Monkeybrain Comics announced and released five new titles last month at Comic-Con International, including Phil Hester and Tyler Walpole’s Dropout. Hester and Walpole couldn’t be at the convention, but were willing to talk with me not only about the new series, but their collaboration in general, including a personal favorite of mine: their 2005 canceled-too-soon series Stronghold.
Michael May: You guys worked together before on Stronghold. How did you meet and what drew you toward wanting to work together?
Tyler Walpole: Phil and I are both from Iowa and when I was in high school he was one of the only professional comic book artists I had met in person (at a little comic book show at a local mall). I always liked him as an artist, but when I read his comic, The Coffin, I was blown away with his writing! So when he expressed interest in working with me, I jumped at the chance.
Phil Hester: I met Tyler when he was just a kid, and I mean really just a kid. He and Andy Brase were kicking around the Iowa comics scene as teens and I could tell both guys were going to go places. I guess I’ve always been looking for something to work on with Tyler and when Stronghold popped up, I knew he’d be right for it.
Mash-ups have become a staple of modern culture. From the mash-ups of music albums to movies and virtually anything else. But I think this here might be the best comic mash-up yet.
Created by Ryan Sohmer and Tyler Walpole for Sohmer’s The Gutters webcomic series, it’s a great idea in theory but Walpole’s expert art here really shoots it over the top.
If you’ve not reading The Gutters, you’re missing out — it’s the closest thing the comics industry has gotten to editorial cartoons focused on our medium.