Webcomic Spotlight: For The Title!
OH YEAH BROTHER! Today we have one of the rrrradest, the baddest, baby-oil-covered manliest comic of all time. Austin Green and Lance Schibi, the lean, mean tag team that call Austin, TX home are the skeleton crew behind this insane creative cage match that pits comics and wrestling against your imagination. Read ahead to get to know these two crazy talented kinds and their awesome comic and love of wrestling.
All-Comic: Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. How were you guys first exposed to comics?
Austin Green: When I was in the third grade, a perfect storm of my mom buying me a few comics when visiting my grandparents AND X-Men the Animated Series starting up. Found out there was a comic shop near where I lived and that was that. I was hooked, been reading comics ever since (30 now).
Lance Schibi: I remember my dad bringing home a handful of Marvel comics that were left in a rental car. I guess I was around 7 yrs old. I know one was definitely Daredevil #236 because I remember that 25th Marvel anniversary cover. And am pretty sure the other two were a Captain America and an Iron Man. Once I read through them and smelled the comic book smell, I was hooked and started collecting from a tiny comic shop up the road called At Bat Cards & Comics in Harlingen, TX.
AC: If not answered above: What is the first comic you ever read?
AG: Fantastic Four 358 – Still one of my favorite comics of all time! Alicia Masters is really Lyja?! Human Torch married a Skrull??? I had probably read a comic here or there before this one, but this was the first time it clicked for me that these books had this huge ongoing continuity. Also the back was filled with a ton of pin ups and a sweet map of the Baxter Building. I was hooked.
AC: What has been the most influential story you ever read?
AG: Claremont’s X-Men run. Just how seamlessly the stories run together. I try to do that with For the Title. Not sure how successful I am at it, but I try.
LS: As a kid, I LOVED MAD & CRACKED [magazines]. All that satirical media really influenced me and got me drawing. But CAGES and ESSEX COUNTY are the two works that really blew my mind.
AC: When did you decide you wanted to make comics?
AG: I always liked comics but I actually never really thought about writing them till I took a film class. I’d write stuff I thought was pretty cool, but knew I would never have the resources to film. But with comics? If you want MACHO GHOST, you can have MACHO GHOST. Comics > movies. Sorry movies.
LS: I had always been a fan of reading comics and just kinda thought about drawing and writing them here and there. But after reading ESSEX COUNTY, that’s what started me getting back into drawing & writing again and start actually trying my hand at making comics.
AG: FOR THE TITLE
LS: When my brothers and I were young, we made this comic called OUR HOUSE. It was just a mini comic written and drawn by the three of us and we just poked fun at our family and all the real stories that we went through. You know, like knocking a hole in the dry wall while wrestling and trying to hide it or yelling at our mom for telling us to do chores. We were obviously little dickhead brats at times. I think we made 8 issues and our parents loved them. Pretty sure they still have them.
AC: How long have you been working on your ART SKILLZ TM?
LS: I’d been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a twin, my mom would like to keep us preoccupied and drawing (and tv) was the best way to do it. Cody (my twin brother) and I were really into drawing from about ages 5-16 and we’d sit down and draw together all the freakin’ time. Then we got jobs and focused on other things that made us horny. Cody started picking up his drawing again heavily awhile back and I jumped back into it as well a few years ago.
AC: Have either of those skill sets gotten you published before FOR THE TITLE?
AG: I wrote an article for a Canadian kids magazine about Onslaught when I was 12 or 13. So no, not really.
LS: I wrote a short story called CLEAN HANDS (illustrated by Claire Connelly) that I recently self-published. Some of my art has been included in some art books like CHECK PLEASE!, a collection of art on guest checks and a jam-piece called ROM Remix that was recently posted online. Twenty artists were each given a page from the original ROM: SpaceKnight #1 issue to recreate. It was put together to gather some funds for the Bill Mantlo Support Funds and it was really fun to be a part of.
AG: 80’s Wrestlers. Ghosts. Betrayal. Champions.
LS: I would simply throw the tagline at them: 80’s Wrestlers. Ghosts. Betrayal. Champions.
AC: What inspired you to create this particular story?
AG: Lance and I work together. One day he drew this really sickly old man with a huge beard on a dry erase board, and I don’t remember why, but he somehow ended up with Warrior face paint. That led to him drawing this giant Hulk Hogan standing on top of a mountain that just looked really haggard and gnarly. I remember he had a Judge Dredd helmet that someone didn’t make it into the comic (huge mistake on our part). He went back to work and I thought the sketches were too awesome to just not do anything with. I added in Macho Ghost and a quest for them to go on, talked to him about doing a webcomic, and it was go time!
For the actual story of the comic, it’s as simple as thinking Macho Ghost asking Warrior to fight Ho Kogan to bring him back to life was hilarious. I also love Giant Mountain. I want to do a whole volume about him just being a mountain.
LS: Austin & I work together and for a while, we’d draw daily on a whiteboard we had next to our desks. One day I drew an old, bearded warrior in a weird yoga pose and a giant Ho Kogan standing on Giant Mountain. Warrior was super gnarly with long finger nails and toes nails. Ho Kogan had a giant Judge Dredd helmet that he forged to hide his identity. I scribbled a tiny belt tucked into his undies and we started bouncing these ridiculous ideas off each other. Whenever that happens we always jokingly say “Comic idea…” then ramble on the most off-the-wall ideas we can come up with. We just happen to actually start on this one. We both loved old 80’s wrestling and how goofy those characters were.
AC: What has been the most surprising aspect of running this webcomic?
LS: I knew it’d take some work to run a web comic, but I was surprised by how much work it actually is. Posting a panel every day, 5-days a week, is a bit ambitious but we both agreed that it was unique and could keep readers. But drawing, scanning, inking, coloring & lettering the panels and keeping up daily has been difficult at times. The drawing style I use is obviously simple, but I like to spend time coloring them. So yeah, I guess I was surprised at how much I treated it like a job after we both started it for the fun of it.
AC: A while back you had a quest artist week with some really talented artist (and also Nick Pitarra). That was really fun to see the different art styles and the story still maintained a cohesive story line. How did you set that up and what did it take to get all those collaborators?
AG: Lance knows a bunch of really awesome artists.
LS: I think I was cutting it close on staying on top of panels and joked that we should get my brother to draw a week. Then we both thought, how cool would it be to get guest artists? I know a lot of really talented artists so we set it up to have guest artists draw a single panel of our first wrestling match. I emailed everyone to see if they were interested and provided character designs and specific details to make sure everything had a consistent flow. I was surprised that everyone we asked said yes and it’s definitely my favorite week of FOR THE TITLE. So far. We have the big WARRIOR vs KOGAN match coming up and you will not want to miss some of the people we have lined up for this one! BIGGER AND BETTER, BABY!
AC: Who is your favorite wrestler?
AG: Roddy Piper
LS: I have always loved Randy Savage. And Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels THE ROCKERS were my favorite to watch. Their technical tag-team moves blew my mind as a youngly. But I really loved every character during that time.
As kids, my brothers and I would watch every WWF event that came on. We’d actually write 30 wrestlers’ names on tiny sheets of paper, throw them in a hat and draw them out to play out a full ROYAL RUMBLE. As soon as one person was thrown over the top rope (usually over a border of couch pillows), we’d run and grab another name. Before we started, we’d decide which one of us three would win…so whoever the last name was that was drawn by that person was the winner. I think I won with Red Rooster before which was atrocious.
AC: What is your favorite wrestling one liner?
AG: No way I can pick just one! Either “To be the man you’ve gotta beat the man. WOOOOOOOO!” or “YOU’RE FIIIIRRREEEDDDDD!”
LS: It’s not really a one-liner but I remember the Hulkster and Macho Man feud where Macho continuously claimed that Hogan had lust in his eyes for Miss Elizabeth. “THOSE EYES! YOU GOT LUST IN YOUR EYES!” That one scene when they attack each other back stage and Macho is yelling “YOU TURN MY GUTS IN TWO!” Then yells at Elizabeth, “I’M GONNA SPLATTER YOU RIGHT ON HIM!” and throws her like a ragdoll…whew…still the most dramatic scene of my childhood.
AG: Pretty simple since it’s just a panel a day. I write out what each panel is gonna be and send them over to Lance.
LS: Austin puts the story into place and messages me all the panels each week to start drawing. We bounce ideas of each other all the time and have changed the direction of the story very last-minute, but recently, Austin has been sending me all the panels scripted week’s ahead at a time. For Volume 3, he’s sent the complete script.
AC: How long does it usually take to go from a script to a finished panel of art?
AG: When we first started I would write out 5 panels, Lance would draw them, then I’d write the next 5, etc. This worked for a little bit but we found out we were kind of directionless in regards to where we wanted to be for the end of volume one. So we had to rush some stuff to get to where it should be, cause we took our time with some other stuff earlier on. For volumes two and three, I wrote them out and sent the whole thing over to Lance. Once he gets the script he gets working on them pretty quick. So far I’ve only had one stop everything here’s a bunch of changes moment. Sometimes were really ahead of schedule, sometimes not, but we haven’t been late yet.
LS: It really depends on what’s going on that week. Austin can send the script over and I’ll draw a week’s worth, get it inked/colored and lettered in usually a week’s time. I try my hardest to stay at least a week ahead but there are times when I’m coloring and lettering the panel to post for the next day. I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator.
AC: Why did you guys decide to post a panel at a time?
AG: I just thought with things like Instagram and Twitter, how easy it would be for people to follow it. Instead of having to click a link to go to a different site to see the new panel, it’s just right there. You don’t have to do anything besides follow us to read it. I think its easy to stay current with it if you’re checking these social networks anyway, and even if you miss a few days, its easy to go back and catch up. Most webcomics post pages or strips once a week, but with ours we get to post new content daily Mon-Fri. Also it lets us do fun stuff like an entire week of nothing but Warriors hand slipping. Best week of the comic ever.
LS: We both thought it’d be awesome to create the first Instagram comic. And posting one new panel a day is a good reason to keep checking back. I mean as a reader, it’s cool as hell to have new content every weekday. So we went with that. It’s also pretty easy to draw a 6″x6″ panel over and over again. The simplicity is appealing to me though and the fact that this web comic forces me draw just about every day is something I need.
AC: Did you set up your own website or pay some one to design it for you?
AG: Our tumblr site is the most “official” site I guess, but we don’t really have one. It’s all on the social media pages. No one goes to normal sites anymore right? You just click links posted on your facebook or twitter, or that you find on reddit. We don’t need one.
LS: Haha…no. We use tumblr, twitter and instagram. Austin takes care of the tumblr posts and I do the instagram and twitter. Austin found the template on tumblr and I drew up the banner and drew the FIRST, PREVIOUS, NEXT & LAST buttons. And it actually took me a long time to get that neon background down!
AC: And how do you guys maintain your websites?
AG: I add panels to tumblr to feel like I’m helping. Lance posts the other ones (twitter, instagram).
AG: Right now my favorite comics are Swamp Thing, East of West, Uncanny X-Men, and All New X-Men. The brand new She Hulk, Secret Avengers, and Ms. Marvel series are awesome too!
LS: I still pick up SWAMP THING monthly and a few single issues here & there. But I mainly wait on trades and read digitally. I really like Hickman’s EAST OF WEST and MANHATTAN PROJECTS. I love Jason Poland’s ROBBY AND BOBBIE web strip.
AC: Do you have an all time favorite creator? Be it music, manga, books, comics or movies.
AG: John Carpenter.
LS: I have a few inspirations that have stayed with me since I’ve been into art: David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick & the PIXIES never fail me. As far as comics go… Dave McKean & Jeff Lemire are great. But I have a ton of friends who are comic creators and they are all my favorite and influential and really inspire me.
AC: What’s next for you?
AG: Well, after Volume 3 For the Title is going on a little break. It’ll be back with a Volume 4, just not sure when. In the mean time I’m working on something new. Cant say what, but I will say if the initials SW mean anything to you, get excited (and prepared to be incredibly disappointed!).
LS: I sound like a broken record, but I’ve been working to get a comic out called BULLMOOSE that I’m doing with my brother. It’s definitely a labor of love and becoming a myth at this point. Austin & I have talked about doing a few more volumes of FOR THE TITLE (currently on Vol. 3) but that’s still up in the air. We have some other web comic ideas that we may do in the future too.
AC: How can readers best support you and your work?
LS: Getting the word out and sharing FOR THE TITLE wherever you can! I do have a personal website: lanceschibi.com that links to my bigcartel store where I sell prints and comics, including hand-made FOR THE TITLE mini comics. Obviously buying some art from me really supports what I do but I love getting new followers on social media too. I also go to a lot of conventions, so swinging by, saying hi, asking for a commission…all that makes me smile.
AC: Thanks for your time guys!
LS: Thank you, Hansel! We love you!!
Well gals and guys if you love wrestling hop on over to the official Tumblr or Twitter of For The Title and catch up on this crazy comic. Help spread the word and send you love to Austin and Lance on Twitter. OH YEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!