Interview with The Detroit News

Jared and I were interviewed by Michael H. Hodges (No relation to Jared) of The Detroit News. See the article here. Below is the full-length version, with questions regarding Peach Fuzz's premiere syndication run in newspapers worldwide.

This is a weekly strip, not daily, right? Or wrong? 

Lindsay: Yes, the strip is Sundays only.

You make an interesting, if surprising, choice with the ferret’s terror at Amanda’s hands. Why? It seems to work against our assumption that our pets always love us…

Lindsay: The idea to depict human hands as five-headed monsters was intended to be a metaphor for the fear and uncertainty a young animal might feel towards an unfamiliar person. One of the themes I strove for in the first story arc of Peach Fuzz (which the series of newspaper strips is comprised of), is a growing understanding between Peach and Amanda. When Peach finally comes to terms with Amanda's role in her life, the Handra become far less aggressive and threatening in appearance.

Will Peach ever like Amanda? (You can see I’m worried about this.) 

Lindsay: While it doesn't happen overnight, Peach eventually comes to see Amanda as a substitute "ferret-mommy". But it first requires a lot of training on the part of Amanda, and understanding and acceptance on the part of Peach.

Give me a little background on each of you – age, background, how you got into manga and anime.

Lindsay: I'm 24, which means I've been into manga and anime for little over a decade now. I was originally introduced to anime through my cousin, who lived near a video rental place that had a large selection of anime available. At the time I was already big into animation, so naturally I became enthralled with Japanese animation, both because of the broader range of stories and the artistic styles, which I found very appealing. I discovered manga around the same time, and became equally enthralled with it and its unique style of storytelling.

Jared: I'm 26 and got into manga and anime when I was about 10 or 11. My initial brush with it came from watching Robotech on TV. I didn't realize at the time that the show was Japanese animation, but it stood out to me as very different from the other cartoons on TV. I loved it, and couldn't get enough of it, so I started searching for more, which led me to discover other anime and manga titles. My interest in video games also lead to similar discoveries.

News accounts always summarize manga’s style with the following: “wide-eyed characters, effeminate male heroes, stories that are more psychological than action-oriented.” How would you define it? And how in the world can you account for its apparent power? 

Lindsay: One of the wonderful things about manga, that also makes it tricky to define, is that it comes in many different forms. While many of them include some of the aforementioned elements, they are just as many that are none of the above. And this is probably one of its greatest strengths: there's manga for every interest and age group. The stories run the full range of subjects from sci-fi, fantasy, magical girls, to even life at the office, or sports; the artistic styles go from gritty and realistic, to exquisitely detailed and dreamy.

What manga strips or books do you read and admire?

Lindsay: I'm currently enjoying the classic "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" manga by one of my biggest heroes and inspirations, animation director Hayao Miyazaki. I'm also a big fan of "Yostsuba!", which is an adorable slice of life tale about a young girl who well, enjoys life. A manga that had a big influence on me growing up was CLAMP's "Magic Knight Rayearth", about three girls from Japan who find themselves in a magical world, and features some absolutely exquisite artwork and layouts.

Jared: Some of my all-time favorites include the works of Yukito Kishiro (Battle Angel Alita, Aqua Knight), and the works of Masamune Shirow (Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell).

Who draws? Who writes? What’s the division of labor?

Lindsay: For Peach Fuzz, Jared and I collaborate together on the writing. Once we've hammered out a solid script, I use it to create a rough layout, which I then turn into a fully penciled page. Jared scans that into the computer to ink on the computer. Finally, one of us applies the finishing touches, including screen tone (the black and white shading commonly found in manga), and lettering.

And this is the world premiere of Peach Fuzz, right? That is, it hasn’t been running anywhere else up till now, has it?

Lindsay: Peach Fuzz has previously been published in a collected graphic novel format, of which Jared and I are currently working on the second volume of, but this will be the world premiere of Peach Fuzz in newspaper strip format. Unique to the newspaper version are journal entries from the perspective of Amanda and Peach that offer further insight into the minds of the characters.

Will the strip always open with a passage from Amanda’s journal (which I love)? Or is that just an initial gambit?

Lindsay: The strips are all accompanied with a journal entry, some from Amanda's perspective, and some from the perspective of her ferret Peach.