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January 3, 2010

Web Comic of the Month: Daniel Larson’s Stick-Man

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Written by: Eli
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This month we’re looking at Daniel Larson’s Stick-Man. I came across this web comic by accident, but I was struck by the Stick-Man character. He was just so cool looking to me, I had to read the comic. Turns out Daniel can put together more than just a pretty face for his lead character – the story’s cool too. I’ve been a regular reader of Daniel Larson’s Stick-Man for a little while now. I have yet to be disappointed, and I think you’ll share that feeling as you read through it.

Stick-Man

Stick-Man is a crime-fighting alien of unknown origin, who disappeared 10 years ago. His return is as mysterious as his disappearance. He resurfaced with no memory of anything, not even his own name, let alone where he’d been for the past 10 years. His super powers are flight, super human strength, speed, and wit.

I don’t know exactly why, but I was really struck when I first saw Stick-Man. I guess I just think he’s cool, and as I said, the comic will keep you interested. I suggest starting from the beginning. One thing you’ll notice is the interaction between Stick-Man and his creator, which I think is pretty cool.

There are a host of other characters, some super-powered, that support Stick-Man. While you get interaction between Stick-Man and other people in the strip, the skinny alien remains the star. All of the other characters give this web comic a depth that some lack. There’s a real story here, and watching it unfold keeps me coming back.

Stick-Man appears in a daily, and a weekly comic.

Daniel Larson

I had the privilege of interviewing Stick-Man‘s creative force, Daniel Larson. He was gracious enough to sit down with me, over email, to chat about his creation, and a few other things. He shares his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including the upcoming Stick-ManSpider-Man crossover. OK, maybe that crossover’s only happening in my head, but it’s cool nonetheless. Here’s what Dan had to say.

Age: 33

Comic Attack: Are you married?
Daniel Larson: Interesting question to kick off the interview with. Are you interested? Ladies (and some gentlemen), while I am not actually married yet, I am engaged. So, please stop mailing me your panties.

CA: Have any of your female characters been inspired by her?
DL: My fiancee is a wonderful woman whom regular readers know as ‘Kate’ from Episode 2 of the Weekly comic (she’s the one photographing the giant robot). Technically she’s playing herself, so I don’t think that necessarily counts as a character BASED on her, it IS her.

CA: Any kids? Are they following in their father’s footsteps?
DL: As of this writing I have no children that I have been made aware of. If they ARE following in my footsteps they are doing a fantastic job of hiding their presence. It makes a man proud to know that his theoretical children are so good at what they do.

CA: Do you remember the first comic you ever read?
DL: I don’t remember any specifics about the actual first comic I read. It was probably a Superfriends comic in the very early ’80’s. The first comics that I can remember reading were definitely G.I.Joe comics that my brother and I would buy.

CA: What was the first comic that you created? When?
DL: The first comic I created was about a guy who has come to be known as “Mullet Punisher” due to his undeniably Punisher influenced (some might say stolen) uniform and his then-stylish blonde mullet. He also had a samurai sword, conventional weapons and a ‘Stupendous Man’ style mask.

CA: How did you come up with Stick-Man?
DL: Stick-man was actually created by a friend of mine named Matt Bellucci a few years prior to my first work with the character. At the time it was a very simple stick-figure style character with a penchant for using Nintendo Light Zapper guns. I started working with the character in 1990 and have evolved it over the last 19 years into something that bears almost no resemblance to that original character.
And yet, he retains the same innocent charm that drew me to him in the first place.

CA: Have we seen your work anywhere else?
DL: Only if you went to High School or College with me. Or if you purchased the PV Comics anthology at comixpress.com. That featured an 8-page story about another character of mine called ‘Oxford Mahogany.’

CA: What do you do when not creating the next Stick-Man strip?
DL: I’m usually working on commissions or finding a way to secure more commissions. I do some regular graphic design and materials design work when necessary. I also teach some comics workshops around the Manchester, NH area.

CA: What do you use to make your strip? Hardware, Software, gadgets? Why?
DL: I keep things pretty simple when it comes to comics creation. I write up my scripts in Microsoft Word. I draw on 11×14 Strathmore Cold Press Bristol Board. I pencil with regular old 2 and 2H pencils. I ink with Micron Pens (1, .03, .05, .08, Brush) and the occasional Sharpie marker. I scan it in and color and letter with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
I’ve been making my own comics for a long time and these are really the tools and methods that I have found work best for me and what I want to produce.

CA: What’s your creative environment like? Noise, silence, day, night, what??
DL: I work in a home based studio/guest bedroom that has a computer, a drawing desk, a television and lots of reference books and toys stashed about. When I’m drawing I definitely need something playing in the background. If it’s summer time, I’ll have baseball on the TV. Usually just my iTunes library on shuffle.

CA: What is your favorite Stick-Man strip?
DL: My favorite page is Episode 33 of the Weekly Comic “Stick-Man‘s Memories.” It’s a point in the comic that allowed me to condense a multitude of memories from his history going all the way back to 1990 into one page. If you have been following the character for a long time, you know what they all mean. if not, then it at least gives you a sense of his colorful heritage and experiences.

CA: How long have you been teaching comics?
DL: It’s something that I only recently started actively pursuing. I think you get to a point with any skill set where people start to seek out your input and guidance. They see you doing something, they enjoy it and they see you enjoying the making of it and they want to share in that. I started doing workshops, really just because enough people started asking. I enjoy teaching them and hope more people will sign up today at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, New Hampshire 603-669-XMEN or on the web at www.dmcomics.com.

CA: Do you get more joy from teaching, or creating/working on your own material?
DL: There is no joy without the actual creation of comics. The workshops put more money in my pocket and force me to work outside of my comfort zone which is necessary for MY growth and development as an artist, but I would be miserable if I wasn’t actually making comics.

CA: Do you have any tips for aspiring web comic creators in our audience?
DL: The most important piece of advice I can offer to anyone interested in making comics is to just be yourself. It sounds simple but it’s so hard. We all have our influences and things that we try to emulate, but it’s so important to just do YOUR thing. The imagination that you bring to the table, the things that are intrinsic to your experiences and creativity are what will make you stand out above everyone else.

CA: You’re given the chance to do a mini-series for any character from comic history, who do you choose? Why?
DL: As a kid I would have said either Punisher or the X-Men. Now, it’s gotta be Captain America. I’m such a huge Captain America fan. The work that Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch did with the character on ‘The Ultimates‘ really crystallized everything I liked about the character. He’s a man taken out of time dealing with his out-of-date moral structure in a contemporary context. He’s patriotic, but more importantly, he fights for a concept that is universal: freedom.
It’s hard to imagine if I would still be a Captain America fan if I was a citizen of another country, but I think the long history (both in the comics and the real world) are a testament to his appeal for foreign audiences as well.

CA: Person you’d love to get the chance to work with on a comic?
DL: If I was writing and they were drawing: Art Adams, Alex Ross or Bryan Hitch. I feel like those guys would be able to draw anything I could possibly imagine and make it 1000 time more visually compelling than what I actually thought of and described.
If they were writing and I was drawing: Paul Grist or Stan Sakai. I feel like I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by ether of their writing styles as they tend to both put the emphasis on just telling the story in a simple straightforward manner that has a lot of emotion and characterization. Which is what I hope my work to be like someday.

CA: What are your goals for Stick-Man?
DL: My goals are just to keep him rolling for as long as possible. Or until his death in Episode 442.
Just kidding.
Or am I?
I am.

CA: What are your goals for yourself in the comic business?
DL: I’d love for circlecomics.com to just be self-sufficient at some point. I’d love to be able to just make comics 24 hours a day 7 days a week and know that I can still eat and put fuel in my internal combustion vehicle.

CA: What’s your favorite book right now?
DL: I don’t read regular books. My favorite comic is probably ‘Atomic Robo’ by Scott Wegener and Brian Clevenger at Red 5 Comics. It is such a pure comic book in terms of crisp, creative original story-telling with respect to the writing and art. I usually have that book read before I get home from the comic shop (yep, while driving).

CA: Favorite comic movie?
DL: It’s gotta be ‘The Incredibles.’ ‘Dark Knight Returns‘ and ‘Iron Man‘ were both really good, but if given the choice I’d watch ‘The Incredibles‘ before the other 2 every single time.

CA: Who’s tougher, Batman or Rorschach?
DL: Rorschach wouldn’t stand a chance against Batman. Even if you took all of the Bat-stuff away.
Tougher to draw: Batman. I’m not really a super hero muscles kind of guy. I’d have way more fun with the trench coat, scarf, gloves and pants of Rorschach.

CA: Who’d win in a battle between Stick-Man and Spider-Man?
DL: First off, they would never fight. Now, let’s assume for argument sake, that Mysterio is messing with them so they both BELIEVE that they should be fighting each other. In that case… Spider-Man wins hands down. Spider-Man has more powers, he’s stronger, faster and he’s been doing the super-hero thing a lot longer. He has so much more experience. Stick-Man’s only hope would be to either try to get away (which, given his speed and flight, he could probably manage) or try to reason with Spider before a knock-out punch was delivered.

CA: What’s the one book you’d want to have if stranded on a deserted island?
DL: Millar and Hitch’s “Ultimates.” I love everything they did with both of the chapters. I really wish they would just shoot this book for the Avengers movie that’s being worked on. Anything less and I can’t help but be a little disappointed.

Thanks so much for giving us some of your time Dan. It’s been a real pleasure.

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Eli Anthony
eli@comicattack.net

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2 Comments


  1. infinite speech

    Great interview Eli! Wit as a super power? pretty interesting…I don’t read a lot of web comics though i’ve been told there’s some great ones out there, I might have to change that


  2. billy

    “Oxford Mahogany” lol
    good stuff Eli!



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