Dan Thompson is the creator of the absolute amazing adventure comic “Rip Haywire”. Dan started his career for FunnyBone Interactive doing character design and animation, and moving on to gag cartoons and freelance illustration. With a clients list that includes Mad Magazine and DC Comics plus being a member of the National Cartoonist Society, he is a rare talent and down right hard working force to be reckoned with. With great pleasure I am thrilled to have Dan Thompson on “Don’t Pick the Flowers”.
David: Hey Dan, what a pleasure to feature you at Don’t Pick the Flowers. First and foremost can you give a little insight about Rip Haywire and how the strip came about?
Dan: Rip Haywire is an awesome humorous adventure strip about a soldier of fortune (Rip) his venomous ex-girlfriend Cobra, and his cowardly yet come through in a pinch collie sidekick TNT. They globe-trot from adventure to adventure looking for danger, romance and laughs. The strip was created because it was a strip I really wanted to create. I had loved the adventure comic strips of the 30’s-40’s and 50’s and wanted to create something similar, but with humor as a traditional adventure/soap opera type strip would have a slim chance at syndication.
David: Rip Haywire is your baby, how do you feel you identify with Rip Haywire and the characters, or is it all the adventure you are secretly desiring to have?
Dan: When writing you have to identify with the characters you’ve created. Over time you get to know them better, and they will start answering your questions to the troubles you are putting them in. Rip tows the hardline and wants the outcome of situations to be as dangerous as possible. TNT on the other hand would rather be slurping down a frozen margarita while watching dancing with the stars. So the characters always show their true colors in the situations they’re in. I personally would never want to be in the scrapes Rip and co. gets themselves into…the fun for me is trying to get them out alive and keep fighting to take down the bad guys.
David: What’s it like for you on a daily basis, hectic work schedule and all? How do you go about writing for the script and then getting everything ready for the finished product?
Dan: Rip Haywire is a full time job that pays slave wages, so in order to keep it up and running I have to fit it in between my other freelance work. I usually write 6 dailies in one day, sit on them for another day to see if I can play with or fix some wording. Then I send ’em over to my hilariously awesome editor Reed and then I ink them by the end of the week in between the rest of my jobs. It’s an iron man decathlon of cartooning every week for me, but I love the Rip Haywire strip so I continue it. Thanks by the way for buying my books! It helps! (David: Yes! A definite pleasure!)
David: You have a great resume working for Mad Magazine to DC Comics, to name a couple. How tough is it for you to balance everything plus do your own comic strip? How does Rip Haywire fit into such a busy schedule?
Dan: I’m pretty lucky that my schedule is very flexible with the projects I work on, and I work pretty fast so I can make time here and there if I need to. Projects like MAD Mag are the projects every cartoonist wants, but I try to put in 110% on every job. Rip Haywire is always on my mind, so when I’m not working on other things Rip is always my focus.
David: Last question Dan, like I said previously with a great list of Clients that you have, what advice do you give anyone trying to break into the field of comics?
Dan: Never give your work away for free for exposure. Learn what things you do best and stick with that. Being in the right place at the right time always helps. Learn the history of comic’s field you love. Always give 110%. Stephan Pastis told me once “Quality will always succeed.”
David: Thank you Dan, what quality work you produce, absolutely amazing. And thank you for sharing a little “behind the scenes” of Rip Haywire and your life.
Now it’s time for you to check out Dan and Rip Haywire if you aren’t already familiar: