6 Questions with James Grant Creator of Crazy Sunshine
Through InkOutbreak I found I am Arg! Through I am Arg I found another wonderfully offensive yet brilliantly done web comic called Crazy Sunshine. Crazy Sunshine spilled out of the insane head of James Grant, a madman who dwells in the shadows of Japan. His comic is brightly colored and will give you diabetes with its power and majesty. He knows when to be vulgar and when not to, making Crazy Sunshine a balanced comic that I’ve become a lifelong fan of. Now stop reading this intro where I’m apparently felating James and find out more about this comic you should be reading.
The OG: When I first saw your comic I thought of Morigan from
Darkstalkers and some old school anime. I’ve also seen you talk about video games on twitter pretty often. How inspired are you by video games/Anime when you create your characters and comic?
Very inspired! When you say anime and videogames you’ve pretty much summed up my life! Inspirations include works by Gainax (Panty & Stocking, FLCL), Kyoani (Nichijou, K-ON!) Studio Ghibli (Howl’s Moving Castle, Laputa) and other popular classics like Metropolis, Dominion Tank Police, and Patlabor!
As for videogames, well, for those who know me, take a guess! I am giant Sega fan and the characters, style and artwork behind the Sonic, Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5 game series are giant influences to my style. I also love the soon to be released style of Skullgirls which recently influenced my character reference sheets. I think the character development and presentation in the Professor Layton and Gakuten Sa- er, Phoenix Wright series is fantastic, and lastly, I love immersing myself into giant universes such as Halo, Final Fantasy, and recently, Spiral Knights and figuring out how I can make my own world just that little bit more awesome.
The OG: Your characters all have their own unique voices. Do you actually know people as dysfunctional as your characters if not who did you model their distinct personalities after?
I know a few people who act like my characters, and I can tell you they aren’t nearly as funny in real life. Just really, really annoying.
In 2005 when I first created Lacie, I wanted to fill her with everything I hated. She soon became a clone of myself, arachnophobic and all.
2 Years later when I made Shelbie, I needed a sidekick character to bounce off Lacie. Someone who wasn’t cunning, creative or an evil troll. I looked at all the times I have done something stupid or lazy, from falling up stairs to spacing out and even sleeping all day, those parts of me became Shelbie.
The same goes for the other two characters, Candy and Peppermint, who express my antisocial, over protective side and my geeky, technical, somewhat artistic side.
Put all these characters in a blender (if you can catch them) and you get, uh, me.
The weirdest thing is now that you mention voices, I have no idea how they would talk in real life. Food for thought!
The OG: Your panels and facial expressions are very detailed. How long does it take you to create a comic and how far in advance are they finished before you post?I made a post on my blog about my comic creation process in 2011; it’s still the same today. First I sketch out the text and character positions, add text in Photoshop, draw everything from sketch to colours in PaintoolSAI, then back to Photoshop for pattern effects, SFX, animation, and to save it as compressed as I can.
If I unplug my internet or I am in a Google Hangout (HINT HINT INVITE ME PLEASE) one strip takes 5-6 hours. If I am watching TV at the same time or work on a 1 hour on, 1 hour off schedule (when I really wanna play videogames) it can take about 8-9 hours. It also depends on the length of the comic, and how unique each panel is. You probably notice I use a lot of copy and paste techniques, and while this is frowned upon, I couldn’t care less. It’s a webcomic, chill out!
The OG: Since you’re a big video game fan and I think your artwork would serve some outdated designs well, what game franchise would you revamp or do you think classics should be left alone?
Well! Thanks for the compliment! If I had the chance I would love to work on recreating a whole bunch of classic Mega Dr- er, Genesis games such as Dynamite Headdy and Toejam & Earl to name but a few.
When it comes to revamping, there are a lot of series I would love to see more of. For example, Shenmue 3, Half Life 3, and for ages, Halo 4, but looks like that wish is being granted as we speak! *foams at the mouth*
I know that successful plat formers have to dip their feet in the 3D pool at some point, but when they DO go back to 2D they can either fall off the radar (Rocket Knight), completely miss the mark (Sonic 4), or nail it better than the original (Rayman Origins). When I worked for Ubisoft I would always joke about how Rayman was almost dead, then they came back with Origins and I was blown away. Seriously, go play it.
If another classic game series can look, play, sound and feel this good when revamped, I welcome it!
The OG: With each character having their own separate agenda in your comic do you have all of their ends in mind or do you intend for them to live on forever?
Crazy Sunshine is a gag comic that takes place during a huge story I have had in mind since 2005, but never had the skill to put it on paper. While it looks and feels like a complete comic now, there’s so much more to the character’s universe I am introducing with every site update. This adds a whole bunch of mystery behind the character’s past, a feeling I am not familiar with!
The story is still a sort of comedy, but also a little more serious and deals with a lot of moral issues, based around a good vs. evil plotline.
Character personalities, relationships and back stories haven’t changed, but they don’t all live in one nice little house, they travel together in a ship build by Peppermint (soon to be introduced in the comics) and try to save or destroy the world, whichever comes first! If I can create a big enough fan base and try to improve my work to the point where I am satisfied with its consistency and style, I fully intend to start working on it, but that’s a fair bit away yet, so in the meantime, enjoy the jokes!
The OG: Who wins in a fight to the death Wolverine or Sonic the Hedgehog?
…would get his ass KICKED by Sonic.
Think about it for a second; We’re talking about a fairly big hedgehog that can roll around at the speed of sound, has defeated enemies a hundred times his size and are composed of chaotically charged water, mechanical mayhem, the power of the stars, or time itself.
Let’s not forget that he can also fly in space and deflect nuclear missiles by smacking them with his HEAD.
Even without the power of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonics’ speed, combined with the fact he is invincible as long as he holds onto a single, golden ring gives him an advantage over anything.
Unless it’s being crushed by a big block or running out of oxygen, of course.
Go read Crazy Sunshine from the beginning and follow this bastard on Twitter. He’s just as funny as his comic.