Before I get to the meat and potatoes of this interview, I want to talk about the best conversation on Twitter I had with Andy Suriano. Andy was tweeting about wolf t-shirts or wildlife t-shirts. I don’t really remember.
I have a t-shirt with a wolf and an eagle on it, there’s a moon as well, maybe some other animal — again, I can’t remember. Seems like I have a memory problem.
Anyway, I tweeted it at him and we had a laugh and that’s really the story, not a very good one, but a personal one for me. Tonight I learned that he was a part of a show that’s very important to me, and then the opportunity was given to me to interview him. I’ve never done an interview before so this should be interesting. Or it could be boring. Maybe we will talk about old work, maybe we will talk about wildlife t-shirts (I hope so), for now let’s talk Samurai, Scoundrels and shirt sizes with Andy Suriano. I’m also going to bother Andy’s partner on Cosmic Scoundrels, Matt Chapman, briefly about one of my other favorite things in life like Homestarrunner.com, oh and Cosmic Scoundrels too.
Mike Lepine for Comics Bulletin: Andy, thanks for tweeting out that you would like an interview. I should let you know that this is the first I’ve ever done. Apparently I’ve been a huge fan of your work for some time, but didn’t know it. I found out you worked on one of my favorite shows ever The Fairly Oddparents. I would feel terrible if I didn’t ask how working on that was.
Andy Suriano: First of all, you are gonna CRUSH this interview, Mike! As for FOP, that was my very first character design job in animation—so it was a dream come true! I got to design the 1st season and nearly twenty years later they are still using my same designs, it’s so cool!
CB: I want to get the geeking out Mike out of the way quickly so maybe I can bug Matt here about Homestar Runner and how that came about so I can get the gushing out of the way first?
Matt Chapman: Homestar’s a web thing my brother Mike and I have been doing since the turn of the century. It started as a weird joke kids book Mike made with our friend Craig Zobel, then turned into an excuse to learn Flash animation, then turned into an excuse to quit our jobs. Eventually, it led to us getting deals working with other slightly more legit animation places like Disney which is how I met Andy.
CB: Andy, We’ve talked a little on Twitter about you working on the new TNMT cartoon on Nick. It’s a great show, my whole house loves it! I’ve been a Turtles fan from the olden days. Do you have a history with them?
AS: Like a ‘dating history’?? ha. Who wasn’t a fan of the old-school TMNT?! Seriously, who? I will beat them up. My grade school papers were covered in turtle drawings so it’s been a surreal experience to draw these characters as an (indeterminable) adult. Nickelodeon brought me in early to come up with brand new mutants and develop the 2d version of the show—which is what appears on any sort of packaging and merchandising.
CB: And now you’ve just told me you also worked on all four season of Samurai Jack the show. You’re really blowing my mind here. Ok, question; (after a very long statement) I’ve really enjoyed your work on Samurai Jack the comic. It has the feel of the show, but it’s also a fresh take on Jack. I loved following your progress on the book through your work in progress pictures you that tweet out. I am a big fan of progress shots. How was working on issue 18 different than the rest of the series?
AS: Thanks, man! I dig progress shots as well—I post what I can but there’s probably 90% of my art I cannot show because it’s all under some sort of contract. Issue 18 of Samurai Jack is unique because it’s the first issue of Jack I’ve done completely on my own—handling the writing duties as well as art. Issue eight I got co-writing credit, but this one I’m really flying without a safety net. For better or worse. I tried to put a little bit of every type of Jack story I dig in it: a little silly, a little existential and a little bit of action.
CB: I’ve seen your pics of Cosmic Scoundrels art and of the size of the book. It looks amazing and I am super interested in reading it, but I have no way to do it (hint, hint) Tell me about how you and Matt came up with the story and feel free to tell me as much as possible. I don’t mind spoilers.
AS: Well, anyone can read the exploits of our two space bachelors on the run (from literally everyone), at cosmicscoundrels.com plus loads of extra Easter-eggs to give you different perspectives of the main storyline, as well as order one of the giant 11×17 sized printed collections we created. At first just for conventions—but after selling out at each show we’ve made them available from our site too. Cosmic Scoundrels is 100% a complete labor of love for both of us; a culmination of our love for 70s and 80s sci-fi, an appreciation for long boxes filled with comics typically designated for dollar bins plus the freedom to allow our Id to go wild.
MC: Andy had this awesome early drawing of the two main characters Roshambo and Love Savage up in his cubicle at Disney and I kept telling him “I wanna see THAT comic!” Eventually, he said, “Hey why don’t you write it?” So we’d have these brainstorms where we’d just barf up all these different ideas and it quickly formed the characters and their universe and several story arcs. For the most part we’re still sticking to most of what we came up with then with some minor tangents and deviations along the way.
CB: Let’s talk wildlife t-shirts and the sizes you guys wear! Maybe we can get some free shirts out of this. When did your love for them blossom?
AS: Well, I believe the shirt in question is a wolf howling at the moon, American flag combo that I got somewhere in Utah on a road trip. So, like, who wouldn’t love that? Seriously, who? Again, I will beat them up.
MC: Sometimes I steal this turtleneck sweater with a fox on it that belongs to my wife.
CB: Andy, I want to thank you again for tweeting out you don’t mind interviews. And for letting me drag Matt into this as well. Both of your works have been influential in my life for a long time. I’ve enjoyed talking to you both more than you can imagine. You want to tell our readers know where they can reach you?
AS: The pleasure is all ours, Mike! For sure! We urge readers to go to cosmicscoundrels.com where we try our best to update weekly, and welcome those unafraid of size to check out the printed formats as well. For those wanting to check out my take on Samurai Jack, my very special issue comes out THIS Wednesday, April 22nd. Please let me know what you think!!
MC: Yeah thanks so much! We’ll also be at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC this summer. It’s our first con together! I’m so nervous! We should probably make t-shirts or something!
Everyone make sure to check out Samuari Jack 18 this Wednesday! It looks to be everything we’ve ever wanted in a Samurai Jack comic and be sure to click cosmicscoundrels.com and find these guys at a con this summer!