring them new fans.
FF: Can you tell us why you won’t be writing Firestorm?
BC: I honestly don’t know.
Despite Clevinger’s obvious disappointment at losing the Firestorm assignment, his spirits are high throughout. It’s a great interview that’s well worth reading.
(h/t Robot 6)