Q: Okay, seriously, where did you get the idea for this comic?
A: It was Wednesday morning and I needed an update for my site which I could finish by midnight. I liked comics, I was fairly fond of myself, and Vyacheslav Molotov’s involvement in whatever I was going to do seemed to be sort of a given, so all I had to do was assemble these elements together in a workable form. After dismissing the title “Molotov & Me”, Dave & Vyacheslav was born!
Q: And the art? How do you do that?
A: I take photos with my less-than-trusty digital camera, and then put ‘em in photoshop. I create 4 layers atop it. The top one I use to trace black lines over all the defining lines of the photo. The bottom one I fill in with flat colours which I sample from the original photo. The two middle ones are devoted to light and shadow, which is accomplished by making one of the layers a “multiply” and the other a “screen” layer. One gets some white light, the other some black shadows. I merge them all together, then resize and crop them to fit them into the panels of the comic. The backgrounds are created simply by taking photos of locations and running it through the paint daubs filter in photoshop.
Q : How did you get the idea?
A: Credit where credit’s due: I read a tutorial on Machall.com, and adapted it to my purposes. Though in fairness, my style is getting more and more refined all the time. Look at those first couple of comics. I thought I could be all Alan Moore and have a set grid pattern to my panels, but quickly discarded it, when I realized how restrictive this was. Honestly, I don’t know how Moore and his artists do it.
Q : Okay, so why Molotov?
A: Lots of reasons. The main one is actually pretty close to what I said in the comic: I read Harry Turtledove’s World War series, which Vyacheslav was one of the main characters of (and this series is 8 books long. And it’s sci-fi alternate history. You think this comic is strange? Vyacheslav spends the entire series dealing with alien invaders in this series! I’m seriously not kidding!). I loved the character so much that when it came time to create a comic, the idea of using him as a bizarre sort of straight man who was also so far removed from normalcy – without realizing or acknowledging that this is the case, and carries himself with such inscrutable dignity that you can almost accept that his actions make sense – seemed too perfect not to run with.
Q: Okay, what about making yourself a character?
A: It seemed like a good idea at the time. I figured, "Hey, I could get pictures of myself any time I need them, right"? I don't know. I've since begun to regret it in that it begins to look like an exercize in ego. So I try to depict myself a bit of a loser for a sense of balance.
Q: Why Is there so little ethnic diversity in the cast?
A: What are you, nuts? Vyacheslav is Russian, Colin is Scottish, Bj is half Irish and half Chinese... Hell, Dave is one-quarter Welsh, one-quarter British, one-quarter Acadian and one-quarter Irish. There's loads of diversity! In all seriousness, though, this really is mostly just a matter of who my real-life friends are. Even if I decided the next character I was to introduce into the strip should be black, I don't know who I'd turn to as a willing-to-work-for-free model for the character.
Q: Can I be in the comic?
A: It depends upon what the story needs. I’m not going to tailor a story to accommodate a person’s presence, but if the story needs a character to fill a certain role, and you’re making yourself available, then you may very well find yourself filling that role.
Q: How can I earn some points? Are there any rules?
A: As I have had to explain all too often, the first rule is that you may not have knowledge of rules two and onwards. This having been said, a number of fans have earned points before, and you could be the next to do so, if you happen to play your cards right. Not that I'm saying cards are involved, but, you know...