Interview with the Creators of Dungeon Fun

Dungeon Fun is an all-ages comic about Fun (the book’s questing protagonist) and fun (the joyful feeling of reading a gorgeous, playful, and extremely funny comic). I was bedazzled by issue two’s charms here.

Writer Colin Bell and artist Neil Slorance were kind enough to answer some questions about the series, which you should absolutely purchase here.

Geek Syndicate (GS): Firstly congratulations on your incredible success at the SICBA awards [Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance]. Does being an award winner make a difference?

Colin Bell (CB): It gives us a lovely banner to put across the top of our third issue in November!

Neil Slorance (NS): It makes us slightly more unbearable. Nah, it’s been great. It’s definitely been fantastic for the book and in turn it’s helped us promote the 2nd book too.

CB: Realistically, I suppose it makes a difference because it gives you something to go to news outlets and say “hey, some people voted for this to win these awards” and provided they write about it, it helps to get eyes on the title on a national and even international field.

GS: I really enjoy enjoyed the book, and am always pleased when I read such high quality all-ages work. All ages humour is a tough nut to crack, it’s got to be funny for everyone without driving away adults or children. When creating, do you go with the assumption that some things are universally funny and focus on them? Is your approach more to try to cram in enough stuff to ensure that there’s something for everyone? Or is it something else altogether?

CB: Gee, a bit of everything I guess. I think first and foremost we try and find stuff that makes us laugh, and then assume that because it makes us laugh that there must be some people out there that will find it funny as well. I don’t think going into making Dungeon Fun either of us thought “kids will laugh at trolls being bureaucratic and petty”, but whaddya know, turns out they love that stuff.

I guess what I’m saying is that me and Neil possess the sense of humour of children.

GS: Following on from that, how do you ensure that a joke survives the transitions from your minds to those of your reader. So many of the traditional drivers of “funny” – timing, tone, surprise – are difficult to communicate on the page. I was struck by your use of panels to give the story a proper rhythm, to allow punchlines to hit properly. How do you make funny work in comics?

NS: I think it’s definitely a practiced art to be funny in comics, panelling has a lot to do with the rhythm and the build up, you’ve also got to make sure it reads fairly smoothly and the art is consistent in the run up to a punchline.

CB: I’d contend that it’s probably easier to be funny in comics that actual live comedy, given that you have absolute control over the page – there’s no one heckling you, you can’t stumble over your words, what have you. Timing and surprise are still there, they’re inherent in the nature of comics – with panels you have the ability to absolutely dictate your timing. With each page turn you have the ability to surprise your reader.

GS: Why is Frank Baxter so great?

CB: Focus groups!

NS: I just love his face, and how his expression barely changes. When we were imagining him we looked at a lot of African masks and picked the funniest looking one. He’s also just all-round a bit of a dork.

GS: I got a real Zelda vibe to a lot of Dungeon Fun (Frank Baxter’s elaborate mask, protagonist aided by a fairy, protagonist gaining first a sword, then a shield) and Neil mentions his fondness of the Zelda series in the intro to book 2. How much of a conscious influence was the Zelda series on your work? Any other notable influences on your respective styles?

NS: We generally just wanted to make a book with all the things we love in it. Consciously I remember drawing Fun and imagining her in Wind Waker, her dress is a tiny bit inspired by the Island tunic you have at the start of the game.

CB: Yeah, we both love Zelda, and as much as we say the book is a love-letter to dungeon-crawling video games, I know I always mean “Zelda” when I tell someone that. Total concious influence, at least on the first couple of issues. We’ll probably drift away from it as we move on with the series. Other influences off the top of my head, right now: Billy the Fish, Comedy Bang Bang, Jeff Smith’s Bone.

GS: How long is this run going to last? Is this a volume 1? Do you have an idea of where it’s going next?

NS: We definitely know where it’s going and how it will end, we’re not 100% sure on how long it’ll take. Right now we’re looking at 5 or 6 issues but we’ll see how it goes.

CB: Or it might be more. Who knows? Let’s all just enjoy it and not worry too much about something we love being unceremoniously yanked away without warning!

GS: Anything you’d like to plug?

NS: Dungeon Fun Book Two available now! http://dogoodercomics.bigcartel.com

CB: Dogooder Comics’ other book Reel Love is also available at this link! It’s great!

GS: Finally – You are in a room. Exits are north and south. One the table is a DUSTY CHEST.

 >OPEN DUSTY CHEST

 Inside the DUSTY CHEST, is a fabulous treasure. It is what your heart has always desired. What your soul secretly yearns for. You gaze in amazement at the …?

CB: Jonathan Richman tickets? Hot diggity!

NS: Wow a replica Master Sword that made it through customs!

Interviewer: Tom T – @Silent_Tom_T

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