Safely Endangered is a webcomic that I came across on Facebook. I became an immediate fan of the intensely cute character faces and the nostalgic subject matter (I mean seriously, who can resist Winnie the Pooh, Superman, Transformers, and original Nintendo characters?).
Safely Endangered comic creator, Chris McCoy, is new to the webcomic scene. Yet after 1 year, he is making quite a name for himself with a steadily increasing internet fandom. And if you are a fan of comics, science, and fond childhood memories, you will see why. Safely Endangered is not only a well-rounded comic in terms of content, but has the delivery of a professional, well-established comic.
Interview of Chris McCoy, creator of Safely Endangered:
Q. Have you always been an artist and/or what got you into drawing comics?
A. I’ve always loved drawing, although mostly just doodling in the back of school books. One day I decided to buy a cheap graphics tab to give digital painting a try because I’ve never been great with an actual paintbrush. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be but I’ve stuck at it. If you take a look at my first comic and my latest one, you can see how different they look. Practice is everything!
Q. Your subject matter varies from daily observations to science to gaming to everything in between. Do you immediately draw out your ideas when inspired by an observation or do you truly jot them down on a side of bread to store them for later?
A. They usually pop into my head while I’m trying to sleep so I’ll quickly jot down a quick sketch. I then wake up to a bunch of crudely drawn comics, most of which are undeniably awful. But if I’m lucky, there’s a winner in there somewhere!
Q. What’s the origin of the name, Safely Endangered?
A. I was originally planning on making a webcomic that focused exclusively on animals. I wanted a name that reflected that but also sounded unusual. I went with Safely Endangered because it’s like an oxymoron. However, my comics ended up not focusing on animals and all I’m left with is a stupid name that most people can’t spell on Google! (My all-time favorite is probably ‘safety daggers’)
Q. Your characters are so cute that I just want to squeeze them to death (no, seriously, your orange comic is hilarious). What/who has been the biggest influence on your style?
A. On my website, you can check out a list of artists who all influence and inspire me in different ways. But with there being so many great webcomic artists online, it can be difficult to establish your own style. I just like the idea of mixing cute artwork with dark, dry humor.
Q. Many of your comics feature some childhood characters, including Darth Vader, Mario from Super Mario Brothers, Batman, Spider Man, Winnie the Pooh, etc. Do you prefer nostalgic over contemporary content or just have a soft spot for these memories in your heart?
A. More people can relate to older characters, which is why I like incorporating those from my childhood. Although, I’m only 21 so most are still relevant to me!
A. I’m not too sure so I’ll just give you some of my personal favorites!
Q. Congratulations! You’re coming upon your 1 year anniversary. What has been your biggest comic accomplishment so far? What about your biggest lesson?
A. Thanks! I showed a couple to my uncle whose response was ‘hmm… weird’, so yeah that’s probably my biggest achievement to date. Also I’ve currently got a collection on Whale & Bird which I’m delighted with and recently had some of my comics published in a small independent newspaper called Dunk, based in Vancouver. (Which is a very long way from home!)
Q. Putting yourself out there in the world can sometimes attract unwanted attention from people who are non-creative and insensitive (a.k.a “trolls”). On the flip side, some incredible comments and die-hard fans appear. What has been your most helpful comment or notion of encouragement you have received so far?
A. I’m not too sure, I get lots of nice messages on Tumblr that spur me on. Although I also get some super strange drawing requests e.g. ‘Hey dude, can you like draw a bisexual hippo with no legs trying to eat a burrito? My blind wife will love it’.
Q. What is the main message you are trying to get out to the world through Safely Endangered?
A. That’s a secret. You’ll have to find out yourself by reading my comics backwards in a mirror.
Q. Creating and producing webcomics is often a selfless act, especially when much or most of the process is unpaid, done simply out of the love of creating comics. What makes it all worth it to you?
A. I enjoy making people laugh and drawing comics makes me happy. I guess that’s it!
Q. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists and artists trying to get into the field?
A. Come on down, there’s room for all of us! I’ll even make brownies.
Q. What are your future goals and/or up-and-coming projects?
A. My only goal in life is, and always has been, to meet Harrison Ford so I can point my finger at him, aggressively.