Graphic Artist Q&A: Chris Echols (art) and Jordan Taylor (words)

Who are you guys, and how did you become a comics team?

Taylor: We are Echosan and Dr. Cosmos, fearsome merchants of hot lasery justice throughout the universe! Echosan and I became a comic superforce after dispatching a particular loathsome gang of interstellar cattle rustlers and finding amongst their belongings an ancient scroll and filmstrip inscribed with the adventures of SAPCEMAN, Brave Hero of the Universe! Etched on that scroll was our destiny... to make webcomics... ahem...

How did Sapceman come to life?

Taylor: Obviously, we take Sapceman straight from the original source (and the Sapceman serial that ran along with newsreels from 1933-1949, including the classic Sapceman vs. the Nazis episode "Sapcetime for Hitler"), but the heavy hand of the intermediary makes itself known in the comic as well. For my part, I try to remain faithful to the heroic vein of the primary documents, but I try to inject a little bit of Rocky and Bullwinkle via 1940s comic book advertising with a subtle smattering of pop culture references.

Echols: Sapceman himself actually bears a striking resemblance to a character I drew in a comic strip for my high school newspaper called Man of the Future. The resemblance is so striking, in fact, that you could justifiably say I just drew the exact same character and then changed the letters on his head.

The drawing style seems to have evolved from its more child-like initial pages...

Echols: This is my fault. At first, the intention was to keep the whole production as cheap and crummy as possible. It probably should have stayed that way, but I ruined it by progressively spending more and more time on the drawings. I just got more and more self-conscious about people seeing the comic and wanting it to look good. For the last 10 issues, I did make a conscious decision to ramp up the production value on the art. Some people really like it; others seem to have preferred the original, crappy look. I do worry that the frenetic childishness of the early issues has faded a bit... and maybe having "prettier" drawings has come at the expense of the comic's heart.

What kind of following have you developed on the Web?

Echols: Ha! Well, at its peak, I think the comic has drawn about two dozen regular readers, so we have literally tens of loyal followers. I'd love to grow a larger audience, for sure, but we've made no deliberate effort to publicize or advertise the comic—other than word of mouth (and e-mail) with friends and family.

What does the future hold for Sapceman? Cartoons? Lunch pails?

Taylor: What isn't next for Sapceman? We've partnered with the very businessy AstroDan corporation to produce a line of Sapceman coloring books, a cereal (Brave Her-O's of the Univbowl), an off-Broadway musical based on Sapceman's early years of life, love, and lasers. We're also coming out with his and hers Sapceman-branded laser holsters, that can be capably filled with Sapceman's Fry-o-Gun-o-matic line of lasers. We're earning our keep. And yes, lunch pails.

Echols: Actually, no. None of those things. I'm collecting Volume 1 for a small print run, and we're about to start putting Volume 2 up on the Web. As for the continuing adventures of Sapceman, only Jordan knows where the story is headed. I'll find out what happens right along with everyone else!