Gut Instincts

Remember when I used to interview the artists whose characters were guests on WAH? Well, I still do that. Here’s the first part of my interview with the only person who can legally publish Tales of a Checkered Man on his website each week, Denver Brubaker:

I met Denver at Dave & Buster’s Restaurant in Daytona Beach. I asked Denver why he wanted to be interviewed here. “I only like things with the same initials as mine,” he informed me. “I’ve lived in this city all my life. I eat all my meals in this restaurant,” he added. “I also do all my banking at Deutsche Bank. And everything I do is organized in databases. It’s perfectly normal.” With one eye on the door, and one eye on his bag of Dove Bars, I began asking my official questions:

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

DB: I owe the credit of me putting Tales of a Checkered Man (aka TOACM) online to my fiancée. Originally, I’d developed TOACM as a comic book series years ago and self-published a few minicomics and ashcan sized books before this whole crazy internet was a big deal. It never took off and eventually I gave up on the character(s). However, years later she planted the seed in my head to stop complaining about recent comic strips and comic books and make my own–something I would want to read. So I dusted off TOACM and rebooted it for the interweb.

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

DB: The first drawing I did of the Checkered Man (titled “Checkered Avenger”) was of a masked cavalier on horseback which I’d say harkens back more to Zorro or the Lone Ranger. Early on in the development CM was more like Adam West’s Batman (always has the right answer, plan, idea, gadget, etc.) in a goofy Tick kind of world. When I began developing the webcomic I decided that the “perfect” Adam west thing wasn’t working and I started to go the opposite route and make him very flawed and homemade – what if Charlie Brown was a masked vigilante? In terms of overall tone I like to listen to The Shadow old time radio dramas while I produce TOACM in the hopes that it influences the strip some. The best way I can liken TOACM to someone is that CM has the goofy characters of a humor strip set in an adventure strip world.

More of my interview with Denver on Friday.

– Ben