Thursday, 13 October 2011

An Interview with Tom Oliver

I love reading a good web comic from time to time during my internet browsing time. I was recently linked by a friend to Tom Oliver (Inyuo on deviantART), who not only creates excellent comics, but game themed ones at that.

I got the opportunity to chat with Tom about his comic strips, gaming, and future projects. 
Q. Hello! Could you introduce yourself for my readers?

Hi, my name is Tom Oliver (more commonly known on the internet as Inyuo) and I sporadically make comics about videogames!

Q. You draw a lot of gaming comic strips. What inspired you to start creating them?

Well, the simple and somewhat vague answer to this would be ‘videogames’ and ‘comics’. As a kid I used to nag my parents to buy me something called Sonic the Comic, which was probably my first experience of comics and games being combined into a single thing. This sparked an avalanche of horribly-drawn Sonic the Hedgehog comics, and it all just sort of carried on from there. And despite 15 years of practice, I still can’t draw Sonic properly.

Actually making comic strips has escalated in the last 5 years, thanks to discovering webcomics. The first gaming webcomic I got into was VGCats, which is a pretty good place to start as it wasn’t excessively copy/paste visuals or wordswordswords. This got me back into making comics to show off to my mates, often about videogames or films or whathaveyou, and they must have been met with enough positive feedback as I kept making them!

Q. Is there a particular game or series that you enjoy creating comic strips for in particular?

Aaaahh this kind of changes continuously, but if I had to say one off the top of my head, it would probably be the Ace Attorney series. The characters are incredibly animated and personality driven, which makes them dead fun to draw. There’s also a lot of material to make comic strips out of, particularly if you look past the “he says objection a lot imma make a joke about that!”.

That said, I’m pretty sure that a disproportionate amount of my doodles consist of Link from Legend of Zelda. I would like to say I spend a lot of my time drawing less well known and perhaps more personal characters, but no. If I’m drawing something in the back of a notebook, it’s probably Link.

Q. Have you got a comic strip that you are most proud of so far?

This also varies a lot, often depending on what game I’ve been playing recently, but I’m always rather happy with the Party In My Pants comic. If I look back through my gallery, I normally stop on this comic and compare it to what I’ve been drawing recently, then start worrying that I’ve actually regressed in comic-drawing ability. Sure, the joke’s nitpicky, but I still love the expressions and am impressed that I actually made a comic that has over 4 panels and doesn’t look quite so rushed.

Honourable mention also goes to Tone Depth. I had a lot of fun drawing that horse. 

Q. In your experiences, how has it been sharing your own gaming comics to the internet populous so far?

It’s been relatively smooth, actually! Granted, I haven’t made it any further than Deviantart, which is a bit like the paddling pool of the internet in terms of critics, but responses are generally positive and I don’t think I’ve ever received any out-and-out hatemail (I’m thanking my internet obscurity for that!).

When submitting a comic to the interwebs, though, it is a little disheartening when it either doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped or better than you think it deserved, purely based on the popularity of the game it was about. It’s nice to think that a comic strip’s popularity is a reflection of how funny or well made it is, but I do tend to see a correlation between “popular game” and “lots of hits”. Then again, making comics with as dedicated and varied fanbases as video games, people are obviously going to focus on the games they know, and avoid the comics of stuff they haven’t played, regardless of the actual comical content. I know I’m a pretty terrible person for sticking to series that I’m aware other people also enjoy, but I just hope I don’t end up churning out mindless comics of Super Mario solely because people will like anything with Super Mario in it.

The reverse of this, of course, is that if I ever manage to make a popular comic of an unheard-of game, then it must be a pretty damn good joke!

Q. Can you recommend a game or two for my readers to play?

Yes I can! I have no real reason for suggesting these other than the fact they are hands down my favourite games, but go play Skies of Arcadia and Jet Set Radio Future! The former is all about floating islands and air pirates and flying ships shooting each other, and the latter is an incredibly stylish, incredibly ridiculous game about rollerblading gangs blowing up robots with graffiti! It’s got 

Q. And finally, what's next for yourself?

Well first I’m planning to finish my degree! I’m currently a Third Year Biology student in England, which means that this is my final year of university and the workload really gets piled on! Unfortunately, that pretty much guarantees that comics will be as infrequent as ever, though I’m still going to try and keep the account as active as I can (excusing general laziness).

And while it’s not on the cards at the moment, a proper website will probably be up some time in the future: they aren't exactly expensive and it would be nice to upload comics to somewhere that’s a little more personal. The most important thing about this, though, is that first I need to ensure I can update regularly, which I really, really don’t at the moment. This will easily be my biggest downfall if I don’t get it right, so I think I’m going to wait until I am well and truly prepared.

Finally, I’ve been messing around with a bunch of my own regular, non-videogame comic projects that may make their way onto my deviantART account. As much as I enjoy gaming comics, it’s good to tinker with original stories and characters to see how well I can portray my own ideas and storytelling. That said, I don’t have anything substantial to show for it at the moment so I probably should keep schtum!

Anyway, thanks for the interest in my comics and giving me the opportunity to be interviewed! There are a lot of fantastic webcomics out there, but I hope this helps answer any questions there were about mine in particular, or has intrigued people enough to go check them out!


  1. Great interview... Oh and if i can maybe recommend some artist for your future interview, it’d be Michelle Jernberg (aka demiveemon on deviantArt):

    I really like her style.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you for the heads up of another great artist! I shall check them out now! :)

  3. yaaay, some cool reading here. Good job!


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