Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This is apparently Thorsby's first interview, and I'm delighted to post it. While Thorsby does have a cult following (Hitmen for Destiny has even spawned its own wiki) I have no doubt that he's going to become much better known before long.
First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where you grew up, what are some jobs you've had, stuff like that...
I try to not say too much personal stuff online. I’m from Norway.
Hitmen for Destiny had a very complex plot. How much of it was planned in advance? Did you follow a tight script, or make a lot of stuff up as you went along?
Very early on, before I started drawing, I worked out a very undetailed plot like “in storyline 3 X falls in love with Y”. This was before I knew almost anything about X and Y, like their names or how they looked. The things I planned out so early were the things that would make big changes in the plot. It’s good to plan out those things in advance, cause if you make it up as you go along, you’re likely to end up with a rubbish plot. And it is hard to do character development unless you plan it from the start.
The “missions”, like what monsters they are out to kill I made up later.
Action sequences were the least planned out. Sometimes I would have to change details as I went along, cause what I had planned didn’t work. Like, she can’t hit the monster now, it is to far away, or similar.
Any plans for a sequel, or other appearances for any of these characters?
I’m not going to do that. I think a new story with new characters is more interesting.
As far as I know, this was your first comic series. Had you done other comics, or other art, before this?
I drew some comics on paper as a kid, nothing worthwhile. I have written three deservedly unpublished books, two novels and a short story collection. I have written two text games. They can be downloaded from here: http://ifdb.tads.org/search?searchbar=%F8yvind+thorsby
Now that it's done, what are your feelings about it? Are you glad to get it done, or sad to see it end? Are you pleased with how it turned out, or are there a lot of things you'd change? (And if there are, what are a few of them?)
Though I enjoyed making it, I am glad it is done. I’m pleased with it.
Stuff I would have changed if I had to do it again:
Some of the attempts at being funny, especially early in the strip, are awful. There are lines that make me cringe.
I gave far to little thought on what Anette and Bianca was like before I started writing. In the early strips they have very little personality.
I tried to give each character a specific way of talking. With Bianca I thought I would not do anything special. So she would just talk “normally” and therefore be different that the others. In hindsight this was stupid. She would have been more interesting with a more distinct voice.
I would have not have drawn such wobbly lines on the background.
The characters would have had more realistic proportions. The giant heads and tiny legs often caused problems when drawing an action sequence. They can’t even reach the top of their heads.
Anette would have smaller breasts.
Was this a hard comic to do? Were you slaving over every page, or did it come easily to you? Were there ever times when you wanted to give up?
I wouldn’t say it was hard, except for the amount of time it took to draw. I struggled with working out the plot to the “Passion, lies and fungus” storyline, but not to the point that I didn’t think I could do it. I never wanted to give up.
Does Hitmen for Destiny have any "message"? Did you have some serious intent for it, or is it meant to be more of a straightforward comedy/adventure?
The latter. Though I guess my opinions comes though a little bit, occasionally.
What sort of response has the strip gotten? Are you happy with it?
I’ve gotten some nice e-mails, and seen it discussed on message boards. Some people like it a lot, and some thinks it is awful. Not much middle ground. I like getting feedback, wish I got more.
What are some of your influences, and do you feel those influences show up strongly in your work?
Joss Whedon, who made Buffy and Angel. His shows tend to have short (usually one episode) storylines that would stand on their own but would simultaneously move the bigger storyline for the whole series forward. I tried to that.
Neil Gaiman. Fusk and Vorte were heavily influenced by Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar from the novel Newerwhere. (Though Fusk is not based or Croup or Vandemar, and Vorte is not based on Croup or Vandemar. My couple is influenced by the whole couple.)
Both Joss’s shows and Neil’s writings has magic worlds that are secret from ordinary people. And they will make the secret worlds seen bigger by showing small details that is not explained. I tried to do the same.
Ray Cooney. I have only seen three of his plays but they were very funny, and are a large influence when I write farce.
Wallace and Grommit. There is a very funny and clever action sequence in “The Wrong Trousers” involving a model train. I am not sure if it has influences my writings all that much, but I think it is ideal for what an action sequence should be like. Or some action sequences anyway.
Some of the monsters are influenced by real biology. I don’t usually believe that truth is stranger than fiction, but it is usually true when it comes to biology. Monsters and aliens in fiction tend to be very unimaginative, while a lot of real creatures are mindblowingly weird.
Who was your favorite character in the strip, and why? Were there any characters that you got tired of?
I don’t feel very strongly about which character I like the most, but if I had to choose I guess Maythorn. She’s the nicest and the most realistic.
My least favourite character by far is Hurrger (the green dog-like warrior that fell out of a portal). When Anette says, “Shut the fuck up, Hurrger.” that is how I felt.
Are there any plans to collect the story in book form?
What's next for you? Are you working on anything?
I just released a short comic called Lies, Sisters and Wives. http://www.webcomicsnation.com/thorsby/wives/series.php?view=archive&chapter=45522
I am not working on anything right now, but I have many ideas for comics, and I will probably make some in the future.