A Simple Plan

I really love the step two picture of Andy’s plan. The image of Jeff putting up the billboard is not only hilarious, it’s downright adorable. If that picture was a stuffed animal I would squeeze it and take it to the playground for all my friends to see. I’m not kidding.

Speaking of stuffed animals, here is the first third of my interview with the man behind Lemon, Inc., Tim Lai. Now, Tim is from Canada, and Canadians are difficult to understand because they spend most of their time shivering in the cold climate. So, after each response I have translated what he said into American.

WAH: What was going on in your life professionally and personally when you initially decided that you wanted to create and publish a webcomic?

TL: I had just finished taking some art courses in mid 2008 and was anxious to get some experience making comics. I’ve probably been aware of webcomics for about five years now although it didn’t really occur to me to put my own comics online until about three years ago. It never really crossed my mind that newspapers actually accepted submissions for new comics (and from what I’ve heard they basically don’t) so I never even considered submitting to one. I was more interested in eventually creating a graphic novel but my work wasn’t (and still isn’t) quite polished enough to be published. I decided that the best way to motivate myself to improve my art and writing would be to start a webcomic and to impose some deadlines on myself. Lemon Inc. was one of several ideas I had floating around in my head and seemed like the best one to use for an ongoing webcomic format. A big obstacle for me  at the time was figuring out how to get my content online. I actually started posting comics on a Blogspot page until I could set up my website in July of 2009.

Translation: We totally kicked your ass in hockey at the Winter Olympics you no-hockey-playing-babies. Don’t even think about bringing that weak sauce up here again. We invented hockey. You invented losing at hockey. Stick to your side and we’ll stick to ours.

WAH: What pop culture influences helped you to construct your theme and characters?

TL: Although I read and am inspired by a lot of different comics I think that I drew a lot more from television when conceptualizing Lemon Inc. I think one of the biggest influences for Lemon Inc. in terms of both tone and characters has been Spongebob Squarepants which is actually quite a brilliant show. If you think about it the relationship between Andy, Jeff, and Tommy is a lot like the relationship between Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward… If Spongebob and Patrick had an abusive friendship. Although you may not be able to relate to that as I could be in the minority here as a Spongebob fan. ? Another influence which I feel inspired some of the characters is an obscure animated show called Home Movies. The animation was incredibly simplistic but it was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. Other influences would include The Simpsons, and The Office. Calvin and Hobbes was an inspiration to an extent but I don’t think it was as much of one for me as it has been to many artists. Even so, it shares many similarities with my comic and I even found a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin has a lemonade stand which he runs like a business although I wasn’t aware of this strip when I created Lemon Inc. I still try not to draw too much from properties that are conceptually similar to mine because I want Lemon Inc. to have a distinct voice of its own.

Translation: Will you please stop whining about how we export softwood lumber to your stupid country. Man up you capitalist dogs!

Part two on Wednesday.

- Ben