The Abominable Charles Christopher is by far one of the most beautiful webcomics I’ve had the pleasure of reading lately. Its moods change with the moods of its creator Karl Kerschl, one week light and comical and the next dark and foreboding. There is a large ensemble of characters whose individual story lines sometimes intertwine, but even when they don’t it never feels jarring to switch from one story to the next. I hate using the term “organic” to describe the progression of just about anything other than food, but if anything feels like it is evolving exactly as it should, it is this web comic.
If I had to say it had any drawback, it would be that it is only updated once a week, and leaves you wanting more… which is only half a drawback. While you can easily read everything that exists of this web comic in one sitting, I really feel like you should take the time to really go slow and enjoy it. Karl Kerschl may be drawing pretty animals, but he finds the human elements and emotions in each and it is easy to forget that these are just forest creatures. Below Karl takes the time to answer a few of my questions and I have included some examples of the strip.
Kelly Melcher: Without worrying about making an “elevator pitch,” how would you describe The Abominable Charles Christopher and where the idea came from?
Karl Kerschl: I think The Abominable Charles Christopher is an exploration of spirituality in its many forms. It deals with beauty, truth and self-discovery. At its heart, the comic is about letting go, following your gut and having faith that the universe knows what’s best for you. Which is funny, because that’s the approach I take to working on it.
KM: Does your past work in “professional” comics influence your work on The Abominable Charles Christopher, or is there any overlap at all?
KK: I’ve been drawing comics professionally for fifteen years, so there’s a whole skill set that comes with that. I have certain modes of visual storytelling that I’m comfortable with, but confining myself to a relatively small number of panels each week is forcing me to approach the work differently. The Abominable Charles Christopher is sort of an outlet for all of the things I’m not allowed to do in mainstream comics.
KM: Who (or what) are some of your artistic influences?
KK: Hayao Miyazaki and Bill Watterson are both big influences. Sigur Rós has been a great influence on the mood of the comic. I listen to a lot of soundtrack music to inspire key story moments.
KM: What is Transmission X?
KK: Transmission X was formed by my group of friends in Toronto. We wanted to create work of a more personal nature and decided that we’d be more effective as a collective. We each produce a weekly webcomic and post it on a different day of the week. It’s been two years now, and our ranks are growing!
KM: To date, what has been your favorite strip or story arc, and why?
KK: That’s difficult to answer because I relate to almost all of the characters very deeply. My absolute favourite strip might be “The Power of Now,” in which two raccoons discuss the problem of not having enough time in the day. I like that one as a concept and as a gag. But I also love the Vivol & Moon Bear storyline for its melancholy tone, and because I know where those characters are going.
KM: To date, which strip or story arc has received the most fan response? Why do you believe this is the case?
KK: The Townsen story has garnered the most response, by a landslide. Readers were very attached to that character — his personality and his innocent bravado, as was I. It’s also the only storyline I’ve actually concluded, so it feels like a bit of a touchstone.
KM: At Fandomania, we’re a website by fans for fans. What do you consider yourself to be a fan of?
KK: Sincerity. Any work that feels like an honest expression of its creator.