Interview - Comic Catchup with Tony Fleecs Part 1/2 by

Interview - Comic Catchup with Tony Fleecs 
Part One: Fleecs on Fandom and 'Fluences
Foal Duke, International Affairs, HarmonyCon, Dallas, 9th Feb 2019

Hey readers! Want to make comics?
     At HarmonyCon, Tony Fleecs (artist for IDW's MLP Comics) sat down and gave us his most notable influences and some important pointers on setting up your own comic and getting it noticed. He also gave us his rather interesting take on the fandom.
     Like always, the video and article are after the jump. You can follow more interesting fandom interviews, drama, and hilarity (at least according to us) on @HorseNewsMLP and our new channel Horse News TV #ponytv, or #horsenewsmlp. Tony can be seen at @tonyfleecs.
     And as always, don't forget to comment, share, subscribe, and you can contact me at @RealFDuke for a question, interview or story or if you want to submit an article (we're always desperate!).

     PART 2 here.

 FD says: 'How has the fandom changed over the past year? How have you progressed artistically?'
     Tony: 'Good question. One big change we were just talking about - less attendees at the major conventions. But then, what happens, is people who tend to show up happen to be the hardcores.
     'So, regardless of size, business-wise I keep doing the same, and the people I talk to often tend to be the same more, and less often the people who were only mildly interested. So the fans I meet tend to know of the comics more, but at the peak, out of ten people I met, only one or two would know of them.
     'Now, I meet people who know about what happened from the last issue, 2 weeks ago, per se. They're up on stuff.'
    
FD says:
'Speaking of comics, which was your favorite issue to work on?'
     Tony:
'I really like the issue of Nightmare Knights I drew with Daybreaker, Tempest Shadow and Luna, as they're dark edgelords, fun to draw. Not my faves to read, but to draw, as you can let loose. So I liked working on that a lot.'  

FD says: ''Who are your favorite characters to write? And to read?'
     Tony: 'Well, I only wrote one issue, and a short story that's not published. So I've written Rarity and Rainbow, and Little Strongheart, and Spike. I have it on my phone, but nobody's going to see it unless they put out a 'lost tapes' compilation!
     'My fave comic to work on was one I wrote and drew myself, and Sara Richards made painted interludes for it about Strongheart and Rainbow, which is was fun as I like making a comic from soup to nuts myself, you know?
     'I mean, Heather Breckel colored it, Sara worked on it, someone else lettered it, so it wasn't like I did it all, but I created the concept and produced it myself, as my version of what it should be, which was fun.'




     'When I just draw, I'm helping someone else create their story, but with that I got to show my take on it instead.'     

FD says:
'Speaking of Soup to Nuts, did the Looney Tunes have any influence on your art or your writing?'
     Tony: 'I don't know. I like Chuck Jones' work a lot, and I'm 39, so even Tiny Toons (1991) was an influence! A bit too old for Space Jam. Looney Tunes was still on Saturday mornings so I got a lot that way.
     'But animation-wise, I'm more influenced by 90s Disney, and Don Bluth. I like the early 2D Dreamworks catalogue. Feature length is more my jam than shorts. Things like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Prince of Egypt, that era.'
     FD says:
''Any film in particular that stands out for you that way?'
    Tony: 'From cartoons, Batman is fundamental for anyone my age. That was wild to see on Saturday afternoon. You'd think "Wow. This comes on when Ducktales does, but it's really brutal! Why!?"'
    
FD says: ''As for live action TV and anything else?'
     Tony: 'I watch a lot of TV, but I work so much I don't watch it properly. My latest views are True Detective and Killing Eve, which I REALLY watched. With both eyes! But everything else I'm behind on or won't see, like Lost. Now I have six seasons to catch up on!'
    
FD says: ''What was the biggest influence on your sense of humor, at least as shown in the comics?'
     Tony: 'My humor in comics is my regular sense of humor, that came with growing up as the fat kid. I could either get beat up or be funny, so my influences were whatever stand-up comics I saw on TV.
     'Then, right at the age I found comics, Clerks became a thing of mine, and I looked up Kevin Smith's work. Then Howard Stern, back then when I was just hormones and he was a HILARIOUS pervert.
     'That was my jam for a while, but I don't really know apart from that. I love Dave Chapelle at the moment. All the comics I used to love turn out, lately, to be total monsters, so I'm hoping he doesn't turn out to be a total monster. I loved Louis CK, Woody Allen... so many people who turned out to be evil and I was like "Oh no."'

FD says: ''Who would you say, out of any comic book artist or writer, had the biggest impact on you?'
     Tony:
'Artists? One artist who doesn't draw much now, but in the 90s had an explosion, was Joe Maddureira He just did a videogame based on his old comics called Battlechasers.
     'He was just incredible. Even today, if I could draw like anyone it would be him. But there's a ton of others. I get influenced by somebody new every day. You'll like someone's work, find out who THEY liked, and think, "Wow, he's even better!" you know? And so you fall through these rabbit holes. My influences there go in all sorts of deep, weird directions.
     'My bookshelves are very strange, and so is my search history. It's for a lunatic. Things don't even go together, and you have to photo reference things, so it has things like "Horses jumping over fence". And then it cuts to "1950s toaster". Very random!
     'And writing-wise, there was Bryan Bendis - he was the biggest guy in comics for a while, might still be. He had a messageboard community in the early 00s full of young upstarts trying to figure their art out. Lots of people were heavily influenced by him. I was too. He did conversational dialogue that people hadn't done before in comics, where you leave in the stutters, the 'um's, the 'ah's.' People would sound as in real life, but stylized, like Aaron Sorgen.'
    


From Battlechasers, by Joe Madureira @JoeMadx. It is incredible.


FD says: ''Which characters would you say were the most challenging to write? And fun to write?'
     Tony thinks... 'I always find it harder to write somebody who isn't conversational. For ponies I only wrote two things, so that would mean the Buffalo Chief (Stronghoof I think) was very straightforward. A man of few words.'
    
FD says: ''Most fun character to draw?'
     Tony: 'It comes down to my love of drawing the princesses, and darker, more action-based characters like Tempest. I also like drawing Pinkie a lot - I can bounce her around, put her in weird positions and situations. Spike, too, as he has fingers. After I've done several issues with no fingers, having a guy who can just pick up a broom is "Thank God he's here!"'
   


     FD says: 'Are there any characters you found particularly challenging to draw?'
     Tony:
'For the longest time, and even now, Fluttershy. She's very simple to draw. If a kid drew them all, I'd recognise her easiest. Her eyes are VERY specific, and if they're 1 mm off, it looks completely wrong.'
     'I have a lot of trouble with her. Lauren Faust said her favorite, to draw, was Fluttershy, because the eyes were easiest for her. I said, "I don't know how you can say that" and she said "Cause I've been drawing them since I was fourteen!"' He laughs as he says this.
     Part two to follow. --Foal Duke

Comments (0)