Webcartoonist Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn — collecting the first few stories from the Octopus Pie webcomic — has just hit stores, and Gran marked the occasion by speaking to CBR’s Alex Dueben. Here’s what I’d call the money quote:
[Alex Dueben:] You started working on webcomics as a teenager, essentially growing up with the industry. What were the comics that really inspired you and have had a particular influence on “Octopus Pie?”
[Meredith Gran:] I’ve really admired the cartoonists behind the Dumbrella collective for years. Jon Rosenberg of “Goats,” R. Stevens of “Diesel Sweeties” and Jeffrey Rowland of “Wigu/Overcompensating” in particular taught me a lot about the business, cultivating a readership, and the sort of lifestyle webcomics demand.
Artistically, most of my influences come largely from outside the webcomics bubble. Though David McGuire of “Gastrophobia” attended college with me, and I see a lot of similarity in our styles.
My background is in animation, and I was raised on Looney Tunes (Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett) and MGM shorts (Tex Avery), which I consider some of the biggest influences, even if the comic itself doesn’t resemble them superficially. I love Genndy Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken’s shows of the 90s. “The Simpsons” is probably in there too.
Suddenly it struck me — a dude weaned on the “Dueling Banjos” of the traditional North American comics scene, first superheroes and then alternative comics — that webcomics really truly is its own beast. Now you’ve got a generation of cartoonists who’ve grown up reading them, springboarding off their artistic and business models, and incorporating the sorts of influences you really don’t find in either Acme Novelty Library or Savage Dragon (to name the only two comics I was reading regularly a decade ago). “The sort of lifestyle webcomics demand” probably has a lot in common with the lifestyles demanded by newspaper strips, superheroes, altcomix, any kind of comics, but in terms of influence and output, it stands alone…