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By Stefania Rudd. Ian McGinty is in all of our faces lately. And that’s just where we like him.

As an artist on both Munchkin and Bravest Warriors for Boom! Studios, you can spot the pop phosphorescence of McGinty’s artwork just about everywhere, from the local retailer’s shelves, to your more discerning friend’s coffee tables (and probably your very own nightstand). McGinty’s made a career out of rendering the fantastic, putting in countless hours as the lead artist on the comic book adaptation of Adventure Time, which, if you’ve been paying attention, is a pretty big deal. Hitting the big time would be enough. For Ian McGinty, that was just opportunity knocking.

McGinty has found tremendous critical success with Z2 Comics’ Welcome to Showside, a creator-owned series that the writer/artist describes as “a cool, all-ages book” filled with “monsters, horror, spooky skulls, kick ass girls, demon kids, just things I’m interested in!

On the eve of Welcome to Showside‘s third issue release date, DoomRocket contributor Stefania Rudd had the opportunity to talk to McGinty about Showside‘s success, his relationship with Z2 Comics, and the imminent prospect of a Showside animated series.

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SR: First off, I want to congratulate on you on first creator owned project! It must be a fantastic feeling knowing that it’s getting such a positive response from readers as well as those in the industry. With that, how long has the idea of Welcome to Showside been forming in your head and why was now the right time for your book to debut?

IM: Thank you. Yeah, it’s been extremely cool and fairly surprising (in a good way)! The surprising bit is that Welcome to Showside was developed and published fairly quickly. The adventures of these kids and their monster buddies started as a very basic one paragraph pitch I had and snowballed from there in a little less than a year (which is a very short amount of time for comic properties). I designed and wrote the series as ideas came to me, just because the characters were so fun to work with and the world was bursting with potential (in my head). I pretty much just chucked anything at the wall to see what would stick, so seeing such nice responses from readers and watchers has been absolutely fantastic. The first issue of Welcome to Showside and the animated pilot both debuted at the same time last year, which just felt right to me and Z2 Comics, around Halloween! I had been working on so many other people’s licensed properties, like Bravest Warriors, Munchkin, Adventure Time, I really felt it was time for me to try my hand at making a cool all-ages book using elements I liked. Monsters, horror, spooky skulls, kick ass girls, demon kids, just things I’m interested in! (laughs)

SR: With many types of avenues to publish your work out there, how did you decide that Z2 was the one to go with to bring your series to the public? Was this something you brought to them or did they approach you?

IM: Z2 asked me if I wanted to pitch an idea for a graphic novel, which they liked, and over time it morphed into the monthly series we see now. So they did come to me, but I had been planning to pitch Welcome to Showside to them anyways. I decided to go with Z2 because they were the only publisher that didn’t ask me to change anything, and when I wanted to change things, they didn’t question me on it. Z2 made me feel like Welcome to Showside was something they respected as a comic series, respected enough and liked enough to trust me to take it in the right direction, and not bog me down in other ideas and ways to get people into the book with gimmicks or financial interests. Z2 let Welcome to Showside be Welcome to Showside.

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SR: One thing I am really enjoying about the series are the main characters (Kit, Belle, and Moon), and how creating a world where monsters and humans interact allow for the story to be really fun and often times magical. Are the characters based on anyone you know? How much of yourself are in the characters?

IM: (laughs) Well, I am often told I resemble the main character Kit because he is short and has crazy hair — that’s for sure — but Kit, Moon and Belle are sort of like three aspects of myself turned into comic people. Kit is sort of the middle of the road where Moon and Belle are the opposite, more extreme sides. Moon, being a sorceress in training, is the brainy, more mature and rational character and Belle, a warrior, is the brash, kick-you-in-the-gut, no nonsense type. Kit is really more a jumping-off point for the other two, and he inhabits sort of this child-like “everything is so awesome” world where he generally believes everyone is good at heart and evil can be vanquished through the power of friendship.

SR: In addition to the comic, Welcome to Showside is also going to be an animated series. How did that idea come about? Was the role of showrunner something you had always envisioned for yourself? When will the next episode come out?

IM: The idea to develop Welcome to Showside into an animated series really just came naturally. We had these great characters and a cool world with no limits, and with my experience working on television properties, we said, “hey why not”? As for acting as the showrunner on the short, I’ll be honest and say, yes, I had hoped to envision that role for myself. I enjoy directing and designing, I even voice Kit, and I worked very closely with the musical and sound designers. So it was very natural and really cool to get to work that way for a bit. As for the next episode, we are currently trying to make sure we find the right home for the series, but we are also planning to release some more shorts on YouTube [that] people can check out! Probably featuring Boo, Kit’s little pet squid… so, short answer, new episodes are coming soon!

SR: You currently reside in Savannah, GA, which is known for being a great food city with a ton of delicious restaurants. Were any of them the inspiration for Beef N’ Dog? And what exactly is in a “waffle taco”?

IM: Absolutely. I love food and I knew I wanted it to play a role in the comic, not really as a plot but as more of an aesthetic. You’ll notice how Kit is also pretty obsessed with burgers. I based the Beef N’ Dog on a combination of two places in Savannah, Georgia, the first being Green Truck Pub, which has the best hamburgers I’ve ever had in my life (plus homemade ketchup). Green Truck was where I went with friends as a student here and I try to go every couple of months when I’m feeling like I need unhealthy food to lift my spirits. The second place I based Beef N’ Dog off of is a really cool newish place called Treylor Park, which has these zany mashups of southern food and fusion. PB & J wings, fried banana pepper rings, and this little thing called a fried chicken and pancake taco (very similar to a waffle taco). A waffle taco is basically it’s a soft crepe wrapped in a waffle and filled with various fried goodness. The animated short features a sweet version called “mallobutterwaffles”: waffles with marshmallow and butter. It’s bad for your body but good for your soul.

Welcome to Showside #3 will be available in stores on Wednesday, January 20!

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