Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Mr. Hastings emailed me back...

and he filled out the questionnaire I asked him to! So without further ado, this is the interview.

Q: We know from reading the "About" section of your website what gave you the idea for the comic's name and why you first drew it, but what influences the story's direction?

A: When I first started thinking about making this comic, my ideas came from the question, "What sort of world would allow for this doctor ninja character? What other characters could fit in that world?" Mostly the story is driven by ideas I just think are fun. And then I make those ideas work into a sort of twisted logic that is behind everything in the comic.

Q: Are any of your characters loosely or directly based on people you know in real life? Which, if any of the characters, reflects your personality on some level?

A: Frans Rayner is a mix of an old boss of mine, and Jean Claude Van Damme. Dan McNinja's look was very loosely based on my father. I honestly can't think of a character that really reflects me, which is silly because they have to in some way, right?

Q: It's obvious you like Batman. To what extent does Batman influence the comic? (Apart from the hilarious references) How long have you been reading Batman? Are there any other superheroes you follow?

A: Well originally, I was going to have Dr. McNinja ACTUALLY know Batman. Then it became clear I couldn't do that, so I just changed it up so that he was just a fan boy. Then I got some humor out of that. The "bat family" is a big influence on the cast of Dr. McNinja, the way a supporting cast takes their roles. I've been a fan of Batman since I was 14, I think. It was when Grant Morrison relaunched JLA, and I really saw how badass Batman was. I also recall reading the Robin comics too... But currently, no I don't have a "pull list" or anything like that. I wait and hear what's good, and then I buy them when collected in trades.

Q: What was your initial motivation for bringing the comic to the web? Were there any contributing factors to this decision?

A: I pitched Dr. McNinja to a few publishers, and hadn't heard back from them in months. I was tired of not doing anything, so I decided I would just make it as a webcomic, get it out to some people. I was a fan of a few webcomics already, so I took a closer look at how they did things, and adapted it for my purposes.

Q: How does a story arc come together for you? Do you script the entire thing before you begin drawing?

A: I've got a few story concepts floating around, waiting to get used, and as I find oppurtunites to use them, they'll get next in line for the comic. I will usually have a beginning and end in mind, and I'll write out a bunch of notes, and build on ideas, and when I start, I will have the opening scene of a story all scripted out. And then I just write more pages once a week, improvising the middle of the story.

Q: Any thoughts on why so many webcomic artists love velociraptors?

A: I think we all just love dinosaurs in general. They were dragons that were REAL.

Q: If you could collaborate with another artist on a webcomic, who might that be and why?

A: I would love for JH Williams III to draw something I wrote. He is an amazing artist, with awesome design skills.

Q: Have you got any advice for aspiring webcomic artists out there?

A: Why are you aspiring? It's easy to get a website and put pictures on it! Get started, and don't stop!

Q: What comics do you read on a regular basis?

A: Nedroid, Hark! A Vagrant, Scary Go Round, Overcompensating, the list goes on. That's just what I think I read in the last hour.

Q: Final thoughts?

A: Live your dreams. I am Galatron. (I wrote this in a notebook I had where there was a robot on the bottom of each page, so I made him say that. I lost this notebook and I miss it dearly.)


  1. How is it that a random blogger has conducted a better interview of Chris Hastings than any of the others I've read? It simply doesn't seem fair. Then again, that's why blaggers, oops, bloggers are taking over information media. They can do just as good a job (theoretically speaking) as traditional media, and there are more of them. Furthermore blogs allow super-specialization. No newspaper or news aggregator could possibly afford to have a web comic specialist, yet here you are.

    I wish I had an awesome notebook like the one Chris describes. As great as my little black notebook of doom is, the thing lacks inspiration. Give me something with odd creatures crawling up the margins and I'll never run out of ideas. I'd draw them myself except for I have all the artistic talent of a goose with no wings. Which gives me an idea...

    In any case, some suggestions for you, David (Dave?). Why don't you begin doing thorough reviews of webcomics you love? You've already (effectively) done one for Dr. McNinja, all it would need is some kind of rating and perhaps a note of who you would recommend it for. (Everyone, of course, it's Dr. McNinja!) If your blog can gain some readership you might even be able to score interviews with comic artists and designers less friendly than Chris.

    Keep up the good work, and remind me to stop by again (it can be tricky tracking blogs on multiple systems Wordpress, Blogger, etc).

  2. I find Dr. McNinja so freakin hilarious because of the alt-texts. And the last Q&A in 'About' makes me burst out in laughter as well. It is easily one of the very best comics out there (yes, next to ctrl alt del, questionablecontent and xkcd).

    David, your blog is not half bad either!