Please welcome a new feature to the site, Question and Answer Time! Today's victim is "Cooties" creator Nick Perkins. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
1. What was your main motivation for doing Cooties?
First of all, cartooning is a passion for me. It's all I did in high school; I spent lots of time making toons for my friends and just something to do to pass the time while teachers droned on. In college, I did a comic strip for the school newspaper, and I've spent the last six years as an editorial cartoonist for two different Utah newspapers on top of that. It's just in my blood, I guess.
Secondly, the medium of webcomics is so exciting for an artist; as opposed to spending years toiling away unnoticed trying to get picked up by a newspaper syndicate, today's cartoonist can bypass the bureaucracy and editorial control of the old system by simply putting up a website and becoming accessible to anyone who can find them. And the strict limits put on newspaper cartoonists go out the window as well, so content that was once considered "underground" is, on the web, mainstream. So now, you have to look a little bit harder to find comics appropriate for all ages. My motivation with Cooties is to have something that my kids and my mom would enjoy, but at the same time be funny and action-packed enough for the rest of us. I picture it as Peanuts meets The Incredibles.
2. Is anything from the comic inspired by real life events? Any particular event you would like to share?
Some of my family and friends will definitely recognize Nathan as my 7-year-old son; I aged him a bit for the comic. And Lori is based on my wife's little sister; a girl who is pretty smart, but was off smelling flowers when God was handing out common sense (and I mean that in the nicest possible way!).
The boullion cube bit is one of my favorites. My brother-in-law gave his little brother one when he was two years old, telling him it was candy. He videotaped him putting it in his mouth and oy, the spitting and the gagging! We still watch it and laugh. Anyway, it seemed like something Jake would fall for.
3. Who past or present is your favorite cartoonist?
It would have to be a tie between Charles Schultz and Bill Watterson. They were both so adept at capturing the innocence and whimsy of youth, and making their characters timeless and memorable. They left such a void on the comics page that has yet to be filled (some newspapers are still running reruns of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes!); I'm trying to diminish that void as best I can, but them's some big shoes to fill.
5. Please explain the title of your comic.
I have two things in mind with it: 1) the characters are in that stage of life we all go through when the opposite sex is starting to become interesting, but you're so used to being disgusted by them that you don't know how to deal with it. You know they have cooties, and that cooties are bad. But maybe you want to catch some just to see what it's like... It's hard to explain, but we've all been there. There will be a lot of "battle of the sexes" type things going on. 2) The word cooties also conveys a sense of weirdness, danger, and emotional roller-coastering, something else I want to be a staple of this comic.
Lastly, the first story uses it as a play on words. The alien race is called the Q'utee (pronounced "cootie", natch), and they are the catalyst for some big things that will happen not just in the first story, but things that will be coming down in the comic years from now (yes, I've got that many stories planned out) that will be totally unrelated to alien invasions.
5. About how much time and effort do you put into your comic on a daily basis?
Not nearly as much as I'd like (anywhere from one minute to 30 minutes a day). With a wife, three kids, and two jobs, cartooning doesn't get as big a priority as it wants. However, I've got some things planned for after the first story that will change the format a bit and make it possible to update more often, while still improving the quality. Stay tuned.
6. If you could do a crossover with any webcomic out there, which would it be and why?
I would love to send the kids down under to do a ghost story with the blokes at School Spirit at some point in the future. I think the two would make a great fit.
One last question: Why do you think people should check out your comic?
It's a fun adventure that will bring out the kid in you. If you like sci-fi, superheroing, comedy, drama, politics, magic and mayhem, read Cooties! And bring your kids if you got 'em!