Neil Greenaway reported from Denver Comic Con for Bleeding Cool, taking excellent photos and doing a series of Indie Spotlight interviews. Here he speaks with Joseph Perez (Writer, Artist & Animator for Buddies Cartoon) and Travis Rector (Voice Actor for Buddies Cartoon) about their animated series and comic which features the use of marijuana, which is particularly relevant to Denver:
Joseph Perez: I am Joseph Perez, and I am the creator of Buddies Cartoon. It's an animated series and comic books that take place after the animated series.
BC: How did you get into indie comics?
JP: Basically, just by starting out and doing it. That was really it. I mean, I had a story that I felt that I needed to tell. And I wanted to tell. And just went off from there. I wasn't really prepared to do it, but I just sort of went for it anyway. That was basically how it started.
BC: Well, leading off from that, why is this a story that needed to be told?
JP: I think that everyone has their own personal reasons for it. I think that when you have a story that you are fond of, and that you relate with a lot, that you kind of want to put it out there for people to see. And see what they think about it. I think that's how a lot of stories get told, in general. At least in my personal opinion.
JP: Specifically with Buddies Cartoon, it's more of a niche market, I suppose. Instead of doing it somewhere else. In Denver, in Colorado in general, it's more accepted. So I'd say it's beneficial to be here than other places, at the moment.
BC: Talking about the marijuana aspect of it, as legalization spreads, because it's passing all over the nation, do you anticipate any growth in the book or cartoon because of that?
JP: I would definitely think so. I'm actually going to a few other different comic cons this year which will be in Chicago, Nashville, Reno & Austin this year. So I'll be going out there. I know it's not as accepted there, but I'll just be ahead of the curve on that one.
JP: Definitely. I've been doing this for three years now. And I think that last year we had 70,000 people come through. Even if only 10% choose to stop and see my comic, that's 7,000 people who have seen my comic that would not have if I wasn't here. It definitely brings the exposure up. And you hand out a lot of stuff. People can come up and actually see it, physically, instead of just online.
BC: What benefits do you find in indie publishing vs. work for larger companies?
JP: I don't know exactly how, if I was with Marvel or some other large company, how the costs get split up. But I would imagine that doing it the indie way, just going to your local printer, is going to be cheaper than asking a larger company to publish your work. It's more work, but you are going to get a bigger percentage of the profits. More profitable, but it is a lot more work.
BC: And what are you working on currently?
JP: I have finished the first season of the animated series, and I have it on DVD. And we now have three comics that all come after the first season. One of which was supposed to be the second season, but I decided to make it into a comic book. Because I thought it would relate better. There is stuff that I can do in a comic book that I still can't animate that well. Yet. We have two more comics coming, those should be around 40 to 60 pages each. And we're starting season 2.
BC: So the animated series is coming back for a season 2?
JP: It is. We'll have full episodes and everything.
BC: And speaking of the animated series, let's switch the interview to the other side of the table, Travis.
Travis Rector: My name is Travis Rector, I work for Buddies Cartoon, and I am the voice of The Man, the Locos Gringos, and Ozzie the supervisor.
BC: How did you get involved with Buddies Cartoon?
TR: I got involved because Joseph is my step-son. He decided that he wanted to do this. He came to me and said "Hey, do you think that you could do this voice?"
And I said "Sure, let's give it a run". So he gave me an opportunity, and quite honestly, I ran with it. And I love it. It's just a lot of fun.
TR: Yes! A tremendous amount of support from family. As a matter of fact, I'm one of Joseph's biggest fans. And his mom was here today and his sisters. Everyone is very supportive. And I think it takes that. If you don't have that kind of foundation, it's easy to lose your way pretty quick. Because when you are doing something that's on your own, as opposed to something that everyone knows about, it's really hard to hang your hat on something like that. But we have a really grounded foundation. So, when things are not going the greatest, we have to pick each other up. It's really great. And the support has just been tremendous.
You can find Buddies Cartoon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or by going to www.BuddiesCartoon.com.