Original short interviews with notable, rising or overlooked
figures from comics or the larger entertainment field by Bill Baker.
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BAKER'S DOZEN for 10/06/2004
This Strip's Got Legsy!
Dennis Budd and Joe Caramagna on Model Operandi
I'm a recent convert to the beautiful madness that is known as Model Operandi. Being the sharing kinda guy that I am [and suspecting that my readers might appreciate a break from the campaign for at least a few moments], I thought I'd introduce you all to the world of the vivacious vixen called Legsy, and the two fine gents responsible for creating her highly addictive and quite hilarious adventures.
Bill Baker: For the uninitiated, how would you describe Model Operandi?
Dennis Budd: MO is a goofy little story about the world's top supermodel, Legsy Diamond, who somehow manages to get into trouble all over the world.
BB: So what can you tell us about this Legsy Diamond character, her co-stars and enemies, and the world that they inhabit?
Dennis B: Legsy is a bubbly Midwestern girl who just happens to have the most recognizable face in the world. She works for the Gaga Agency. She the darling of the designers and the public, but the bane of lesser models.
Joe Caramagna: She's America's Sweetheart. Every girl wants to be her, every guy wants to be with her. But because of this, she has a lot of jealous enemies. Her biggest enemy's Raquel Van Dyke, an over-the-hill model who was pushed out of the spotlight when Legsy came along and now she wants the spotlight back. Personally, one of my personal favorite character is Raquel's henchwoman, Crystal Meth. I think she has what it takes to be a real fan favorite. The guys will love her.
BB: What were the circumstances that lead to the original idea that became Model Operandi, how did it develop and who was involved in that process, and what were some of the surprises or unexpected developments that might have helped or hindered this work?
Dennis B: Joe and I were in the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc. at the time. One of our instructors gave us a script to work from called "Pursuit." It required a female lead being chased by a couple of guys. The girl I designed ended up being the basis for Legsy.
Joe C: Dennis showed me his pages and I was just blown away. We started talking about it, traded some ideas, and came up with a story and a supporting cast, and away we went. We really didn't have anything planned, it was mainly to entertain ourselves, but when we got out of school we got serious about it.
BB: How is a typical strip put together? Do you two work in close tandem on the plot and script, hammering out all the details before putting pen to page, or is it a looser, more improvisatory process?
Dennis B: It's a pretty loose process. One of us comes up with an initial idea and the other runs with that. Then we trade off ideas for awhile until we're both happy with what we have, then we hammer out the plot, in which is also included some rough page breakdowns, then I draw the layouts from that.
Joe C: Because we live in different states, we can't sit down and hammer out a plot. A lot of the story development happens in e-mail. Then Dennis will send me layouts with some script notes or dialogue ideas that he may have, and I put together a final script from there. When he sends me finished pencils, I ink them and letter them while he colors them. It's pretty improvisational, we don't have the details all planned out until the last page is finished.
BB: How do you handle any creative or other disputes? Is the art of compromise exercised a whole lot in your creative partnership, or is there another method you use to determine the way to go when that's in question?
Dennis B: Joe can be a real bastard sometimes, so I have to lay the smackdown on him. [*General laughter*] Just kidding.
Usually one of us will come up with a argument that persuades the other. We don't have many disagreements. We tend to play off one another fairly well.
Joe C: Whenever I come up with an idea that Dennis doesn't like, I fight for it until I'm blue in the face. [*Laughter*] But by the time we're done with whatever stage we're working on, I think we realize what ideas are good and what are bad. Sometimes I'm like, "Dennis was right, what was I thinking?" It isn't so much a compromise as us realizing what's good and what isn't.
BB: What brought you two together, and what makes it work so well?
Dennis B: We met at the Kubert School. We have many of the same interests, so we get along well.
Joe C: We have the same sense of humor too, which makes working together easier.
BB: Do you see yourselves working basically online for the foreseeable future, or do you plan to move to print primarily? What are some of the pros and cons of working in these very different mediums for you, both creatively and business-wise?
Joe C: Oh, the book will definitely be available in print. Maybe not in color, but it will be available in print for sure. Look for it soon on our website, www.modeloperandi.net! Business-wise, I think the Internet allows for the product to be seen by more people than in a comic shop, but the con is that a lot of people are a bit leery about giving their credit card over the Internet. Slamming down a five-dollar bill on a counter is so much easier. Creatively, we are making the book with print medium in mind, but another pro to having Model Operandi online is that we can afford to give the entire first issue away for free because there are very minimal overhead costs involved.
Dennis B: I'd like to move into print primarily. It's been around for hundreds of years, and I don't see it going out of style anytime soon. I think while there is an immediacy with the online community that is great, piracy and the acceptance of piracy among sectors of the online community concern me.
BB: Are there any company-owned titles or characters that you're just dying to work on, or do you see your future as mainly being in the indy side of things? And if there are books you'd like to work on for other companies, what about that series or character excites and interests you?
Joe C: I'd love to write and ink for some Marvel and DC titles at some point. I like the idea of working on some of the less popular or fringe characters because there's probably some more leeway there in terms of character development. But I do like the idea of writing Superman. For me, it seems like such a difficult book to write because, let's face it, he's Superman! How many times can you come up with some enemy or situation that's an actual challenge to him? They've been doing it for 60 years, sometimes very good, sometimes very bad. I'd love to take on that challenge.
Dennis B: I'd love to work on Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I think I'd steer towards non-superhero books, though I'd certainly enjoy working on those if I had the chance.
BB: Well, what's next for the Model Operandi crew, and for yourselves, near and far terms?
Dennis B: Legsy will continue to get into trouble, and we'll enjoy setting up the situations to make that happen. I think we'll try to make Model Operandi as successful as we can so we can continue it into the foreseeable future.
Joe C: I think the long-term goals really depend on the success of the short-term goals. Right now my priority is getting the book in print--and we're almost there--and working on Issue # 4. After that, we'll see.
BB: What do you get from creating comics in general, and from doing Model Operandi, specifically?
Dennis B: It's something I enjoy. I like writing and drawing cool stuff. It's something I can't explain, I just feel in my gut.
Joe C: It's so hard to explain the feeling of satisfaction you get from seeing a finished product. I used to get excited to get a printed copy of a Marvel Comics book that I lettered, so you can only image how it feels to see a whole issue of Model Operandi inked, colored and lettered.
BB: What would you like your readers to get from your work? Is it all about entertainment for you guys, or might there be some hidden hopes mixed in there, too?
Dennis B: It's mostly about the entertainment, but there may be some hidden or not-so-hidden commentary in there. I guess it'll depend on what's going on in the world.
Joe C: It's a fun book that is entertaining on so many different levels, whether you like the story, the art, or just looking at the Model Operandi girls, so be it. As long as the reader is entertained on some level, the book is a success.
BB: Anything else you'd like to add?
Joe C: If your readers want the best value for their comic book dollar, Model Operandi is the way to go. A subscription to www.modeloperandi.net is just one dollar a month. For that you get to read all of the issues, exclusive content, behind-the-scenes "making of" content, discounts on merchandise... you'd be crazy not to subscribe. Let's see Marvel match that deal! And you can read the entire first issue free!
Dennis B: Sign up so I can afford to eat.
Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to www.modeloperandi.net and sign up so Dennis can eat something before he...
Oops, there he goes. Low blood sugar, probably.
Anyone got some virtual Ramen noodles for a staving artist...?
<< 09/29/2004 | 10/06/2004 | 10/13/2004 >>
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