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Wednesday, October the 5th sees the return of The AusComX show… back for Season 2. Sizzle is back with a new co-host, Lady Rattus herself, the fabulous Lauren Marshall. Our first guest is none other than Brisbane Local and creator of Deathship Jenny and LIFF – Rob O’Connor. Who is Rob? Who is Jenny? Join us and find out Wednesday night.

TRANSCRIPTION (there may be errors in the following text)


Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:00:12):
Welcome to season two of the Olds Comic Show. You are Me Sizzle, and here with Lady Radis as well. My new Charact. Woo

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:00:22):
Woo. How you doing Susan?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:00:25):
I’m doing well, thank you yourself?

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:00:27):
Yeah, look, I’m kicking on. It’s fantastic. I’m ready for the first episode of season two and we’ve got a spectacular guest from what I know.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:00:37):
Yes, we have Rob. he wrote and drew this beauty here. This is cover the cover of number one. So let’s get on with the show and let’s meet Rob.

Rob O’Connor (00:01:14):
Hey guys, how’s it going?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:01:16):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:01:17):
Good. Hey Rob welcome to the show. First off, hey kicking off season two, you must be pumped.

Rob O’Connor (00:01:25):
<laugh>. Yeah, I’ll call it pumped. <laugh>.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:01:29):
<laugh>. Hey, we’ve gotta probably Olivia A. Little bit UNC clunky today, so we’re running off minimal sleep for me and Sizzle being absolutely bonkers with all the stuff he does for the comics community. Let’s just roll with it, shall we?

Rob O’Connor (00:01:44):
Yeah, <laugh>.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:01:46):
Cool. So we’re obviously here with you. You’ve creator of Death Ship, Jenny. We’re gonna be talking about that and touching on some parts about your comic shortly. But before we jump into that, I wanna just get to know you as a creator yourself. Maybe have a chat to us about yourself in your creative journey, how you got started. I know lots of people love hearing about in particular when you started picking up a pencil, so don’t forget to mention that. But yeah, we’d love to hear a little bit about yourself.

Rob O’Connor (00:02:22):
Okay, my favorite topic, me, <laugh>. <laugh>. Okay. Oh look, I’ve been drawing cartoons forever for when I was a kid. I just like myself in my bedroom and just draw and draw and draw. Probably not really superheroes, probably more like political cartoons and <affirmative> and caricatures and sort of stuff like that. And just any weird stuff that I comes outta my head as all good cartoonists would. And so when high school finished I thought, oh, I’ll go to art college and that’ll be really cool. And it didn’t work out well. I didn’t get in basically because I went to, I wasn’t as serious artist for your fine arts groups or your illustrators and whatnot, which

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:03:21):
Was a bit for that year, wasn’t it?

Rob O’Connor (00:03:23):
Yeah, I was just showing them all my weird cartoons and didn’t impress them all that much. So I became a primary school teacher. I know that’s a bit of a leap 180

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:03:34):

Rob O’Connor (00:03:35):
Little kids. It was great. I had a great time. I was the teacher who could draw, so I drew lots of cartoons for the kids and did all of that amongst teaching all of the other things that you do in primary school, all the bits and pieces but the art itch never left

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:03:55):
Never really does it.

Rob O’Connor (00:03:57):
No. So I thought, oh, well I’ll just go off and set up that serious side. I’ll do a whole heap of serious art. So I got ready, I did some really nice serious paintings and all of that sort of stuff and came down to Queensland Art College and discovered there was an animation department. So I thought I’d check them out and I brought in all of my stuff and they looked at all of my lovely serious art and went, do you have any cartoons,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:04:30):

Rob O’Connor (00:04:33):
And after I stopped hitting my head against the desk, I went offered two straight weeks and just did nothing else but draw all day and just created a folio of cartoons. And so I became an animator. I went through all of that and eventually I got a job in the animation industry. It was a multimedia group and I was doing animation for them that was educational. It was health stuff for kids and it was sort of explaining parts of the body and how the digestive system works and all of that sort of stuff. So I became the artist who could teach which, and

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:05:19):
Link it back to your teaching career as well. It’s crazy <laugh>.

Rob O’Connor (00:05:23):
And that’s what happened as the years went on I, I was a flash animator. Yeah,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:05:34):
Cool. I remember that. I an animator as well. Yeah, flash was my go-to

Rob O’Connor (00:05:39):
And eventually Flash died of course. And besides that, my role was becoming more and more the teaching side of things. So I decided to, after a long hard think just go back to doing art for fun again.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:06:01):
Yeah, nice.

Rob O’Connor (00:06:03):
So I started drawing cartoons. I did stuff for H two G two, which was the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy website. This was all Facebook. And I was just doing a weekly comic about life at home. There was an indie comic in the nineties or early two thousands called Sporadic that I also contributed to. And then I got involved with the Oz Comics Group, Darren Close and the Oz Comics Weekly Challenge. And that opened some huge floodgates and started to get to know a few people in the indie comics industry in Oz. And eventually that led down the path of Darren asking me to be the artist for one of the Oo gang wars stories. <affirmative>.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:07:10):
Okay, cool.

Rob O’Connor (00:07:12):
And so that was a big learning curve. It was about 11 pages, but it was nothing like I’d ever done before. So that was pretty far out

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:07:23):
<laugh> working within someone else’s parameters and script and stuff. It’s a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Rob O’Connor (00:07:30):
It definitely is. But I needed it. I needed somebody else’s script at that stage just to run with it. And yeah, from there I went. Stuart Cook has a great comic called Dave Zombie Hunter, which I dunno how many people know it. It was basically think Sean of the Dead, but with Bogans

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:08:04):
<laugh>, we need Sizzle, we need him on the show pretty much.

Rob O’Connor (00:08:07):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:08:07):
Yeah, it sounds like it.

Rob O’Connor (00:08:11):
And that was my first full, my first full comics issue, like 24 pages, the whole shebang. And that was again the next steep learning curve. And all the way through it, I’m going, oh, drawing mutant kangaroos in biker gangs. That’s really cool. But I don’t know if that’s what I’d do. And then, oh, bogans fighting zombies, that’s really cool. But I don’t know if that’s what I’d do. And so there was a voice inside me where, well, what would you do? And Slap gave myself my own slap down and yeah, death ship journey was the result.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:08:59):
Amazing. So that obviously leads into my next question. Obviously you’ve got Death Ship Journey. Fantastic read by the way, <affirmative> I don’t wanna give too much away but yeah, I can’t refer it to this specific movie, which I said cause I think that might give away a little bit too much in terms of the story but I definitely get post apocalyptic little bit, but also matric see a little bit, I don’t know, it’s I’m really trying not to be specific with this movie Anyway it’s a really well rounded four issue comic. Tell us a little bit about Jenny and the story and everything that you love about it. Pretty much

Rob O’Connor (00:09:55):
I had to prepare for this because I think I’ve created the worst comic in the world to give an elevator pitch for <laugh>. No one sentence. The closest I’ve got, and I had to write it down because I was trying to think of how you describe

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:10:12):
Cue card.

Rob O’Connor (00:10:13):
Yes. I’m using my key card right now. Basically the comic is about reality television, engineering and marts

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:10:24):
That. No, that’s pretty spot on. That’s kinda what I was trying get to.

Rob O’Connor (00:10:30):
And that’s kinda it for the listeners who are probably very confused right now. I’ll the world it is, but it’s the world we see in the comic book is a utopia. Basically a revolution happened. We got rid of borders, we got rid of wars, we got rid of money, we cleaned up the environment, we put industry, we moved all of our industry on the moon basically. You don’t have to work if you don’t want to. We want for nothing basically. And the comic is set 200 years after that happened this and this was the topic, this was the thing that I was actually quite interested in doing. If you’ve gone through all of that and you’ve come out the other side, what’s life like 200 years after an event like that? And basically I sort of came the satist and me went if we went for nothing, basically all of the things that we would complain about in life war taxes, all of those things hunger’s gone as well and all of that sort of stuff with all of the big things gone to complain about, we’ve become obsessed with the little things and that it’s a completely celebrity reality television engrossed culture.

And I’m making this sound very theoretical, but it’s not, it’s really silly.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:12:21):
Some people are obsessed with celebrity reality tv, even in this day and age when we’ve got millions of problems. That totally makes sense.

Rob O’Connor (00:12:30):
That’s it. And I, I’ve sort of tried to amp that up. I’ve tried to turn that to 11. That’s just the pop culture desire for everything. And so within that, Jenny is at a Kardashian Kardashian level in a world where everybody wants to be a celebrity. Jenny is a Kardashian level celebrity. She had a hit TV show when she was a kid called Death Ship Jenny, where she played the main character it finished and her pushy B grade celebrity parents have pushed her off, have tried to keep the gravy train going by, putting her on every ad, every product known to humans. But the thing is, Jenny hates all of it. That’s the thing.

Once she hates it all, she thinks it’s all fake and horrible and all of that. She has a secret desire to be an engineer in a world where everyone’s after celebrity, she runs out she’s a really good engineer. She’s been and she’s just graduated with honors from an engine, from studying and she’s just, the whole story starts with her announcing to her parents that she wants to get out. But of course it’s not as easy as that when you are Kardashian level celebrity. So she thinks the best thing to do is to run away from home and help defend the earth from the Martians. So in this world, martians exist. Cool. And yeah, most of the story is her trying to run away <laugh>. And finally

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:14:36):
At the beginning of reading it it was very, I’ve seen the story before in terms of the parent, the parents trying to control their children, children going against their parents, but it really does take its own turns and stuff later on. I thought it was really awesome. The ending is spot on and to fit it all into four issues I think is fantastic. It’s really well rounded issue. Well, I see it as a full solid issue of one story, which I think is really good. You’ve done it really well and you illustrated and wrote this story as well, which is a big part on the back. I couldn’t do it myself. Did you find that challenging at all in terms of not working in the collaborative team, which I’ve like in terms of a creator myself, I do bouncing off other people, but working by yourself did you find that it was fairly easy or did you come against any roadblocks at all?

Rob O’Connor (00:15:39):
I didn’t find it easy but at the same time I didn’t work completely in a vacuum. I was endlessly showing people drafts and concepts and hey, is this a good idea or is this a good script? Would you read this story if I made it? And then even once we got past that, once the first issue was made before it went out to print again, leaning on comic book, making friends and going, Hey, do you reckon this has got a shot? Should I keep going with this? It was all of that sort of thing. And bouncing, getting ideas, bouncing back and getting good feedback and sort fine tuning that writing right up until the point where it was sent to the good to Doug and the good people that comic books on demand.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:16:37):
Yeah. Cool. I know obviously it’s better when it’s created. Did you ever have that point? A lot of people struggle with, is it ever gonna be good enough to print or I know artists always go, I could do better, I could revise this, I could keep going back and changing anything. Did you have any of those moments where you’re like, I’m not sure if it’s ready or not, or did you just get to a point print

Rob O’Connor (00:17:05):
All the time?

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:17:06):
I think as any artist we kind of do

Rob O’Connor (00:17:11):
And yeah, like you touched on working in a vacuum is simultaneously good and terrifying. But yeah, it got through the end and it was really nice going off to places like Supernova afterwards or it’s not happening at the moment, but Tucan over in Toowoomba they were doing it there and it was really great meeting with people who’d read it and telling me what they thought and just getting the feedback was really good. And that actually made going past issue one actually simultaneously it was enough to get me going into two issue, two and beyond. But yeah, then it’s sort trying to keep up with the success of the first one and making sure that the story rounded out and yeah, it was a rollercoaster.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:18:21):
<laugh>. Yeah, it’s like an emotional, you kind of come out just gig, gasping for air wants you to finally get something out and print. So kudos to that. You’ve done an awesome job. Thank you. Speaking of people when giving you feedback, Jenny’s like a powerhouse female lead character did you find a lot of people resonate with that character and appreciate it? I found it intriguing. I loved it.

Rob O’Connor (00:18:49):
Yeah. Sorry, I’m trying to think about that. That’s a really good question.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:19:00):
Or just as a character in general. Not that she’s female. I think

Rob O’Connor (00:19:04):
I got far more feedback from her about her as a character in general. And there was a lot of things that were not very typic. There’s, there’s a lot of things not very typical about a main character with Jenny. So I think a lot of people tapped into that and have really enjoyed that she’s not particularly heroic or

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:19:28):
She felt relatable, which I think is super important. I could see parts of myself in her and I’m sure other people do, just trying to either go against the grain or realize that what their parents sometimes obviously aren’t thinking of the best for them and stuff. Not that particular. I love my parents <laugh>, just putting them out there <laugh>. But this is a little question that I thought might be a little bit fun just to learn about your characters a little bit more. If somebody hasn’t read Death ship, Jenny if you could inherit a trait, whether it be physical, mental, personality wise, whatever, and what would it be and why?

Rob O’Connor (00:20:20):
The thing that I really liked most about Jenny was she was kind of focused, <laugh> belligerent and never took things on face value. She always asks questions even when the world was at her feet and she was being, oh look, you’ve got all of this stuff now then. But no, she wouldn’t take that on face value. She’d always sort ask, try and ask all the right questions because I suppose part of the thing about having being a celebrity all your life was the fact that people will blow smoke up you and she, she’s used to everybody being incredibly nice to her, but not very rarely were people being real to her. I keep saying being real and she says that a lot all the way through, but that gets kind of flipped on its head as well. <laugh>,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:21:27):

Rob O’Connor (00:21:27):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:21:29):
<laugh>. So is that the kind character that you like to write? Because as Ari, I’m not a writer myself. I imagine as an artist I still imagine people or characters in general, what kind of character I like women who would not, sorry, women characters who are strong go against the grain type thing. That’s the kind of character that I like to put into stories and obviously get a writer to write it for me because I’m ridiculously bad at it. But she Is Jenny sort of an encompass of what you loved in a character you like to go for?

Rob O’Connor (00:22:08):
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it was definitely, and especially since it was the first time I’d written a comic, I went, well I wanna write something that if I saw it on a comic shelf that I’d take it off and have a look through and go, oh, this is pretty cool. And by myself.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:22:30):
Yeah, well that’s why everyone needs to go by it, that’s why <laugh>. Yeah. So going back on, you mentioned that you worked with Darren on Kru in specifically Gang Wars. I’ve worked with him as well and I absolutely loved it. How did you find working with an iconic Aussie character that a lot of people already know and is well established?

Rob O’Connor (00:23:02):
It was tricky, especially Darren’s a hard task master, especially in get making sure that his in a good way. Oh definitely. Good way <laugh>. Especially making sure the characters get right. And I’ve talked with other people regarding that. They’ve all said they’ve gone through the same process. Something about Rufuss ears like kangaroos ears I’ve say is very specific and Darren has that great knack of knowing exactly what those ears should look like for example, and try again, get those ears, this is what they should look like. And I’d go off and I’d draw some more and bring it back and no, no, no, you haven’t got it right yet. You’ve gotta get this sort of thing. And I’m almost breaking my pencils, but I’m trying to get it right. And the feedback when you finally get them right, I did it.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:24:03):
The good thing about it, I’m a sucker for understanding why you do specific things. So when I was learning about human anatomy and stuff like that, I need to figure out why certain joints go somewhere and why it moves that way and sits that way on the body and slumping and bending. But the good thing about Darren told me why the ears have to be a particular way because the construction of them is completely different to another animal. I think that’s really fascinating and super informative as well and helps a creator, especially when you’re handing over a character and explaining these certain things. I find it super helpful when drawing them. But yeah, definitely. Yeah, no, a hundred percent the ears, as soon as you point he points it out, then you’re just like, yep, I understand where you’re coming from.

Rob O’Connor (00:24:51):
Yeah, totally. There are other things in the story that I drew as well that the brand of Bike that Ruthless was riding was very specific and I had to do a lot of research into making sure I got that right too <laugh>.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:25:08):
And did you find, you learned quite a lot through that process as well, working for somebody else that does have a well established character and an idea and is quite thorough with their script and also their character models. Did you find that elevated your work quite a lot?

Rob O’Connor (00:25:24):
Totally, totally. Yeah. And also whole it was also my first real time at trying to draw a comic book story. So all of those things that you sort learn instinctively from having read lots of comics like panels and the placement of speech bubbles and all of those sorts of things. It was more than just getting a Rufus, it was the whole shebang and it was such a good experience and such a good learning curve.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:26:05):
Yeah, a hundred percent. I got the same thing out of it, which was forever in depth to that fella. So everyone’s art is unique, obviously. Touching on that including yours, do you have any notable influences that you look up to and reference when starting out to draw? I know you’re talking about animation. I love Dean Yel and some old school animators from Disney and they influence a lot of my work. Is there anyone in particular that’s notable for you?

Rob O’Connor (00:26:41):
It depends on what style I’m drawing. When the Death Sip Jenny kind of style, always from a comic book up point of view. I love artists like Bill Seitz Frank Miller and Clause Janssen when they were doing Dead Devil. And then David Elli a little bit later on when I was doing Death Ship, I was also looking heavily at the Hawk series that had David Aja, I think that’s how you pronounce his last name. I can never remember a j. that was really cool. And I was also looking a lot at Gale Simone’s series black Magic and I loved all of those and I was definitely getting ideas from her stuff. And actually all of those people, maybe not Bill because only Bill can draw like Bill No but certainly getting a lot of keys on how they laid out a panel, how they laid out a page. Yeah, just lots of influences like that. Yeah, if I’m just drawing on a day to day basis, not really thinking about drawing and just doodling on a page I’ve been told that my styles very tint tin,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:28:27):
Eh, that’s not too bad.

Rob O’Connor (00:28:29):
That’s a good thing. So just dots for eyes,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:28:32):
<laugh>. Yeah, I was gonna say, given that you had the political comics in mind and then also animation which are quite similar and then Frank Miller, it is quite an eclectic mix. Do you find that it helps if you study different drawing styles to help bring yours to life a little bit more?

Rob O’Connor (00:28:58):
All the time. Especially when you’ve got into the world of animation or basically the art world of working for different clients you wanna have a lot of different strings to your bow. And if they say, oh, we wanna do it in the style of the opening credits to Casino Royale <affirmative>, then a you’ve gotta try and draw on that style. And so that was probably a lot of my learning ground doing that sort of artwork and trying to draw Mickey Mouse being

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:29:43):

Rob O’Connor (00:29:44):
Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:29:46):
Especially when you wanna go into as a career as an artist as well, I’ve always advocated to be open to learning new techniques and different styles so that you are as said, adaptable to many different occasions where a client will ask for a specific style or not. In regards to your personal style, what resonates the best with you? Is it the tin tin sort of look that you feel more comfortable with?

Rob O’Connor (00:30:16):
I’m, I’m definitely more comfortable with that, but I’ve been trying to train myself over the years to do the classic comic book style. But even then it doesn’t look a lot. Everybody’s got their own technique and their own style and I guess I have mine as well.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:30:34):
It’s kind of like a thumbprint almost for an artist. So I feel like owning that, and I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but if I’m drawing something and a particular client or whatever ask for me to do in a particular style or still always find myself seeing my preference sneaking in still, which is good. You’re always gonna leave that thumbprint elsewhere but can also shoot you in the butt a little bit sometimes <laugh>. So

Rob O’Connor (00:31:10):
The tin 10, sorry to interrupt the, I just suddenly realized the Tin 10 style that I say is my sort of default cartoon style. I used for a project that I didn’t even mentioned in my list of things that I’ve done.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:31:24):
Plug it,

Rob O’Connor (00:31:26):
I plug it. When I was trying to work out what I was going to do as an artist once of the art gigs were starting to leave my workplace I decided I was going to draw a challenge myself to write a year’s worth of comic strips. Just the sort of comic strips that you would’ve seen in a newspaper that you can’t see anymore. We won’t talk about that. That’s

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:32:00):
Touchy subject.

Rob O’Connor (00:32:01):
That’s a touchy subject. <laugh>. So I, there we go. I created Lift, which is basic as you can probably see. It’s

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:32:14):
We’ll bring you up. Can you bring that up on the screen?

Rob O’Connor (00:32:17):
Oh yeah, sorry. Yeah, right. That’s okay. Here we go.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:32:20):
Yeah, way different from that one. Yeah. Your art style’s like way more.

Rob O’Connor (00:32:25):
Yeah. So the pages, if I just opened it up to a random one, as you can quickly see, it really is your classic newspaper strip style. And yeah, I was trying to challenge myself to do a new one every night and put it up on a blog website. So that was kind of fun. I managed to, managed to stop at 52 weeks. I didn’t do it in a year though. I did it in two, I did it over two years. I had works, yeah, <laugh>, but it was basically me looking over the couch and watching my family and trying to figure out something funny that had happened that day and turning that into comic book form.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:33:15):
I think that sort of style that just sort of reminds me of Tom Tongue, is it? And he’s like Mini Tom. I don’t say it enough to him. I really enjoy his stuff popping up on my feed because it is relatable and it’s personal and it’s just quick and fun. So that sort of style of work I really enjoy as well. So

Rob O’Connor (00:33:45):
Completely agree. I love his stuff.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:33:47):
Yeah, yeah, really good. And I don’t say enough to him that I love it and I, I’m bummed I missed out him out on a drink and draw. He’s been on a couple of times as well, so Keen.

Rob O’Connor (00:33:59):
He was on the recent one, he Cecil?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:34:00):
Yeah, he was on the recent one. That was his first one actually, so Oh, he was sick. He’s coming back. He’s coming back.

Rob O’Connor (00:34:05):
Oh, awesome.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:34:06):
Yeah, be keen to see him some more. Definitely. So talking about Aussie creators and stuff like that this show we are trying to promote obviously Aussie comics, the Aussie comic industry. Oh, before I keep going ahead, if you guys have any questions for Rob, please send them through and we will shoot them his way because we wanna make sure that you guys get the most out of the show. As a Aussie creator yourself, what do you hope to see from the Australian comic industry in the future? Whether it’s to provide for yourself or what you want to see happen with the publishing side of stuff, is there anything that you wanna see either get better or come to fruition?

Rob O’Connor (00:35:01):
It’s a really hard one. I don’t possibly think of how it could be fixed. I’d just really love to see the time. I’ve done a few supernova style gigs now of I’ve probably done it four or five times at Supernova and a few three times at Tucan. I haven’t done those, I haven’t done ComicCon yet but maybe one day I find one a year’s really good and it sort of drains the social battery and then you bring it back. I’m gonna be doing it this year. Quick plug with the Brad Pick skill.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:35:52):
Yeah. Cool. Oh awesome. Yeah, Brad, we’ve had on Drink and Draw as well. Yep.

Rob O’Connor (00:35:57):
Yeah, he’s been on the drink and draws lately. What I’d really like to see is more people slowing down in Artist Ali.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:36:10):
Oh God, yeah, <laugh>. Oh, I think that sort of hits home with a lot of us.

Rob O’Connor (00:36:16):
The thing I wanna see more, most

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:36:19):
I saw this really good, I hate to plug TikTok, but there’s this really good TikTok where someone’s like, what? It’s like being in an artist alley. And it was like I was pumped to see it cause I was like, I wonder if it’s anything that relates to me, but it’s people walking past me and like, oh my God, that’s so cool. And just keep walking.

Rob O’Connor (00:36:35):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:36:35):
You’re like, can you at least stop, have a chat with me, have a look at my stuff.

Rob O’Connor (00:36:43):
Well, no, I’ve gotta spend $80 to get a signature of that guy from that show at that time.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:36:50):
That won’t even care that I saw him. Yeah, cool.

Rob O’Connor (00:36:54):
And that’s cool. I mean the celebrities are what bring people there and the cosplay are great and they’ve spent all of their money on their outfits and they look absolutely fantastic.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:37:05):
And they’re artist themselves as well, so their craft is awesome.

Rob O’Connor (00:37:10):
That’s it. I just love to see a bit more love in the artist alley section.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:37:17):
What in specifically as well is the fact that Oz ComicCon a key word comic, which is frustrating when they don’t put enough emphasis on it. And then I’ve also find that they do not bring any international artists in at all anymore which obviously understandable because we had Covid and stuff like that, but they’re bringing in international celebrities now, so it’s kind of like, can you please bring focus back onto that? Absolutely. Totally understandable that people won’t give you the time of day when you’re trying to pitch to them just quickly a ten second pitch of your story. And because it’s not Marvel, DC iw, whatever, they just immediately go like, I don’t, like, the confidence is not there

Rob O’Connor (00:38:08):
Even. And like I’ve said, death Jenny is it’s a hard one to elevate a pitch but even when I was doing trying to sell a comic that I could elevate a pitch, Dave Zombie Hunter was perfect.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:38:28):
Think zombie Hunter <laugh>.

Rob O’Connor (00:38:33):
And then if you need any more information, think Sean of the Dead. But with Bogans,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:38:38):
Yeah, it’s relatable, right?

Rob O’Connor (00:38:40):
Yeah. Single sentence pitch. Fantastic. Still the same sort of reaction. And I don’t want,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:38:49):
What I was trying to touch on before when we started, I wanted to reference this particular movie for death ship, Jenny, but I feel like that would give too much away <laugh>. And obviously when you’re trying to sell something, don’t, you’re not trying to sell a spoiler. Right. And yeah, it’s a fine line.

Rob O’Connor (00:39:07):
That’s it. And no spoilers for Jenny, but yeah, it’s a story that has lots of reveals and lots of plot twists and stuff like that and knowing them in advance. Great. Yeah, it’s a better experience if you don’t know.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:39:28):
Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent. That’s why I don’t even wanna touch on it at all. So going specifically more about yourself and your place within the comic, the Aussie comic industry what’s your five year plan? Do you plan on doing more of Degen? Are you thinking of maybe doing a new series or contributing to other people’s projects? What’s on your radar?

Rob O’Connor (00:39:59):
Actually, I’m very much in flux on that one at the moment. I keep trying to think of a new Jenny story and I’ve had the inklings I’ve, I’ve started to think of interesting things that could happen in a future issue, in future issues. And I’d really like to do that again, I’d like to explore that world but I’m just as keen to try something new or start something new.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:40:32):
We kind of need to start sometimes, right? Something fresh.

Rob O’Connor (00:40:36):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:40:37):

Rob O’Connor (00:40:37):
Totally. And I’ll be frank, the spark hasn’t been good the last couple of years.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:40:44):
Oh I think that’s for everyone. We’re too busy dealing with the decent flu

Rob O’Connor (00:40:48):
<laugh>. This is very true. Musicians seem mean despite the music industry just

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:40:57):

Rob O’Connor (00:40:58):
Having such hard times. The number of new albums coming out now because of Covid, the sort of we’re out, we’ve been recording and writing all the way through those years. It’s really nice to see so much music coming out lately. I’m hoping we’ll see lots of comics too. But at the same time, during that time though, there were no sparks for me. <laugh>. Yeah, they were times,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:41:26):
Well I think people forget how emotionally invested you do get in projects. People think it’s just a lot of labor. You write a story, you draw it, you publish it, you send it out, whatever you do at crowdfund, whatever, there’s a lot of hard work in terms of that. But in terms of emotional investment that you put into a comic, it’s your baby. You create this idea, this world and you’re putting your heart and soul into this. It’s draining sometimes and having to continue that on. And people just want to obviously love what you’ve done so far and you just need to give more to fill your cup sometimes and be able to wait for that before you can continue on that journey.

Rob O’Connor (00:42:07):
Yeah, definitely. Though I’ve been very, very aware of all of that too because of, oh and a bit like I was saying before, that each needs to be scratched. So I think whatever whatever’s happening is gonna happen next start happening next year, there’s gonna be, there’s the need to create starting big time and brewing. It’s brewing. So I think next year’s gonna be the start of new things. Whether it’s a continuation of Jenny or something completely new, I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:42:43):
Yeah. Awesome. So as a creator writing and drawing I’m sure you’ve learned many golden nuggets of wisdom through your time. Is there anything that stands out to you that you would offer to other artists that are striving for knowledge and want to learn and excel them? Cause I know there’s certain specific things that I’ve been told or taught that have stuck with me for ages. Is there anything that you always go back to that you dislike? This is a very good piece of knowledge for me.

Rob O’Connor (00:43:21):
The one that’s been sticking in my head lately, because I’ve been trying to live by it, but I’ve also been trying to give it to other people as well. The one that’s been sticking in my head lately is if you do, nothing happens. And there’s a lot of bits and pieces to that. It’s sort doing nothing is kind of your safe zone, but at the same time you’re not putting your neck out, you’re not

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:44:04):
Taking a risk,

Rob O’Connor (00:44:05):
Taking a risk, but also you’re not creating anything. So the only way to move forward is by doing something. And sometimes I get a bit obsessive about that. Once something has started at the moment I’m doing in Toba and I know that is going, if I don’t create something every day that’s gonna weigh on me a bit. Yeah. I’m very driven to get it done.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:44:50):
Do you think that not

Rob O’Connor (00:44:53):
Doing it, it’s just as easy to not do anything and then the month will go by and you go, oh well nothing happened.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:45:00):
Yeah, that brings me to a good little, I dunno idea is social media in terms of in Toba is fantastic. I love in Toba I always give up two weeks in because either I lose interest or life gets in the way or something like that. And I know the idea is to keep you consistent and going forward. But I always also feel an immense pressure from social media that I need to post something consistently,

Rob O’Connor (00:45:32):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:45:33):
I’m gonna disappoint all these people that have been following me. And then they have been waiting for something from me for a while. And even now that I’m new to motherhood and stuff like that, I’m still trying to look after this fresh child and I’m still in the back of my head going, I haven’t posted anything and I feel terrible about it. Do you feel that same sort of pressure in terms of not even social media but showing people that you’re doing work and that you’re letting other people down?

Rob O’Connor (00:46:03):
That feeding the beast thing is very real and I’ve used it for good and it’s medieval as well.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:46:13):

Rob O’Connor (00:46:16):
I’ve used it to get death shift, Jenny done actually that’s sort of oh sort of. Oh look, I’ve past here, I’ve done the first page. And everyone, there’s some sort of reaction to it.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:46:34):
You’re like, yes, I have to do more. Yeah,

Rob O’Connor (00:46:36):
I’ve gotta do more now. And that actually spurs me on to get it done rather than petering out and going, oh, I’ll just have a break. And then you find out that break goes for six months before you start up again. So I’ve used it for good. I’ve used it to fuel me, fuel myself to get it something done. But at the same time, there are things that are not necessarily your goals that you are just doing for fun that that pressure to get things done can sometimes really knock you for six

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:47:21):
Eats away at you pretty much <affirmative>. Yeah. So in regards to, I’m gonna go backtrack a little bit cause there was a question that I just completely forgot about with comic events. Going back to that subject, is there anything in particular that you want, other than the fact that the focus on comics a little bit more is there anything that you would want to bring to the conventions or even a suggestion to other people, whether they’ve done it or not, if they’ve gone into the conventions before, is this something that you think that they should bring or try and promote that will help them or try and direct the conventions to be what they should be or prefer? Probably more preference to us. They’re not that they’re what they should be because cosplay and celebrities obviously part of the whole package

Rob O’Connor (00:48:21):
And important, I never wanna sort of knock them at all because <affirmative>, I get a kick out of the celebrities being there, I get a kick outta,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:48:33):
I saw the Weasley twins and I was like, oh my god, they’re real humans. <laugh>

Rob O’Connor (00:48:40):
And you know, walk around the corner and there’s John Jarret as he is. He always seems to be at every single and you just go, nice mate, vote. Good to see you again.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:48:51):
You wanna look at death Jenny <laugh>? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rob O’Connor (00:49:05):
It’s really tricky because I’m as guilty of it as many A certain element of my stall at a comic sort is fan art. I will get out my pictures of Toro and I’ll get out my pictures of whoever sort this superhero or that superhero because that does, it slows the customers down and sometimes they won’t buy your you original stuff that you spent nine months creating, but they’ll buy the quick old print or of somebody else’s property that you probably took an hour on. And so by doing so, you get to pay for the table

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:50:05):

Rob O’Connor (00:50:07):
Which is quite the investment for anyone who’s ever <laugh> ever sort sat behind one of those tables. I wish that there was less of that.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:50:25):
And the oversaturation of it as well. Everyone has to do the same thing and what’s trending on social media or in pop culture in general. And that’s the kind of print that you need to do. Cuz that’s what people are gonna stop for and they’re gonna be like, oh my god it’s Lokey I want, I love Lokey. I’m gonna have a look if, okay, well why are you here? Why don’t you have a look at my comic? They’re like, no, I’ll just have a look at your Lokey and then I’m gonna go

Rob O’Connor (00:50:51):

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:50:52):
OK <laugh>.

Rob O’Connor (00:50:54):
And you sort of sit there counting the dead pools as they drive walk past and yeah, <laugh> you go, oh maybe I should have a dead pool up on the wall. Maybe I’ll get a bit more. So yeah I, I’d love to see, but it’s not even, I suppose it’s not even really that there was one time, I do remember the story of one time we were sitting at a table at Supernova and there it was a pretty big powerhouse of comic artists. I was sitting with Darren and I was sitting with Stuart Cook. So we were selling oo, we were selling Dave Zombie Hunter, we had a few other key people that within the indie comics circles you’d go, ah, these guys are great, this, they bring out great products and all that sort of stuff. And beside us there was a guy that was selling wrestling masks that were themed to superheroes that he’d obviously just got a big box of them cheaply made from somewhere and you’d have people walking past going, oh, Dave Zombie Hunter that, oh Avengers.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:52:24):

Rob O’Connor (00:52:26):
And like I said, I’m as guilty of it as anybody sort trying some fan art behind me and having people buying it. But maybe we need to do that less,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:52:43):
I think like it’s not gonna go away, it’s always gonna be there. You’re gonna have to fight against it. I think coming up with a 5%, ten second pitch for your stuff, that’s really gonna engage people when they walk past and just be like, something’s caught their eye at your table. So obviously you’re doing something right already. One success. Two, you need to engage with them and really pull them in. Which is tough for some people because I know a lot of people don’t know how to socially engage with their customers that are coming up to their table. So you need to really just pull them in and to be like, do you love a story about whatever for say we’re talking about you crime noir with a little bit of mythology, that’s all you have to throw at them. And if that engages them enough then you can pull them in and talk to ’em about it without hopefully being distracted by whatever’s next door. That’s fine if they get distracted by that, if that’s what they’re into, go for it. But obviously you really do need to sell yourself and know how to sell yourself. And I think that’s really important with conventions.

Rob O’Connor (00:53:52):
Yes. But with our audience noticed that it’s really is a fine line between being that person who goes, Hey, do you wanna

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:54:11):

Rob O’Connor (00:54:11):
Big annoying and being so being

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:54:21):

Rob O’Connor (00:54:22):
Yeah, genuine and also people who don’t react very well to that sort of,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:54:30):
Yeah, you can tell who S’s not into the

Rob O’Connor (00:54:34):
Gazes who are just a bit like us <laugh>

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:54:39):
And there’s nothing

Rob O’Connor (00:54:40):
Wrong with that’s of wandering around going, oh I just wanna look at the comics. Thanks. So

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:54:43):
Yeah, if anything it’s all about retail knowledge and which is hard if you’ve never done it before.

Rob O’Connor (00:54:54):
So one of the things that I like to do at Cons is sit there and draw and a lot the sort of stuff I’m doing at the moment, I’ve got this thing where I just got straight brown paper and I’ve got this kind of style oh sorry, I’ve got this thing. So

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:55:17):
People love the craft paper, but the white popping it engages with them.

Rob O’Connor (00:55:22):
Exactly. So I find that it tends to attract people as well, the ones who don’t want to be to talk or be talked to.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:55:34):
And if they’re into it, they’ll engage with you and be like, what is that? Yeah, exactly. To opens that conversation.

Rob O’Connor (00:55:41):
Exactly. And then if you’re really lucky they’ll say, oh can you do a drawing for me?

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:55:53):
Yes, <laugh>.

Rob O’Connor (00:55:55):
Yes I would. I really like to draw, I would really like to do a drawing for you

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:56:00):
<laugh> for money <laugh>. But yeah, that’s a good point. Definitely the drawing that’s definitely worked for myself for them for coming in and that engagement starts on their end so they have ownership on that and they feel a little bit more comfortable talking to you. Good

Rob O’Connor (00:56:19):
Point. And then while you’re drawing, you sort of go, oh yeah, have a look at some of the comics. I do,

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:56:24):
Yeah. While I’m here. Yeah, go on

Rob O’Connor (00:56:26):
While you’re here sort of

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:56:28):

Rob O’Connor (00:56:29):
They’ll pick it up and sort of go, oh did you draw this?

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:56:34):
Oh no I didn’t.

Rob O’Connor (00:56:39):
This is my, these things.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:56:41):
That’s a whole nother rabbit hole that we’ll go down. Look, that’s it. So we’re coming out to the end of the show, obviously we don’t wanna leave out any important information. So before we leave, Rob, can you please let us know where we can find your work, whether it’s social media, Instagram, Facebook and where we can buy your gear?

Rob O’Connor (00:57:00):
Okay well I’m on the usual things, I’m on the Facebooks, just look up death ship Jenny. I’m on Insta, but that is Rob O’Connor underscore art and those are my main places for putting up artwork and such as well as my regular Facebook page.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:57:32):
Sweet. And also on comics, right?

Rob O’Connor (00:57:35):
Yes. So selling I do, I’ve got an accountant owner, indie <affirmative> if just look that up and yes, I thought I’d leave the best to last. I will testify. We just got death ship Jenny on comics, so

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:58:00):
Amazing, all three, all four issues. Sorry, not three.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:58:04):
Yeah. Awesome. And I forgot to touch on the little advertisements that you have through the book. Frigging smart. Super smart. Yeah, I love those. So good. So before we completely ran off the show on your comics profile, which you can find other profiles of other artists on there, if you wanna find out a little bit more about other artists, it says there that you are quite fond of the dad joke. Is there anything that you can throw our way just to put a little cherry on top of the interview?

Rob O’Connor (00:58:39):
<laugh>. Oh you got me on the spot now. Oh my favorite. I always had a soft spot for things going into the bar. Jokes like a horse goes into a bar, the bar and looks at him and goes, why the long face? But my favorite one of those is a grasshopper jumps into a bar or the bar and looks at him and says, Hey we got a named after you. He says what Kevin

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:59:07):
<laugh>. Sorry. It actually funny. I’m gonna tell that one to Lockie to save in the bank for later. That was awesome. Well thank you Rob. Thank you so much for coming on and telling us all about Jenny. and if I would highly recommend anybody reading it, it was fantastic. I wouldn’t say short and sweet but nice and well rounded for issue. I loved it. And yeah, definitely check it out if you cared through comics or directly through Rob himself. But Rob, thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate it and super grateful. Thank you.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:59:46):
Thank you very much, very

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (00:59:47):
Much. No problem. Sizzle over to you to round off the show.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:59:51):
Yeah, well thank you everyone for watching. Pretty much my little spiel at the end is remember to you like the video, subscribe to the channel cuz that’s always helps us out. So yeah, thank you very much for watching. Thank you very much to Lauren thank you very much for Rob being on the show and we’ve got one last comment. Oh look at that awesome first show. Good stuff.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (01:00:18):
Oh, thank you Lee. No problem. We’ll see you guys next week.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:21):
Yes, see you next week.

Lauren ‘Lady Rattus’ Marshall (01:00:23):
Bye. Good

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:23):
All see ya.

Voice Over (01:00:26):
Check ut for all things ComX and find out what ComX is all about. We hope you enjoyed the show.