Ian McGinty: Making a Career Out of Comics

Carl: I’m here with writer, artist and designer Ian McGinty, creator of Welcome to Showside and the current artist on Adventure Time comics.

Ian, I’d like to ask you a few questions for my readers.
Ian: Alright, that sounds good.

Carl: Did you want to become a comic book creator when you were a kid?

Ian: I did, and I would say I was probably 6 years old when I started drawing my own versions of Calvin and Hobbes comics from the newspapers.
Carl: I love Calvin and Hobbes.
Ian: Yeah, Calvin and Hobbes is awesome, right? And then I also did, I really liked The Far Side and, I’ll admit that I really liked Garfield.
Carl: Me, too.
Ian: Garfield back then was kind of a lot cooler than it is now, especially since those really weird CG animated movies. But, yeah, basically I’ve been drawing and I didn’t really know you could be, make a career out of comics, if that makes sense, when I was young. It wasn’t really until recently that I started, well, “recently” being about 10 years ago, that I went, “hey, I might actually be able to make a career out of just drawing comics for people and that kind of stuff.” I had never gotten a comic from the comic shop. I only had the newspaper comics and things like that. But, yeah, I would say I was around 6 years old when I started  doing comics.

Carl: Cool! What comic books did you read when you were a kid?

Ian: I got all the Calvin and Hobbes. I still have the whole collection, and I have a bunch of the original strips that I would cut out of the newspaper and paste in a photo album.
Carl: Cool. We’re trying to collect the whole series.
Ian: Oh, yeah, they’re amazing. But I will say, when, so I didn’t go to comic shops as a kid, because they were kind of seedy back then – they’re nice now – and bookstores and stuff didn’t carry comics, but places like CVS and Rite Aid would always have the comics in racks in front of the cash registers. So I read a lot of Archie and there was a lot of Spider-Mans. I got really into Spider-Man when I was a kid.
Carl: I like Archie and Spider-Man, too.
Ian: Yeah, Archie’s awesome. Archie is probably even better than it was then. I read a lot of, just like, kind of, what was available, sort of, like in grocery stores and stuff like that. And then it was later on that I started reading, quote unquote, real comics and things like that.

Carl: What comics do you read now?

Ian: Oh, man, so, before I kind of started actually to get work out of comics, I used to read a lot more comics, and then once you kind of get a career in comics, you have way less time to actually read comics. So I haven’t been reading a ton of them right now. I do read a lot of Boom! Studio’s books, the all-ages line, like Bee and Puppycat. And they have a Steven Universe comic that I really like. But I also read a lot of horror-based stuff, like Alan Moore’s run of The Swamp Thing is one of my favorites to read. I still keep up with the Miles Morales Spider-Man and that kind of stuff. Right now I’m not reading, like, a ton of new stuff, but I do try to read, now I have a lot of friends who are cartoonists so I try to read their stuff. I will say a shout out for Carolyn Nowak’s Radishes which just won the Ignatz Award at SPX, for best minicomic, I just read that, and it was awesome. I have to compliment her on it because she’s mad at me right now. So, take that, Carolyn!

Carl: How did you come up with the idea of Welcome to Showside?

Ian: So, basically, Welcome to Showside, I got, after I was working on Adventure Time for a long time, I kind of wanted to do my own all-ages series. But I’ve always been into monsters, and, where we live, in Savannah, Georgia, is known for being haunted and having spooky ghosts, and, sort of like a swamp, you know, back there. It’s really cool. So I wanted to tell a story about this kid who, like me when I was a kid, felt a little outcast. Because when I was a kid I would just draw all the time and I didn’t really have a lot of friends and stuff like that, and I really didn’t like school. I would doodle all day long, get in trouble with my teachers because I was failing all my classes because I wouldn’t do anything but draw. But eventually that got rectified later on. But basically I wanted to tell a story about Kit, who was this little monster kid, he was the only monster kid in town, and then he has his best friends Moon and Belle, and that was kind of like based off of my best friends who were strong girls who would commiserate with me about art and really liked food and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, it just kind of came from my own experiences as a kid and then I wanted to draw monsters battling each other and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. And eating food, because that’s a big part of it, too.

Carl: I saw on your website that you’re making a pilot for Showside. How can fans help support the show getting made?

Ian: Oh, that’s actually a really good question! We did a little animated pilot actually, before the comic officially came out. So the idea was that you could watch the pilot and then pick up the comic and that would, sort of, like, flesh out the characters, you know? Make them make a little more sense because they have a little more back story. So that was kind of the idea and it’s worked. But the pilot has all of a sudden just taken off. I just looked at it and it’s gotten like 400,000 views, which is pretty cool. But the best thing people can do is just pass the word along and maybe leave a comment saying, like, “I’d like to see this as a series,” or just supporting the project in some way. We’re not asking for money or anything like that, but just if people want to check it out and tell their friends about it, that always helps. That’s pretty much what it is, just kind of spreading it around.


Carl: Thank you for answering my questions. It was nice to meet you.

Ian: Absolutely, Carl, it was nice to meet you!

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