Diner Talk w/ Danielle Corsetto!


Welcome, once again to not only another episode of Diner Talk, but another format it will appear in. I feel as if, as I always do, I must explain.

The original premise was to sit and chit chat with people in the industry and transcribe it, allowing for tangenting to occur where they happen and just have a much more social interview. As this doesn’t ALWAYS work, we call the interviews Diner Talk for sake of uniformity and move on about our lives. I think we can suspend disbelief, we read comic books for Chrissakes!

So, without further adieu, because she was sitting 3 feet from me, I introduce a conversation that occured in my living room between myself and Danielle Corsetto. Sitting nearby working on her portfolio, as always, the beautiful Danielle O’Brien.

James: Two Danielles in one room. Get me an old priest and a young priest.

James: Sitting here with me and Danielle, my standard partner crime – is the adorably talented, and established web comic creator, Danielle Corsetto. Say hi Danielle.

Danielle: Hi danielle.

Danielle: I think the other danielle feels outted!

James: That’s because she’s not in the chat room…

James: First off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Danielle: Myself? Hmm… you can find out everything about me, including my favorite candies, weight, height, and star sign at www.daniellecorsetto.com... just don’t approach me as a stranger and share with me my bio details, ’cause I’ll mace you.

Danielle: So that aside, I’ve been doing cartoons since I was like, eight, and the medium came so naturally to me that I couldn’t stop. Started spending all my spare time drawing comic strips… And now look at me!

Danielle: I’m a freak~

Danielle: !

Life Partner Dani:: Yeah, but you are our freak.

James: So let’s start off with the beginning, what cartoons did you start drawing, way back in the day?

Danielle: I started off with a comic stip called Fat Cat, which was a total and utter rip-off of Garfield, but like I said, I was eight. And I sure as hell didn’t make Jim Davis money with it.

Danielle: When I was in fourth and fifth grade I did one based on the neighborhood dogs, because hey, there’s not much going on in your life when you’re ten. That one was called Max ‘n’ Jazz and… well… it was a rip-off of Snoopy. Didn’t make Shultz money either. But it was a lot of fun!

James: Nothing happens when you’re ten!? Come on, when I was ten – not only was I the World Wrestling Federation Champion – I was a rock climber – a master ninja – and Voltron.

Danielle: Well yeah, I was like, a zookeeper and a world-famous Bug Bottle collector… AND I was a Brownie… but the neighborhood dogs were much more interesting than that.

James: Okay, so not only did you have some weird hobbies, you had a penchant for finding the 2nd tier rip-offs of really famous comics. So by the age of ten, you had already set into motion the ideals of being a hack.

Danielle: BUT I hadn’t been sued yet, so I kept going.

James: Fair enough point. So, you graduate from Garfield Light – did you realize that early that cartooning and art were going to lead you to the superstardom that we have not yet addressed?

Danielle: Not yet addressed, or not yet happened?

James: Don’t knock yourself – we’re going to talk about your current adventures in the land of the formerly Marvel momentarily, but let’s lay some groundwork – were you drawing all through high school & college?

Danielle: I must’ve been, because I don’t remember having much of a life in high school! Yeah, I was really into the comic strip stuff, but my parents arent’ artists and didn’t know what to do with me, so they “suggested” I go into photography, seeing as their wedding photographer got paid way too much and they figured I might not be asking for money from them as much, so long as I had But I did a lot of freelance illustration and a LOT of comic work throughout college.

A “real” job.

James: So in college, were you doing a consistent strip for your college, or was it web-based even back then?

Danielle: Actually I went ass-backwards and started doing a strip called “larry and caroline” for a local paper, the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, MD, my sophomore year of college. THEN I started doing “Hazelnuts” for www.thecomicreader.com as my first webcomic (“Hazelnuts” was started in high school, and I liked it so much I decided to go back to it), and after that I was asked by my school paper to do a strip for them. This one was called “Ramblers” and wound up being a weekly on PopImage.com and WorldFamous Comics.com. So I went from newspaper publication, to webcomics, to college newspaper. Seems a little uh…

James: Yeah Inverted.

Dani: So how did you get introduced to web comics?

Danielle: Well, like I said, I had no life in college, and spent most of my hours in front of a computer, so uh…. well, I’m a lazy SOB. And I was broke. Web publication is the cheapest way to publish your work EVER. Hell, it’s cheaper than staples and Xerox copies! Really, though, Ed and Justin (my editors at Popimage and Wordfamouscomics, respectively) met me while I was doing Ramblers for my school paper, and really really liked it, and asked me if I would do the strip weekly for them on their sites.

James: Okay, so you went from doing the paper to being on the web at the same time – what was Ramblers bout?

Danielle: Actually, that was my first crack at a fully autobio comic. It’s not ENTIRELY true, and most of the later strips are way fictional, but the characters are based on my “super-senior” friends from college, namely Val, James, Park, and myself, and our other friends and mini-adventures. So it was like, a down-home West Bygod Virginia bachelor-pad kinda comic strip – lots of fun, lots of comedy, and one of my favorite strips to date. I REALLY enjoyed doing Ramblers and hope I can pick it up again sometime in the future.

James: How long did it run for?

Danielle: Around two years.

James: How long ago did you stop doing it?

Danielle: It kinda fell off the face of the earth around… I think it was last fall. Fall 2004. But I didn’t really bring it to an appropriate stopping place. I just stopped doing it. Because I suck.

James: Since around that very same time, you’ve started up ANOTHER web comic called Girls With Slingshots – how is that different from Ramblers?

Dani: Duh, it’s got girls, and they have slingshots – I think it’s pretty self explanatory

James: Yes, hon, but the girls don’t actually HAVE slingshots… at least, not yet.

Dani: Well they should.

Danielle: Yeah, there are absolutely no slingshots in this strip. Yet. Well, maybe ever. I really don’t know… you shoulda seen me trying to come up with a story for this strip. See, I started the GWS girls with this one quick sketch of a chick in some leather get-up holding a slingshot, because I wanted to draw something “hardcore comic book” when I was around 19 (I’d only done cutesy comic strips up to that point) to impress the boy comic book nerds I was hanging out with at the time, and when I finished drawing the hot leather-clad chick, I realized that I can’t draw a gun to save my life. But slingshots are pretty damn easy to draw. So I drew a slingshot… and got made fun of by the boys. Ah well. It looked pretty cool anyway. So I started drawing Hazel and her then-unintroduced…

Danielle: Jamie character from Hazelnuts, at conventions when people wanted me to draw something in their sketchbooks. It caught on so quickly that I started getting requests for these “Girls With Slingshots” characters, which had NEVER been introduced and didn’t have a story behind them, or even a real set of characters, until finally people started asking when I was going to turn it into a comic strip. I gave in and announced “next year” at one point… and a year later, two or three nights before I planned to debut with GWS, I finally came up with a story and set of characters! Most of my comics have started like that – last-minute, with NO planning – and have done a lot better when I just let the characters run the show, so I hoped that the same thing would happen with this one. And I think it has so far.

James: What’s funny is, I remember it was just a couple of weeks before Girls debuted that we were hanging out Baltimore Con – and when asked what the strip was about, you gave me this glazed look and said that you weren’t sure. Now, I’m all working on the sly, but you had been promoting this on your website for months. Do you cut everything you do, this close?

Danielle: *laughter* Yes, and now look at where I am. Eat that.

James: Given where you are, I guess I probably should – because not only are you doing a weekly strip with Girls, but you just recently answered a question that’s been on comics’ fans minds since it was announced. So tell me, Danielle Corsetto – What is 360ep?

Danielle: … Y’know, I just met with some of the 360ep people a few days ago in New York, and God bless ’em, I loved talking to them, but I STILL do NOT understand what the hell this company is supposed to do. All I know is that they like my stuff, they want to promote it, and I don’t have to drop cash to spread the GWS love around a little further. What I got out of the description is that they take care of all of the liscencing deals – doing merch and print books of GWS – for me, and I just keep doing what I’ve been doing all along. Sounds damn good to me.

James: And, not to name numbers or prices or any of that – they take a cut, right?

Danielle: Yes, but I think they are being extremely generous, especially since I’m not a household name and they’re taking a risk, no matter how well they think I write or draw. I admire the fact that they were willing to pick me for my talents rather than staying “safe” and only getting established, well-known artists to sign with them.

James: How did they find you out of the millions and trillions of webcomics about furries and other pop culture icons out there? Not to make fun of you or anything, but if I was to ask the everyday common geek what webcomics they read, I’d probably get a response about Diesal Sweeties, PVP (even though they’re with Image), Penny Arcade, Something Positive, and MegaTokyo (even though they’re with Dark Horse).

James: And most definitely, but I’m lying .. when they would always answer In His Likeness (Even though they’re with me).

Danielle: Well, a lot of people write my name on the bathroom walls, and I guess 360 was looking for a good time. Okay, I’m kidding. Teresa, my first contact from 360, spent a VERY long time looking through those millions and trillions of webcomics and hit Keenspace one day. Now, I don’t have anything on Keenspace, but I was about to put Ramblers on Keenspace after I’d finished about a year of it. Well, I never actually got around to that, but somehow Teresa stumbled upon the BEGININGS of what would have been Ramblers on Keenspace, and did a bit of SE work, found me, and then e-mailed me. Naturally, her e-mail floored me, because it’s a complete stroke of luck that she found me through Keenspace when I didn’t even have anything on there.

James: Wow. Again, not that I’m making fun, because you are really damned talented – I’m just completely amazed that someone I know has had lunch with Bill Jemas to talk about their future goals and asperations in the industry. So, color me a little green. But, back to topic – what is the first thing that you and 360 will be working on together?

Danielle: I really really want to talk them into doing statues of the girls. The GWS books are definite and will just be compilations of the strips, published by 360ep.

James: Wow, your first tradepaperback – then again, this would really be your first compilation, period, right?

Danielle: Well, I did a very very small run of Ramblers trades, but there are like, 80 strips now, and I was printing everything off of my own printer, so I think I made ten of them, HAND-FREAKIN-STAPLE-GUNNED them because I couldn’t come up with another way to bind them, and sold out of them immediately at Baltimore last fall. So anyone with one of those books should consider themselves lucky.

James: So you’ve done the newspaper thing, you’ve done the webcomic thing – albeit, a bit out of order – and so has the money come rolling in yet?

Danielle: Ummmm… yes and no. As far as webcomic revenue goes, usually the successful ones make money off of the advertisements on their sites, and the merchandise. Seeing as I have no merchandise, and I’m only doing ads to other comics-related businesses in return for publicity on their sites, I’m making little money directly off of the webcomics. But as far as comics in general go, I’m finally doing comic book work for a few writers and making some dough at it. Additionally, I do caricatures at parties, and those people pay ungodly amounts of money for me to draw funny pictures of their screaming 3-year-old kids, so… I AM making money doing what I love, but I wish it would involve more sequential art and writing. For now it’s a lot of quick one-shot stuff like illustrations and logos.

James: We’ll get back to your comic work in a second – another thing that you seem to be knownst for, is your status at conventions. Everytime I see you at a Con, you have a pile of commission sketches to do, and everyone wants to say hello – what got you into the whole convetion side of it?

Danielle: I… okay, this is going to blackmail me, but whatever… I dated a guy who was REALLY into anime, and he had me tag along to a few anime conventions. Wowza. Those people are freaks. But it was really neat to see so many comic fans in one big smelly arena, as well as several talented artists. So when I started hanging out with writer David Gallaher (a hometown friend of mine), he urged me to go to the Pittsburgh show. I was a little scared at first, but when I realized that at least 60% less of the people were in drag wearing Sailor Moon costumes, I relaxed a bit and found myself really enjoying the atmosphere.
I got hooked and started going to a lot of local cons. I really enjoy meeting people who have a passion for comics and art, I love meeting the pros I admire, and, what the hell, I come home with a big head after hearing all of the nice things people have to say about my work.

James: And now instead of men dressing up like Sailor Moon – you get to see men dressing up like Black Canary – oh, cruel irony.

James: So you mentioned comic work that you are going to be doing, what specifically is coming down the pike?

Danielle: Right now I’m working on a five-pager that will go in the back of Mark Wheatley’s “Frankenstein Mobster” called “Perry Normal.” Robert Tinnell wrote the script and the story will run for four issues, so it’ll be 20 pages of noir goodness by the end. I’m also doing a cover for Some Big Lumberjack, and I’ll also be doing an issue of Rafer Roberts’s “Plastic Farm” this year, Bill Roundy’s contribution to the webseries “Young Bottoms In Love,” and I’ve got several people’s scripts sitting on my drawing board at home waiting to be sorted out and read. I hope to do more small press books this year. Actually, I just hope to do small press books. Guess I’ve never really done any before this year.

James: Okay, let’s play the Make A Wish game – what book, out there right now, do you invision yourself on as your dream gig?

Danielle: Y’know, I never really considered myself a writer until Teresa of 360 brought up how much she likes my dialogue, so lately I’ve been looking at Marvel’s recent swing toward a younger FEMME readership and I would LOVE to write something like McKeever’s books, like Mary Jane or something. Teresa mentioned that she thought I’d be good for something like that, and seeing as I’ve done so much girl-geared work, I think it would be a lot of fun and come pretty naturally to me.

James: Would you be against working in the spandex-clad world of superheroes?

Danielle: Nah, but I think my versions of the female characters would be noticeably chunkier and have a little more junk in the trunk. I’d love to do a spandex-clad superhero book featuring women of natural proportions, who are still super-hot.

James: That actually is a great thing about GWS – Hazel is tall and kind of lanky and Jamie is obviously a bit more rounded. Do you personally dislike the generic superhero female model, or is it more of a stylistic thing?

Danielle: A little of both. I’m built like Hazel minus several inches, so I’ve got a thing for making flat-chested girls look smokin’, and I think rounder women tend to be far more attractive than the supermodel types, so I like to make Jamie flaunt her curves and show off how hot she is, even with the extra pounds. I won’t lie here, I’ve got an agenda. But it’s also just a lot of fun to draw tiny skinny flat-chested girls next to roundy, voluptuous chunky girls.

James: I’m with you on this – give me imperfection any day of the week. So, now that you have books on the horizon that are going to be reaching a much more broad audience – do you think you want to ride the small press circuit for awhile before trying to hit one of the big two? Hell, do you even WANT to hit one of the big two?

Danielle: Want, hell yeah. Dunno if that’d happen – GOD I’ve got a long ways to go before I get good enough for that! But I’d love to keep doing small press stuff. Actually, I still prefer strip format to book format, so I’d be happy just riding the webcomic circuit for awhile. I’ve gotten pretty attached to the GWS girls.

James: Okay, one last bit before I let you go – given that you are a female in the overly masculine world of comics, what suggestions do you have for other aspiring female writers and artists out there on how to make themselves known?

Danielle: First, don’t allow yourself to be treated like a “girl” artist. You’re not a girl artist. You’re an artist… who doesn’t have a dick. Big difference. If you let everybody think of you as a girl before they think of you as an artist, you’re going to be overlooked as a cute little amatuer. You don’t want that. You’re serious about comics, about writing or drawing, about learning more in general. Make others aware of this. Second, even though this is totally gender-neutral advice, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Keep drawing or writing every day. Don’t let a little chipped nail keep you from the drawing board šŸ˜‰

James: Okay, and anything you want to say to everyone out there, not just the girls?

Danielle: Anything? Oh my! Do you really want me to have that kind of freedom? Remember, the most memorable quote in GWS so far has been “loves the cock.”

Danielle: That’s a risky request.

James: Well given that you’ve already said ‘Loves the cock’ in the interview, I think we’re pretty safe.. hit me.

James: “Next year at San Diego: A Panel on the downfall of an aspiring artist.” – How one girl went from fame and stardom to working for Brian Pulido based on the one quote “Loves The Cock…”

Danielle: *uncontrollable laughter* God I KNEW that one was gonna catch up with me someday… *sigh* Well, I could just be cheesy and say “read more webcomics,” but that’s, well… cheesy. So instead, um…. “read Girls With Slingshots.” It’s boring, but it’s not cheesy.

Danielle: I’m all about the self-promo, what can I say?

James: I respect that, and so do the fans of IN HIS LIKENESS. Oh god we are completely shameless, aren’t we. Not to mention you were featured on the ‘24 HOURS LATER‘ comic book challenge at ‘WILD PIG COMICS II‘ and will be hanging out at ‘PITTSBURGH COMIC CON‘ and possibly ‘SAN DIEGO COMICON‘ … there’s nothing shameless about you Or ‘360 EP’. Thanks for the time and good luck in all of your endeavors.

Danielle: Always welcome to give ya a good time, Jamie. Thanks!

James: Oh, and for the record – Jameson, where as may bear a striking resemblence to me – I do not, in fact, love the cock. Thanks again.

Danielle: *mumble* Yeah right, you’re not fooling anyone. Later!

So, that was that. Another fine fine Diner Talk. I would like to thank Danielle Corsetto for joining us, and wish her all the best of luck at 360 Ep – as things get updated, you can find out here at Inside Pulse.

Girls With Slingshots – Danielle’s Webcomic!
360 Ep – Danielle’s new paycheck! Signed by Bill Jemas!
Danielle’s vanity site – with lots of hot shots of her.. sorta.

So this is Jamie and Dani saying g’night everyone, and keep drinking that coffee, even if it isn’t at a Diner. I mean, why must everything circulate around coffee and diners with me? Because it just does, leave me alone.

Go read all the great stuff at IP and I promise I’ll do an interview in a Diner again one of these days. With coffee…

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