Plus Awesome: Meet Spike, the Artist behind the Templar, AZ comic

Spike, the webcomic artist behind Templar, Arizona has some fans among Fat Chic readers. When I mentioned I was going to Minneapolis Indie Expo to stalk Randy Milholland of Something Positive, several friends immediately mentioned Spike’s comic, and her character Reagan. Slight fictionalization: “You’d love Reagan! She’s like you – she’s fat and she totally gets out and gets laid!” …”the comic sounds great. You know I’m in a monogamous marriage, right?” ..”er…” Templar Arizona comic is pretty awesome, and one of those treats best read from the beginning. So now you have your Smartphone or tablet beach reading – or for those in that other hemisphere I keep hearing about, your curl up and read while giggling hysterically and ignoring the snow material.

Please tell me about your comic, Templar, Arizona. What prompted you to create it?

“Templar, Arizona” is a long-format, alt-history comic about a fictional city full of Commies, anarchists, addicts, whores, and everyday people. The personal drama of the main cast is a puzzle piece in the overarching havoc that passes for everyday life, there. Think “The Wire” meets “Transmetropolitan.” (Haha yes, I am just that impressed with myself!)

Tell us ALL about your character Reagan, from style to substance to substantial. Also, why did you bring in a fat lady? (Clearly, Fat Chic is in favor of this.)

Reagan is part of the main cast! She was strongly inspired by Divine, John Waters’ favorite drag queen. (I saw “Pink Flamingos” when I was younger, and loved it more than was probably healthy.) Her size is really a reflection of her personality; she’s six feet tall in flat feet and (probably) about 300 or so pounds, and dresses pretty wild. Calf- length hair, weird frames on her glasses. Everything about her is imposing and attention-grabbing. She’s also about sensuality, in the broadest definition of the term. She’s passionate, she’s impulsive, she acts first and ponders the consequences afterward. And if you asked her why she was fat, she’d tell you it was because she loves food, getting sloshed and generally indulging. She makes no apologies. Her being fat just makes sense.

Story-wise, Ray is the cast id. She discourages restraint in everyone around her. Unfortunately, that usually means she’s the first to get in a fight, or say something regrettable. Bur hey, characters are no fun without flaws.

 

You mentioned at Minneapolis Indie Xpo a project that included “more naked fat ladies.” Can you share some details about this project? Are you seeking fat ladies to be naked for you? (half j/k – there are some legitimate figure models that follow Fat Chic.)

I was talking about my porn anthology project, Smut Peddler! It’s a collection of comic erotica that features predominantly women creators. [Spike has a Kickstarter campaign going for the project now.]

My SP contribution,along with a numbers of others, feature larger bodies, not as a fetish, bur a normal variant of the human form… which I’m really happy about. (I’m not one to come down on people about their fetishes, but what makes me happy with the SP contributions is the interest in the subjects as people. Feelings, emotions, stuff like that.)

 

Are your familiar with the body positivity movement or HAES? If yes to either, what are your feelings about it? (HAES is Health at Every Size, which is an actual doctor-directed movement happening right now.)

I am, actually! I’m pretty annoyed with our culture being convinced thin = healthy and fat = unhealthy. Especially since it inspires busybody nonsense Luke someone commenting uninvited on your shape, and legitimize it by feigning concern for your health.

What, seriously? No one skinny has ever had diabetes? Or a heart attack? Mind your own business, guys. You literally have no idea what kind of shape I’m in, or how healthy I am.

 

Can you talk about your personal aesthetic? What do you like to draw/have the most fun creating?

I love drawing human bodies. All kinds. My comic’s cast is varied to hold my interest; it’s all totally selfish. Emaciated, hourglass, gym rat, beach ball, pear-shaped, short, tall.  I love it all. And I love body language: that how a person stands or walks can radiation confidence and authority, or apprehension and fear.

 

What would you like to see more of among web comic artists?

This is a selfish desire, too: More slice of life stories. I began reading comics during the black and white boom, there was lots of that. Love and Rockets was a favorite.

Some people seem convinced slice of life is boring, but that’s only if you’re a bad storyteller. Stories about elves and vampires and spaceships can be boring too, guys.

 

Please tell a little bit about yourself – what is your “work uniform?” I ask because the dirty secret of all fashion bloggers is that we generally write while wearing pajamas. Really ratty, OLD pajamas.

Oh gawd I am easily the least fashionable person on the planet. I don’t have a work uniform, I have a LIFE uniform. Tank top, zip-front hoodie, jeans. Then, Chucks in the summer and Docs in the winter. That’s basically it. I don’t even like a lot of color; I don’t wear patterns, and everything own is navy blue, olive drab, black, heather grey, or dark red. The fanciest I get is twisting my dreads after a wash, so they come out wavy. Oddly enough, though, I watch a ton of Project Runway.

 

Are there any wardrobe hazards that come with web comic creation? (unfortunate ink marks, etc.)

I have a pair of pajama pants I wear if I’m not going out that day; the right thigh is covered in ink marks. That’s because I discovered the material the pants were made of were IDEAL for wiping brushes on. Untidy, I know! But they really are perfect.

 

Please add anything you’d like the world to know about your career, your comic, or your life.

– Okay, hmmmm. Well… Read my comics! They’re good stuff. Promise.

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