Have you ever been proud of an accomplishment, only to show your product to people, or tell them about it, and be met with the response "You know what you should do...?"
It happens to me ALL THE TIME. You see, my problem is that I have so much talent, people often confuse what it is I am displaying with the guy displaying it. Confused yet? Okay - let me explain.
Back in 2004, I was plagued by all these ideas for a story that kept bouncing around my brain. I felt like I had something important to say, (through the vehicle of fiction) and the only thing that concerned me was how to say it. I didn't have access to the resources I would need to make a film or video. I couldn't afford or coordinate the kind of help it takes to make an optically interesting motion image. I could however photograph and animate puppets in the corner of my living room.
Okay, that thought process evolved into a study of stop-motion animation. I purchased some high end armatures from www.armaverse.com, but when it came time to create the puppets, I was stymied by the cost of the armatures themselves and could not afford to permanently encase the skeleton within the individual character it would represent. A good friend then turned me on to the wonderful work of Elizabeth Doherty. Once I learned about amigurumi and saw what could be accomplished with yarn, I was hooked. (That was a crochet pun BTW)
Over the next couple of months I worked over the atrophied neurons in my brain that had stashed away all the crochet techniques my grandmother taught me back before my sister was born. (Which would have made me 3-4 years old.) Before long, I had remembered how to make chains, single crochet stitches and slip stitches, and my puppets were beginning to take shape. The next thing I knew, I had accomplished my goal and was selling comics that I made, with puppets I had designed, enacting a story I had written; at comic conventions and tradeshows across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
What people did care about was the crochet, and the fact that it had been knitted by a man.
Now, I have had the good fortune since beginning this project to come across some other awesome male crochet artists, (the most notable being the talented and hilarious Howie Woo) but on the whole it is still my gender and ability to take a schedule 4 yarn and size J hook and make just about damn-near anything I want, that draws the most attention.
Far more than the merits of my story or the morals it presents. Far more than the original music, self recorded at Trinity Productions which highlights the characters in the story and their motivations. More even than the hand sculpted polymer props that the characters interact with, the hand made miniature furniture they sit upon or the hand stitched wardrobe they wear. Perhaps least appreciated are the facades and structures that create the environments in which the characters live and breathe. The mercado scene in Head Cases Issue #1 features more than five mobile and independent storefronts with window displays, signage, storefront kiosks and extras (background puppets.) Basically everything involved in the production of a full length feature film, only at a miniature scale and intended for static print.
Well, who's fault is that? Mine. I shouldn't have confused the issue so badly by making such an intricate web of engaging products! See what I mean? Do you understand now, why I dread to hear about 'what I should do?'
So what DO I do when I hear that question? I'll tell you what I do. I give the people what they want! You want crochet from a guy - Viola! I give you BROchet! YouTube a couple of videos to teach myself a double crochet, half-double crochet and t-stitch and now The Dope Fiends Comics and Dome Fiends Millinery and Haberdashery include a line of crocheted silly hats, headbands, hoodies, and cosplay costumes with new items and designs being added regularly.
Oh, did you think that was all? Nope. Sorry, but it turns out that stop-motion puppetry and cosplay aren't enough to satisfy the people's need for Dope. The newest development from your favorite fiends combines the elements of puppetry, music, crochet cosplay and storytelling into one giant globular treat. EXP is a new dubstep performance duo that uses traditional Chinese bunraku puppetry and contemporary black light effects to create a new style of visually stunning music video.
I know it's a lot to take in, but with this many good ideas being cranked out, you're sure to find something of value to take away from our product base.
...and if you'd like to take a deeper look at what actually goes into creating the comics, costumes, puppets, music and more please check out the new Making Of section of our website for an exclusive behind-the scenes peek!
Thanks to the Dope Fiends, you can have your comic and wear it too!
- Revy AP