Interview with the writer and artist of Have a Gothy Day, Ricky Gibson & Jimmy Marquez, hosted by RJD (Comixkid2099).
HAGD! Graphic Novel Vol 1
The New Have A Gothy Day Graphic Novel Will Be Coming Out In The Next Few Months Through Lulu, And It Will Be The Complete First Volume With Every Comic With Commetary From The Creators, Pin-ups And Never Before Seen Ever Features. It Will Be Our First Glorious (-Or Disasterous-) Jump Into Being Actual Comic Book Artists AND Writer, And We Hope We Can Count On Our Friends, Fans And Well-Wishers To Help Make HAGD A Big Hit!…Or At least A Modest Underground Hit We Can Shamelessly Brag About.
– Ricky Gibson
RJD: How did you guys come up with the initial idea of the HAGD comic? How did it evolve to what it is today?
Jimmy Marquez: Actually, the whole idea was kind of accidental. In our time at Valley High (Which is the offical name of the school in HAGD) we were always doing projects and posters for the teacher and facilty in general. One day, they asked us to do a mural for the school, with the theme being unity. On this mural, drawn was a goth guy (Who would later become Gary…) holding some cheerleader type’s hand. The school officials claimed this was too sexual. Yeah, okay, whatever. They wanted us to change it but we didn’t believe we did anything wrong. I mean, I’m pretty sure you can’t make a baby holding someone’s hand—but when push came to shove, they cancelled the project. So after we would always just laugh about how conservative they had been and made a big deal out of something so harmless. How ironic that they wanted unity, and when they go it, they didn’t like it. Eventually, we started calling the scandalous drawing, Gary The Goth and would make up really, really dumb stories about him…and the rest is history.
Ricky Gibson: We had significant sway at our highschool so they pretty much let us do whatever we wanted, we were kind of bad students, more interested in drawing and filming and joking around and our art teacher noticed our…flair for comedy, and let us draw the big mural in the hallway of our school…come to think of it we probably annoyed the hell out of her so much she was glad to get us out of her class each day, anyways so we did the mural. And that was such a huge turning point because that did lead to Gary the goth. so glad that we screwed around and accidentally created have a gothy day instead of, you know…actually doing school work and stuff…
Fun Fact: Jimmy hated the name “Have A gothy Day”. He wanted to call it something else, but after a short arm-wrestling contest we kept the title as is.
RJD: What went into the creation? The various influences that shaped HAGD?
Jimmy Marquez: I guess the creation was made partly by spite, and partly by just putting stories together and building on it. Nothing really too special or exciting. We just kept getting an idea and then adding to it, and adding and adding. Originally, Have A Gothy Day, was only going to feature Gary and the premise was TOTALLY different. Realizing that we could do better, we created Sunny, as sort of a comic foil. Think of it as Gary being the straightman and Sunny being the comic relief and spoiler to Gary’s dark tone and nature. Basically, we just wanted to create something that was funny and entertaining to us. We never thought it would still be around today or popular…
Ricky Gibson: The comic was made only for our enjoyment, it was basic, it only involved Gary and Sunny too, no other characters were even thought of at the time, I love that it started off simple…VERY simple, and we just kept adding characters, ideas and storylines, and created a whole world from it. The original stuff was slightly influenced by Jhonen Vasquez, because I was very into his comics at the time, I loved “Johnny The Homicidal Maniac”, and I kept the comic black and white.
RJD: What’s unique about the comic? What sort of audience is HAGD for?
Jimmy Marquez: Nothing and everything. I truly believe that nothing created is ever 100% original or new. So I cannot say that this comic is ground breaking. However, I can say that if you read it, and look past the dick and fart jokes, the slapstick, you will find that this comic has heart. I even go out of my way to write a novelization counter part, which is much deeper, lessens up on the gags, and develops the characters a bit more to back up that statement. Even though, this comic makes fun of sterotypes, I think it puts the stereotype over too. I get alot of complaints about how sterotyping is wrong and inaccurate, but I believe most are true to an extent and people need to laugh at themselves from time to time. Audience-wise, we are grateful for anyone who takes the time to read our stuff. Obviously, more goth’s, emo and people with black hair (laughs) are going to be more inclined to take a look but our book is really for anyone; no matter how you look; no matter how you dress…
Ricky Gibson: Yeah, Jimmy pretty much nailed it…I think it has somethig for everyone, Jimmy said it best in a HAGD tagline “No Matter Who You Are Or How You Dress, This Comic Is For You!” Brilliant!
I don’t think the comics original at all, we just threw together various stereotypes and gave them a twist, and I like to think we gave it heart, we brought something new and strange to the basic stereotypes, we highlight the different and unique types that exist in high school and showcase them above the normal, we let them shine…Uh, not so much the emos though.
RJD: Who are your inspirations and / or muse?
Jimmy Marquez: Well, I can’t speak for Rick, but alot of the time, for me, the inspiration just comes from actual events or things about myself or people I have known. For instance, I feel each of the six characters share a personality trait or likeness with me. I’m angry like Gary; I’m naive like Sunny; I have a poetic soul like Gaby; I am a big book worm like Gloss; I am sensitive like Angst and I have a nice ass like Sylene. I mean, I’m hyper like Sye. Some of the characters were based on old friends and their traits as well. Originally, Gary was supposed to be goth because his dog died; same reason our friend became goth…but we felt that was too cruel and much better that Gary just be born into it, like race or religion and not be thrown to it. Writing wise, we love slapstick and Mel Brooks. So we hope everything comes out funny and fast paced. Also, I think it’s very important to thank our models, Cin and Taryn. They are always happy and willing to do the shots. It’s always nice to have sex appeal…
Ricky Gibson: Yeah, we pretty much base our characters off people we know in real life, but change them just enough that we dont have to pay them! I dont really see much of myself in any of our characters, maybe Sye because im constantly set on hyper…otherwise the charactrers looks are based off our friends, except Sunny, I kind of based him off Conan O’ Brien…
Gloss is based off our friend Andrea, she’s almost the sole inspiration for her, looks wise anyway. Gary Was based off my love for the goth band “The Murderdolls”, and pulled from how i dressed in highschool, with a bit of “Johnny The Homicidal Maniac” influence thrown in. Sye was based off our friend Saundra, and dress-wise from my girlfriend Courtney, and Saundra. Gaby was created completely from imagination with hints of Mortecia Adams. And Angst was created as a emo stereotype not really based off anyone.
RJD: How do you collaborate on each comic? What’s the process like?
Jimmy Marquez: Speed dialing. Seriously, most of comics came from a conversation we’ve had. A line we said, a joke that was told. Basically, our rule is, if it makes us laugh for more than 10 minutes, it goes in the comic! Also, stuff that makes no sense equals gold too. Rick also puts future ideas and punch lines into a little note book. Not because we’re responsible…but because we both have lousy memories…what are we talking about again?
Ricky Gibson: … The comics screwed, between my A.D.D, and Jimmy forgetfulness it’ll be like the early days of image comics, except with less wacky results. I’ll usually sketch out the comic, add the dialogue, go over it with Jimmy, listen to his imput…then pretty much do whatever i want haha, no, we approve it then i ink and color it…we try to make sure we both carry on the storyline and end on a joke, its easy for us to do that because thats pretty much all we’re good at, making people laugh.
RJD: How do you hone your individual craft / skills?
Jimmy Marquez: Well, I know that Rick just keeps drawing and drawing. He is, I think, a constant professional. If he has a flaw, it’s that he demands perfection. Even if he has done the most amazing job, he doesn’t think it is good enough. Recently, he has been updating the older comics and I was against it at first, because I felt they were good as is. I think the re-do’s are great, but I could have lived with the old stuff. But I guess, ultimately, that’s what makes a part of our work great: We always try to do our best to improve. For me, it’s kind of different. I try to breathe life into the characters. I don’t want them to be just 2 dimensional. I’d like my fake characters to be as real as possible. Sure, they are all based off of a sterotype, but in my mind, they don’t actually know this or think this. For instance, Gary isn’t just this, yay for the Devil and cemeteries goth guy; he actually believes in God as well. He isn’t close minded. Most goth’s aren’t. It’s just people’s perception. When the facts become a legend, you print the legend. I’m printing the facts…
Ricky Gibson: …You stole that from a Spider-Man comic!…J. Jonah Jameson said that line! People get mad when Gary isn’t the stereotypical goth, oddly enough we’ve never gotten a complaint about Angst…
I would say that drawing helps me release stress but im the most laidback guy ever, pisses Jimmy off (laughs) like he said I constantly draw, I was lucky enough to find out at a young age what im good at and now im honing my skill to hopefully make a living and career out of it. I draw constantly, I have over 25 sketchbooks all the way back from when I was 14, definetly a testament to how I’ve improved, I cant go too lonbg without drawing or I’ll get all antsy.
RJD: Do you brainstorm a lot? how do come up with the plot and the funny for each comic?
Jimmy Marquez: I’d like to say yes, but we probably don’t. Brainstorming for us, again, is just talking normally to eachother and keeping our nonsense that was the funniest! Before, though, our issues had no continuity. Lately, we’ve been trying to have more a storyline-esque product. Keep reading if you want to see what’s in store! I can’t say much, but I can say: We’re thinking about putting a team together…Can I interest you in Project Gothvenger?!
Ricky Gibson: No one cares about Gothvenger! … Anyways, theres almost no pattern to how we create a comic, we could be walking down the street talking about any little thing, and all of a sudden one of us says a line thats pure comedic gold. The best stuff comes from everyday ordinary events, we can come up with stuff on the spot…we’re not pretty, but atleast we’re funny!
RJD: Can we expect any spin off titles from HAGD? a solo Gary story perhaps?
Jimmy Marquez: Actually, we already have a spin-off, or parody I should say. It’s called, “Goth/Off”, and it’s based on the movie, “Face/Off”, starring John Travolta and our hero, the man who can’t say no to a script, Nicholas Cage! It is a 20-something issue spectacular and a great read! This summer, we are keeping up with the movie trend and are going to give the fans, “Goth Hard”, which is a parody of, “Die Hard”, starring Sunny this time around…but don’t worry, every character makes an appearance!
Ricky Gibson: Nicholas Cage IS The MAN!…And I just have to finish coloring Goth/Off…And wait for Jimmy to finish the “Goth Hard” script, we shouldnt call it our summer movie trend if its not even going to be finished before summers over…Maybe Christmas blockbuster?… Also, I’m not sure a solo Gary comic would be as successful, Gary’s my favorite character, but what makes him great is how he interacts and plays off of Sunny and Angst and such, all three have strong personalities so they mesh well.
RJD: Do you have any other titles (non-HAGD-related) planned? Can you tell us about them, if any?
Jimmy Marquez: Well, I have a solo project in, “Oh That Ricker”; plus I am going to revamp our old comic, “The Masters Of Mayhem”, except it will purely be a novel series this time around. Rick has his own solo comics as well, that I occasionally put my 2 cents in. Some of these include, “Super Hero Confessions”, “Drunken Iron Man” and “Batman And Adam West” (I think that’s what it is called…) and all are worth checking out by the way…
Ricky Gibson: Hey, thanks for the plug!…All of the stuff im working on isn’t original creations…We’re HUGE comic fans, so i draw comics based on various DC and Marvel characters, i seem to have a knack for turning famous and respected heroes into idiots, fun and easy. i would love to do that for Wizard One Day, have a section for the various comics created.
And I’m collaborating on a comic with a writer, its called “The METAL” and its about Red, the lead vocalist of a metal band and his descent into madness…Kind of the opposite of my usual stuff but the concept grabbed me…Other than that im fully focused on HAGD.
RJD: How do you see HAGD in the future? How do you want to see it grow?
Jimmy Marquez: I personally see it being as a cult legend. Hopefully, mainstream and popular. If not, it’s okay because we have a loyal fan base already and I am fine with that. In my head, I have always seen the movie, the video game, the graphic novels, the cartoon on FOX (Laughs) because I believe in my project and the characters and the fan support. Sometimes, myself too (Laughs) but basically, Batman was once just a dream of Bob Kane’s. He probably didn’t think it would have been as big as it is today. Everything starts as a dream or idea and if you’re lucky, people will embrace it. If we’re lucky, people will embrace HAGD and our talent.
Ricky Gibson: I see it as a mainstream hit, carried from being a cult classic at first…Yeah, I can see it as a cult legend but i can also see it becoming so much bigger…Eastman and Laird created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they believed in it enough to invest all their heart, time and money into it, and it was hugely successful, they’re my biggest inspiration, they made it using an odd idea, so we can make it too.
Given the chance eventually we’ll market HAGD like Gene Simmons markets KISS…shirts, wristbands, lunch boxes, graphic novels, cartoons, toys, video and board games, fully 3-D animated movies and condoms (laughs).