EROTECH is a dark office comedy about making the perfect sexbot. You can back the project to publish the first issue starting May 16 on Kickstarter. The book is written by Darin X. Cape with art by Geoffrey Krawczyk. Monkeys Fighting Robots talked with Krawczyk about his latest project.
About the book:
Join Samantha as she rallies her team of misfit engineers and out-of-touch managers to release a new sex robot in this edgy comedy.
MFR – Geoff, thank you for taking the time to talk with me. EROTECH #1 is launching on Kickstarter; what will your emotions be like on the first day?
Krawczyk – I’m not quite sure what to expect! This will be my first stab at crowdfunding, and so I’m a bit nervous. We’ve been doing a lot of research with people to find out what people expect and want from a KS project. I think we’ve got some cool stuff and, of course, a great book, so I’m hopeful for sure.
MFR – Can you talk about your creative partnership with Darin X. Cape; were his scripts tight, or did he give you room to breathe artistically?
Krawczyk – Darin has been fantastic to work with. He contacted me on an availability posting I made, and we clicked immediately. He’s created some fun characters and a story that I think is engaging and has a great mix of relatable and absurd. His script was laid out fairly tightly, but he truly let me build the visuals the way I saw fit, including tweaking dialog, pacing, jokes, etc. And he was always receptive to my ideas as we worked, so it was a collaboration in the end, and I’m thrilled that we were so in tune.
MFR – EROTECH is a dark comedy; what was your design approach to the first issue?
Krawczyk – Darin and I both wanted the story to exist without a specific time and place, sort of either 2 hours or 5 years from now. So I tried to design a world that felt like a contemporary office space but with just a hint of futurism. The throwback 64 color palette and halftone with modern digital tools also is a big part of that. And the story has so much color and character, so I knew the drawing style could incorporate pseudo-realism to ground it but with a lot of exaggerated cartoony language. I wanted it to be wacky but still feel real.
MFR – How do you make comedy work in a comic book as the artist?
Krawczyk – Comedy is all about timing, which is why I think comics are so well suited for it. I get a maddening amount of control of how the reader moves through the story and dialog (if I do it right), and you can use that to your advantage with panel structure and page turns. I also tried to add some funny things as background and set dressing, so it rewards a re-read. I want to build on that as we do more!
MFR – The color palette in the issue is very stylized and textured; talk about the emotions you were trying to convey.
Krawczyk – I wanted each scene to have its own distinct color palette because, with such a dialog-heavy story set in a corporate office, it can be tough to distinguish locations. So I tried to make them distinct while repeating motifs throughout the issue. And I am fond of the older comics’ palette and prominent halftones. It just has such a great flavor that’s a bit Pop Art/Mad Men. And using digital tools to color, I could approach it a bit like painting, building up more complex coloring and effects to accent the story more than you could actually accomplish back in the day. It’s a nice mix of old and new.
MFR – Samantha goes through a range of emotions throughout the issue, with the last page ending in a solid statement. How did you set up the panel structure to stick the landing on this dramatic moment?
Krawczyk – We took our time with the last few pages because we wanted to wrap up the story and set up the next issue without it feeling rushed. The dialog was worked over to give us a bit of room to breathe, even as there’s a complex interplay between the characters and locations. I think the palette changes between the control room and the experiment floor (even down to panel borders shape being distinct) also help to give it a nice visual rhythm, so that the relative lack of color and close up of Samantha ends the sequence with a nice pop and centers the story on her, even as she guides us to the next issue.
MFR – EROTECH is an office drama; how hard was it to set up panels and keep the back-and-forth conversation organized so the reader’s eye could flow through the pages?
Krawczyk – I credit Wally Wood and Larry Hama for their storytelling directives a lot. It’s not so much about slavishly following the 22 panels, but more so considering how the camera placement can accentuate the storytelling and keep it both clear and interesting. And I think it’s nearly impossible to escape a lot of ‘talking heads’ type shots in this kind of office setting, so I also tried hard to use facial expression and body language to help too.
MFR – The comic book industry is harsh; how do you measure success?
Krawczyk – At the end of the day, it’s all about getting the book into the widest amount of hands. I think we’ve got a unique story to tell and have put together a fun and eye-catching book, as well as some fun things planned for the campaign. I want to deliver the best reading experience I can for the people who support us. If we can do well enough to start work on the next issue, then I will be THRILLED!
MFR – A year from now, you have a table at a convention, and you see someone cosplaying as the L-1000; what will your reaction be?
Krawczyk – Ha! It would honestly blow my mind. Although, a totally faithful cosplay may not be allowed on the all-ages floor! 😉