The online world of webcomics can sometimes feel like the Wild West. Where to begin? How to choose? It’s so overwhelming!
That abundance of choices, though, is also the appeal of webcomics. There’s literally something for everyone. And when it comes to parenting comics about the ups and downs of being a dad, they don’t come any better than Lunarbaboon. Chris Grady’s comic about fatherhood is by turns hilarious, heartwarming, and poignant. It’ll make you laugh and say “aww….” at the same time.
If you haven’t yet checked it out. Please go do so immediately. Add it to your weekly “pull list” of webcomics. You won’t be disappointed.
I had a chance to chat with Chris about the strip, his creative process behind it, and just how autobiographical it is.
GeekDad: Something that fascinates me about comic strip creators is how they’re able to condense a story, joke, or gag into so few panels. What’s the process for taking a new “big idea” that pops into your brain and whittling it down to work in just a few panels with only a few words?
Chris Grady: Usually when I get an idea that I like, I try to fit it into eight panels, then I look at it and see if I can strip it down to six. Then I’ll do that again to see if I can get from six to four. I also see if I can make the comic without words. Essentially, each idea comes with a bunch of thumbnail sketches.
GeekDad: How long does it take you to go from the seed of an idea to a finished strip?
CG: Some ideas sit in my head for months percolating, while others come in a flash and get drawn that night. So in between an hour and a year.
GeekDad: Is going online the only way for a daily or weekly strip to survive? At this point, is there any other way for a cartoonist to survive?
CG: If you want your strip to be seen by many, then really you need a media presence. If you are making it for other reasons, then you can draw comics all you want as long as you enjoy it.
GeekDad: When it comes to (non-webcomics) comic strips versus graphic novels, why is one dying while the other is thriving? Is it really just the medium?
CG: I think people (me) have a hard time sitting with something for a long period of time. My mind only can handle short bits of information or it gets bored. Maybe a sign of the times or maybe it’s just how I’ve always been.
GeekDad: Do you have any interest in seeing Lunarbaboon adapted to another medium? If so, where and how?
CG: I would love to see it as a cartoon on TV, but not sure who would watch it besides me and my mom.
GeekDad: How has fatherhood affected your work? Would you be doing Lunarbaboon if you didn’t have kids?
CG: I like to think I would still be doing this strip even if it wasn’t for being a father. The comic started as a form of therapy for depression and anxiety. Whether or not I would have been this anxious without kids will never be known. I think being a father has definitely turned the strip into something sweeter and nicer, which it probably would not be if I was just making comics about me.
GeekDad: How much of the strip is “ripped from the headlines” real life, or autobiographical?
CG: Almost all of the strip is taken from real life happenings and thoughts during those happenings. I don’t usually rip things from the headlines unless it is really a topic that is on my mind.
GeekDad: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about being a father?
CG: It’s not about me anymore. My actions, my words, and my feelings will affect someone forever. So I need to work to be better all the time.
GeekDad: Whose work—either as an author or illustrator—in children’s publishing today do you really admire?
CG: I really admire the work of Mo Willems and Oliver Jeffers. Both authors are amazing at creating things that are heartfelt, brilliant, and funny.