Ams Overton’s DeadArms Productions and HTB’s Sniffing Dog Art joined forces to created Blue Envelope Media. Blue Envelope Media produced the animated sci-fi sitcom Space Goblins, the brain child of Ams. The British scifi story is now going to make the transition to comics as the first comic from Josh Waldrop’s Red Guerrilla Comics. Ams Overton, HTB and Josh Waldrop were nice enough to stop by First Comics News and catch our readers up on everything you need to know about Space Goblins.
First Comics News: Ams and HTB, how did you get involved in animation?
Ams Overton: Hi Rik! I’ve been involved in animation for around two years now. I have been a freelance illustrator since 2009 and I’ve always wanted to get into film making, so I thought why not combine the two. I studied animation at UWE in Bristol, UK, but unfortunately didn’t finish the course. However, I didn’t let that stop me from taking action into my own hands and make something I’ve always dreamt of making. I made a few two minute shorts previously and thought I’d take the dive and aim for a thirty min short film.
HTB: Yo, so yeah firstly thanks for taking some time to ask us some questions, we really appreciate it, and honestly with the animating I was pretty much dragged kicking and screaming into it. I mean at first when he started studying animation, he was saying to me “Yeah, you should do it too man, you’ll really enjoy it, you’ll be good at it” blah blah blah, and I mean, basically I had no interest whatsoever, it seemed way too hard, way too time consuming, but yeah I mean, I agreed to help him out with some writing, with the scripts, ideas, some character design, whatever, and little by little I just got sucked into it too. I’m really glad that he stuck with it and kept onto me about it, and yeah I think another big moment was watching The Big Lez Show, I mean it showed us like, hey, anyone can make a wicked cartoon if they put their minds to it and work hard, it’s not all about fancy expensive programs and big studios.
1st: Where did you meet each other?
Ams: HTB is my closest friend. Actually we met back in 2007 when we were both in our own heavy metal bands, I think from the moment we started talking online we got along really well, and when we met I felt like he was a friend for life. We argue a lot for sure, but I like to think we are always on the same page, excuse the pun.
HTB: Yeah, I mean it was a long time ago, we were both in bands that played together in Bristol, we got talking on MySpace, it would have been, and shared a lot of the same interests. I guess neither of us would have imagined back then that we’d be doing this kind of stuff all these years later, but we’ve always been close and I think our friendship absolutely held this project together far more than anything else. Working on something like Space Goblins takes a lot of time and a lot of energy, and yeah, there have been some big disagreements along the way, or well, more like many many small disagreements, but in the end it’s always worth it and we’re even better friends for it.
1st: How many animated features has Blue Envelope Media produced?
Ams: Well, before we established Blue Envelope Media, we worked together on a children’s cartoon called Moon Cat. We are actually currently making more episodes, right now we have almost finished episode two. This was the first step we took working together, and everything just flowed perfectly. After that we pretty much moved forward with Space Goblins, we originally intended it to be short five minute episodes, keeping it as simple as possible, but the project kept expanding and then eventually we decided to make it around thirty min’s, and give it the big screen treatment! Haha.
There was also an animated music video HTB made…
HTB: Well, Moon Cat was great for sure, but the music video for Stitched Up by Criminal Minds was definitely a joint effort too. I basically did all the drawing, but without Ams to get the pieces moving it wouldn’t have been what it is today. It was the only thing to date that we’ve been approached by other people to work on to a brief, but yeah it was a great experience and I think we were both happy with it. So while Space Goblins was always the main project, we have worked on other things and no doubt will again.
Ams: I basically drew Gib and Gob in my university lecture, and once I showed HTB the designs, I explained my idea, and asked him to write a script for me. I expected like a page or two, but I think he came back to me with seven? Haha.
I did most of the character designs, background art, animating, editing and all that malarkey, but HTB was there every step helping me in crafting these designs. I also contributed some music and did the voices of Gib and Goreaxe!
HTB: Yeah most of the work as far as how the characters looked and what their roles were was pretty much done already, I just had to flesh everything out, make sure the traits and quirks were clearly defined, and in writing up the script and working on the plot, it just helped develop everything and better define who Gib and Gob are, how they interact, even the way they speak. I voiced most of the characters in the cartoon and drew up some of the more minor characters like Sellers and some of the background aliens, as well as helping with some of the animating in a few scenes. I also recorded the music for the scene where Gib and Gob first see The Glory Pole, as in the first version of the episode it was more like a windy, barren desert, instead of having the kind of lightning storms which were used in the re-release.
Ams: Gib and Gob are brother space goblin bounty hunters. Gob is the one with a big mouth who thinks he’s always right, and Gib is the one who speaks very little who IS smart and IS always right, but lets Gob do all the talking. Gob is sort of a character where his bark is louder than his bite, and Gib is the stronger, body guard type. Gob’s voice is definitely influenced by Hoggle from the film Labyrinth haha.
They go after criminals for petty crimes and think that their small part in delivering justice is significant, and that their actions has some kind of deep meaning to their existence so to speak.
HTB: Yeah 100% true on the Hoggle front, like, without changing the pitch of his voice he’d probably just sound exactly like Hoggle.
While there’s a conviction that what they’re doing is just, especially on Gob’s part, there are always doubts. Gib seems all too aware that what they’re doing is more or less pointless, but just keeps it to himself, while Gob struggles with the idea that what they’re doing isn’t always as noble as he likes to imagine it is.
1st: How would you describe their world?
Ams: Totally retro!
Josh Waldrop: Part of what drew me to the project is that it felt very familiar. It felt like a fun 80’s scifi buddy cop story, which I think lends the world to a lot of possibility and unabashed fun.
1st: What happened to make things so difficult in their world?
HTB: I think while it’s portrayed in an amusing way, it’s essentially the way things are heading in reality. I mean to say, the universe they exist in is full of corruption, pollution, driven by money, and the kinds of places they inhabit reflect things which we see every day in real life. People care more about their wallets than they do about the state of the planet, and sadly this will spell the end for all of us in time. It might not be in this or even the next generation, but there’s only so long that we can continually abuse the Earth with the massive amount of traffic we have on the roads, the burning of fossil fuels, our greenhouse gas emissions much of which are caused by the way we are forever farming animals on a massive scale with more and more intensive, factory like methods. Gob thinks that by hunting down ‘evil doers’ he can clean up the galaxy, but the truth is that no matter how many people they capture, it won’t change that it’s the system itself which is broken. Their future is simply a way of looking at our own present. People spend their lives chasing profit, chasing material things, and all the while everything else is decaying around them. Their world, or worlds, may seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing there that we haven’t seen in one fashion or another here on Earth.
Ams: Home of the mighty ‘Glory Pole!’
HTB: ‘Slanina’ is actually a Slavic word for bacon, so it’s just an in joke really. Probably the way we voiced it is way off, but yeah it was just like, well, Goreaxe is a pig (sort of), so what should we call his home region? Google Translate did the rest.
1st: Space Goblins is described as a throwback sci-fi western. However, it had more of a Heavy Metal Movie feel to me. Would that be a fair assessment or am I off the mark?
Ams: Haha! Yes! You are perfectly right, it is a huge inspiration of mine. Also, 2000 AD and Judge Dredd. I try to show all my influences in Space Goblins, which mostly consist of 80s sci fi films and 90s video games! Although H’s influences may differ! I think after watching Star Chaser – The Legend of Orin when I was a kid, I wanted to make something exactly like that! I had never seen Star Wars until after we completed Space Goblins… Don’t kill me!
HTB: Yeah I was never a big Star Wars fan either, actually, I’ve not properly watched the old films through, but I have always been really into Star Trek and also series like Star Gate: SG-1, as well as Atlantis and Universe. I even liked Farscape back in the day, but yeah I haven’t watched that in years (it was on Netflix here in the UK, and I kept thinking ‘Oh damn I’ll watch that again soon’ until of course they took it down). Ams did get me to watch Star Chaser, and yeah I really did enjoy it, and I am influenced by things like the Tank Girl comics and of course Judge Dredd as well. Plus I was always a big Warhammer fan, so elements of Fantasy and the 40K universe came into play when I’m drawing anything like this or thinking of ideas for plots or characters. Oh, and I’ve never seen the Heavy Metal Movie.
1st: How did you get together with Josh Waldrop?
Ams: I met Josh in 2010 when I was staying in L.A for some time, he became one of my closest friends and I have stayed in touch ever since. I felt like he was a one of a kind type of guy, and always hoped I could work with him one day, the trouble was finding the project where it felt right. I don’t connect with too many people creatively, but Josh totally got me from the moment he met me! I think when he met me, I had no shoes and bleeding toes…. Not sure if he remembers that! haha.
Josh: How could I forget? Yeah, we met through a mutual friend, Dave Castro of Zar Star Studios and formerly of Taco Comics, and immediately, I felt Ams and I were kindred spirits, both in our creative passion and our demented sense of humor. I could see the same creative schizophrenia in Ams that I feel. He’s such a genuine and talented dude, across so many mediums, that I knew at some point the right project had to come along. I’ve wanted to be involved with animation and also a fun scifi project, so it was really a matter not only of right project right time, but also right person. All the planets just finally aligned right.
HTB: Yeah so I had no say in the matter and have actually never even spoke with the guy, but was really glad to hear he wanted to get involved!!
Josh: Hi HTB!
Ams: Well, Josh is a doer. I had him in mind for a long time, but it was actually Josh that hit me up, he seemed more than eager to get Space Goblins on the map! For me personally, It can be all too much trying to get the art and animating done, and also promote and publish it. I’m extremely grateful having someone who believes in what I am doing and who is willing to go out of his way to help however he can. It’s nice to know that people care about your project and want to see it succeed! But he’s always been supportive of my work, which is why I feel like he is helping from his heart.
1st: Josh what made Space Goblins the right first project for Red Guerrilla?
Josh: It’s pure, unabashed fun. Through the various arms of Red Guerrilla, mostly, so far, consisting of live event production and promotion, I have always said that our unofficial motto is “We sell fun.” I’m honored that Space Goblins will hit store shelves as a calling card for the kind of vibe people can expect from Red Guerrilla.
1st: Ams, with Blue Envelope Media primary focus being animation, what made you decide to take time out to illustrate the comic yourself?
Ams: I was actually doing some pre production stuff for a possible sequel… but I also felt like I needed to brush up on my drawing and illustration skills because it had been so long, so I felt this would be a perfect opportunity to do that.
I have never worked on a comic book before, and I felt like it was a great audience to create content for. It all just made sense. I feel it’s slightly quicker way to get more Gib and Gob out there and expand the universe, bridging the gap between the first SG animation and the next one.
HTB: The idea had been thrown around once or twice before, but I was quite surprised when Ams started properly working on it quite recently. I’ve been doing my own small comic strips on my Sniffing Dog Art page, but have never worked on anything big like this, so it’ll be a really good experience I’m sure.
1st: Is the DVD out now?
Ams: Not yet, I think we were holding out until we felt like it was at the level of quality where we feel it’s good enough to be released. We completed the principle animation a while ago, and even had a private screening that went incredibly well! But there some minor issues which we had to go back and fix, and it was during this process I decided to do a ‘George Lucas’ and remaster the whole thing, adding lots of new effects to it!
I am hoping to release the DVD along with the comic as a package, I suppose then both comic book fans and animation fans can get the best of both worlds!
1st: Is it going to be available internationally or just in the UK?
Ams: Well, Thanks to Josh’s kind offer, Gib and Gob will be travelling Stateside too!
HTB: Yeah, what he said.
Josh: I love sharing new, fun, creative things with people. I’m looking very forward to screening and Space Goblins for a U.S. and introducing the American market to Gib and Gob.
1st: When is the planned publishing date for the comic?
Ams: It’s going to be as soon as we can possibly get it all done, we will keep people updated with it all. When we have a release date we will let folks know as soon as we know!
HTB: Yeah, we both have a lot on so we have to make time for these projects while also, you know, living, so we’ll see how it goes. Ams and I both live in different countries now, so collaborating is much harder than it used to be when we were both based in Bristol, but as with any issue, we’ll find ways of working around it.
Josh: I would love to tell you for sure that the DVD / comic combo will drop in 2017, and we’ll be working feverishly to try to bring that about. However, one hallmark of anything Red Guerrilla does is that I’m more keen on the project being done, or at least as “done” as we can collectively live with, and not rushing the artistic process. But yeah, hopefully 2017.
Ams: Definitely an on going series, I feel like there is so much we can do with these characters and the universe we are building, especially if we venture into different forms of media. It’s basically just H and I, and now we have Josh on board it will help us immensely.
HTB: Yeah we have so many ideas, no doubt this will cover lots of different episodes and comics. We’ve written down loads of different ideas for stories and sketched up lots of other characters, so as time goes on we will be creating more and more Space Goblins episodes.
Josh: The Space Goblins world is so vast and so ripe. I can’t imagine a time that arrives anytime soon whereby we run out of adventures for the Space Goblins.
1st: Will this be a kickstarter project or are you planning traditional distribution through Diamond?
Ams: I have no idea at the moment! I don’t think we will be doing a kickstarter, the thought has crossed my mind a few times but I think we are doing okay so far.
HTB: It’s not something we’re seriously considered, perhaps it’s something we could look into, but for now we’re trying to do as much as we can without going down that route. I wouldn’t rule it out completely, but we’ll see.
Josh: Kickstarter and Indiegogo will very likely play a role on the overall foundation of several Red Guerrilla projects, but the goal will be to complete as much of it as possible ourselves and then pull the trigger on crowd funding when we’ve hit a critical place where such a thing could really turn up the gas on getting it into the hands of the fans. I’ll definitely be exploring it as a viable distribution method.
1st: What makes Space Goblins so cool no true comic fan will want to miss the first issue?
Ams: Space Goblins is a wild ride through time and space, through desert wastes and blistering heat, packed to the hilt with guns, outlaws, guns, banditos and BIG ASS SPACE TITTIES!”
HTB: Well seeing as Ams has already quoted my description from the site, I can’t really add much more to that. There really are big ass space titties though, so please do watch out for those.
Josh: Please allow me to be the third person to say “big ass space titties.” What more could you ask for?