An Interview with Morganagod
By Kasaix • 7 months ago • 2 comments

Kasaix: Hello friends and fans of Doujins! I’m here with the great artist Morganagod! Like many, I initially found out about Morganagod with the ongoing comic series Toph Heavy, a comic where an adult Toph with a huge chest from Avatar: The Last Airbender gets cornered and seduced by a futa Azula. It’s set as a story she’s telling to her kids and Korra. It was a nice find, and I’ve enjoyed all of his art since.

But we’re skipping ahead. Thanks so much for hanging out Morganagod. How’s it going?

Morganagod: It's going well. How about for yourself?

Kasaix: I'm doing great, thanks for asking.

Let's talk about your background in art. How did you first get into drawing?

Morganagod: OK, this is kind of a long story. To begin, I know a lot of artists will say "I started drawing when I was young." but everyone draws when they're young, so to me it’s more important to answer when I started taking drawing seriously. I'd grown up in an artistic family; my father had worked for Disney, the Washington Post, Ad Agencies, etc. So initially I had no interest in drawing as a career. I had wanted to be a scientist in grade school. I desired to be either a paleontologist or an astrophysicist. Then, one day, my father bought a computer called an "Amiga Toaster 4000." It had a suite of production tools he used for his work in animation. (I think the most easily discoverable stuff that he did on that machine was the cut scenes for a game called "Captain Claw.")  There was a program bundled with the Toaster 4000 called "Lightwave." Once I discovered that this program was used on my favorite TV show at the time, Babylon 5, I spent hours trying to recreate the effects from the show. It was my Minecraft. It felt like a videogame and hooked my imagination. It actually hurt my grades a bit during high school as I'd prefer to spend time working in Lightwave over getting my homework done. (Although I was still able to graduate a year early, so I guess it didn't hurt that much.) After high school I was unsure of how to pursue a career but thanks to my father I was able to get a tour through ILM. While I was there I met a whole bunch of really cool people. They were very talented and nearly every single one said "the most important thing is learning to draw." At one point someone told me "We can train you to use our software, but we can't train you draw." So I returned home, started drawing, and my inadequacies as a draftsman became apparent. That's when I started taking drawing seriously, and I never went back to Lightwave.

Kasaix: Industrial Light & Magic?

Morganagod: Yeah. One of their main talent scouts at the time was a friend of my fathers. Even got to hang out at Skywalker Ranch as part of the whole thing.  They had a little, like, restaurant in the main house, and we were sitting there eating as George Lucas and his family came in with him for a meal. I had to contain my fanboy, as I was huge Star Wars fan at the time. It was a very memorable experience and that's why it affected me so profoundly.

It exposed me to what a career in art may bring.

Kasaix: Wow!! That's amazing. I have to ask though, you have a huge network to get into art for TV shows and movies, so why get into hentai? Or are you still planning to do art for TV shows and movies, and hentai is just a side thing?

Morganagod: Well that requires a little bit of unpacking. To begin, its difficult to get a job like that in the industry if you don't live in California. Even with my father's connections (which aren't that great anymore) its very rare that you'll get hired off site. Usually they want you in Burbank or nearby. The cost of moving and living there is far beyond what I can afford. Additionally, I'm a bit hesitant to pursue a career that isn't directly supported by an audience because while my father has had an illustrious career, it didn't mean anything financially in the end. He had to work a laborious job in his 70s to make ends meet. I don't know how much artists can trust studios. So I've always gone with the flow when it comes to what my audience wants. They're my boss and they really responded well to my version of Adult Toph. On top of all of this, I think some of the best artists out there make hentai. Guys like Incase, Negarob, Norasuko, etc are all so good that I can't really categorize hentai as not legitimate.

I'll make all kinds of content. Some will be appropriate for all ages. Some of it will be Adult only. Right now its adult only.

Kasaix: That's understandable. I believe hentai is a legitimate form of art. It always has been. If you consider hentai just nude art with a distinct style, it's definitely legitimate.

Morganagod: Here's the way I view it. In college one of my teachers made a point that art is something that we can't not do. The emergence of art in the form of artifacts and cave paintings coincide with the emergence of humanity. And what are some of the oldest human artifacts? Dildos and naked fertility statues. It's human.

Kasaix: It is human, no doubt. It's what keeps the species going: the urge to get busy. Back to your art, it seems like your formative years were mostly self-taught. Did you attend art classes or schools as you pursued art, or are you all self-taught?

Morganagod: Well, it's a bit of a mixture. Many of the resources that fledgling artists have thanks to the internet weren't available when I began pursuing improvement. I relied on forums and critique at first. The main forum I visited was called Norrath's Studio. I was a fan of EverQuest at the time, and just gravitated to that website as a result. They gave me guidance, but it was difficult to improve as I had none of the basic understanding that would allow me to draw better. Everyone would tell me that I needed to go to life drawing, but the closest one was almost 200 miles from where I lived. Today you can just boot up line of action and get some kind of life drawing.  The best I could do academically was get an introduction to drawing course at the local community college. It focused on a book called "how to draw from the right side of the brain." That course caused a drastic improvement and I realized that given the right circumstance I could learn academically. For the next few years I tried pursuing college but it often didn't work out. Either I would get rejected, or I wouldn't have enough money to attend. My family had only been able to save a couple thousand for college. So during this time I tried to teach myself. I used books written by Burne Hogarth to try and learn figure anatomy.  (Don't use these books for that, they're actually terrible.) And I made a deviantart account not too long after finding Norrath's studio. Finally, I was able to get in to a college I could afford, as long as I took on a modest amount of debt. I learned a lot during my attendance, so I'm really a mixture. I learned as much I could on my own, but academia played a role as well.

Kasaix: I admire that dedication to learning and honing your skills. It's really inspiring. There's a bit of a change in style between chapter 1 and chapter 2 of Toph Heavy. Is it safe to say that you're still learning and improving your art skills?

Morganagod: I am in a constant state of dissatisfaction with my work, so I'm always trying to learn and improve. Even with Toph Heavy Part 2.  I spent 6 months drawing the entire comic. The idea was to have a buffer so that I'd never miss a week until it was done, but now I'm finding myself redrawing entire pages that I'm not satisfied with.

Kasaix: Yep, you're a true artist. Never satisfied with their work. How did Toph Heavy come about? It's super good, and your take on Toph is just great.

Morganagod: Oh boy, here's another long story. So I loved Avatar the Last Airbender, and Toph was my favorite character. She was the strongest bender in the series as far as I'm concerned. Yes, that includes Aang. Her character was interesting and complex. Sure she presented this tough tomboy exterior, but in some episodes you found out there was more to her. Like that sequence where she and Katara have a day at the spa. She claims to not care about how she looks, but it’s obvious that she does when those mean girls hurt her feelings. None of my initial Avatar fan art was sexual in nature.

Then the finale aired. I was sitting there watching it with one of my best friends, and Toph said the line "I am melon lord." My friend turned to me and said "you know what you have to do."  He said this because I had been drawing a lot of busty ladies at the time. Stuff like this.

(personal note: hoo boy that's a rough one to look at today)

Anyway, I decided to draw a moderately busty adult Toph and call her melon lord.  I uploaded it and within minutes DeviantArt took it down because it depicted a minor. Now, to be 100% clear about this. The image wasn’t hentai or even NSFW. It was slightly suggestive, like the image above. Deviant Art's policies regarding this subject has shifted throughout the years and have been haphazardly enforced. When Jark was ousted the tolerance of work shifted, and I watched as mods and admins would change the rules while arguing with Deviants on whether or not their content was appropriate. (I think it was CallMePo who suffered this most publically.)  I was taken aback at the sudden removal of my work because I had made it clear that this was an adult version of the character. It didn't matter. One of my main personality traits is that I'm very petty so I thought to myself "Ok... let’s see how voluptuous I need to make Toph before we can agree that this is an adult." So with each subsequent image I made her even more voluptuous until finally we are where we are today.

Fast forward and Korra starts airing and introduces Lin Beifong, Toph's Daughter.  This created waves in the audience. I think part of the fascination was that Toph was not a romantic option or interest to a vast swath of the audience in the original series so this idea of her being sexual came out of left field for a lot of people. The rest shipped her with Sokka and wanted to see if they had an affair.  Either way, there was a cacophony of people asking, "Who is Lin's father." I think the question became so prevalent that an annoyed director said "It's Azula." in a moment of frustration. And I thought to myself, "How could that work?" The thing of it is, the backstory of Avatar, specifically stuff introduced with Wan, gives you all the tools and setup you would need to make that work, so I decided to make a parody based around that director's response.

Kasaix: He knew what he was doing. Cartoon creators know all about fan art. Also "you know what you have to do." We all need that one friend who encourages our impulses.

Morganagod: Very true. That guy is still one of my best friends. I showed him a page from Toph Heavy 1 and he said "god that's horrifying... you need to post it" Futa isn’t his thing, but he supported me like a true friend.

Kasaix: Hahah! Nice. Something I've been wondering about Toph Heavy, who are the characters talking in the boxes? I can infer Toph herself, Korra, and one or both of Toph's daughters.

Morganagod: Toph, Korra, Lin, Mako, Bolin, and Asami

I had a page that showed all of this in Toph Heavy Part 2, but it didn't meet my standard of quality, so I cut it. I'll probably show them all in Toph Heavy part 3.

At one point in Part 2, Bolin was supposed to interrupt and say something like "Weren't you supposed to tell us how you got so good?" just as things were getting really steamy between Toph and Azula. Toph would then switch stories and the Azula stuff would remain unresolved until the end of Part 3.  I decided that doing that would probably piss off the audience that had waited so long for part 2 and decided against it.

There's still going to be more Futazula stuff in Part 3, it’s just that there's a "resolution" in part 2 that will satisfy and it transitions more seamlessly in to "how she got so good"

Kasaix: Yes, part 3 confirmed. Just made my day. Probably a minor detail, but I'm curious: page 7 of part 2, someone with a gold-colored box says that Korra’s impatience is why they broke up. Who is saying that? I'm guessing either Mako or Asami, given the color.

Morganagod: Mako was saying that. Asami and Korra are together while Toph tells her story. Part 3 is planned but not confirmed at this point. I'm just taking it a day at a time. We'll see where we are at the end of Part 2. Hell, I have the stuff planned all the way to a part 4 and possibly part 5 actually.  I'd like to eventually get back to some futa Katara stuff as well.

I've got a bunch of Hentai stories (Doujins, whatever you want to call them) that don't even include Toph, but in the past year it seems like things have become so hostile to adult artists that I don't know if I'll be around in a year's time. I’m adaptable, I’ll survive, but I may be forced to move on from NSFW stuff.  I even made a separate NSFW only Patreon so that if that happens my regular patreon doesn't get nuked. I'm convinced Twitter is going to crack down hard ala Tumblr eventually. If I continue to make work like this, it will be at a snail's pace as I'll have to focus on other things to make ends meet.

Stuff like commissions and side jobs will be what I focus on.  For now, Patreon and my supporters have given me an amazing opportunity to focus on this and I'm trying not to squander it.

Kasaix: I'm glad for a possible part 5. You're right though, the trend moving against hentai artists is real. Tumblr lost a lot of followers when they had their purge, reportedly around 100 million a month. Patreon has been chill, and I'm surprised Twitter even allows it. I hope you stay above water on this, you're a terrific artist.

Morganagod: Well, I'm a bit iffy on patreon. I labeled my patreon as having adult content, but I still posted cheesecake publicly because I figured that was ok. There weren't any dicks, nipples, or vaginas and it was only suggestive. Yet that suggestiveness was enough to get suspended.

Kasaix: This is the problem with society as a whole: violence is deemed okay, but nudity, primarily female nudity, is considered immoral and wrong. The censorship in gaming is a prime example of that. Doom is cleared for launch, but games like Dead or Alive and Senran Kagura are deemed problematic.

Morganagod: I try to not get political about things, but that's certainly something that bothers me. I think that certain people think sexual expression is inherently dangerous and pernicious and have a tough time separating fantasy from reality. They're modern day Fredric Werthams who aren't self aware enough to realize it.  I've had conversations with other artists about this and it’s a prevalent belief.

Kasaix: We digress a bit. Back to the great art. What are your favorite subjects to draw, as far as characters and the situations or kinks they find themselves in?

Morganagod: When it comes to sexual and suggestive content, I'm a big fan of Busty Tsunderes. Not including Busty Toph.  I enjoy drawing characters like Baiken, Aisha Clan Clan, Kei, and Panda.

When it comes to not suggestive content, I like juxtaposing expectations. So one of my favorite paintings is fan art I did for Maximilian_DOOD of his pomeranian as a zombie.

Even the suggestive content is kind of a juxtaposition, as many busty characters are viewed as dumb bimbos, I like the idea of characters that have brains and confidence to go along with their D-Cup (or greater)

Kasaix: Fine choices. This is exactly why I like you. I had no idea about the zombie puppy though, must have missed that one. It's actually cool to see, I had no idea you drew that stuff too. Do you have a dream project in mind you definitely want to work on sometime in the future?

Morganagod: Well, the Zombie Puppy is from 2015, and I was trained as a painter so a lot of my work up until 2015 used a lot of painterly techniques. Unfortunately, 2015 was one of the worst years of my life, and I almost stopped making art entirely, so I haven't painted in a long time. Today, everything is much better, and that terrible year helps me appreciate how good things seem to be right now.

I do have a dream project. It’s one I've been talking about with friends, family, and patrons for years now. Its something I hope to start working on soon. It won't be NSFW, and I'm not sure how many people will like it, so I'm trying to make as much Toph Heavy as possible to warrant a little detour in the future from my audience.

Kasaix: I'm sure it'll be great, NSFW or not. Hentai's great, but people can appreciate non-hentai too. I wish you luck on the project, and hope to see what it is. Let’s end this on a high note. Thank you again for taking the time to hang out. Do you have any parting words for your fans?

Morganagod: Just that I'm eternally grateful for their support. I am someone who tries to be as honest as I can both with myself and with others. (It’s the only way to improve as an artist after all.) When I look through patreon I see some artists who are objectively better than I am, but who only get a fraction of the support. I may be abrasive sometimes, but I'm entirely cognizant of how lucky I am in the grand scheme of things. I would not even be able to consider making art as a career without you. Thank you. Thank you very much. I promise to continue to improve to give you the content that you deserve.

Kasaix: That hits deep man. Friends and fans of Doujins, you show this man some love.

Another huge thanks goes to the great Morganagod. If you’d like to follow his work, and you should, check out the sites below.