WB is one of the best fan artists in the Sonic Internet Community today, and has a long history contributing artwork too. These days, WB even has a hand in Archie’s official Sonic the Hedgehog comic series – living the dream! Buckle up though, this is probably one of the craziest interviews we’ve done yet.
TSS: Hey WB, thanks for joining our exclusive interview!
WB: No problemo ^^ Thanks for having me ^^
TSS: I always ask the first question as, why are you important in the Sonic Community, and who’s your favorite Backstreet Boy?
WB: I have no favorite Backstreet Boy. Backstreet Boys are evil and must BUUUURRRN! ^_^ I didnt think I was famous… I’m cute and all the wimmins love my 8-tracks. But I dont think I’m that famous. Just your average longtime fan. For about five and a half years or so… I was the second webmaster of Sonic HQ. I co-modded with ‘Vector’, who is still there.
I also do a lot of Sonic art as well, though I haven’t updated my old archives in a long time. A lot of people still like the stuff I did I guess ^_^ I’m also currently still a mod at the The Sonic Foundation (tSf) board and frequent a lot of places in the Sonic community. 🙂
TSS: When did you first start your love of Sonic the Hedgehog? Better yet, how?
WB: Geez… Make me feel all old why don’t you? ^_^ I had ALWAYS liked Sonic. My first game was Sonic 1, but I really fell in love with Sonic 2. Super Sonic is what did it. I thought that was just the most awesome thing in the world for some reason. ^_^ And by Sonic 3 it was just all over. 🙂
But, I think it started at the end of high school. I’m in college now, but I think I was looking for info on either a Sonic game or info on the comic. I browsed a bunch of pages – Kedzie K’s (tSf) wasnt up back then, but I came across Zifei’s Sonic Page (which became Sonic HQ) and a little derelict joint called the Mobius Forum.
I made a post there, in typical newbie fashion (“HI MY NAMES WB AND I LOKE SONIC STUFF !! YOUR PAGE IS KEWL !!!!!!!!!!!!”) and it just sorta ballooned from there. The people were really cool and there was a good atmosphere. So it became my “hangout” on the ‘net. And thats how I became absorbed into the Sonic community ^^
TSS: From then on you’ve become big in the community. Where did the name ‘WB’ come from anyways? Did your friends just decide to call you that or is there another reason?
WB: “WB” came from my roommate in college. I drew… A LOT… and I had a BIG LOVE for Warner Bros. cartoons and animation. Still do. Thats my ultimate goal in life actually – is to become an animator. So instead of Jonathan, my roommate called me WB, and that became my name all over campus! I liked it so much that it’s the name I use on the ‘net.
Even when I transferred to SCAD some people down here call me WB because I’m so used to it now. ^__^ Essentially it means “Warner Brothers” ^__^ Surprisingly I get that question a lot.
TSS: When did you start drawing excellent pictures of Sonic and co for Sonic HQ? Why did you decide to give ‘Vector’ your webmaster spot at the HQ?
WB: I did all the ‘Sonic Icon’ pictures at Sonic HQ, with the exception of Tony Nguyen who did the awesome 3D pictures that you see floating around in the titlebar. 🙂 I think I wanted to do something new and had found a script that allowed you to randomize pictures. So, I drew several small pictures of the characters in the classic “Sonic rings” and welded them down a bit to fit. 🙂 It was just something I did cause I thought it’d be cool to do plus it gave me an excuse to draw tons of characters. ^_^
Actually, the reason why I ultimately stepped down from SHQ was because I wanted to pursue my own career in art and build a portfolio. This was something I couldn’t do before, because SHQ consumed a lot of my time – I was so dedicated to it, and the people there. A lot of friends of mine, including Kedzie and Katrice, were the ones who convinced me that I really should pursue an online comic strip and go for it after I had told them my ideas. I had the idea, but didn’t think it’d go anywhere, but they convinced me and I did.
I ultimately decided that five years at SHQ was more than enough and I had done what I wanted to do. It didnt mean leaving, just going on to new things. So I told Vector beforehand (who went into panic attack mode at first, but understood being the cool person that he is) and chose my successor (Kat aka “True Red” who does the Knuckles Haven homepage). After which, I went and worked on my TWO daily comic strips, Chip & Walter and Time Trouble, which you can find here: http://chipandwalter.keenspace.com/
I think its been a pretty good success so far, and I’m happy and I dont regret my decision ONE BIT. ^___^
TSS: You’re into SEGASonic – are you also into the other universes of Sonic?
WB: You havent read CNW and TT! Shame! Shame! 😀 Yup. I like, and still read, the Archie Comic (when it does OK; when it doesnt I become violent ^__^). It has its issues, but I think it stands on its own fairly well. I like SatAM (thank heavens that we’ll finally be getting DVDs so now I have MORE excuses to spend my money) and of course I love SEGASonic.
AoSTH is OK in small doses… Yes… I am the one that is guilty of writing the AoSTH episode guide on Sonic HQ. The culprit is me. It’s not… bad… but it’s not good either. Mama Robotnik must DIE. And I’ll probably piss off the Sonic Underground fans, but I’m not really that big a fan of it. It could have been tolerable maybe, without the music… it’s NOT as bad as AoSTH in many areas, but it’s not good either. It’s like… Alvin and the Chipmunks meets Sonic the Hedgehog. And that’s just a no-no !!! ^_^
But hey, you win some you lose some. Sorry SU fans, it’s just not my cup of tea.
TSS: Have you been doing some Sonic art lately? Where did you get the ideas for your online comic and have you ever thought about doing Sonic fan fiction?
WB: Sonic art – surprsingly YES. 🙂 I’ll be doing some new logos for tSf (one that should be ready by next week if all goes well). I’m currently slated to do the cover for Other-M #16 and if I have time I’d like to do #17 as well. If I have some time over Christmas break I’d like to maybe spend some time doing another classic collage picture that I like to do so much 🙂
As for my online comic – all the characters with me are my own and have been with me since middle school 🙂 They’ve ALWAYS been mine. Time Trouble is a little more special though because it relates to Sonic fandom in a way. Each one of the main cast is based loosely off someone I know. My old cast that I had for it never really gelled with me, so I re-tooled it over time and asked certain people if I could use thier name and such.
For example – the main character is named Kedzie Collington of all things 🙂 Lienne Chan is named after Lien Nguyen, another popular Sonic fan artist who’s a cool friend of mine. Astute Sonic fans should notice fan influence in every main cast character with the exception of Lucky and Sterling. 🙂
Since I do two comic strips, there are two seperate storylines. CNW is based off my love for the classic Disney stories that I remember so fondly (you remember them, back before the Disney Afternoon sucked?) and my love of the work of Carl Barks. Time Trouble actually evolved from a short story I wrote in middle school and I liked the concept so much, that I kept it. 🙂 It’s a fantasy/action/comedy cartoon strip. So both are two entirely different genres, but have LOTS of comedy ^___^
And I’ve NEVER thought of doing fan fiction, though I guess I can write since I do the strips (havent heard a complaint yet ^____^). But if I were to do one, I’d rather draw out a fanfic. I had actually planned on drawing out a Dan Drazen fanfic once. But that was RIGHT before I launched CNW and TT 🙂
TSS: I think Dan would enjoy something like that, maybe if you get any extra time you could do so. What do you think of Sonic going on to other non Sega systems, like Gamecube and GBA?
WB: I dont mind it at all. I never really did. Sega will still have control of Sonic and Sonic Team will still have thier baby. 🙂 As long as the games are good and the gameplay rocks, the Sonic series will never die. It’s just in the realm of Nintendo and Mario land now. And who am I to complain as long as Sonic stays alive? If you had asked me BEFORE if we’d have ever seen Sonic and Mario together though, I’d have called you a loon… ^__^
But personally, I think it’s really cool, and a wise decision for now. I forgot! A good perk of this is that we’ll finally have another handheld 2D Sonic game, considering what SNK did after Sonic Pocket was released ^___^
TSS: SNK just quit recently actually, I guess sales weren’t going too well. Will you ever think about going back to Sonic HQ’s staff, or work on a Sonic Fan Site of your own?
WB: No. I’m through with Sonic sites. They’re too freakin’ hard to maintain! LOL! (j/k) 🙂 With the exception of modding at the Sonic Foundation board, lurking around on the mailing lists, popping into the Mobius Forums to utter random nonsense or checking the Ken Penders board to harass the locals (KARL BOLLERS IS SMOOOOOTH) I won’t do any new webpages anytime soon. Its all about CNW now. 🙂
TSS: Could you explain the above picture? It’s on your website’s ‘About Me’ page.
WB: LOL! We don’t like to talk about that. It tends to scare the children when we release it to the public 😀
TSS: You were in a car crash recently, right? There are rumors saying a crazy old lady with 400 cats started it. Is this true?
WB: LOL! Actually it was an old guy AND an old woman. I remembered the woman first because she was the first and only thing I saw before I blacked out after the air bag went all ‘Mike Tyson’ on me and tried to bite off my ear. ^__^ BUT basically, this guy who was older than the Egyptian Pyramids pulled out in front of a tractor trailer to do an illegal left turn. I was on the other side of the tractor trailer, he didn’t know I was there… you do the math.
As for the 400 cats? Well… rumor has it that there were 500… but nothing has been proven. YET! 😀
TSS: When you win your emmy award, what will you say to the crowd? And also, thanks for taking the time for this interview, click here to sample his art and head to his website.
WB: Screw the emmy. I’m goin for the Nobel Prize baby!
**AHEM** I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE LITTLE PEOPLE! THANK YOU FOR BEING MY STEPPING STONES IN LIFE AND BEING THERE TO JUST BE THE DARLING THINGS YOU ARE! 😀
You’ve been simply faboo! We must do this again sometime – you, me, the Hamptons, it will be the GALA event of the year you silly thing you ;D And who said the interview was over???? What aout MY questions? For instance if you can’t believe it’s not butter then what did you believe it was before you ate it?” ^___^ Ba-dump-bump! 😀 Seriously – thanks for interviewing me – it was fun ^^ AND VISIT CNW AND TT! WORSHIP THE GROUND IT WAS WRITTEN ON AND BURN EFFIGIES OF THE CHARACTERS NIGHTLY !!! 😀