Comics illustrator and pug owner Carolyn Main sat down with me this week to discuss her new web series, her obsession with wizards, the 2010 Stumptown controversy, and plantain chips. You can catch the first episode of The Carolyn Show at 8 pm Friday, May 18 at Cosmic Monkey Comics. I'm told there might be some beer. In the meantime here is a trailer and an interview (Merc questions are emboldened).
Carol! You made a web series! What's your web series like?
It's autobiographical but with an absurdist approach. It's really an excuse to make jokes, animate and give myself an avatar who has a similar kind of life shakedown. I'm trying to distill the past 28 years of my life into an internet show and give the audience an impression of the world from my perspective.
If you were to compare the series to a current or past TV show/movie, which one/ones would you choose?
Say Anything or The Sarah Silverman Program. Say Anything because I'm kind of juvenile, kind of mopey, kind of optimistic about things I probably shouldn't be optimistic about. And The Sarah Silverman Program because of profanity and dog related humor. Also it's kind of like Wizards—the Fred Savage movie.
That's a good movie—with the Power Glove. Do you have a Power Glove in your web series?
It's in the email slash the real mail. We'll see if it gets there in time. We are doing a Mario 3 battle at the Cosmic Monkey premier so the event will be very Wizards the movie-ish. Also I really like wizards for other reasons.
You're pretty wizard-centric. You've got a web comic called Sex Wizards plus you tweet a whole hell of a lot about wizard things. Twizard things. Sorry.
Yeah I love the medieval and also the current wizards. Nostradamus, for instance...
Because he's super current?
He's older. But John Edwards...
Wait no! The one who's Crossing Over.
Oh he's like a medium.
I call mediums "wizards" too in my interior monologue parlance.
(At this point the Dig A Pony bartender came over to deliver our happy hour plantain chips. Have you guys ever had these? They come with a relish thing that you spoon onto the plantains and I didn't even care that I was getting food all over my shirt because delicious sweet and savory foodstuffs for 3 bucks.)
Tell me about the Stumptown controversy that happened 2 years ago. How did you first find out people were upset about the illustration you did (with Riley Michael Parker)?
I was at Kinkos when I got the call from Scott Allie (Dark Horse). He said "How you doing, kid?" and I was like "I'm great!" because I was. I was excited to have something in the Mercury for the first time and then Scott told me people were pretty angry with me. He then braced me for the backlash and tried to build me up by reminding me he really cared for my work. That touched me.
Then Riley and I talked about what approach or stance we should take which helped a bit. Riley is a lot like me in that he likes to go to the controversial edge of sass. And even though we don't really work together anymore we did find a fun place and that place was kind of like Waldorf and Statler in the balcony. We were heckling. And we thought we were heckling very gently. People disagreed I guess.
Getting back to the series! How long did it take you to shoot the episode?
One day. It was a pretty long day. The shooting was actually very short and I have to hand that to Mike Vogel (the director) and the other actors, especially Benja Barker.
How much of your real life did you put into the show?
The first episode is a depiction of every one-night stand you think will turn into something distilled into one instance. An all in one one-night stand. We use portraiture to represent the one night stand-iness. And while it's pretty accurate, it's not specific to any one person so it's just every one night stand ever that Benja gets to represent on his able, able shoulders.
What's Portraiture? Explain it to me like I'm a five year old.
Oh well, I take a picture of you and then I draw it better. A little bit bigger in the eyes. A little bit softened everywhere. I cartoonize it and really get it down to like swoopy vector lines. It's good.
How many episodes do you foresee yourself doing?
I think we're going to keep dropping it off and picking it up as our schedules fit. We definitely have the skeleton of another one written. We're filling in the jokes. I've had more time to think about the longer running themes I want to address.
Can I be in it?
Yeah. You're already in it. Metaphorically.
Can I star in it?