Webcomic Wednesday: Rival Angels
Rival Angels may, at first, seem like a webcomic that would only have a niche appeal. After all, it’s about women wrestling, and let’s face it, not everyone is all that interested in wrestling. However, I think anyone would appreciate this comic as it has a solid story and characters you can get interested in. As much as it is a “wrestling” comic, I think I would more specifically label it a “slice of life comic.” The slices just happen to include women beating each other up!
In a comic that could easily objectify women, I feel that each character has her own personality and development. Creator Alan Evans brings depth to the characters and avoids making them caricatures. The art is a bit rough around the edges at first, but along with the story it evens out into a high quality webcomic that I think everyone would enjoy. I mean come on, girls fighting and drama, what more could you want? After reading Rival Angels I had a few questions and Alan was kind enough to answer them for me:
Kelly Melcher: Would you first start by introducing yourself and giving us some background on how you became interested in creating a webcomic?
Alan Evans: My name is Alan Evans and I’m the creator/artist/everything on the #1 wrestling webcomic, Rival Angels. I wanted to do something different and something that I would love to do every day indefinitely. Financially speaking, making Rival Angels a webcomic made a lot of sense. It allows me to build up a readership and then offer my readership books and other material.
KM: What is Rival Angels about and who do you think it will most appeal to?
AE: Rival Angels is the story about four girls who battle for survival in the ring of women’s wrestling, only for them to discover that surviving their battles with each other outside the ring is a completely different matter. On the surface, you would guess that anyone that enjoys professional wrestling or MMA would enjoy Rival Angels, but anyone that enjoys fun action scenes with character driven storylines will enjoy the series too. Or if you’re a fan of girls.
You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy Rival Angels. Obviously it helps, yeah, as well as enjoying action and hot girls, but if you enjoy reading about characters with feelings, ambitions and heartbreak, you’ll enjoy yourself some Rival Angels.
KM: What is your favorite aspect of creating Rival Angels?
AE: Ooooh, nice question. It’s a very close tie between plotting the lives of the four girls involved and drawing it out. I know the readers really get caught up in the drama of the personal and professional lives of the girls and it’s an amazing feeling. Also, the fact that I am creating a wrestling webcomic and that nobody else is.
KM: How does the story make it from your head to the Internet where we can read it?
AE: There’s a few steps there. After kicking around a few ideas that I think will work, I write out what’s going to happen. Sometimes, I write kind of vague and other times, it’s crazy complicated. I run just about anything written by my friend, Justin Riley, who adds his thoughts to the mix and makes sure everything works grammatically. After that, I do my thumbnails digitally in Painter and print them out on 11×17 paper in blueline ink. I use a mechanical pencil to draw everything in and when it’s ready, I scan the pencils in. Printing them out initially in blue means that when I scan the pencils, I can drop the blue out, leaving the clean pencils by themselves. After that, I color the pages in Photoshop and letter them in Illustrator. Finally, I reduce the file sizes for web viewing and them upload them to my site. All in all, it takes about 25 hours a week, on top of the 40-hour-a-week day job.
KM: How much, and what kind of research into the wrestling industry did you have to do before starting Rival Angels?
AE: I have to say that I didn’t need to do any extra special research into the wrestling industry for Rival Angels. I’ve been a hardcore wrestling fan for over 20 years, so I had a pretty good idea to start with. I actually did more research into MMA and UFC because Rival Angels is not choreographed like pro wrestling. After that, there was more research into trying to write solid, entertaining stories and writing strong, realistic females that readers could identify and empathize with.
KM: Being a male writer, what is the easiest part about writing/drawing female characters?
AE:I think writing the relationships between the girls is the easiest part of writing. I think everyone, guys and girls, can identify with strong themes like friendship, ambition, love, and heartbreak so I don’t have to worry too much about being gender specific. Drawing the girls in their wrestling outfits is probably the easiest part when it comes to the art. The outfits rarely change so I’m not constantly designing outfits.
KM: What is the most difficult aspect?
AE: The hardest part is trying to keep the girls sounding like girls, as opposed to them sounding like guys that look like girls. I enlist the help of my wife and friends to help me keep the writing authentic and it’s also why I seek out some of my favorite female writers to assist in writing.
KM: What is the future for Rival Angels?
AE: Currently, the plan is to do Rival Angels in “seasons.” Currently, we’re in Season 1 with about 6 chapters left until the finish. Season 2 has its foundation and Season 3 has also taken shape. I think that’s enough to keep me busy for now. As we grow with the Angels, I plan to distribute Rival Angels in print as well as other media such as card games, video games, and the big and small screens. The episodic nature of Rival Angels would lend itself to cable TV series or HBO nicely.
KM: Besides depicting wrestling, what sets Rival Angels apart from the other webcomics out there?
AE: What sets apart Rival Angels from other webcomics is its strong focus on female protagonists and how they deal with each other. As much wrestling action as you’ll find, you’ll also find the relationships, good and bad, that form with these girls.
KM: At Fandomania we like to ask: what are you a fan of?
AE: I love me some webcomics! I’m currently enjoying The Dreamer, Dreamland Chronicles, o31.net, Shadowgirls, Xylia, Marsh Rocket and Hard Graft.
Outside of webcomics, I’ve become a HUGE Joss Whedon mark and devour anything the man produces. Naturally, I’m a fan of wrestling especially smaller federations like SHIMMER.