This week's featured web comic is written so well that it made me want to go out and find everything else they've done.
"Looking for Group," created by Canadian duo Ryan Sohmer (the writer) and Lar DeSouza (the artist), is a fantasy-based comic that follows Cale'Anon, the good-guy, pre-destined elven hunter main character who is accompanied by a destructive and funny undead warlock named Richard. A host of other friends join them on their journey.
"If you've ever enjoyed a fantasy story, or playing something like 'Dungeons & Dragons' or 'World of Warcraft,' or read a good fantasy book like 'Lord of the Rings,' you'll get it," said DeSouza. "We've got a band of adventurers making their way around. But at the same time as we are telling our stories, we're not afraid to poke some fun at the genre, so there's a good dose of parody in there too."
"A heavy dose," said Sohmer.
I got the chance recently to pick DeSouza and Sohmer's brains about gaming, Web comics and a few finer points about their brand of nerdery.
CNN Geek Out!: How did you get started in Web comic territory?
DeSouza: Sohmer and I had been working together for about four years and were looking for another project to collaborate on.
Sohmer: With our great amount of free time?
DeSouza: We were approached by a company that makes accessories for video gamers to do a strongly Warcraft kind of comic for their website. I think we spent about a week brainstorming the crap out of what was supposed to be a throwaway kind of project. At that point we realized this had too much potential to sell away. So we refused the contract and took all that collective love for the genres – the movies, the books, the comics, the games – and channeled them into LFG.
Sohmer: Originally, it was supposed to be a once-a-month comic, but fortunately, we had far too many stories to tell using that frequency.
It began at once a week, then got upped to twice.
CNN Geek Out!: Do you find there's a certain type of person who really appreciates LFG?
DeSouza: Anyone who enjoys any aspect of fantasy. And not just the 'sword and sorcery' stuff either. Space opera, B movies, all of it. If you enjoy escaping into another world, LFG has something for you.
Sohmer: It’s funny. I remember when once upon a time our audience would have been called ‘Niche.' Not any more.
CNN Geek Out!: Do you get your inspiration from video games or from fantasy worlds in general?
Sohmer: It comes from everything I read, play, or watch. D&D sessions as a kid, playing Xbox as I got older and reading "Lord of The Rings" and "Wheel of Time" in between.
DeSouza: For me, it's everything old and new. I love looking at art blogs online for more inspiration. Concept art from movies and games is a great inspiration too. But I have a lifetime of reading and drawing fantasy, and that all comes into play when I get a script from Sohmer.
CNN Geek Out!: Are you gamers?
You can find me on the Xbox every night when the family’s gone to bed.
DeSouza: I was a gamer once upon a time. I was a first generation D&Der, but it's been a long time since I've actually played. I never got into the video campaigning – I don't seem to have the reaction skills for all that button pushing, never mind the time to spend on them.
CNN Geek Out!: Alright Ryan, what games do you play?
Sohmer: Anything by Bioware, any first person shooter. Anything with the name ‘Call of Duty’ before it.
CNN Geek Out!: Empire or Rebel?
DeSouza: Rebel. I have four cats. Do you think I could keep a Vader cape cat hair free? Never gonna happen.
Sohmer: Empire. Cooler hats.
CNN Geek Out!: Any tips for folks wanting to break into the Web comic world?
DeSouza: It's easy enough just to do it, but that's not a reason for doing something. I'd say DON'T do it. Keep honing your skills and crafting your stories but don't do it until the not doing it drives you nuts. Then you'll be sure you've got stories to tell and the passion to tell them well and stick with the discipline of producing comics.
Sohmer: Do it because you love it, because you have something to share. Do it to entertain, to inform. Do it because it’s something you want to see. Do it for yourself.