I love discovering new indie comics, and it usually happens completely unexpectedly. Ryan K. Lindsay retweeted a post from Lane Lloyd describing his comic God-Puncher, which stars a man so angry at the gods that he magically creates bickering fists to defeat them. The off-the-wall premise and the expressionist art immediately sold me, and I dived into one of the most unique and unpredictable comics I’ve read in a long time. I was really happy to get to interview Lane about his experience writing and drawing the first volume of God-Puncher and why indie comics are his home.
What’s your background in comics?
If I think back far enough, I think the first comics I read were old copies of Heavy Metal that my Dad didn’t do the best of hiding. After that possibly damaging experience, my folks bought me those huge Essential Spider-Man collections for my 9th or 10th birthday, and once I flipped through those, my life had changed. I’d always been interested in art and creating it, but reading those 60’s adventures of everyone’s favorite web-slinger, I think I knew just how I wanted to create art. Ever since then, comics have been one of, if not the, most important aspects of my life. They taught me storytelling, how to create tension, how to make people laugh. Everything I learned early on about narratives came from comics.
Is God-Puncher your first series?
Let’s pretend that it is. [Laughs] It’s certainly the first fully published series I’ve done. Before that, I had a very short-lived webcomic called Sci-Cops (Which starred a much different version of the character Dethorn from God-Puncher) and before that, it was small little comics I made for myself starring the very original “Spider-Boy.”
In your Twitter bio you describe your work as “like if Dr. Seuss dropped acid before drawing.” Is Seuss a big influence on you as an artist?
I think it’s one of those things where looking at my work now, I can see the influence that style has had on my own, even if I didn’t necessarily intend it to happen. I remember that those were some of the first picture books I had ever read or looked at. (I think my copy of the Lorax was worn down by just how many times I flipped through it) And that style has always been one of my favorites, so I think, eventually, it just sort of bled into what I create now, and I love it.
How did you arrive on the concept for God-Puncher?
I’m only slightly joking when I say that it originally came from bitterness that DC would never hire me to make an Arms Fall Off Boy comic. I think the name Tim Finnly came to my mind, and I wanted someone with magical gauntlets of some sort. (Though if you read issue 0, they weren’t talking gauntlets at the time.) I’ve also just always enjoyed the concept of killing gods as a storytelling device, and everything just kind of came together, even if massive changes happened between issues 0 and 1.
Over what period of time did you create all six issues?
I think issue 0 took about a month or so to do, and after that, I believe there was a long space of time in between that and issue 1. A lot of that came from the fact that while I liked the core idea of what I made, something just felt off and I needed to figure out what it was. I went through a ton of different ideas, just trying to flesh out what I thought would be the ideal version of the God-Puncher story. After that, each issue probably takes me a month or two of solid work to finish, though with this next arc I am working on, I’m hoping to speed up the process just a little bit more.
The series feels refreshingly off-the-cuff. Do you write and draw God-Puncher very spontaneously or is the series carefully designed to feel that way?
I have three permanent mental notes in my head when it comes to scripting the comic; the beginning of the series, maybe one or two important events I want to get to, and what I think will be the end of the whole thing if I ever get to that point. I try really hard not to pin myself down to overly strict scripting and plotting, so with the first and second arcs of the comic, I have very little planned except for the beginning, some bit about the middle of the arc, and how it ends, and even then its not solid. My creative process with this series is basically just that I never want to be bored or feel like I’m being uninspired with an issue that I’m making. There are already about two or three “issues’ of God-Puncher that will never see the light of day because I just wasn’t feeling what I was making. Hopefully, this doesn’t come to bite me in the ass later, haha.
I’m fascinated by the implementation of color in God-Puncher. How do you choose what to add color to and what to keep in gray tone?
In all honesty, the gray tone started because I was absolutely terrified of coloring the comic, and I wasn’t able to pay a professional to take care of it. The use of red in the first couple of issues came from my love of the color and also the many ways it could be implemented to make a scene really stand out, so, I started adding more and more red to my work. Then, with Dethorn, I wanted his magic to really stick out in what was essentially a very black and white world, so I started incorporating more greens and purples into the world.
I wanted the Theater Men to stick out from the crowds of people attacking Tim Finnly, so more reds and blues were incorporated. Rev and Lev (The Gauntlet Siblings) also allowed me the chance to play with some color. When you see color in God-Puncher, it’s because I want the reader to stop and really pay attention to what I’ve drawn on the page. If color is being used, it’s usually because there is something really important I want you to focus on. (Or, in some cases, I just really wanted to show off a panel of something cool. Haha) Issue 6 deals with a lot of blues, greens, and faded yellow, so who knows, maybe issue 7 will finally be the fully colored issue.
How do you draw attention to God-Puncher on an internet full of digital comics?
I just scream about it a bunch. It helps that I’m really into the stuff that I’m making, but every chance I get, I bring it up, and anyone who’s creating should do the same. Don’t be obnoxious or a dick about it, but be proud of the stuff you’re putting out there. It deserves eyes on, and yeah, it will take some time for an audience to come to you, but if you keep putting out work that you love making, people are going to notice you.
Do you have plans for a print edition?
My dream is to have collections of all the arcs, maybe some printed single issues as well in the near future.
Are you working on creative projects besides God-Puncher?
I’m collaborating on a couple comics that are now in various stages of the process. I have a couple pitches already out there, and who knows, maybe one of them will be approved!
Now that God-Puncher is complete, do you have plans for a new comic?
The first arc of God-Puncher is complete, but I’m still hard at work on the second! Other than that, God-Puncher is kind of the only project I’m working on that is 100% mine. Every other project in the works is with some really fabulous indie writers.
Where do you hope comics take you? Do you want to remain independent, work for a large publisher, or somewhere in between?
I guess I’d like to be an indie darling that occasionally gets to draw a darn Swamp Thing comic. Indie comics are where it’s at for me. There’s just so much more freedom in the stories you get to tell, and there are so very few rules to what a comic can be.
Matt Chats is an interview series featuring discussions with creators or players in comics, diving deep into industry, process, and creative topics. Find its author, Matt O’Keefe, on Twitter and Tumblr. Email him with questions, comments, complaints, or whatever else is on your mind at [email protected].