Inverting the Obvious: An Interview w/ the Albino Raven, Glen Brogan

To those of you Strange Kids who visit the clubhouse often, Glen Brogan should be a name that you’re familiar with as he is our latest contributor and collaborator on our Strange Kid Shorties web comic series. Long before that, though, Glen has been hard at work finding his passion in illustrating some of the coolest geek-related artwork I’ve ever seen in all it’s nostalgia-laden glory.

When he’s not illustrating icons of pop culture goodness, Glen is busy drawing scantily-clad ladies for the “funniest, sexiest magazine on earth,” Front Magazine and taking on as many freelance assignments he can handle. That’s why I was glad to lure the hardworking artist up to the clubhouse for a brief chat, one “strange kid” to another.

Important things first, Glen– why do think McDonald’s hasn’t brought back Mayor McCheese yet? Is it politically motivated?

Yes! The Burger Party has been absent from the ballot for far too long! Actually, I sadly know the real answer to this. McDonald’s has been phasing out all of its characters for a while now to in order to shed the stigma that it uses them to trick kids into eating unhealthy food. Only Ronald is left and he’s not supposed to last much longer. Such a shame, I love ad mascots! If McCheese gets re-elected he should introduce some sort of Protection Act for them.

Now that we’ve cleaned that closet… where did the term Albino Raven originate?

Calling my website Albino Raven came from the fact that I’ve always felt like I was a little different from other people. Not in a bad way, but in the “Strange Kid” way, if I may say so. I liked all the usual stuff as a kid: cartoons, comics, action figures, etc. But while most kids eventually grew out of that stuff I never did. I’ve always been in love with cartooning in particular. Where most people look at cartoons and think “Oh, this is for kids” I look at them and think about how you have to have an amazing amount of talent, personality, and understanding of the world around you to pull them off effectively. Even when I was in art school I didn’t understand why we were supposed to analyze these centuries-old paintings and gain an appreciation for them and not treat cartoons with the same amount of reverence.

As for the specifics of the name, I liked the sort of off-beat and somewhat dark images that are associated with a raven (thanks to Edgar Allen Poe) but making it an albino raven kinda turns that on its ear. Light and dark usually represent good an evil, so with an albino raven you don’t really know which of those it is, just that it represents being different.

What do consider to be the most fun of being an artist?

The most fun thing about being an artist is that I get to do what I’m passionate about. I never had the problem of wondering what I was going to be when I grew up because even as young as three years old I was obsessed with art. Every once in a while I’ll run into somebody that I haven’t seen since grade school and they’ll ask “Are you still drawing?” It’s always been a fundamental part of who I am.

You do a lot of work for Front Magazine, how’d you get hooked up with that gig?

The Mario’s Closet. For whatever reason it went viral, and that’s what most people who want to commission something from me reference. The majority of the business emails I get start with “I saw your Mario design…” so I imagine that’s how the Front guys heard about me.

One of your recently published pieces for them was “How to Build the Ultimate Gang.” If some serious sh*t was about to go down, Warriors-style, who would you want to have your back?

Hmm… just picking from the characters I included in that drawing I would say Chewbacca. He has a crossbow that shoots lasers for some reason and in the Lego Star Wars video games he rips people’s arms off. Definitely Chewy.

I always said that Star Wars could use more arm-ripping action… good to know I’m not the only one. So, I noticed that you have quite a collection of Simpsons mini figures from KidRobot– whose your favorite Simpsons character?

My favorite Simpsons character is Sideshow Bob. I love his design and personality, and he almost always makes for a good episode. Those darn KidRobot Simpsons figures are blind-boxed so you don’t know which one you’re getting, and if I had gotten Bob on the first try I probably wouldn’t have started collecting them, haha. It also tore me up that he didn’t have a part in the movie!

Last year you helped launch Seth Martin and Friends, a new puppet-based web series by Brainwrap. What’s the series about and how did you become a part of the project?

Seth Martin & Friends is a series about a down-on-his-luck twenty something who can’t seem to find much success in life, so he escapes to his parent’s basement where all his puppet friends live. The puppets all look up to him, so it’s the only place where he feels like he’s actually in charge. The series is made by Brainwrap which is a film-making group consisting of my friends and I. Our projects are mostly intended as a way to have some productive fun, but we still take the work seriously and try to create the best possible product we can given our limited budget and day jobs. As with most of our projects I’m the resident graphic designer and illustrator for SMAF, but since we’re a small group everybody lends a hand in just about every job you can think of both on and off the set: puppeteering, set design, brainstorming jokes, all that stuff.

Is it true that Seth Martin is/was a former pro wrestler?

Yes! He is a local wrestler with XMCW, a promotion based out of Saint Albans, WV. Going to his shows always scares me to death because he does some insane moves that involve flipping through the air at staggering heights. There’s usually one or two points during every match where I’m about 80% certain he has actually died. He just welcomed a a daughter into the world so he hasn’t done much wrestling lately, thought he will be making an appearance at the XMCW tenth anniversary show this month.

LIGHTNING ROUND 1: What’s scarier– a zombie pirate with bat wings or a robot ninja monkey with laser eyes?

I’ll go with the robot ninja monkey with laser eyes because it sounds very fast and has a long-range weapon.

LIGHTNING ROUND 2: Who’s got more sex appeal– Samus or Princess Peach?

Samus, because she’s already got some sex appeal built in, whereas Princess Peach is just meant to be sort of cute and girly. I like a lot of pin-up artists and I draw pin-ups myself from time to time, so I’ve noticed that it can come off sort of creepy if you add sex appeal to a character who wasn’t intended to have any. With Samus even family-friendly Nintendo has embraced and played up her sex appeal lately.

LIGHTNING ROUND 3: Who’s smarter Doc Brown (Back to the Future) or Doc Wily (Mega Man)?

Pssh, Doc Brown, of course. How am I not going to go with my favorite movie character of all time?

Time for the big finale– what’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?

Man, I really don’t know. This seems like a question better aimed at my parents, but I’m sure I wouldn’t want to share any of their answers publicly, haha. I guess I would have to say just enjoying being by myself and drawing all the time rather than getting involved in group activities and sports like other kids. I always tended to play it safe, so I was usually the Chucky Finster of the group saying “I don’t think this is such a good idea.” while my friends got in trouble, haha.

Here’s something pretty strange: I once took an enormous poster-sized sheet of graph paper and mapped out the entire NES game A Boy and His Blob screen by screen. That’s a pretty good example of how I spent my time as a kid!

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

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