Do you have Bad Teeth? Illustrator Glenn Manders does and He’s Damn Proud of It
Seems like we’ve had quite an appetite for food-related art already this year. First, we welcomed food aficionado and illustrator, Mitch Loidolt, over for burgers and Frito Burrito Burritos and now we’ve got another “burger boy” over for lunch – not to mention a few laughs.
His name is Glenn Manders and he came here all the way from Australia to talk about things like the best burger joint in Brisbane, which Nintendo peripheral rules them all and ponder what a donut/burger porno might be like. Oh yeah… he also has this awesome webcomic called Bad Teeth!
Welcome to the clubhouse, Glenn. I gotta know, are the rumors true? Did you really eat cheeseburgers for six months straight in 2006?
It could have been longer than 6 months… that whole period is a bit hazy. I was in a cheeseburger induced state of euphoria. I was driving around town alot during that time, setting up gallery shows and delivering artwork so it was easy just to grab drive-thru during the trips. I was livin’ the dream, until the chest pains and cold sweats came along. Then I knew it was time to cut it back a bit… just a little bit.
I need to keep it real y’know? Can’t be drawing a comic strip featuring a cheeseburger guy without having his essence flowing through my system can I? I know it’s tough work, but these are the things you gotta do… eat delicious cheeseburgers sometimes.
Okay, so as a Brisbane native who serves up the best burger in town?
There is a place called BYOB (Build Your Own Burger) in Fortitude Valley, just outside of the CBD (central business district). They are amazing! You walk in, fill out a checklist card of what you want on your burger and they bring it up to you 5 minutes later. It’s a real USA style setup; big servings of everything, great sides… there’s mozarella sticks, jalepeno poppers, even little touches little fries served in a red plastic basket! I always grab their signature burger which is 2 beef patties welded together with a ton of cheese and some bacon, pickles, more cheese and mustard.
There’s also chain of burger restaurants called Grill’d, they are definitely near the top of the list. MOS Burger from Japan have opened up a store here recently, and while they aren’t as good as Grill’d, they are definitely good for something different every now and then.
You seem like a cool guy, so I’m just gonna throw this out there. What do you think would happen if a cheeseburger and a jelly donut engaged in “coitus?”
That would be one tasty kid! Where the heck is that on Japan’s McDonald’s menu??? And to be honest, just thinking about a cheeseburger and a jelly donut in the act… I’m getting a little aroused. Oh yes. That’s gotta be illegal in some countries!
I hear you’re a pretty big gamer, especially old school Nintendo. What’s your peripheral/weapon of choice?
Definitely the NES Advantage arcade-style joystick. Sure it’s not as fancy as the Power Glove, but that kid from The Wizard was a dick anyway. I’m not too much of a gamer these days, definitely more when the NES and SNES/Famicom were around. I would sit there as a kid and play all day and night. These days if I die once, it doesn’t matter how many lives or continues I have, that’s it, the machine gets turned off. [I] can’t be bothered repeating what I’ve just done a second time, that can wait for tomorrow or the next day.
I do however own a Wii and an Xbox 360, only because the Wii has alot of my favourite NES and SNES games available for download on the Virtual Console and Xbox… stuff like Street Fighter 4 and whatever tennis games come out. I’m a huge tennis fan, so if its raining outside (there are no indoor courts here in Brisbane) I can still play a set or 2 at home.
Tell us a bit about your webcomic, Bad Teeth. Where did the concept for the series come from?
It kind of started as more of a journal comic like James Kochalka’s American Elf and has grown into something else over the years. I had produced the first issue of Bad Teeth and sent it out to Brisbane’s music newspaper street press Rave Magazine to be reviewed. They gave it a great review, and then the editor asked me if I would like to do a weekly strip for the magazine. I jumped at the chance and for the first year or so it was really only the Buddy character and his little alien buddy Jellybean re-enacting things that would happen to me during the past week or vocalising little thoughts that would pop up from time to time.
The Jellybean character could not talk, and kind of just floated around so it was pretty much a monologue for most strips with a rare appearance from some other nameless character based on friends of mine. I needed to introduce some other characters who would stick around from week to week and build a cast that could interact with each other. So Cheese popped up first, followed by Larry. There will be some new characters coming into the strip during this year.
So what are there personalities like, how are each character different from each other?
The strip started out featuring Buddy, who is pretty straight forward. He doesn’t get upto too much trouble and is the voice of reason in alot of situations. When Cheese came in he was a bit of a troublemaker from the start. He’s a wiseguy and is too cool for school. He has a tattoo of Gonzo on his chest and he likes to learn magic tricks. Then there is Larry, the guy with the band-aid on his nose for no reason… just to look tough I think? He is a little bit of an asshole sometimes and likes to encourage Cheese when he gets crazy ideas in his head, whereas Buddy would try and talk Cheese out of it.
There is another character called Spaceman Cha-Cha, however, he has been missing for a couple of years now. Everybody knows that his mother bought his spacesuit for him and that he’s not really an astronaut, but he’s been gone for so long now that people think that he could really be on an adventure in outer space.
You originally started Bad Teeth in 2008 as a series of zines, right? How many are there in total?
Actually, in late 2005 I started producing zines with the title Bad Teeth. Since then there have been 7 printed ranging from 60 to 120 pages in length. The first issue was half photos of Brisbane street art, back when Anthony Lister was doing a lot of bits n pieces around town along with 1337, Guz and other local artists. The other half consisted of comics written by friends and drawn by myself. Issues 2 and 3 were filled with more artwork and illustration, along with interviews with artists like Jeremy Fish, Mike Giant, Jeff Soto, Jeffrey Brown and Dalek. Then issue 4 and 5 came out around 2007/08 and they were both square-bound 100+ page books featuring reprints of my newspaper Bad Teeth strips and artwork by myself, friends and international artists.
It wasn’t until 6 came out that I think I’ve settled into a real groove for the layout and content of the zine. Both 6 and 7 have been stapled and are about 50 pages in length; featuring the newspaper strips, longer comics featuring Bad Teeth characters and illustrations along with photography. When it comes to compiling the issues, there’s a style guide to it now; specific margins and layouts for the comics, illustrations and photography pages. It’s a really fun process when everything is drawn and you’re compiling the book laying everything out and deciding on an order for the content of the book.
Are any of them still available online?
Yes, they are. However only issues 5, 6 and 7 remain in print. The earlier issues are long gone. Thankfully I did bigger print runs after #4 sold out so quickly. You can purchase them from my blog at bad-teeth-comics.blogspot.com. There is also a range of Bad Teeth shirts available, printed on real nice American apparel stock. From time to time there will be a painting posted for sale, but they don’t hang around for too long at all.
What, if anything, has changed about the series since 2005?
The characters are all growing individual personalities and there is history building naturally through the comic strips. It’s getting to the point where they can reference things that have happened previously and build off of those events. Of course, the characters look different now as well. You can see an evolution from year to year. In 2005, Buddy had pointy legs and squiggly arms and hands. Over the years his arms have filled out into fat noodles, his eyes are bigger, his hair has little curly split ends and his feet are now chunky.
The feet thing was more of a practical decision for moulding figurines of the characters. Unfortunately, they are not very expressive when it comes to drawing the characters in the strip. However, the arms and hands do a good job in that department.
Any big plans for the series in 2012?
Some new characters will be popping up in the webcomic. A new zine with be coming out, Bad Teeth #8. It could be another squarebound monster. Swampfiend is currently sculpting a Bad Teeth toy. You’ll be able to see some sneak peeks at the Bad Teeth blog. Some new shirt designs, and some top secret projects..
Switching gears for a moment, who do you think delivers the most x-rated cartoon smackdown: Ren & Stimpy or Meatwad and Master Shake?
Master Shake knows how to bring it, and Meatwad’s reactions are hilarious everytime… but I think it has to go to Ren & Stimpy. Some of the scenes in the Lost Episodes from 2006 were just ridiculous. John K. is one of the most creative people living today!
Nice call! Lost Episodes even gives Ralph Bakshi a run for his money.
Another guy that you can add to that list is Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butthead. They have had some pretty great smackdowns as well. And if Beavis and Butthead got a new season in 2011 then maybe there is hope for a new season of Ren & Stimpy in the future…?
So what’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
Oh there are too many things to choose from… I remember for a period there my favourite sandwich was lettuce and ketchup. I don’t know why that sandwich was served to me in the first place but I loved it for some reason!! I can’t imagine eating one now though. I was super-technical with my drawings when I was growing up. I would draw a lot of superheroes and Marvel stuff; taking my cues from Jim Lee, Mark Bagley, and Marc Silvestri. I remember having days where things just wouldn’t work out.. crosshatching would not be millimetre width perfect, or some anatomy would be out of place and it would just ruin the rest of my week. I’m sure that I would have acted like a real dickhead. Like it was the end of the world all because one line wasn’t perfect. Oh, then there was the time I collected free shampoo samples for months and threw them into a neighbors pool like little grenades. It screwed up their pool pretty bad… I’m sorry!
Last question… are you going to finish those fries?
You betcha! I have a habit of finishing the fries before I even start the burger!!