As part of our ongoing commitment to independent publishers, small press, and generally awesome things, we've got an interview with the minds behind The Devastator, a comedy magazine which just released its sixth issue (reviewed by our very own Nick Hanover).
This issue was something of a milestone, as it marked The Devastator's introduction to digital distribution. Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows, founders of this up-and-coming comedy anthology took some time to chat with us about the past, present, and future of The Devastator.
David Fairbanks for Comics Bulletin: First, tell us a little bit about The Devastator. You were an early success on Kickstarter before it became the giant that it is now, but what drove you to create a new comedy magazine? You've been compared to Mad,Cracked, and other popular humor magazines; did they have any effect on the role you wanted The Devastator to play in our culture?
Geoffrey Golden: We created The Devastator partly because we grew up reading classic Mad, National Lampoon, and The Onion in newspaper-form and realized we missed humor in print. The Lampoon’s “Kill This Dog” cover is burned into our brains forever, whereas we can’t remember any of the Gangnam Style parodies we watched yesterday.
Amanda Meadows: Agreed! While we still participate in the superfast Internet comedy cycle because it’s fun, we felt we needed a source of entertainment that tackles pop-culture more broadly, in a less-disposable format. Also, it’s great to plop onto your couch and find one of these bad boys on the coffee table. It’s a funny mini-vacation from screens, so you don’t get Johnny Neumonic disease.
CB: From issue 2's focus on science fiction to issue 3's focus on cats, you cover a wide range of themes. Is there a method to the madness?
GG: We pick topics we think geeks like us would enjoy. Editorially, we want themes that are broad enough so our contributors don’t feel too boxed in. Though with regards to “Cats,” boxing up Nermal has led to pretty hilarious results for a certain flabby tabby by the name… of Garfield.
AM: Yes, our writers feel the same about boxes as Schrödinger's cat. Also, because we spend a lot of time exhibiting at pop culture and indie comic conventions across the country, we have a good sense of what’s in the zeitgeist. Every few staff meetings, we put up a few theme ideas to the group and we hash out what themes to do next. At one point, we were pitched a “Boobz” issue –– and that ended up being our secret subscribers-only zine this year. Boobz!
CB: You're expanding to digital distribution with iVerse and their Comics Plus app as of this month. Was digital always on the agenda? I don't really know how to describe it, but I get the feeling when reading your magazine that it was meant to be the kind of thing to be left around the house, to get discovered by unsuspecting friends/family who proceed to laugh their asses off. Could you ever see The Devastator going digital-only?
GG: Definitely not. The print magazine is the beating heart and endocrine system of our operation.
AM: It’s also the skeleton and renal system!
GG: It’s why we’re making Devastator at all. That said, there are a lot of folks who are “going paperless” and ask us, “I’m an astronaut, when can I buy this for my PadPhone?” And we want to take their money. We’re also very excited to work with the terrific people at iVerse and put Devastator in front of more eyeballs than ever before.
AM: Your feeling is totally what we intended, David. Luckily, the two sort of live in different worlds, but they do support each other. We resisted digital for while, waiting for the right relationship. I am certain we found that in iVerse, because they’re awesome.
CB: You've got a pretty stellar cast of writers and cartoonists that have contributed over the first six issues. After reading a couple of issues, I immediately thought of a few different cartoonists that would probably fit right in at The Devastator; are there any creators you'd like to work with that you haven't had the chance to yet?
AM: Some folks we’re dying to work with might be in the next issue! *fingers crossed* I’m really jonesing for Peter Bagge, Johnny Ryan, Michael DeForge, Neil Hamburger… the list goes on!
GG: A few of my dream contributors would be… On the cartooning side: Ben Edlund, Felipe Smith, and Ryan North, to whom I recently offered a pizza party if he’d contribute. On the comedy side: Patton Oswalt, Edgar Wright, and Amy Sedaris. On the wrestling side: Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and obviously, Koko B. Ware.
AM: And all of our past and current contributors are amazing; we’re known to have repeat guests such as the brilliant R. Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics) and Jon Schnepp (Metalocalpyse), respectively.
CB: I loved your sixth issue, focusing on Indie culture, which just came out. Can you tell us anything about what's up next for The Devastator?
AM: Many folks have asked us when there will be Devastator t-shirts. The answer is: we’re now officially working on it! Hooray! As for our next issue, the theme is Spies and–– *sniper fire*
GG: The release date is a moving target, but it should be out early Spring–– *choke wire*
GG: …aaaaaaaand scene!
AM: We’re just about to do our Devastator Indie Pop-Up Shop at Meltdown Comics on the 20th! It will be filled with hilarious surprises. And you can check out our website for all goings-on!
Devastator #6 is available NOW through their website, iVerse's Comics Plus app, or select retailers!