Chris Arrant interviews Keen Soo for Newsarama. Discussed: the Disney deal, webcomics, Hope Larson, Flight, Calvin & Hobbes, autobio comics:
NRAMA: Jellaby started life as a webcomic and you recently signed a two-book deal with Disney’s Hyperion For Kids imprint. What will the book include and when is it scheduled?
KS: The first book will include the first two chapters that were originally serialized on the web, as well as an additional 80 pages of new material that continues the story. At the moment, it’s scheduled for a release in the spring of 2008.
NRAMA: The primary characters in Jellaby are the 10-year old Portia and the monster living behind her house. How did these two characters come about for
KS: It was a combination of two very specific things. Back in 2004, Dean Trippe was putting together a zine of monster illustrations, and he asked me if I wanted to contribute something. Of course I said yes, and I drew up a little girl hugging this giant grub-like monster, and had a blast doing it. I don’t believe the zine was ever printed up, but that one image had taken root my head, and I found myself idly drawing these two characters in my sketchbook whenever I had the chance.
Right around that same time, I was talking to Hope Larson, who was telling me about her story of a girl and her imaginary friend in the woods, and I remarked that I had a similar idea brewing in my head… it didn’t take us very long after that to pool our resources and put together the Secret Friend Society.
NRAMA: Secret Friend Society was, and is, an online free comics venue initially started for both of you comics.
KS: Yes. Hope was instrumental in actually getting me off my lazy butt to actually sit down to write and draw the thing.