Final Smash Comics is a project run by a user of the name Yayster. She releases comics throughout each month about the characters within the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
We sat down with Yayster recently to hear how she came about with her comic, and how it's grown as she makes more and more.
What were some of your inspirations for making comics?
I'm sure some people would expect me to say Brawl in the Family, but I'm sad to say I didn't come across that comic until relatively recently! My main source of inspiration is Katie Tiedrich's excellent strip Awkward Zombie. I'm certain many of you are familiar with Katie's work; not only has she been running her comic since 2006, but it still maintains the same laugh-out-loud standard today. I'm a big fan!
Another big source of inspiration was the web series Strip Search, created by long-running web comic Penny Arcade. I really recommend it if you're at all interested in creating your own comic, as it is both enormous fun to watch and teaches you a huge amount about the fundamentals.
Other comics I enjoy are Poorly Drawn Lines, Webcomic Name, and for a bit of darker humor, Perry Bible Fellowship. And I have to give a shout out to Omega Mode, a fellow Smash Bros. comic which ended recently, but which I highly recommend you take a look through!
Is there a reason you decided to do make comics over making other media?
That's a good question, as originally it wasn't going to be a comic at all! My initial idea was to work on some short animations starring the cast of Smash Bros, as I was playing a lot at the time. However, I soon realized how time-consuming that would be (ask anybody who has tried animation and they will tell you how long and painstaking a process it is) so I decided to try to tell the same jokes in a comic strip format. My day job means my time is rather limited, so this lets me put out more content on a quicker schedule, and drawing regularly and to a deadline is also fantastic for practice, if a little grueling!
I may decide to translate a couple of comics into animated form at some point, but that would be a longer-term project.
What brought you to your current artstyle?
I've always been drawn toward clean lines (no pun intended), so my comic has always had that sort of aesthetic. I have made some changes along the way, though; I try to vary my line width a little, I started using colored line art, and I'm trying more and more to make use of depth, dynamic poses, and more exaggerated facial expressions.
I really enjoy trying out other artstyles, too. In my most recent strip I got to try out Fire Emblem, Wind Waker, Animal Crossing and Pokémon styles. It was so much fun to try and recreate them!
Hero:Do you ever run into trouble coming up with ideas for comics?
Yes! All the time. The important thing to remember about scheduled humor is that it will always be hit and miss. Some weeks you just won't be able to come up with a good punchline. It may be that work has been exhausting, or simply that you are running on empty that week, and it can be frustrating. Sometimes a joke just doesn't work, too! I came up with a comic recently which worked when read in my native English accent, but didn't translate when spoken in an American accent, which is one of the strangest reasons I've ever had to drop a comic!
To help with this, I keep a document full of one-line ideas and add to it any time something comes to mind; it's useful to be able to look back on this if I'm struggling. And make sure to bounce ideas off some trusted friends if you can. It's amazing what can come from it!
Hero:Have you ever thought of reaching into other franchises besides Nintendo for comics, and if so what?
To be honest, not really! I have a lot of fond memories of playing the Amiga and then the PC with my dad, and my first console was the N64. I've been a Nintendo and PC gamer pretty much my whole life, but I find Nintendo characters much more fun to work with when it comes to comics. If I were to consider a couple of side strips relating to other franchises, games I would lean toward would be The Witcher, the older Assassin's Creed games, classic Tomb Raider, MMOs (WoW and Guild Wars in particular) and the old point-and-click adventures such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Oh dear... am I showing my age?
Hero:Is there a certain franchise you look forward to drawing?
I think anyone who reads my comics will be able to notice a bias toward a few franchises in particular, especially Pokémon and Fire Emblem. Pokémon is an absolute gold mine for comic ideas due to its quirky and strange world, and Fire Emblem has so many memorable and interesting characters that I just love to draw (although it's often the most time-consuming!) Some of my other favourites are Zelda and Animal Crossing, and to a lesser extent the Mario series.
I'm trying to expand my video game knowledge a little more; I recently picked up Kid Icarus: Uprising, and I'd like to explore Earthbound and the Kirby series in more detail.
Hero:Say comics weren’t your main standpoint, what would you see yourself doing?
For the most part, I'd see myself working on improving my digital painting. I've been doing a bit of portraiture recently, and it's been great fun! With the comic and my job, I can find it very hard to find time for these extra pieces. I definitely think that's something I'd like to develop in future. I see so many inspiring artists every day online who make me strive to improve.
Hero:For people looking into making comics, what is some advice you could give?
There are so many things I wish I had known before I started! I can certainly give some pointers.
- Have a clear focus and goal for your comic. Which characters will you use? What sort of humor are you aiming for, and who is your audience? Are there any other comics out there doing the same thing, and if so, what makes yours different?
- You need to be able to deal with stress and deadlines if you want to keep your comic on a schedule. Web comics are notorious for ending after only a short run, and it's often due to the sheer amount of organization involved. Plan your schedule ahead of starting, and make sure it's something you can stick to.
- You'll need to have a thick skin when posting your work on the internet. It's inevitable that you will receive some negative feedback - after all, humor is incredibly subjective - so be prepared to take this on board, even if it's written in a less-than-constructive way, and turn it into something positive.
- Make sure you have a buffer of comics prior to starting, to reduce any immediate stress. If possible, create four or five comics before you post a single one publicly, even if you are tempted! This will help you get a handle on your style, and will also help you to gauge whether there is mileage in your idea.
- Create social media accounts to accompany your comic; most definitely on Twitter and Facebook. A huge part of running Final Smash! for me is interacting with my followers on Twitter, which I absolutely love. If you don't want to spend money on a domain name, sites like Tumblr are good free alternatives to host a comic archive, and offer free web comic themes you can use to get started.
- Set up Google Analytics where your comic is hosted. It’s invaluable to see where people are coming from, as this can help determine when you should post to achieve maximum exposure.
- And finally, never give up! I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. It's taught me a lot about myself as a person, and I hope that if you decide to go on your own journey, that you find it as fulfilling as I have.
---------------------------------------------------------------Even though Final Smash Comics hasn't been out for too long, it's definitely taking the Smash community by storm! If you'd like to keep up with the comics you can follow the Twitter, or even check the tumblr page to check out the comics themselves!