Monday, June 3, 2013

Snap in the spotlight

Webcomic Spotlight – Snap Crackle Pop

01 Jun, 2013
It has been a little while since I posted one of these but the Webcomic Spotlight is back!  This time we’re taking a look at a webcomic that explores the life of a cartoonist as she is faced with her own demons that try to bring her doom and corrupt her.  We all have our own inner demons but Kit’s are real demons that taunt her and  live in her house.  We find zany attempts to depress Kit, talking cacti with a Napoleon complex, and fun visual gags in Snap Crackle Pop  by cartoonist Kit Fox.
snapcracklepop_highseascolorfaded_smallThe story centers around the creator’s vision of herself as a self-doubting cartoonist who has a love of marine biology and more than her fair share of demons and monsters living in her house.  The two most commonly seen roommates are Bacon the flying pig, who represents her personal phobias, and Finn the dragon who is her bad influence (sometimes these two are called Heckle and Jeckle).  Both are charged with tempting Kit but more often than not they just irritate her instead of causing much damage.  I do not think there is a specific reason why Bacon is trying to depress her but you’ll have to read the comic to find out why Finn is there!  They have been successful in making her feel bad about herself and causing her food bill to skyrocket but overall mostly result in hare-brained adventures for the cast.  Recently an incubus named Morgan was added to the cast to try to speed up Kit’s downfall but he’s often hindered by Kit’s own fear of relationships.
Although Kit is the focus of the comic, the story does meander around the other characters to provide entertaining side stories without watering down the plot.  Kit’s friend and sometimes love interest Adam finds himself being bothered by Finn and Bacon but usually deals with them in his own way such as calling a gorrilla to chase them away.  Another fun addition to the story is the many failed world domination attempts by the talking cactus duo, the  evil Mordak and his friendly brother Randall.  Some of Mordak’s failed schemes, like his making noise with party favors in order to irritate people and his fashioning Randall’s teddy bear into a zombie servant often remind me of the old Pinky and the Brain cartoons.
Many comic creators put themselves in their own comics as a way to express their inner thoughts.  Kit places herself in this comic in order to satirize many of the troubles that everyone faces from time to time.  While each strip provides a fun gag for the reader to enjoy, it also helps to highlight many issues facing our society like body image, interaction with others, and environmental issues.  Although it sometimes touches on serious doubts that plague many people, the comic always expresses light hearted fun and reminds us to have a laugh and enjoy life.  I find Kit’s spoof of everyday life hilarious!  This comic is highly addictive and has the potential to rival some of the greatest comic strips out there!
Q&A with Kit
snapcracklepop_strip285bustedAs the story progresses you have changed the look of the comic and even changed how the main character looks.  What prompted the change in Kit’s appearance?
(Kit) The first and most obvious reason for that is that the comic has been going on for six and a half years now, and over that kind of time anyone’s style is going to change.  I’ve always tried to improve, to learn from other artists and elevate the look of the strip.  Improvement has come very slowly, but I’m always chasing after my heroes, trying to get better.
Of course, with the somewhat lunatic decision to make the main character basically me, the look of the character often changes with my own appearance.  Over time, I’ve learned not to be scared to draw my own jelly belly, not to downplay my crazy curves.  I think girls who read the comic like to see women represented with different body types, and the male readers seem to appreciate it as well.
You also moved towards coloring the comic strips instead of keeping them grayscale.  How do you feel this has affected the comic?
(Kit) Once I got the hang of it, I think it’s been a major improvement.  I’ve gotten a few readers over the years asking for color, and I never had the means to do it properly until recently.  I had to buckle down and learn a new skill, one that I’m still working out some bugs with.  It sometimes takes a little longer to finish a strip, but it gives me freedom to have some fun with concepts I hadn’t tried before, and, in general, I think it makes the strip much more appealing to look at.
Heckle, Jeckle, and Morgan really seem comfortable at Kit’s house and appear not to be in much of a hurry to corrupt her. Which do you think does the best at his job or do they all equally annoy her?
(Kit) That’s a funny observation, and you’re right.  I think all the demons have gotten pretty comfortable with Kit, which is not necessarily good news for her, and the corruption becomes more of a slow, internal thing.  Finn and Bacon (or Heckle and Jeckle as I’ve called them before) have been with the strip the longest, and have always had a very shaky camaraderie.  They’ve never been very good at their jobs, and have gotten in hot water from time to time for being lazy bums.  I think over time they’ve grown to sort of like their human (Finn to a rather inappropriate degree), and they prefer chilling on her couch and eating out of her fridge to taking an active part in her destruction.  Their role in Kit’s life, however innocent it may seem, still does what personal demons tend to do to a person’s brain — they give her an excuse to hide from the world and to avoid human interaction.
As for Morgan, he’s a much higher class of demonic entity, and truly likes his job.  He’s been aces at it up till now, but actually the work of Finn and Bacon, making Kit afraid to construct relationships and face intimacy, has totally c-blocked Morgan in this case.  His usual tactics of being a seductive jerkface don’t work, so he’s hanging around until he figures out what went wrong.
I think Morgan is probably the best at his job, technically speaking, but he doesn’t quite know what to do with a commitment-phobic cartoonist.  Finn and Bacon win the “most annoying” contest, but that may be because they eat all the bread in the house on a regular basis.
You often let the readers ask the characters questions which result in hilarious answers like the Ask Mordak tumblr.  What do you enjoy most about doing these comics for the reader?
(Kit) If you want the truth, I’m just tickled that people actually read this thing!  It’s so much fun getting to see people’s reactions to plot lines or new characters — readers always surprise me with their take on things, and it makes me more excited to do things for them, to feel like they’re involved in the strip.  I loved doing the Snap interview, where readers asked the characters questions and the characters answered, because it was not only a great writing challenge but a ton of fun.  I try hard to give each of my characters a really individual voice, so that if they were off-panel you’d still know who was talking just by how they sound.  I think letting the characters answer questions is a blast, not just for the insane or intuitive or hilarious questions the readers ask, but to take a backseat and think of how Finn or Mordak or whoever would actually answer.
The Ask Mordak Tumblr is pure lunacy.  LUNACY.

snapcracklepop_rubberhose_smallWith the recent celebratory 300th strip, there are tons of goofy Snap Crackle Popcomics to enjoy!  New strips are added weekly usually on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.  Sometimes Kit will post some extra artwork on the comic’s website or on her deviantART account or as a voting incentive for the Top Webcomics list.  If you prefer to have a printed collection of many of the strips, you can go to the comic’s Lulu store and purchase the 214 page paperback book for $16.50.  You will definitely have plenty enjoyment out of a collection that large!
If you are in need of a good laugh to brighten your mood, this webcomic is full of humorous jokes, awkward situations, and brilliant puns.  Fans of Looney Tunes or How I Met Your Mother will probably enjoy this comic like I have.  Will Kit ever be able to get over her fear of commitment?  Will the demons finally corrupt Kit?  Will we be ruled by a maniacal cactus?  Read Snap Crackle Pop to find out!

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