Team Jetpack 104 rockets off

Recently, I had the opportunity to contribute a guest strip for Zac Erickson‘s web comic, Team Jetpack 104. I thought it’d be cool to interview Zac and let Lethbridge in on his work. And since we’re both geeks, we did it using Google Wave (verdict: cool).

Interview is after the jump. Enjoy!

Team Jetpack 104 rockband

Introduce yourself.

Well, I’m Zac Erickson, and I’m going to the University of Lethbridge working on my Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I’ve been married for a year and a half on the 24th, and have lived in Southern Alberta my entire life! I’ve been drawing for a long time (I used to get in trouble in Grade 4 for drawing instead of listening to the teacher). 🙂

Zac Erickson

Tell me about this web comic you have going on.

Team Jetpack 104 was originally a superhero team that I came up with back in 2004 or so while playing around with Macromedia Flash. I was going to make a cartoon about the team, but soon realized how incredibly time consuming flash really was, so I put the idea in the back of my head. About three months ago, I was getting into some cool web comics, and thought “I should try that out.” At the same time, I found an old drawing of the team and immediately knew that I needed to make the comic about them. TJ104 is really meant to be a creative exercise, but I love how its starting to grow and gain an audience.

So as a creative exercise, how has it evolved; your characters as well as your artistic skills?

It has really been awesome! I started off just messing around, drawing strips without consideration of a story arc, but lately I’ve been trying out different story arcs. I’m thinking of finding a happy medium somewhere. My first arc was like, 6 or seven strips, which was too long I thought. It lasted around a month. Now I’m aiming for around 4 strips per arc.

As for the characters, I’ve had an idea of what they were all like since the beginning, but I feel like as time goes on they’re becoming more fleshed out to the readers, and thats a pretty cool thing to see. Dorgon has become the heroic genius of the group, Tree Frog is the little brother of the group, Pakkoderm is the geeky brute. I have a Christmas arc planned to help flesh out Captain Amazing a bit more.

Also, my artistic style and process have evolved. I picked up a Wacom Bamboo tablet, which helped speed up my process. I was using a mouse for the first five or six strips. And I’m always trying out new approaches to inking, coloring, shading, etc. Having guest strips has also shown me some great different styles to the characters, which is probably one of my favorite things about the emerging and growing audience that I’ve seen.

And speaking of which, you’ve had a couple guests already (including yours truly). Is there anything else you have up your sleeve?

For right now, I’m focusing on just working on getting out a comic or two a week, depending on how school is going at the time. I love to work with other cartoonists, and I’m always willing to feature guest comics and fan art. I also think it would be really cool to do some crossover stuff with another comic. In fact, if anybody were to ever ask me to do some collaborative work with them, I would probably consider it.

I’ve also got the Create-A-Villain offer, where anyone can e-mail me with an idea for a villain and I’ll do my best to draw that villain. As of right now, though, school and family are number one, and the comic is a hobby.

Finally, I’ve seen that you sometimes do a live-stream of you drawing the strip. Where can folks watch that?

I’ve got a page set up on the website called “Streaming Live!” That’s just an embedded player though. Most people just go to the uStream channel.

That’s great! Thanks for your time.

No problem, dude! This wave thing worked well for this!

P.S. How many lights are there?

Uh…7? :s

Wrong!