Dr. McNinja was an early recommendation when I first started reading webcomics, and of those I currently read it is still my favorite. There are a lot of great things about what the webcomic medium has done for storytelling in comics, and in that there are several great artists who have found their comic’s platform on the Internet. Though, what I love about Dr. McNinja is the versatility of the story, by which I mean the success it achieves in multiple media. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. McNinja is written as a webcomic, though the cleverness in writing and creativeness of the story allows the momentum of plot to work whether days or seconds are spent between reading one page and the next.
Recently, the acclaimed Christopher Hasting released a new collection of Dr.McNinja stories titled Night Powers. Quite timidly, I sent Hastings a few questions about this collection as I was planning to write a Dr. McNinja Nerd Blog. Like the gentlemen he is, Hastings responded with full answers.
Dave: “Monster Mart,” “Death Volley,” and “Doc gets Rad” are all one-off stories that don’t necessarily require a pre-existing knowledge of the Dr. McNinja lore, however there are a few plot points that speak to a larger story arc (the “Doc as a child in King Radical’s cave” scene comes to mind). Everything seems fairly planned out and purposeful, what is your process in constructing the McNinjaverse?
Chris: Going into Monster Mart, I had just finished up with Punch Dracula, which was the finale to a 220-page story, my longest yet. So I wanted to do a few shorter ones. I also thought it would be fun to have each of these shorter stories introduce a little bit about a future villain, King Radical. I’ve been continuing on this trend, and eventually little details from each story since Monster Mart will come into play in a story that finally gets down to what King Radical is about.
Dave: Several webcomic and print comic artists have contributed a few extras to “Night Powers.” What is your take on the artist community amongst webcomic and print comic artists? What is the difference between writing for print and writing for a site? Which do you prefer?
Chris: I think that the community in comics making just comes out of mutual admiration and respect. We’re all sitting home alone putting these comics out there, and when we find other ones we like, we promote them. And then eventually we go to conventions and stuff and meet each other and get to be pals. And pals help each other out!
When it comes to writing for print VS writing for a site, the biggest thing I had to adapt to was making each page satisfying on its own, and knowing that there would be days between pages instead of seconds. It affects the reader experience greatly, and it just has to stay on your mind as you write.
Dave: What comics, both in print and on the web, have influenced Dr. McNinja?
Chris: I’d say the biggest comic influences on Dr. McNinja are Batman, Deadpool, Invincible, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dinosaur Comics, and Achewood.