We’re all about fairness and equality here at WAH. So when we have a guest webcomic character on WAH I like to have a little chat with the artist too. Here is the first part of my interview with the Chris Watkins, the gentleman behind Odori Park:
I met Chris in Abbottabad, Pakistan the day after he closed on his new home. Well, “home” isn’t the right word. It’s more like a mansion. “The former owner died unexpectedly,” Chris told me as he showed me around, “and the place was a mess, so I picked it up at a good price. I’m having internet installed tomorrow. Meanwhile, there’s lots of hidden pornography. It’s fun finding it all.”
After the tour we sat outside and ate lunch near a recently finished sculpture by an unknown foreign artist. “I got the seller’s agent to throw it in with the place,” Chris mentions proudly. “It’s a true work of art.” To me it looked like nothing more than the burned out hull of a helicopter, but, whatever.
WAH: What was going on in your life professionally and personally when you initially decided that you wanted to create and publish a webcomic?
CW: I was trying a different line of attack with comics; I had just started receiving rejection letters on my second newspaper syndicate submission package (the “Surreality, Inc.” that I’m now giving folks a look at on my site). Odori Park was the previous year’s submission, and although it had also been rejected, it garnered enough positive responses that I felt like it could have legs with the right audience. I started out doing webcomics back in 2010, and I knew after the second newspaper no-go that it was time to return to those roots.
WAH: What pop culture influences helped you to construct your theme and characters?
CW: A lot of Odori Park is, obviously, inspired by my life, even if I do mix things up. I’m a child of pop culture, though, and loads of other comics and works influence me. Calvin & Hobbes, Kazu Kibuishi, PvP, Sheldon, Japanese kids programs, Mad About You… I could go on.
More with Chris (a.k.a part two) on Friday.
Regarding today’s comic, I have to admit that I am a fan of Japanese game shows. They do some crazy schiznit over there. Yes, people are getting hurt and embarrassed, but darn if it isn’t hilarious to watch their pain. Does that make me a jerk? If not there are plenty of other things that do.
Anyhoo, here’s a Japanese game show clip example. It is not safe for work, men, or anyone between the ages of 1-100.