Ian McGinty is a talented comics artist known for his animation style work on licensed properties, like Bravest Warriors, Munchkin, and Adventure Time Candy Capers featuring the Peppermint Butler. But this fall, he jumps into the driver’s seat as both writer and artist of the upcoming, creator owned Welcome to Showside all ages comics from Z2 Comics.
Welcome to Showside follows the story of Kit, a cute kid who loves to skateboard and eat food with his friends Moon and Belle. But he has a big secret. His dad is the Great Shadow King, an evil villain from your worst Lovecraftian nightmares. The series will focus on Kit, Moon, and Belle defending the once happy town of Showside from demons, monsters, and all sorts of ghoulies.
Welcome to Showside also got picked up as an animated pilot, which will be released towards the end of 2015 from the new production company Modern Prometheus. It was written by McGinty, who also voices Kit. It will feature former Black Flag frontman and actor (Bad Boys II, Heat, Sons of Anarchy) Henry Rollins in a major role.
Sound on Sight got a chance to chat with Ian McGinty about the characters and world of Welcome to Showside as well as his transition from comic book artist to voice actor and more.
Sound on Sight: First off, I am a huge fan of your Bravest Warriors run with Kate Leth and am incredibly sad for the series to wrap up in one issue. Why should Bravest Warriors fans follow you over to Welcome to Showside?
Ian McGinty: I think fans of Bravest Warriors will really be drawn to the issues of legacy Welcome to Showside addresses, as well as the relationships between the characters. The Bravest Warriors: Chris, Beth, Danny, Wallow, heck, even Catbug, try to live up to their famous, possibly dead, parents. Kit, Moon and Belle strive to do the same, and yet, question rejecting their families as well. It’s a bizarre thing to question in an all-ages comic, I admit, but I’m constantly amazed by the fans of all-ages comics, and I think it’s something we can all relate to in some way.
I’m the artist on Welcome to Showside, for now (hehe), so I don’t want to toot my own horn so to speak, but the colors and letters of Rian Sygh and Fred Stresing have absolutely taken this comic to another level. I can’t say enough nice things about the team involved with Welcome to Showside. Carey Pietsch’s backup story is so, so amazing, and the covers from everyone are just fantastic. Kate Leth, Paulina Ganucheau, Kizzy Whitfield, Sam Ellis, Jen Vaughn and tons more have contributed to the series with their rad art, and that’s gonna be another draw for fans of my run on Bravest WarriorsL lots of cool art.
And, yeah, I’m sad Bravest Warriors is ending next month, but I really think people will like Welcome to Showside and hopefully dig my first ever own creator-owned series. Ya feel me?!
SoS: The first thing that stood out to me in Welcome to Showside was the unique character design for your hero, Kit. How did Kit’s character design come to be?
IM: Kit’s design was an interesting adventure. He started as a weird fish looking dude that resembled Shaggy from Scooby Doo. I have no idea why. I hate Scooby Doo, I always have. But, yeah, over time Kit evolved into the version we have now, which I love, and he got younger and cuter but also tougher and more independent. Kit was a weird creation in that I didn’t draw 5000 versions of him like I do for all my other original characters. It took me, maybe, 5 drawings to nail him down, I don’t know, it was kinda spooky actually. I’ve never had a character come so naturally to my brain and out onto the page. I’m taking it as a good sign.
SoS: What are some differences in drawing your own script versus drawing someone else’s like in your work on Bravest Warriors and Munchkin?
IM: Well, I’d like to say it’s easier but it’s the exact opposite. With Bravest Warriors and Munchkin, there’s a certain level I’m at with the team. I’m the artist, really, I’m one of many artists. With Welcome to Showside it’s all me. I’m writing, drawing, designing, voicing, etc. Damn, I thought other editors were tough. I’m WAY tougher on myself than any editor has been so far. You’d think I would be all, hey, it’s my own stuff, time to kick back, but nope. I want readers to see how hard I’ve worked, and how hard the other artists have worked to really bring the best all-ages series we can bring to the table.
IM: As much as I love Kit, Moon and Belle are the real heroes of Welcome to Showside, the kick ass team of go-getters and don’t-take-no-guff-ers. Kit is sort of foil to outside forces, much like Mad Max, Chief Brody or Judge Dredd. It’s his friendship with Belle and Moon that really make the series, and it also continues this legacy issue as Moon must contend with living under the shadow of her grandmother, a famous and accomplished sorceress, and Belle has to hide her friendship with Kit and other monsters from her demon-hunting family. Moon and Belle are Kit’s BFFs, and as the series progresses, we’ll see how that affects both of them. Since they’re human, being friends with, quite literally, the Prince of Shadows, is a tough spot to be in and something readers should look out for.
SoS: How do you balance adorableness and horror in Welcome to Showside?
IM: I love horror, it’s what I read and watch, and “adorableness” is what I know and what I naturally draw and write. So, to me, it’s been kind of a no-brainer to combine the two and, honestly, it’s come quite naturally. Hellboy is one of my favorite series so I really took Welcome to Showside as a chance to try and hit a nebulous area that not a lot of all-ages comics have been able to really explore. I’ve pitched the comic as “Hellboy meets Steven Universe”, and I stand by it.
SoS: From what I’ve read, you are voicing Kit in the Welcome to Showside animated pilot. What was it like transitioning from a fan/writer of cartoons and comics based on cartoons to a full-blown voice actor?
IM: Really cool. I’ve met a lot of voice actors, and they’re all just great people. I was surprised at the positive response I got voicing Kit in the pilot. I don’t particularly like my speaking voice, but I was a vocalist in a band for a long time and was able to make Kit kind of a rad punker type kid, which worked. I’m also acting as showrunner for the pilot and all, so it’s a lot of bowling pins to juggle, to to speak, but I couldn’t be happier.
SoS: Why was Z2 Comics the best destination for Welcome to Showside?
IM: Z2 has put an incredible amount of confidence in me, allowing me to not only draw and write the series, but to also hand pick cover artists and backup artists. There aren’t many publishers that have that amount of faith in their creators, which was one of reasons Z2 was a good fit for Welcome to Showside. We’re taking a big leap, heading an all-ages comic with elements of horror, but Z2 has had consistently been promoting me and giving me the go ahead to take the comic where I want. I’m very lucky.
SoS: Just for fun, if Catbug was in the Welcome to Showside universe, what kind of role would he play?
IM: Catbug would be Boo’s best friend, and he would turn into his puma form to battle a monster. Later, he and Boo would have peanut butter squares and mallobutter waffles together!
Welcome to Showside #1 is set to be released on October 28, 2015 just in time for Halloween. The Diamond order code for Welcome to Showside #2 is SEP151765.