I’m new to the interview game so after whatever that was I posted last week I wanted to find a subject I knew I could get chill with. I found the perfect partner to dodge the sophomore slump with. (Do those exist for interviewers?) Anyway, a quick talk (via email, thanks so much buddy) with Doug Michel.
I’ve known Doug for about a year. Somehow on Twitter (you’ll find me being on Twitter a common thread through my various human interactions) I saw a retweet for a Kickstarter for a comic book called Monkeysquad One. Pretty cool title right? So I checked it out and found a person who has become one of my best friends that I have never actually met (yet) and a dope comic too.
I’m pretty sure that many people have a special connection with Doug and MS1. He’s an easy guy to get along with. He also writes and draws one of the coolest comics out there. He’s been working on the first collection of the series and another Kickstarter is in the works. I wanted to talk to Doug about Monkeysquad and the future of Doug.
Mike Lepine for Comics Bulletin: Doug, how you doing man? I know you just got back from C2E2, how was the weekend? You getting the word out or just chilling with your friends or both?
Doug Michel: I’m doing great, man. C2E2 was fucking incredible! I had a table at the Indie Comix Expo in Chicago on Friday night after C2E2, but the rest of the weekend was pretty much dedicated to hanging out with friends and being a big nerd. It was honestly one of the best weekends of my entire life so far.
CB: I love hearing about my friends having a blast, that’s great. So you work on MS1 pretty much all the time, but I do remember you doing some work for 5dcomics. Has that been released yet? I don’t think I’ve seen any talk about it. I’m very interested to see your art from a story you didn’t write.
DM: Yeah, so in late 2013, I backed the Kickstarter campaign for The Wisdom Of Fools horror anthology, edited and published by my homie David Brown, of 5d Comics. When I got the collection, I was all, “Why the fuck am I not in something that looks this awesome?!” So I hit up David and told him I was interested. He had a secret shared-universe anthology in the works and offered me a spot. So the character concepts and story were mine, but the universe was David’s. David also edited the piece & worked with me on the ending so it tied into the bigger universe, which was a first for me. It was also the first piece I’ve drawn that I haven’t colored myself. My main man, Sean Fagan colored it and he did a great job with what he had. I only put it that way because I hate everything that I’ve ever drawn.
The anthology isn’t out yet, but 5d is publishing so many comics this year, I’m not surprised.
CB: One of the things we love about you is your Monday 10 minute sketches. We have talked about the start of the sketches, but not everyone reads our online conversations (how dare you!) You want to let people know where the idea to do these came from?
DM: Hahahaha! I mean, I guess I stole it? There used to be a weekly Sketch Battle on Twitter back in 2011, I think. And I was never really interested in that kind of stuff because artists would enter fully finished pieces and call them sketches and there’s no way I could compete with that. Then one week, they held a 10 Minute Sketch Battle and I figured that was as even of a playing-field I was gonna get. I entered and lost (to Sean Fagan) (which is how I met him) but I had a great time. So like 2 weeks later, on a Monday, I was looking for something different to draw and asked for suggestions for 10 Minute Sketches on Twitter and I’ve been doing it ever since! I’ve made a whole lot of friends through those sketches!
CB: You’re really good at them and we love ya for them. Most of us know you’re not too keen on selling MS1. Why did you decide to do the first Kickstarter and was the effort of the first one enough to embark on another for the collection?
DM: I had built up a humble readership over the years. Mostly by giving away hundreds of copies of the 13 issues of MS1 I’d made up to that point. When I started planning Monkey Squad One Annual #2 and coming up with the different stories and then the Pin-Up Gallery, I knew it was going to be a bigger issue than usual. So I figured if there was ever a time to try Kickstarter, it was then.
The campaign was successful in less than 24 hours. By the end of it, the comic was 180% funded and I had enough money to even print MS1 #13 for free later that year.
But now I’m wrapping up issue 14 and I could go back to paying for the FedEx copies that I staple myself, or I could Kickstart Monkey Squad One Volume 1 and take the extra money from that and put it towards printing the next few issues. Y’know, if it’s successful.
CB: Not to put any pressure on you, but when do you think the new Kickstarter will be up? Any thoughts on what the rewards will be? This is an asshole question that I do not feel bad asking.
DM: Hahahahaha Soon? Soonish? What is time, really?
I am excited about some of the rewards, though. There’s gonna be a new T-shirt and I’m offering commissions and personal 10 Minute Sketches again. I’m also offering original MS1 pages for the very first time and a mini-comic collection of my favorite 10 Minute Sketches that should be pretty cool.
CB: Let’s talk about how far you have planned for Monkeysquad and what you plan to do once their story has been told.
DM: When it’s all said and done, there will be 28 issues of Monkey Squad One, including three Annuals and a Super-Sized Finale. I’m hoping to finish before 2025 but I’m drawing slower and slower all the
time so we’ll see. I have an idea for what I’d like to do after MS1. It’s about 50 issues long and I imagine I will be working on it until I’m dead.
CB: Doug, thanks for taking the time. I know you’re super busy inking tiny robots or working at the shit job, but you’re never too busy to bullshit with your friends and for that you’ll always have my heart. You want to tell these people where they can find you?
DM: I’m on Twitter. Right now @MonkeySquadOne #HollaHollaHolla
Mike Lepine: You can also holla at me on Twitter, all the time @lepineisme