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Derek Fridolfs talks Grumpy Cat & Pokey #5 (of 6), on sale in June

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  • Derek Fridolfs talks Grumpy Cat & Pokey #5 (of 6), on sale in June

    Derek Fridolfs talks Grumpy Cat & Pokey #5 (of 6), on sale in June from Dynamite.

    BYRON BREWER: Derek, tell us how this Grumpy Cat & Pokey assignment came about please.

    DEREK FRIDOLFS: I've been a fan of the range of titles that Dynamite puts out, from pulp, to horror, to comedy, and everything in between. So I decided to contact them to show my interest if anything became available to work on. Grumpy Cat is one of those titles that can be a gem for any that attracts an audience familiar with it from outside the comic industry as well as current comic book fans. And for the industry to not just survive, but grow, it's crucial to have properties like this out there. That way you attract a new audience who are introduced to comics, and then hope they stick around and try other things as well.

    BB: Tell us about your coming story for the book in June, "Cat-Astrophe."

    DF: I remember talking with friends about the subject of cats and their tenuous relationship with humans. And if there were ever a point that humanity wasn't in the picture anymore, they'd just move right on without us just fine. So when the time came to pitch some ideas for stories, that subject idea came right back to me. So yeah, the story is about what happens when an event removes humans from the planet, and how Grumpy and Pokey deal with it. What starts out as an exciting wish fulfillment on their part quickly goes sideways.

    BB: Did you enjoy doing both the story and art for the piece? Can you let us in a little on the process of how you work as a writer/artist?

    DF: I broke into the industry as an inker. It was one of those situations where a local group of creators got together and everyone was already a writer or penciler, so as the last person to join the group by default I became the inker. And that's been a lot of fun growing and learning that skill, and working over a variety of styles, over many years of doing this. But writing was always something I wanted to do. I just had to get my foot into the industry from the art side to get their ear and a chance at writing.

    And oddly enough, I've been doing a lot of drawing when it comes to some of my stories as well. Drawing I've always felt the least comfortable doing, as what I see in my mind never seems to come out as perfectly as I'd like in the pencils. And I'm sure that's how most artists are. We're our own toughest critics. But it's fun to have variation. Sometimes it's drawing someone else's script. Sometimes it's having someone else ink my pencils for a cover. Sometimes you get to write for friends or artists to interpret your story. And sometimes you just end up doing all of it, and have no one else to blame but yourself.

    My approach always starts with the story. Having the idea written down and described full script, before even thinking about the art. That way whether I draw it or someone else does, that everything is easy to follow. When I'm drawing it myself, then comes the thumbnail process of figuring out the page layouts and the pacing. Making the action and storytelling clear. And the crucial step of leaving enough room for the lettering. And then the actual process of drawing the pages. I sort of work "animation-style", where I do very rough and light layouts in light blue col erase pencils. And then do most of the drawing during the inking stage. That way you don't feel like you're just retracing the same page in multiple steps.

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