fragile gravity
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Q: When does the strip update?
CI: 12:01am Eastern Time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Q: How long does it take to make a strip?
CI: About six hours to pencil, ink, scan and assemble a strip on average. As many cartoonists do, it seems I will speed that up a bit as I refine the style of this strip over time.
BF: For more about what he does with the strip, check out the Backstage area.
Q: How does the archive work?
CI: The files themselves are simply named by their corresponding date. The directory listing is processed and filtered by the current time, and read in various ways by the PHP scripts that comprise the site. This gives me a lot of flexibility to create and modify archive controls to be as convenient and intuitive as I can make them. Currently you can read the archives by next/previous buttons, a calendar interface, by numerical sequence, by chapter or by clicking on the strip itself to advance to the next one. I am considering adding weekly summaries and random selections once there are enough strips to merit them.
Q: Where is Glidepath?
CI: Glidepath is a low rent suburb about twenty miles from the eastern coastal city of Ipsetania, which borders Tarmac International Airport. The old town is surpassed in area and rapidly becoming surrounded by prefab housing developments such as Emergency Landings; highway overpasses; and vast strip malls featuring the ubiquitous discount superstore, Nouns. Gregg grew up there.
BF: Heck, I think there's even a map around here somewhere. It'll probably be in the Backstage section eventually.
Q: What is Studio Unseen?
CI: Studio Unseen is the production house for The Case Files of Vince Posthumous: Solar Detective, a black-and-white comic book. Very roughly six issues are produced per year. They currently have no other titles.
Q: How does this differ from Unseen Productions?
BF: Unseen Productions is the production house for Fragile Gravity, featuring the real-life people Chris Impink and Barb Fischer. Greg and Tanya are just pixels, not flesh and blood like we. Unseen Productions is also Chris' pseudo-company that houses his 3D work, art, and his radio drama, The Shape of Darkness.
Q: Haven't I seen you at (insert convention here)?
BF: If it was a mid-Atlantic convention, probably. Chris and I have staffed and been guests (well, he's been a guest; I'm more of a staff drone) at a number of conventions in that area. If it was anywhere else, it likely wasn't us.
Q: So, have you done anything else notable?
BF: I haven't, but Chris has. Chris has created artwork for the Babylon Project role-playing games and did coloring for Deadlands: One Shot and Brave New World (Pinnacle Entertainment). His cartoon work appeared in Antarctic Press' Mangazine and Ninja High School Swimsuit Issue a very long time ago. He ran strips for a couple years in the campus newspaper while at Virginia Tech and even a couple one-shots in the local section of the Washington Post way back around the dawn of time (high school).
Q: What do you do when you're not working on FG?
BF: In the 9-5 world, we're both corporate drones at Northern Virginia-based companies. In the off time, we work for various conventions, play video games, watch a lot of movies, and eat sushi as often as possible. Oh, and I have a son, which does eat up all the time that I'm not sleeping.
CI: Huh? When would that be? Actually, with the exception of tending to small children, Barb and I do many of the same things, which is convenient for Fragile Gravity. Much of the convention work I do is in publications so there's always a flyer or something that needs doing.
Q: What influences your writing/art style?
BF: I'm a big fan of comedy -- things like the Marx Brothers films and old Tex Avery cartoons loom large in my writing process. I also like Kevin Smith's films, though sometimes he's a little too talky. I base a lot of what's going on in the comic on experiences I've had in real life, though maybe not quite as dramatic as what happens to our hapless heroes.
CI: My art style is pretty clearly derived from Japanese animation, but I think I've seen enough of it at last that the style I've developed isn't clearly ripped off of any one title anymore. My greatest influences are Rumiko Takahashi, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Kenichi Sonoda and Masamune Shirou. The Vince Posthumous comics, on the other hand, borrow slightly more from Western comics and are more like the way I used to draw before I was exposed to such high doses of manga, most notably Frank Miller and Dave Sim and Gerhard.
Q: Do you feel like your work is derivative of other convention-based comics like Conscrew?
BF: Not really. There are a lot of people out there who have had a number of different experiences at conventions; this is just our set of stories. Plenty of room out there for all of us.
CI: Besides, there are plenty of web comics about fuzzy things or gamers or workaday tech geeks, yet they maintain their individuality. A strip is (or at least should be) about the characters and not merely what they do. If not, it doesn't matter if there's one strip or ten thousand about the convention community -- nobody's going to care about any of them for more than a dozen strips.
Q: Are you sure about that?
BF and CI: Absolutely. Next question.
Q: Do any of the characters wear thongs?
BF: Ack!
CI: No - well, Gregg doesn't as he is seen wandering around in boxers, and Tanya won't say. Elvis glares menacingly at the sound of the word. I won't ask Vince since he carries a pistol and a katana. I haven't spotted any penguins wearing thongs, though it's possible I'm suppressing the memories of such things.
Q: How does one get to make a cameo in FG?
CI: There is no defined procedure yet. Perhaps they could be rewards for donations to keep the server percolating.
BF: There's also the bits where you may show up because the writer remembers vague events or thinks you might look good in certain sections. We'll probably do some auctioning of cameos at some future point.
Q: What are all the penguins' names?
CI: You would have to be fluent in Penguinese to understand the subtle inflections that differentiate their names. To human ears, they are all named "Waark".
Q: How can I get a copy of the ashcan?
CI: I'll post the PDF of the Rising Star ashcan when #6 goes live on Wednesday in the Downloads section I will set up over the weekend.
BF: Each time we do an ashcan, we'll try to include it in that section. We'll do different ones for different conventions.
Q: When will the Thong Queen be making her first appearence?
BF: Er... um... well. I guess when I can write a strip that will truly reflect her magnificence? Or maybe she might show up at Halloween...