Today, I am lucky enough to interview the multi-talented writer and artist Kirk Scroggs about his newest graphic novel,
WE FOUND A MONSTER.
Please tell us about your just-released book WE FOUND A MONSTER.
We Found a Monster is the story of a kid named Casey who has a few skeletons in his closet . . . and a She-Bat, and a zombie, some gremlins, a squid monster, and, oh yeah, Frankenstein’s in there too! Casey’s a loner who loves to draw monsters. About a year ago, shortly after his mom passed away, real monsters started showing up on his doorstep. Now he’s got a house full of them that he somehow has to keep hidden from his dad and the neighbors. He’s at his breaking point. He can’t possibly harbor one more critter. But there’s a new girl in town. Her name is Zandra and she needs Casey’s help. She’s found a monster too. A giant, furry, loveable behemoth named Spot. Spot needs a home but there are dangerous secrets lurking beneath his rainbow-colored fur. A dark past that has followed him to Casey’s sleepy little town. Someone, or some Thing, is after Spot. Casey will need Zandra’s help to protect Spot, but she is a bit of a mystery herself. Can she be trusted?
Casey’s Creature Exhibit showcases his monsters. Do you have a favorite?
It was a lot of fun mixing in some characters from DC’s vaults into this monster mash-up. She-Bat is a cool character. Half human half bat, she used to be a bat researcher before her body-altering accident. I think, for me, the favorite is an old classic- Frankenstein. Franky lives in Casey’s basement near the water heater and he’s got a few quirks. Since he was stitched together out of other classic monsters, he sports some interesting features, like an invisible arm and, when the moon is full, werewolf legs!
Casey is a bit of a monster purist – no Adorables and no Fantasticals. What about you? Do you think there’s a place for the fluffy and the fantastic?
Casey is definitely me when I was his age. I was strictly old school when it came to monsters. Dracula, Godzilla, the Wolfman. But, like Zandra in the story, I now appreciate fantasy creatures too and I’m willing to give them full monster status. I think watching the old Sinbad movies and embracing Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter has gradually opened my eyes. All monsters are cool! Even the adorables.
There’s so much happening on every page of WE FOUND A MONSTER. Could you tell our readers a little bit about how you go about creating a project like this? And, do you have any tips for budding graphic novelists?
With We Found A Monster, and The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid, I definitely mashed a few art forms together—the graphic novel and the journal. It’s such a fun and freeform way to create a story. I like to sit with some plain white paper and just start scribbling and doodling, kind of like Casey does in the book. This journal format lets me experiment with different drawing tools and styles. If Casey is in a hurry, he just doodles out a quick black and white sketch. If he has the time, he pulls out the whole set of markers and draws a full-scale graphic novel sequence.
My advice to aspiring graphic novelists is to play to your strengths. If you’re better at drawing than writing, team up with your buddy who can’t draw so well but writes good stories. And vice versa. And remember to let the art do most of the hard work. No need to be overly descriptive when the art can convey the same information. And keep the dialogue short so it doesn’t block the cool pictures!
It’s pretty clear that you have a special affinity for monsters. Did you have a favorite when you were a kid? Do any of your childhood monster experiences come through in your stories?
I’ve always had a thing for the tragic monsters. Frankenstein, King Kong, Swamp Thing, Creature From the Black Lagoon—you kinda feel for these critters. They just want to be loved. I think everything I’ve ever written from Wiley and Grampa’s Creature Features to Swamp Kid, even the Muppet books, has woven in classic monster movie elements. I just can’t help it!
What can readers expect to see from you next?
There are certainly some follow-up ideas lurking in my head that I’d love to explore. Right now, I’m playing around with some animation proposals and I’m whipping up a top-secret graphic novel manuscript. I can’t say too much about it except robots, middle school, wolfpigs!
If you love monsters as much as Kirk does, let us know your favorites in the comments below. And be sure to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of WE FOUND A MONSTER!