Bobby Timony is an artist who’s co-creator of the popular comic strip The Night Owls, published by DC Comics’ Zuda imprint. He has been nominated for multiple Harvey Awards, including Best New Series, Best Online Series, and Best New Talent. His newest project, The Horror Lovers, is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter.
Bobby took the time to talk to us about Horror Lovers, Zuda Comics, and more in this exclusive interview.
ComicMix: Good morning, Bobby. For starters, how did you start drawing comic books?
Bobby Timony: I can’t remember when it started. It seems I’ve been doing it all my life. My brother and I had school desks in our bedroom we would draw at. We had a hollowed out speaker flu of pens, pencils and magic markers. We would spend hours at a time sitting in our room making comics.
CM: What were your favorite comics growing up, and other influences on your work?
BT: The first comics I ever subscribed to were the Disney Duck comics that Gladstone was putting out. I loved Carl Barks and Don Rosa. I remember I set an envelope stuffed with $1 bills and my subscription form. I’m actually surprised the guy in the mailroom didn’t just steal my money.
CM: Tell me about your experience with Zuda and “The Night Owls.”
BT: The Night Owls at Zuda was my first professional comics work. I had been setting up at small press shows with self published books before then, but this was the first time I actually got paid to do it.
I remember catching some flack from other web comics people who claimed I sold out and didn’t value my work as an artist. There were a lot of soapboxes and pedestals about how they could never give up their rights!
Well, I can’t speak for them, but I can say it worked out for me. In addition to getting paid for my work, I made valuable industry contacts, made some great personal friends, got nominated for several awards, grew my fan base exponentially, and in the end I even got all my rights back. So yeah, I think I won that one.
CM: You’ve created a lot of original comics and characters, both with your brother Peter and by yourself. Why is doing creator-owned work so important to you?
BT: I guess it has to do with why you get into comics in the first place. Some people just love the art and want to draw. Some love the characters and want to build on the stories they grew up with. Peter and I loved the medium as a means of unleashing our imaginations. We started by drawing our plushy stuffed toys into comics, giving them personalities. Then we moved on to our own made up characters. Although we had favorite characters we’d revisit, we never really settled on one that was going to be our signature achievement. We’d just say, “That was fun!” and then start something new. It’s just the way our brains work, I guess. By the time we were teens we had a whole rolodex of characters and ideas we had developed. We had fun organizing them on index cards and pulling a couple out at random.
CM: In some ways, Zuda was a pioneer in digital comics. Now you’re working with Monkeybrain and Thrillbent. Can you tell us about these new projects, and how it feels being a part of this second great wave of digital comic books?
BT: Both Chris Roberson at Monkeybrain and Mark Waid at Thrillbent have told me that they really liked the work I did at Zuda. They probably wouldn’t have been aware of me without that, so I guess it does feel like the next logical step in my weird career path. I wouldn’t say I’m a digital comics pioneer. I think its more like I’m a guy whose been lucky enough to recognize and take advantage of a few great opportunities.
My Monkeybrain Comic is called Detectobot, and its about a robot Detective (obviously). I’m collaborating with Peter Timony again on that one. My Thrillbent comic is called Long Ago and Far Away, with Chris Mancini as the writer. It’s about a guy who saved a magical realm from evil as a child. Years later, the magical realm needs his help again, but he’s grown up to be kind of a schmuck.
CM: What attracted you to the Horror Lovers project?
BT: I had been talking with Valerie D’Orazio about collaborating off and on for years. When she pitched the idea to me, it seemed like a good solid idea that had some legs, so I said, “What the heck, lets go for it.”
CM: What specific stylistic approach have you taken with Horror Lovers, in comparison with your previous work?
BT: With this project, I wanted to try something looser, more animated, more cartoony. I asked Val how cartoony she wanted to go with it, and she gave me the ok to do it however I wanted. So I did. The Horror Lovers is more rubbery and exaggerated than the Night Owls or Detectobot.
CM: How do you make the humor and horror aspects of the comic work together?
BT: Humor and Horror go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. The two styles seem to be made to work together. They’re complimentary opposites. They highlight their own strengths by contrast and comparison, like black on white.
CM: What has been your experience with Kickstarter so far? Have your backed a lot of kickstarters previously?
BT: I have backed a few kick starters, mostly comics, one video game. I’ve been a contributing artist to two kickstarter anthologies. Monster Elementary by Nick Doan, and Schmuck by Seth Kushner. I helped promote them both, and they were both successfully funded. This is the first project where I’m the sole story artist, so although Val is the one running the campaign, it really feels like its my Kickstarter.
And it’s been a lot harder than I thought it’d be. I guess I was hoping it’d go viral and take on a life of it’s own, but no. I really have to work to promote it.
I’d been planning to launch a Kickstarter in October to fund a deck of Monster Pin Up Girl playing cards, and this campaign has given me a lot to think about.
CM: What does your ideal future in comics look like?
My ideal future in comics is one where I have enough clout that publishers want to publish my dream projects without me even having to ask!
Seriously, though. I’ve been wanting to do an original Laurel & Hardy graphic novel for ages. I’ve talked to the license holders and I’ve talked to some publishers, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen unless I can raise up my professional profile enough where I can get someone somewhere to take a chance on Laurel and Hardy and me.
And that’s it, really. Yes I want money and prestige, and its all because those things enable me to work on the projects I love most. What I want is the freedom to do that.