Massive Pwnage

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My first professional endeavor into the world of comic-making was Massive Pwnage. A nerd-culture comic that ran from 2007 to 2016, Massive Pwnage was about whatever I wanted it to be about. Sometimes that meant that it was about video games, and sometimes that meant it was about Magic the Gathering, Doctor Who, or Spider-Man. Though, if we’re all being honest with each other, it was mostly about video games. As a cool side-effect, comics I’ve done about certain games have been featured by the developers of those games on their websites and social media. A lot of the traffic to my site in the early years came from World of Warcraft and League of Legends, which is pretty amazing.

But let’s back up a bit. I started Massive Pwnage in 2007 because I wanted to learn how to draw. I had been reading a lot of webcomics at the time and I thought to myself “I can do that,” so I did. I was at the time in my life where I had just graduated from high school and I didn’t know what the next step was. Becoming an artist became my goal, and drawing a comic was the way I chose to achieve that goal. I had never intended to become a person who makes comics — I barely even read comics growing up — comics were just what I was really interested in at the time and were a lot of fun to draw.

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Not only did I have no intention of being a comic creator, I had not the tiniest interest in becoming a writer. I resisted that idea for years, telling myself “no, I draw. I don’t write, that’s not my thing. I draw.” But then one day, after about four or five years into my endeavor, I looked at the hundreds of comics I had written and thought to myself “I might be a writer.” It was quite the surprise!

Depending on the year, Massive Pwnage updated two or three times a week, which means that by the end of its nine year run, I had written and drawn over a thousand comics. And, it turns out, that was an amazing way to get good at making comics! Who knew that doing something almost every day for nearly a decade is a great way to accidentally getting good at it? What started as a way to motivate me into learning how to draw, Massive Pwnage became one of the most important things I’ve ever done with my life. It taught me everything I know about hard work, discipline, and professionalism. It opened doors that I never imagined could be opened and thanks to Massive Pwnage, I’ve learned that I’m a cartoonist.

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It was bittersweet when I ended it, but ultimately I wanted to focus on telling stories rather than daily gag comics. It’s what I think I’m good at. I mean, one of my stories is getting published as a full-length graphic novel! That’s gotta be a sign that I’m heading in the right direction, right?

Either way, I’ll see you on Wednesday when I’ll get back to talking about LOOK and where I got the idea for a story about a little robot who’s not happy with his lot in life. See you then!

Oh! And I definitely can’t end this write-up without mentioning my good friend Josh Rivas, who helped me a lot with the writing duties on Massive Pwnage, especially in the early years before I found my confidence as a writer. If you’re interested, you can check out a short sample of his upcoming graphic novel, Magical Universe, over here.

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.
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My local Omnipresence at the Stripdagen Haarlem

This weekend I will be at the Stripdagen in Haarlem, Holland’s most prestigious comics convention! Where to find me? Almost everywhere!

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First of all, there’s a big expo of my religion-related comics work in the beautiful St. Bavochurch, right in the middle of town. It features pages from my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics, but also other work, such as Reverend De Heer and this church window depicting the shared paths of Christianity and Islam, almost 3 meters high!

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The expo has been up since end of April (and will be on for another two weeks) and has already garnered lovely comments from visitors all over the world:

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Another place where my work can be found at the Stripdagen, is in De Nieuwe Vide, where the expo ¡VIVA PONTIAC! takes place, about artist Peter Pontiac who passed away last year. I made a comic about it which can be seen in print, and there’s work from my amazing yet humble husband Yiri T. Kohl as well – Yiri was heavily influenced by the work of Pontiac, and even succeeded him as illustrator for magazine Mainline in the 1990s. Here’s an example of his work that can also be found at the expo:

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Last week, I got the surprising news that my webcomic has been shortlisted for the Comik Web Award. I didn’t even know I was nominated! In the Philharmonie there’s an expo of all the shortlisted webcomics. To cash in on this exposure I ordered another print run of my webcomics collection, which will be for sale for 5 euros:

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And then, last but not least, I will manifest in the flesh – on both Saturday and Sunday, you can find me at my own table in de Grote Zaal of the Philharmonie, together with Yiri and a bunch of our books:

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I hope to see some of you there! Come by for freebies and a chat!

 

New webcomic!

Exactly ten years ago on Easter Monday I started my first webcomic – it was black&white and I vowed not to spend more time on it than one hour a day, including scanning and putting it online, so that I would learn to be fast and productive and not to second-guess myself too much. This comic ran for almost two years – although calling it a “daily” proved far too optimistic.

Here are some of the comics I made then:

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I had a different life back then: I had stepchildren, four cats, blond hair and I was taking driving lessons, which finally resulted in me getting my license at age 33!

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My drawing style was still very much in development at that stage. The webcomic really helped me to find the courage to draw a nice quick, loose line.

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Now, ten years later, the world of webcomics has grown bigger and bigger and I enjoy quite a lot of them on a daily basis. So much that I want to get back in there myself. I like the productive flow that a webcomic can bring, as well as the direct interaction with an audience. I’ve been working on so many things lately that I can’t show yet, since it’s for books and projects that will be revealed later – and with this webcomic I can draw and rant about stuff and send it out in the world immediately.

 

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This time, I’m aiming for more polished, colored comics that loosely connect to my graphic novels in that they depict my interests in all kinds of things, but also show autobiographical bits of my life with Yiri and our cat Toto. The tagline is “Discoveries about my life, the universe and everything” – with a wink to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 😉

I’m posting the webcomic on my Tumblr account, which was pretty dormant in the past months. I like Tumblr’s layout options and the easy archiving, and hope it will make for easy reading.

Please check out my webcomic here. On this blog, I will post some of the gems from the webcomic in future, but if you want them nice and fresh, bookmark this link and enjoy the ride!