Kraig Furtado authors the Ninjamatics' 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards winner Troops of Doom, which placed 1st in Best Comics Weblog.
Why blogging? Why did you start blogging, and what drives you now?
I've always wanted to create a comic since the first time I picked up a newspaper. The silly cartoons and jokes appealed to me right away. They're just fun. Garfield was the first to catch my interest. That's embarrassing to say now, but it was funny a long, long time ago. With newspapers dying out and comic strip syndication along with it, creating a webcomic was the natural route to take. It's change for the better. With a webcomic, I'm completely independent, no limits on format and content. I can do whatever I want and reach a worldwide audience. I'm having a lot of fun with Troops of Doom, and that's what keeps me going.
How did you come to the live photo style of web comic that you use in Troops of Doom?
Laziness. Photos were also a way to stand out from the millions of other webcomics, but mostly I was motivated by laziness. I thought photographing action figures would be simple compared to drawing a comic. Turns out I was horribly, horribly wrong. It's so much more work, not to mention time consuming and expensive. Whenever I want something new in the comic I have to buy or build it. Have you ever tried to build a Death Star? Even the Empire at the height of its power couldn't complete the second one, but for some reason I thought I could do it all myself.
If you could have it all, what are your dreams for Troops of Doom?
As I mentioned before, I've always wanted to be a comic creator. I started Troops of Doom in hopes that some day it could generate a large enough readership that could support turning it professional. There's nothing I'd like more than to make comics for a living and deliver a laugh to the audience on a daily basis.
If you are feeling less than inspired, where do you look for inspiration?
Troops of Doom itself provides a lot of inspiration. When I'm stuck creatively I'll go back and read previous chapters which often sparks new ideas for stories and jokes. It's not foolproof though, writer's block can be brutal. When in doubt, resort to violence. Can't go wrong with a good kick to the crotch.
Are you open about being a blogger? How do people offline react to your online writing?
Somewhat open? I know the comic isn't for everyone, so if I don't think someone would be interested, I don't waste their time. On the other hand, I've passed complete strangers a card with the web address because they were wearing a Star Wars shirt.
When Troops of Doom comes up in conversation with people that don't know about it, I get weird looks. What's an adult doing playing with toys? Once they check it out, they either love it or think I'm even more weird than they could have possibly imagined. It's hard to argue.
Which weblogs are your current favourites? Which weblogs have been most influential in the shaping of your own blogging?
My current and long time favourite is Sinfest by Tatsuya Ishida. The best comic strip since Calvin and Hobbes. I imagine it's kind of what Calvin's world would be like when he got older. Ishida has an endless imagination and the artwork is fantastic.
I generally avoid sites that are similar to my own, because I don't want to be influenced. I try to keep Troops of Doom original as possible. Since starting Troops of Doom, I discovered lots of super talented toy photographers, diorama makers, and Lego builders on JoeDios and Flickr that I look up to. It's amazing how they can suspend belief and give you a look into another universe with their creations. I've learned a lot from them and am constantly inspired to try new things and raise my own standards.
What advice do you have for new bloggers?
I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm the one that needs advice. I guess the obvious thing is always try to improve. Even if it's only in minute steps, it adds up over time. You want to be able to look back at your early work and say "Damn, that sucks."