Web comics have become the new outlet for the cartoonist.  The tools of the trade have changed a good deal as well.  There are plenty of web comics on the net today that utilize still photography. And the best part of all, artists are no longer limited to hoping to be published in a syndication, or have a collective works put into a book. The internet now makes it easy to pursue those goals of creating and sharing those comics at low costs, with the potential for hitting a broader demographic as well as audience.

I reconnected with an old friend early this year and since then we have been collaborating here within our blogs.  The more we worked together, I discovered that our friend Phil has been creating a web comic of his own. Living Room Wars.

Who is the creator of the web comic, Living Room Wars?

Phil at the Blue Milk Special booth at Awesome Con last April in Washington D.C.
Phil at the Blue Milk Special booth at Awesome Con last April in Washington D.C.

Phil Custodio is the writer, director, camera operator, editor, and web master.

“I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and served a stint in the U.S. Army before ending up in Flint, Mich., where I’m the editor of a weekly newspaper.  I’ve gotten into running as recreation fairly recently, where I come up with some of my weirdest ideas for my web comic.”

How did you come to create your web comic, and what is the inspiration behind Living Room Wars?

A bit of a tragic back story. My wife left me in November 2010, naturally taking all her stuff with her.  With lots of free shelf space, I decided to bring all my Star Wars/Star Trek/etc. toys, stored since childhood, up from the basement, and set them up in a diorama.

Around this time, I started reading the web comic Blue Milk Special, a most excellent Star Wars parody.  They were into the Empire Strikes Back at that time, which is heavily favored in my Star Wars collection.  As a kid, I got some Kenner Star Wars stuff in the 70’s, lots of Empire Strikes Back in the early 80’s, and absolutely nothing from Return of the Jedi. I was too old by then.

living room wars battle 1So I put together a diorama or two based on Blue Milk Special gags using my Empire toys (one was of the probe droid inappropriately probing the backside of a tauntaun), took pictures, and emailed them to creators Rod and Leanne Hannad, who reveived them quite warmly.

This inspired me to make my own web comic with photos instead of drawing ’cause I can’t draw, using all of the action figures I could get my hands on for characters, whatever graphics program I had on hand for special effects, and my house as the main location.

livingroomwars kitty assistant My cats get involved too, ‘ cause they’re always around anyway.  I posted the first few on Facebook, and with some trial and error made its own web site, which I launched in November 2011.

It’s mostly inspired by Star Wars, Star Trek, and the animé shows I’ve been watching on Netflix.

How often do you create new pages, and what drives you to keep making them?

Twice a week since 2011. I hit 300 this week! I like the creative outlet, it gives me something to do besides watch television, and I still have story to tell.  And I like the research such as watching Star Trek TNG episodes to figure out what Capt. Picard might say when engaging a fleet of Imperial star room wars ships

Do you have a background in comic art?

None whatsoever! On-the-job training with occasional upgrades on the fly!

Why publish on the internet?living room wars battle 2

I like worldwide availability of it.  According to stats, people from all over the world have at least tumbled onto it. And most regular readers live in different states if not different countries, which is cool.

Do you need a subscription you your comic?

No. That probably wouldn’t be legal anyway, what with all of the intellectual property I happily employ in the comic. It’s probably fair use as long as it’s non-profit.

Any suggestions for the up and coming web comic artist?

living room wars luke skywalker laserFor casual amateurs like myself, make something you enjoy and don’t let others bring you down. There’s value in creating something even if it doesn’t make you any money.

Check out Living Room Wars and be sure to leave Phil some feedback. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.  It’s a fun comic utilizing characters and themes you might not otherwise find together elsewhere and it seems that you never know what to expect.  You can also check out more from Phil Custodio right here in the I Must Be Hallucinating blogs as philc9923 where he keeps us informed about cosplay, web comics, and more!

– Pael Spelle

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