Moon Town by Steve Ogden has fast become one of my favorite webcomics to date. From the very onset, there’s a sense that something isn’t quite right about what is going on in Moon Town, though it’s hard to put finger on, but that’s just part of the draw. The pacing keeps you on the edge of your seat, while the character interactions feel natural and unforced. What we have unfolding here is a very high-quality webcomic.
Moon Town has amazing art coupled with a story that is immediately interesting to any fan of science fiction. If you start reading one webcomic this year, this should be it. That being said, after I read through Moon Town, you know I had a few questions and, fortunately for me, the very talented Steve Ogden took the time to answer them for me. Check out what he had to say about Moon Town, his style, the things he’s a fan of, and more. (You know, then go check out the comic!)
Kelly Melcher: Would you first mind introducing yourself and explaining how you became involved creating webcomics?
Steve Ogden: Hi! I’m Steve Ogden (though most people call me “Og”). I’ve been an artist, illustrator, and animator for almost 30 years now. A few years ago, after several laughably idiotic failed attempts to make an animated film in my spare time, I came across a few comics online, and began wondering if comics might just be the ideal format in which to develop my ideas. I think I was right.
KM: For someone who has never heard of Moon Town, what is your elevator pitch? Why should we read it?
SO: It is 2087, and things are out of control on the lunar outpost of Luna Seven. Pirates are stealing ore, the new sheriff is attacked and left for dead, and a miner has begun having hallucinations of mysterious creatures on the surface of the moon. When the mining vehicles begin getting attacked by aliens, the sheriff and a miner begin discovering that some secrets can get you killed. Welcome to Moon Town.
KM: How do ideas get from your head to where we can read them? Do you plan far in advance, or is it developing as you go?
SO: You ever watch one of those long-form episodic TV shows like Lost or The X-Files? I think the cardinal sin is when the writer gives you the impression that he doesn’t know where he’s going. So, I always make sure I always have the big picture in mind, and I’ve loosely plotted that out from the beginning.
But then, I break that big picture into chunks, and I try to make sure that those chunks are satisfying on several levels: they need to have interesting character interactions, they need to advance the plot, but they also need to reveal a bit of the bigger story as they go.
KM: What is your favorite aspect of creating Moon Town, thus far?
SO: The relief of just being able to spit it out! For a while, I had thought Moon Town was too big for me. It was certainly too big for the sort of lush animated style I wanted to create. But once I figured out how to tell the story in comic form, it was like someone busted the dam, and all this story that had been bottled up in my poor head just came spilling out. I am now, after just 10 months, to a point in the story that would have taken me several years to reach as an animated project. Comics as an entertainment medium are about as close to instant gratification as you can get, especially as a sole creator.
KM: What is the future of Moon Town? Where and when can we find it in print?
SO: The future of Moon Town is a 140-page graphic novel which should be available in late 2012. However, you can get the first three chapters in print now — Moon Town book #1 was just released, and is available through WishTales for the low, low price of $4.99 plus shipping. Ding ding! Hey-OH!
KM: How would you best describe your artistic style?
SO: I’m a cartoonist. I see the world through the eyes of a cartoonist. And simple, cartoony shapes seem to be the ones that flow easiest from my pen. But I also really love detail, and environment, and sci-fi hardware. So I guess my artistic style is like looking at still frames from an animated sci-fi film, something influenced in equal parts by the great sci-fi films of the late 1970s and early ’80s such as Alien, Star Wars, and Outland, and cartoons like Calvin and Hobbes and Jeff Smith’s Bone. It may sound like an odd combination, but it’s really the intersection of a lot of stuff that I love, illustrating a story I’m interested in telling. So that makes a powerful mix.
KM: At Fandomania we like to know: What are you a fan of?
SO: Man, that’s a Pandora’s box! Well, I loved Star Wars as a kid. I loved Firefly/Serenity. I loved Ronald D. Moore’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. In fact, Ron’s director’s commentaries and podcasts were a lot like a master’s class in writing episodic content. I learned a lot from him. I loved Alien and Blade Runner. I loved the mining outpost in Outland. Those things are the ones that probably inspired me more than anything else while I was coming up with Moon Town.
I also loved Duncan Jones’s Moon. That is my current favorite, and in fact, I see some connections between Moon Town and Duncan’s film, even though I didn’t know anything about [the] film when I began writing mine.
As far as other webcomics go, I don’t read a lot of them. But here are a few I like: Eldon Cowgur’s Astray 3, Ramón Pérez’ Kukuburi, Tom Dell’Aringa’s Marooned, Robot Beach by Matt Forcum, and Red’s Planet by Eddie Pittman.
As for books, I like things like this: Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Stephen King (The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis, The Body), Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Neal Stephenson (Snowcrash). Very partial list, but you get the gist.
I could add more but I think the Too Much Love alarm is going off. Maybe I should slag off a bunch of stuff I hate just to make up for it? nah…