Danny and Me – web comic review + interview with creator Johnathan Rutherford

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Danny & Me, a terrific web comic by Johnathan Rutherford. Along with finishing up his Senior year of high school, Johnathan has been creating the weekly comic for a little over 6 months. Don’t let his age fool you, Johnathan has some serious writing and drawing skills (probably nunchaku skills too!) What stood out to me most of all however is Johnathan’s wit. As I quickly and excitedly read through all six months worth of comics I was constantly struck by one delightful fact, Danny & Me is truly funny.

Danny & Me centers around brothers Nick and Danny. Nick, a high school teen, is the older brother to 5th grader Danny. The brothers are from the big city and move to a small town. The boys parents, a group of friends, a monkey and unconfirmed sightings of Bigfoot round out the cast of characters.

I enjoyed Dany & Me so much I contacted Johnathan and asked if he’d be willing to do an email Q&A, he graciously accepted. Johnathan has also agreed to allow Danny & Me to be reposted weekly on coregeek.net!

Without further ado here are the results of my Q&A with Johnathan. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as well as Danny & Me as much as I have. If you find yourself becoming an instant fan as I did click over to Facebook and share Danny & Me with everyone you know.

cg: Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to produce Danny & Me as a weekly web comic.

jr: Back when I was younger, before I could really read, I remember going through my Dad’s collection of Calvin & Hobbes, and enjoying the humorous pictures Bill Watterson had created. Ever since then I had always enjoyed doodling various things. The basic concept for Danny & Me was actually thought up about four years ago, while I was bored during Geometry Class. I gradually refined the story and characters for about two years, then decided that it would be sort of fun to share my unique story with others. Danny & Me was originally called The Picket Fence, but was changed around this time. I thought it would be fun to start my own webcomic, seeing as the Internet is the best place for amateurs like myself to get our stuff out there. Originally I was planning an updating schedule of every other day, but that plan fell through due to school and work, so I decided I would update it every week.

cg: Where do you find your inspiration from week to week?
jr: I find inspiration from a lot of things. For most of it, various situations I’ve seen or been in at school and from hanging around my insanely strange family. But other times I get inspiration from completely random things, from dried up olives to annoying seagulls.

cg: Do you have an overall arching storyline in mind or is it more spontaneous?
jr: I actually do have an overall storyline for Danny & Me, I even have an ending all planned out and everything. The small story arcs are spontaneous however.

cg: What other strips/comics and or creators would you say inspire you?
jr: Other comics that have definitely inspired me would be Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson, Cul De Sac by Richard Thompson, The Far Side by Gary Larson, and Sheldon by Dave Kellet.

cg: Tell us about your process in creating a strip.
jr: First I start out by pencilling out the 5 1/2 by 4 in. squares. Then I pencil out the placement of the characters and word bubbles, followed by details and words. After this, I take my .7 technical pen and do the lettering, from the right to left, so as not to smear the ink (the curse of being left-handed). After the ink has dried I take my nib pen and thick sharpie and ink in the characters and scenery. After some more drying, I then scan the strip into Photoshop for some the final touch up; my name and the website address.

cg: Is your artwork traditional, digital or both?
jr: My black and white strips are very traditional, whereas my color ones are half and half. With the color ones, I scan the already inked strip into Photoshop, where I then color it digitally, with exception to the one color pencil strip I did.

cg: From reading the comments you post along with the strip it sounds like you enjoy creating the large color panels, how much more creation time is involved compared to the black and white strips?
jr: The creation time between the two is not that far apart, depending on how well I ink the color strips (closed lines, no pencil marks, etc.). Typically a black and white strip takes about 2-3 days to make, while color ones can take up to 3-4 days to do.

cg: Is Nick a bit of an extension of yourself?
jr: Nick is very much an extension of myself. The way I’ve set up Danny & Me though, is that all the characters are different extensions of myself, except for one. The two characters that are closely matched to me however, would have to be Nick and James. Nick is more my brash, arrogant side whereas James is more my calm, attentive side.

cg: I absolutely loved Danny’s alternate fantasy storyline. Do you plan to continue to use it more in future? If so any hints as to what might be coming up?
jr: Danny’s imagination will definetly be striking again. In fact, details and plans are already under way for an upcoming story! This one will be different however. Rather than some closure on the last one, it’ll be a whole new story with a whole new set of characters and scenery! I can only give you one hint though; sci-fi noir.

cg: Why a monkey? (BTW, I love the parents obliviousness!)
jr: Back when I was creating Danny & Me, I wanted Danny to have an unusual pet; that’s when i created Phillip. Phillip actually first started out as penguin, but towards the launch of the website, I decided penguins were overdone. On top of that I couldn’t find a good way to draw him. I went through several animals ranging from squirrels to miniature giraffes, but finally settled on the monkey.

cg: Any thoughts or comments you like to share with readers who are new to Danny & Me?
jr: No questions or comments other than I hope you enjoy it! And if you do enjoy it, go ahead and share it with someone!

cg: Besides the Danny & Me website where else can fans follow on the web (facebook, twitter, etc.)?
jr: Danny & Me can be found on Facebook at Danny & Me Comics, where I’ll be posting some exclusive sketches soon involving the next big story! Don’t miss it!

To get caught up on the adventures of Danny & Me click here to start at #1. There are only 42 panels so you can read through in a short sitting. Starting next week I’ll be posting Danny & Me starting at #43 every Wednesday!

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