(Sam, Alex, and Clover from Totally Spies, drawn by John Joseco)
Kasaix: Allow me to introduce you fine people of Doujins to a great man who needs no introductions: John Joseco! A prolific and incredibly talented artist who brings you great comics such as The Lounge, The Hunters of Salamanstra and numerous pictures of cute girls! Thank you very much for sitting down with me. How are you doing today?
John: I'm doing fine. Thanks for having me.
Kasaix: It's a pleasure, good sir.
So tell me, when did you first start drawing?
John: It was around Kindergarten. I first started out drawing seashells and submarines.
Kasaix: That's cute. As you got older, did you continue to doodle your way to mastery, or did you receive a professional education in art?
John: For most of my life I was self taught, then I went to community college and got an Associates in Arts. Since then I've continued to teach myself.
Kasaix: That's quite inspiring. You've always wanted to do something, worked hard for it, and now making a living doing it. You've even attained a notable amount of fame.
Your art primarily showcases cute girls, but the themes vary. The Lounge showed cute girl Italy running a shop. Then there was another comic about a sort of demon girl, the title escapes me, but it was definitely ecchi. Your most recent one is The Hunters of Salamanstra, that's quite a bit darker and more gritty, the complete opposite of The Lounge.
What's your process in determining how to plan a comic you expect to last for quite a while?
John: I don't really have a consistent process. When I started The Lounge in the early 2000's, I was inspired by the likes of Penny Arcade and early Sinfest. Webcomics were new to me at that point, so I wanted to try it, but I'd never really dabbled in comedy before. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. As for The Hunters of Salamanstra, that was inspired by my love for fantasy and monsters. During the later years of The Lounge, around 2010, I wanted to create a fantasy story, so I started planning it and I knew right away that I wanted it to last.
Kasaix: What is your favorite type of comic to write and draw? The sort of romcom style of The Lounge, or a more gritty story like The Hunters of Salamanstra?
John: Well, The Lounge wasn't the norm for me. I've always had a thing for dark and gritty. Even with The Lounge, it started as a comedy, but I slowly built in more drama. It was a learning process for how I wanted to do things, but I don't consider comedy my forte, and eventually I found myself becoming influenced by other works I'd read and seen over the years. I read a lot of Stephen King back in high school, I watched stuff like Akira, Wicked City, Vampire Hunter D, Ninja Scroll. Somewhere around the 2010s I started reading manga like Berserk and Claymore. I felt I'd dabbled enough in comedy and slice of life, so I wanted to do something a bit darker.
Kasaix: Ah, I see. I'm more of a light-hearted guy myself, but I understand the appeal to the darker stuff.
Given how The Lounge ended, as in without a real ending, do you have any regrets about how it went?
John: I don't have regrets, because it's not over yet. I still plan on ending it in some way. I just gotta get back into it, but it's very difficult because I'm always working on my new comic.
(Bolded by me, because that's incredible news.)
Kasaix: I can't tell you how hyped I am to hear that.
Did you have any plans for The Lounge that you were never able to implement?
John: I had intended to go a bit more in-depth about Max's education and his progress throughout the story. It's not that important, but I still wanted to include it.
Kasaix: Ah yes, his school was mentioned a few times, but not a lot more beyond his going there.
Where do you see The Hunters of Salamanstra going? Kessah as a seasoned hunter? A (hopeful) twist in that her sister Dianna is still alive?
John: I can’t really say much, because spoilers a plenty. Expect to see a lot more monsters, though!
Kasaix: Haha nice! The giant side-ways face monster was just terrifying! That was some Lovecraftian work right there.
How did you come up with some of these things? Or did I call it and you summoned Lovecraft from the great beyond to brainstorm with you?
John: Lovecraft is a huge influence on the monster designs. The Dark Souls series is also another influence. I mainly try to think of creatures that are not your typical dragons or chimeras. I've seen enough of those.
Kasaix: Ah, very interesting. Thinking outside the monster cage.
You mentioned Dark Souls, what is your favorite video game?
John: It would be Xenogears with Ultima 7: The Black Gate a close 2nd.
Kasaix: Ah, fine games indeed.
Moving on from monsters and back to cute girls, what is your favorite work of art, either comic or picture? Something you would show people to give a good impression of you and your work?
John: Oh that's pretty hard. I would have to look through all my art throughout the years to even choose one.
Kasaix: Ah, the problems of a prolific artist. It would be hard for me to choose as well. A couple of my email requests even went through, Tear from Tales of the Abyss in a Santa outfit. Heck, your picture of the Totally Spies girls stuck in the vent from Thong Revolution inspired a fanfic I wrote a couple years back.
Kasaix: Are there any dream projects for you? Something you feel you must absolutely work on?
John: Hard to say, I think The Hunters of Salamanstra is pretty much the dream project I wanted to do
Kasaix: Ah, I see. I'm glad you could make it happen.
As a fan of many series, as clearly seen in your images, who is your top waifu?
Top five or so if you're like me and can't name just one waifu.
1. Sakura Kasugano
2. Princess Ayeka
3. Sailor Mercury
5. Ryuko Matoi
Kasaix: Ah, I see you're a man of culture as well.
Let's wrap this up, shall we? Do you have any final words for your legion of fans?
Kasaix: We're definitely feeling the love. Thank you once again for taking the time to talk to me, I'm still very starstruck over here. Can't count how many hours I've enjoyed your work, with one even inspiring some fanfiction.
John: I'm honored. Thank you again for having me.
Kasaix: You're welcome back any time.
I’d like to thank the legendary John Joseco for taking the time to sit and chat with me. If you’d like to follow his work, the links to his sites were provided by John himself above, and you can support him on his Patreon, and watch him work his magic on Picarto.