Brian Russel is the man. Not “the man,” but just an awesome guy. His webcomic went on hiatus, but is on the mend and should be re-released soon. Check out some original artwork and his responses to my pestering, I mean questioning:
The Underfold is an absurdest geek comic that started as a gag-a-day strip with occasional geek-centric story-lines. The upcoming reboot is the evolution of the original comic. The Ultimate Underfold is the long-form, humorous story of Brian and his friends as they unwittingly save the world, but from what?
Q: What prompted you to start a web comic?
I’ve been interested in drawing comic strips for a long time. When I was around 12, I had a whole comic idea in mind before realizing how difficult getting into a newspaper was going to be. I didn’t get far with it, but the idea was planted back then.
Originally, I didn’t know what a webcomic was exactly. In truth, I was working for a church setting up on Sunday mornings and was tasked with putting the coffee out. People were confused about which carafe was for which type of coffee (even though the decaf was labeled), so I began writing humorous things on index cards to both help people know what was what, and also to make fun of things. After a few too many “risque” (for a church) jokes, I was asked not to write jokes on the signs anymore. Fans of the jokes kept asking for them, so I hid them inside the folded index cards (under… the fold, if you will). I eventually made the change to comic strip format and it took on a life of its own.
After a while, I wanted more people to be able to read them, so I started to scan them in and post them on my Facebook profile. Then it was a Facebook group, then a Blogger blog, and eventually transitioned into a WordPress-based website. It wasn’t until I was on Blogger that I realized that there was a subculture of comics being posted online called webcomics. It felt sort of like at the end of Land Before Time(SPOILERS) when the three kid dinosaurs find that “promised land” and have families and community. I was home. The rest is history.
Q: Which strip is your favorite?
Do you realize how difficult this question is for me? I don’t mean at all to say that all of my comics are the best, but I usually tend to laugh pretty hard at my own jokes. (Just ask my wife!)
I’m going to do a cop out and pull three that I like for different reasons:
Sam Loves Frodo: (http://theunderfold.com/2012/
Q: Plans for the future?
I’m rebooting my webcomic! After 4 years of story-lines and changes and shifts, I really wanted to give people something they could “start” from the beginning. Watching DC do the New 52 was pretty inspirational too.
The reboot will basically be a different universe than the original Underfold comics, but dealing with the same characters. If ever you’ve read Marvel comics, then you understand this mentality already.The characters will be basically the same, but I’m starting from the beginning of their journey, and taking them on a full adventure on story arc at a time, and in honor of one of my favorite Marvel alternate universes, I’m calling it The Ultimate Underfold.
So, where the old “Silver Age” Underfold comics were strip-based, I’m going to be doing a long-form comic with pages and issues and everything. It’s a pretty drastic shift for me, but over the last year or two, I’ve just fallen in love with more graphic novels. This is my way to make some while still maintaining my webcomic roots. I’m not doing away with the gag-a-day quality though (at least I’m not trying to…).
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this and I hope other people are too! Everything starts back up on June 2nd, 2013!
Q: What other web comics do you read regularly and think others should too?
I read a bunch, but here are some of my favorites and friends: Sketch Comedy, JBabb Comics, Insert [IMG], Beeserker, and Newman.
There are a ton of webcomics out there and so many of them are awesome. Maybe one day I will get to meet all of these people and read all of them. (And maybe some of my favorites will come back! You hear me, From Death Til Now?)