Creator Interview: Tony Caline

Awoo! It’s the Full Moon, more or less, and that means the the wool is growing and it’s time for another creator interview with a Wool Wolf webcomic creator! This month’s featured comic is DEVOID- a supernatural adventure comic by Tony Caline! Devoid has just begun, and we thought this would be a perfect time to ask some questions about the beginning stages of a webcomic with Mr. Caline. (Find Tony Caline on TWITTER!)

“It definitely helps knowing that if you are struggling, or feeling down about your work, or just aren’t 100% sure about how something is going along, that you can turn to someone (practically) right next to you to ask, ‘Hey, I may need a little help with something, is that alright..?’Critique, peer-review, encouragement – these are elements that have come up often when working alongside my friends with my work, and I’m always happy to contribute in my own ways, too."

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the set-up of “Devoid” and the themes of the comic?

The set-up is one that a lot of us are definitely familiar with; what exactly occurs after one experiences death? It’s not exactly uncharted territory, as far as crafting a story goes, but there are elements to what I’m aiming to achieve that I haven’t really seen anywhere. So, what we are seeing, as has likely been deduced already (as well as revealed in the general synopsis, so it’s not exactly a spoiler!) is what happens in the Devoid universe once someone loses a life. I won’t go into too many details (as that would give some of the surprises away!), but we’re going to learn some more throughout the first Chapter for sure.That being said, when it comes to themes, it’s hard to really say without giving too much away, but we can expect to look into the aspects of life, death, responsibility of leadership, the value of maintaining relationships properly, and the crucial importance of knowing when you must stand up and do the right thing… even when the problem doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you.As the chapters progress, the readers can expect to see these items come to fruition, and more. I hope that you all enjoy what is to come!

2. What do you think is the most important part of the opening scene of a long-form webcomic? What are some of the elements of a successful beginning?

Personally, if you’re going to capture a reader’s attention for a long-term story, how you handle the opening is incredibly crucial. How Devoid kicks off, our main character is immediately tossed into something incredibly mysterious, with little explanation – and even with the return to normalcy, we’re almost immediately faced with more mysterious circumstances that currently have no explanation whatsoever. In my opinion, you want to give the reader stuff to think about when they first start turning the pages to the story for the first time. Give them enough details to grasp at some kind of an understanding of what’s going on, but while taking care not to tip your entire hand too early in order to provide motivation to keep moving. Having a healthy mix of elements that the reader is sure to expect and easily understand, as well as those that are unexplained and mysterious, can help make a healthy opening that will attract viewers long enough to stick around to see any new questions gain some answers.

3.  Why did you decide to start a web-comic? What is it about the web-comic community that you find rewarding?

Really, why I wanted to do a comic in the first place is pretty much because there’s a particular manga I fell in love with during high school, that helped me get through a lot of crappy situations whenever I wasn’t feeling so great. For the curious, it was Eiichiro Oda’s ‘One Piece’. Initially a relatively silly, but action-packed happy-go-lucky pirating adventure, it very quickly grew into something full of emotion, heart, and a lot of genuine feel-good moments throughout. At the time I first got into it, I was only just starting to draw for fun because a lot of my friends online at the time were pretty much all artists (we’re talking about 2005, 2006, to date myself a bit). The longer I was into it, the more I was totally sold on the idea of storytelling. I used to create little copycat Garfield comics when I was a little kid, so making comics was definitely something I was interested in for years, but I think it was seeing just how much someone could do with the medium that truly made me want to partake.I like the idea of creating a story that can affect the reader as much as something like One Piece affected someone like me. I would love for people to point to my story and cite how important it was in their lives. I think, that sense of fulfillment, would be incredibly special. So, that is certainly why I decided to give it a try. I think it’d be pretty cool if I could get to that point!As far as the web-comic community goes, it is incredibly refreshing knowing that there are those who are also taking on these herculean tasks alongside you, who are undergoing the trials, and all the hard work, all at the same time. It definitely helps knowing that if you are struggling, or feeling down about your work, or just aren’t 100% sure about how something is going along, that you can turn to someone (practically) right next to you to ask, ‘Hey, I may need a little help with something, is that alright..?’Critique, peer-review, encouragement – these are elements that have come up often when working alongside my friends with my work, and I’m always happy to contribute in my own ways, too. I definitely do not feel alone here! 

4.  How has “Devoid” changed, if at all, from when you first conceived the idea? How do you think it might change over time?

Devoid has changed so radically from when I first started putting together the idea, it’s unreal. At first, the story wasn’t even a story that dealt with the afterlife in any capacity; the story followed the adventures of a Princess who had lost her kingdom to four nasty individuals, and she herself had turned total vigilante in order to travel to the Four Kingdoms to oust their leaders whom took everything away from her. The only remnant of this concept is present in one of the antagonists further down the line, though they hardly act at all like they used to. Eventually, I had another idea involving my own character, Tony, as he lost his life, but remained stuck in the real world, cursed to follow around a non-typical Grim Reaper as he sort of became something of an apprentice of hers… Well, this didn’t get terribly far, but, the generalized concept of an ‘afterlife’ and ‘reapers’… well, we’ll get more into that later.At some point, various ideas from both sides meshed together, and I started drafting characters and ideas for what would eventually be Devoid – Originally, as I was younger once and involving your online friends in everything was -the thing- to do, I had roles for personas of all of my friends to get everybody involved in whatever comic I was hoping to create at the time. However, I learned a lesson from other surrounding webcomics I was into at the time, sometimes involving a ton of your friends into a work like this can cause problems, and even litigious issues down the road if you weren’t careful. Unlike fictional characters under your direction, people change, circumstances change – so my advice when making your own story, definitely be careful about who, if any, you decide to include in a vast, ambitious project! I don’t see anything wrong with cameos, it’s mainly the more integral roles you need to be wary about.Anyway, what we see now, and we will be seeing later, will be the ultimate culmination of these concepts that never quite made it off the ground back then.

5.  What are some of your goals with your webcomic, and how do those goals relate to the comic itself?

I mentioned this in a previous question, but, one of my biggest goals with this story is just to simply reach people. I want people to read my story, and to feel like they’re getting something out of it. I want them to tell their friends about this neat little action story they read to hopefully encourage them to take a look, when there’s already a ton of competition out there vying to gain readership of their own. I want to create something that will matter enough to the readers, so that when they reach the latest page, they want to come back to see more once the next update hits, and again, and again. And, I would love to ultimately be able to inspire those readers to start working on their own stories; art to inspire more art. Creativity is really important! Especially in times like these; I want to help add to all of this with my own voice.In addition, a personal goal for myself would simply be improvement. Making something like this is incredibly difficult – especially when you’re someone like me who has a job taking most of my free-time and energy, among other responsibilities that also require time and energy to complete. I want to improve my work ethic, I want to improve my art, I want to work on aspects such as perspective, proportion, and general storytelling. But, above all, I want to improve my capacity to see something through to the end.Ultimately, you could say that this will become a goal of Meryl in the story as well. Seeking improvement, seeking growth, maturity, and seeing something through to the end, even when it is incredibly difficult, incredibly challenging, and seemingly impossible to do. Hopefully, in time, we both will reach the goals we seek.

Final Thoughts:

To close this off, I want to thank Austin [Lucheek] and Chris [Lore] for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something really cool. I want to thank Austin for the interview, and for selecting my story to be the Featured Comic for the first time. Anyone who has read my story thus far, and are currently on stand-by as I work to create more pages for the future, you have my thanks, as well. I will do my best to not disappoint, and hopefully by this time next year, we will have a lot of fond memories to look back on with this story!

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