Menage a 3 is a sex-comedy webcomic featuring the life and exploits of a group of young adults living in Montreal, Canada. It’s frequently NSFW and always good for the LOLs.
Eerie Cuties is a horror-comedy about a group of students at an all monster (is that politically correct?) high school.
After searching for nearly 1,000 years, I found the creative team behind these two comics, a mysterious duo known as Gisele and Dave, and they were kind enough to let me interview them.
Alex: Tell us a little about yourselves.
Gisele: I was born & raised in New-Brunswick. I started on the workforce as a musician in Montreal, Quebec. I played bass guitar in an all-girl band called Barbarella. I then switched to my first love as a kid, cartooning. Since it wasn’t easy to make a living off of it, I studied graphic design in Ottawa, and worked in that during the day, and did cartooning in the evening, until it became profitable enough for me to make it my day job as well.
Dave: Lessee… Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec but raised in Ottawa, Ontario. I studied art & design in university with the goal of becoming a comic book artist. Gisele had inspired me to start up my own webcomic, but due to a full time workload at my job at the bookstore, I didn’t have the energy to go through with it. After 3 failed attempts, Gisele suggested we collaborate together for Ma3.
Alex: How did you guys come together to form a webcomics team?
Gisele: We met at the bookstore where Dave works. It clicked very quickly, as our tastes were very similar. When I started Menage a 3, I knew he’d be the perfect guy to help me with it. His sense of humor was perfect.
Dave: Oh! Well, that’s an interesting story! You see Gisele thought everything I wrote was pure drivel. So to rectify this, I hired a cult of religious fanatics to kidnap Gisele from her workplace, and I had them brainwash her into thinking what I wrote was hilarious. After a quick mind wipe, and a few post hypnotic suggestions, later we–I… Uhh… I mean… Y-Yeah! What Gisele said!… Th-the bookstore thing… that really happened…AND NOTHING ELSE!
Alex: What’s the creative process like behind the creation of each strip?
Gisele: We generally talk and plot out a few strips, or a whole arc. We then go our separate ways, and write up dialogue for strips. We compare notes, grab the best stuff, tweak it until we’re both happy, and then send it off to T Campbell, our Editor, who’ll then tell us we’re crazy and that we should start from scratch. LOL (Okay, it’s not THAT bad.) Once the dialogue is good to go, I bring it into Manga Studio, and start laying out the pages. With Menage a 3, I do the whole thing, from roughs to final product. With Eerie Cuties, I letter & pencil, but let Shouri (springiette.net) do the inking and toning. With Magick Chicks, at the moment, I’ve been lettering and doing pencil breakdowns. Shouri then does final pencils, inks and toning.
Dave: On the art side, sometimes I’ll have a specific expression in mind that’s hard to describe in words. In those cases, I draw a crude sketch of it in Manga Studio & send it over to Gisele via Skype to give her an idea of what I had in mind. I tend to be really over the top, so the result is some wacky expressions on Gisele’s end (lol).
Alex: Where did the original ideas for Menage a 3 and Eerie Cuties come from?
Gisele: Menage a 3 just came to me one day as I was eating lunch with my longtime boyfriend. I was reminiscing on Three’s Company, and it went from there. I had the name and characters all down that same day. Even bought the domain. Dave then helped me define them a bit more in the evening. Once writing began, Dave quickly injected his brand of humor on what I was writing, and it didn’t take long for me to see that we’d be co-writing this together.
Eerie Cuties took longer to plan out for me. The original idea was totally different, and was more vampire centric. I tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked for a couple of months, until I felt I was ready to give it a go. Dave eventually joined me on that project too. His ideas were just too fun to not do them.
Alex: How far in advance do you plan the storylines for Menage a 3 and Eerie Cuties?
Gisele: Hard to say. Some arcs are planned out way ahead of time but just don’t fit the characters at the moment in regards to growth, so those are put on the back burner. In general though, we do try to plan & outline the arc we’re about to tackle, but it’s not rare for us to then write a gag that changes that plan, and sends us flying by the seat of our pants.
Dave: Yeah, a lot of stuff we had ideas for at the beginning are simply unusable now, due to how the story wound up progressing. On the other hand, book 3 should end with a joke that’s been literally 2 years in the making. It’s rare that we’re able to stick to our guns like that (lol).
Alex: What are some pages that really stand out to you as ones that you’re especially proud of?
Gisele: I’m more proud of certain arcs, than individual pages. For instance, I thought we did a good job with “Backstage Pass” on Menage a 3, and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” on Eerie Cuties. Those really got the readers excited, and that was fun for us.
Dave: I’m gonna get roasted alive for this one, but my favorite Ma3 arc is also our most hated of all time, “Gently caress you”. I got to tackle the subject of internet trolling in a humorous way, and despite all the complaints we got about the ending, I still find it to be hillllllllllarious! (lol) For EC, I’m going to say “Girls just want to have fun”, because we really managed to balance out the full spectrum of horror & cute that the series is supposed to be about.
Alex: Which of your characters do you enjoy writing the most?
Gisele: I like them all, for all series, but I hold (and I think I’m not alone here) a special place in my heart for Dillon & Zii in Menage a 3, and Layla in Eerie Cuties. I get the feeling it’ll be Mel for Magick Chicks, but too early to tell right now. If you look at the world of Archie, I prefer Veronica over Betty (unless it’s crazy Betty from back in the day,) and Dave loves Reggie, so I think that should give you an idea as to why we like characters like Zii or Layla. LOL
Dave: Pretty much all of them, but I’ll say Yuki in particular in Ma3. She’s so crazy, we can go nuts with her. With Eerie Cuties, I like Brooke. Because there’s no set mythology for her, it allows us to go in whatever direction we want with her.
Alex: The characters of Eerie Cuties are a very diverse group. Are there any sorts of monsters or creatures that you haven’t included yet but would like to?
Gisele: Oh, sure! We hope to be able to add more when needed. The storyline will normally dictate what we’ll need, so we create them as needed.
Dave: I’d like to work in a Dryad at some point. I like Dryads… I don’t know why…
Alex: Menage a 3 is a soft R comic, due to the frequent sexy-comedy situations, whereas Eerie Cuties is PG-13. Have there been many times where you’ve had difficulty writing what you wanted while still keeping Eerie Cuties PG-13? I know you guys had one panel that you decided to revoke after some deliberation.
Gisele: Yeah, it’s not easy, but we try our best. It’s important to us to have Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks accessible to young teens.
Dave: That’s one line that gets more blurred with every passing day (lol).
Alex: What other comics are you fans of?
Gisele: I read manga and old Archie comics from the seventies more than anything else. Online, I follow Rin-ne over at Shonen Sunday religiously, and buy the books when they come out. I read webcomics sporadically. Dave is usually the one to point me towards the good gags he found.
Dave: A few favorites would include…
American comics: The Chris Yost & Craig Kyle run on “New X-men.” Amaaaaazing comic that was sadly made redundant by the editorial staff. Worth checking out. Especially the Skottie Young issues.
Manga: To Love Ru (it’s a guilty pleasure, what can I say!) Keroro Gunso (there is very little I do not love about Sgt. Frog.)
Manwah: Dorothe of OZ & PHD Fantasy (Sonn Jee Hoon is one of my favorite comic creators.)
European Comics: “Lou!” by Julien Neel, as well as Boulet’s Blog http://www.bouletcorp.com/blogen/
And for webcomics, I have a special fondness for 2 series that are sadly underrated: Raven Perez’s “Raven’s Dojo” http://ravensdojo.com/ and Alex Wendzel’s “Out at Home” http://www.out-at-home.com/
Alex: Where all can people find you on the internet?
Thanks again to Gisele and Dave! People, do yourselves a favor and go check out their comics if you haven’t already!