Thursday, 29 September 2011

An Interview with Zac Gorman

When I have some free time to aimlessly browse the internet, I always enjoy reading a few web-comics. It was during one of these browses one day that I stumbled across Zac Gorman. Zac brings to life a host of Nintendo characters in his work, but, being a self-confessed Zelda buff since Link's Awakening, it was his Zelda comic strips that resonated with me the most.

I got the opportunity to question Zac on his obsession with Zelda, his comic book experiences, and much more.
Q. Hello! Could you introduce yourself to my readers?

A: Hi! I'm Zac Gorman, and I make comics at under the handle idrawnintendo.

Q. You draw a lot of Zelda comic strips. What is it about the Zelda series that appeals to you so much?

A: The thing that really got to me about Zelda, is that at the heart of everything, you have this little kid going up against seemingly insurmountable odds and never giving up. Link's got this unfaltering moral compass, but my goal with doing Zelda comics, is to show some of the immaturity, the fear, all those sorts of emotions that would come with being an actual little kid in his predicament, and then showing how he carries on in despite all that.That's what the Triforce of Courage is all about. It's about facing your fears simply because it's the right thing to do, more than it is about never being afraid in the first place. I always preferred the Zelda games where Link was a bit younger, for that reason.

Q. Is there a particular strip you are most proud of?

A: Not really. It's always interesting to me though, when I'll finish one that I think is my best yet, and then it doesn't get the reaction I was hoping for.

Q. How has the response to your Zelda strips been so far?

A: The response has been awesome! I mean, aside from the sheer number of
Tumblr followers, twitter followers, traffic, etc., it has been really nice to hear from a lot of people, telling me that a comic I did, or a print I did, really resonated with them in a very personal and emotional way. That's the advantage of the subject matter, I guess. These games and the intimate experiences that I had with them, which I try to show in my work, are very similar to the experiences that a lot of other players had.

Q. Have you got any advice for those wishing to create their own gaming comics?

A: Well, I guess that for me, when I'm working, it's always been less about the specific details of a particular universe, and more about the larger themes of that story. So, if I had to offer any advice to somebody who wanted to make comics about games, I suppose that it's that you should probably worry less about what hand Link's sword is in, or what color the beads in Red XIII's hair were, and think more about why you fell in love with these games, what they really mean to you, and what made your experience with them special or meaningful. I think that's the distinction between doing fan art and doing a comic about a particular game. Free yourself up a little and just have fun with it! Make it yours and make it personal.

Q. You've drawn other excellent game art before. Do you plan to create a series of animated comic strips, like your Zelda set, for another gaming series?

A: I've done a few Earthbound comics also, but most of the other ones tend to be one-shots of a particular game. Honestly, there are only a few series that have ever really impacted me in a way that I feel like I'm capable of making comics for them that are more than just your usual joke strip; Legend of Zelda, Earthbound, some of the Final Fantasy series, and some slightly less popular titles like Vandal Hearts and Suikoden also had a pretty big impact on me...but this isn't to say that I don't like other games! I know it sounds like I only play decade-old JRPGs, but that's not true, they just happen to be some of my all-time personal favorites. Right now, I'm mostly just biding my time until Skyrim comes out by playing older games and indie titles.
Q. Are there any games you think my readers should play?

A: The one game that I always have to insist that people play is Mother 3. Also, if I meet somebody who hasn't played Earthbound--play it! My favourite Zelda game is Link to the Past, although obviously it's a tough choice between that one, Ocarina of Time, and Wand of Gamelon for the CD-i. Most people I talk to though have already played all my favorite games. How about Panic! for the Sega CD? I used to love that game when I was a kid and I'm pretty sure that nobody out there played it.

Q. And finally, is there anything new in the pipeline for yourself?

A: I'm working on some new comic projects, but I hate to talk about things before they're done. A lot of hollow talk tends to get thrown around by us cartoonists about the next great graphic novel that we're working on, but until you have something to show for it, it's all just talk. All that I can say for certain is that I plan to continue making comics as long as people keep reading them!

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