As promised, here is the second half of my interview with Dresden Codak creator, Aaron Diaz!
1) Which of the archived strips are your favorites and why?
I don’t know if I have a single favorite. There are a handful that I enjoy for different reasons. Girl vs. Bear, I think is my most balanced strip as far as using humor, adventure and science references. It has a good rhythm, and I really enjoyed drawing those Civilization Ghosts. Another favorite is Zhuangzi, which I think is understandably one of the least beloved among fans. In hindsight it was way too esoteric for its own good, and without an extensive knowledge of ancient Chinese literature I don’t think it makes a bit of sense. However, I will say that one guy once wrote a magnificent essay on the Zhuangzi comic and how he interpreted it. I think that’s the only essay on my comics that I’ve ever seen. It was pretty neat.
2) Your most recent strips show a definite story starting to emerge. Now just a few strips in, are you interested in exploring this long-form style more or will you be happy to get back to the quicker, self-contained adventures?
Although I am really enjoying making this storyline, I’m definitely going back to one-shots once this is over. Before Hob, I would come up with some idea and then go make a comic about it. Now, while I’m trying to go through this story I keep coming up with unrelated ideas and have to put them on the back burner until this runs its course, which has gotten a little frustrating. Also, while I have no regrets about Hob, I do think that overall the strip works better as a collection of self-contained stories. Part of what Hob’s doing is fleshing out Kimiko’s character, which will hopefully make future one-shots with her more enjoyable.
3) A grand cast of characters isn’t a necessity for strips like Perry Bible and Wondermark where the focus and the punchline come from other sources. Is the robot from the current story meant to appear in any future stories and if not (or even if SO) do you plan on introducing more recurring characters to the world of Dresden Codak? If you plan on more multi-strip stories, I would think that would have to be a certainty.
I can’t comment on what’s going to happen with the Hob robot, but I will say that I’m not keen on introducing any more recurring characters. In fact, there’s a possibility that I’ll kill off all the current characters at the end of this arc (I haven’t decided yet). The only people who I can guarantee won’t go away are Tiny Carl Jung and Rupert & Hubert.
4) In the review, we discussed the panel layout and how dynamic and thought-provoking it can be. In the end, we all agreed this has to be yet another aspect of the storytelling rather than simple luck. How hard do you work on making that flow seamless from panel to panel and have you always put that much thought into your craft or was it something that you more suddenly discovered?
I have absolutely no idea how I do panel layouts. Sometimes I’ll sketch some thumbnails in a pad, but most of the time I just start drawing some square boxes and see where it goes. It was probably a deliberate thing at first, I’m not sure, but these days it’s definitely an intuitive exercise, based completely on “Hey, does this look right? I don’t know.”
5) Finally what can we expect for Dresden Codak going forward? Also, do you have any other projects or works you’d like to plug?
There’s a good chance that some future strips will be done in Flash and involve interactive elements. I’ve been inspired by my pal B. Shur of I Am A Rocket Builder ‘s interactive comics and have been meaning to implement those sorts of tricks. As for other projects, I have a couple website scheme that are peripheral to the comic, but they’re still in secret development. I’m always impressed by how Ryan North is pretty much able to invent a website a month and somehow also tie into his comics in some way. My new projects are focused on different community-based initiatives, so we’ll see how they turn out. It’s always fun to experiment.
And that’s a wrap… again! Thanks to Aaron for some great answers and don’t forget to bookmark Dresden Codak for those intermittent, though immensely satisfying updates!