Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting to Know MK Stangeland, Jr.

Feel free to call me Michael if you feel so inclined. I’m good going by either.

Who is your favorite comic character?

Rocket Raccoon - he’s a super-intelligent wise cracking rodent. His best friends are a tree that says little more than it’s own name, followed closely by Star-Lord and whatever ridiculously large gun he happens to be using at the time. Guns that would be ridiculously large for a normal human, mind you, let alone a two-foot furry woodland critter. All while being an a**-kicker of the Fantastic.

What’s not to love?

What is your favorite comic?

This is a toss up.

On the one hand, there’s the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy series as written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA). It features the same soft sci-fi mix of action, cross-galaxy/universe landscaping, fun characters, and lack of techno-babble that originally made me such a fan of Star Wars.

On the other hand, there’s Bryan Q Miller’s Batgirl series with Stephanie Brown which has sadly now ended at the hands of the DC reboot. Steph alone makes the series a lot of fun, being someone who’s both relatable as a human being and entertaining in her own right. Plus, Bryan does an amazing job of setting a series in the normally grim and gritty Gotham City while managing to keep it as lighthearted as it is.

I think that when it comes down to it, however, I have to tip it to the Guardians .

Who is your favorite comic writer?

I think the closest thing I have to a favorite comic writer is DnA, on account of Guardians of the Galaxy and the phenomenal finale in the form of Thanos Imperative. If nothing else, it gave me reason to check out the new Heroes for Hire series simply because they were writing it, which I think is a pretty good reason to pick them.

The only other writer I can say as much about is Brian Clevinger, who I first learned about through his hilariously dark and outrageous 8-Bit Theater webcomic, which lead me to purchasing the Atomic Robo Trades as they come out, and thus far I’ve at least taken a look at any comic projects I find out he’s writing for.

I think Warrin Ellis might be making a strong argument as well, between Nextwave, the part of his Ultimate Fantastic Four run I’ve read, and depending on what he does with his upcoming work on Secret Avengers.

Who has been the most fun to write so far at thoughtballoons?

The Batgirl/Robin team-up from Stephanie Brown Batgirl week is a definite winner. Those two just go together so incredibly well, and even as someone who’s normally a Marvel Guy, the potential loss of their highly antagonistic relationship is something I’ll regret the loss of if it doesn’t survive the DC reboot.

Which character do you most dread having to write?

I’d say the character I’d dread most is Mephisto, so I think I’ve dodged the biggest bullet right there since he was picked long ago. That said, he’s part of a larger grouping of characters that really leave me feeling uneasy about the possibility of having to try to write them, all falling in the realm of some kind of ‘evil mystical’ aspect of comics. It’s the kind of category in which I’d also place characters like Satanna and Sabacc (or however you spell his name)

Which non-comics character would you most like to write?

Given time to think about it, I’d probably say either the Animaniacs or Freakazoid!. Those two are probably due for a comeback, anyway.

Which script do you think has been your best so far?

Without a doubt, the Batgirl/Robin team-up script from the Stephanie Brown Batgirl week, “Best of Frenemies”. I had a lot of fun putting that page together, and I think everyone else had a lot of fun reading it, too.

Again, it’s a shame that the DC Reboot is on the horizon, because I have little doubt that if they’d had the time to put out a Batgirl & Robin book starring those two first, even if it was just a miniseries, it could have surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy as my favorite comic.

Which script in total do you think has been the best on the site?

Most dreaded character may have been the most difficult question, but this comes in second. Matt Duarte’s Poker Face script featuring The Thing stands out as an early favorite, simply because that was the week I was first introduced to the website, and it stands out as a winner from that week.

I also have to give props to Ben Rosenthal’s Twas the Night Before X-Mas starring Deadpool as Santa.

Finally, I also like both Max Barnard’s Stretch Armstrong script with Reed Richards and, more recently, FUNderbolts. The former, I still can’t honestly say I really understand what’s going on with that thing, but it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside for some reason. The later I just happen to find incredibly charming.


  1. Hey MK I had a few other slightly more specific questions. If you had the time I would love to read your answers.

    1. What is your basic writing process. Do you outline? Write up a synopsis? Do yo do character studies?

    2. Do you work in a standard writing program like say Word or do you use script software?

    3. If you could write one on going comic what book and why?

    And lastly 4. Do you read and enjoy any webcomics? If so which ones?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  2. 1) It depends. For things like thought balloons, I'll start with a mix of researching the character and brainstorming, seeing what ideas come to mind. Once I have one I like and I've managed to outline in my head, I'll just sit down and write it out, usually toying with variations on the idea and potential dialogue while I'm at it.

    When I'm writing a bigger project, however, such as my own stuff I'm trying to work on now, I'll usually add the step of writing out some kind of outline before I make the actual product. It helps me, clear up my mind, ensure that I actually know where I'm going with things, and helps keep me from leaving obvious loose ends.

    2) Nothing fancy, just Word. I tried using a script software once, but I soon decided that simpler is better.

    3) I really could not possibly pick just a single comic book to write as an ongoing. Just not capable of it.

    4) *pulls up bookmark list*
    Let's see, out of the ones I've got listed, I pick my favorites as:
    Brawl In the Family (A Smash Brothers themed joke comic)
    Manly Guys Doing Manly Things (THE absolute manliest webcomic EVER)
    Darths & Droids (What if the Star Wars films didn't exist, but instead were being created on the fly as a Tabletop RPG game?)

    I've got a few others bookmarked as well, but those are my favorites.

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply and in such detail. I will be checking these webcomics out over the rest of my evening. :)


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