Sunday, May 29, 2016

INTERVIEW: FinalSmash! is New on the Scene and Making it Big

While fairly new on the scene, the Smash-oriented webcomic, Final Smash!, has been killing it. Thanks to some smart wit and a clean art style, Nicola has quickly become an extremely popular (and thankfully incredibly humble) artist on Tumblr, typically frequenting thousands of notes and making thousands of fans. Blessedly, I got to interview her, so let's dive right in!
So, to those who don't know, who are you?
Hello! I'm Nicola, and I'm the creator of the Final Smash! webcomic, a weekly strip dedicated to the Super Smash Bros. series. I've been on the Internet for longer than I'd care to admit, however, and you may know me as Yayster or even Forest Grovyle, when I moderated the PokéCommunity forums. I started Final Smash! in October 2015.
What are some of your earliest gaming memories? How have they affected you?
I've been gaming ever since I can remember. My earliest gaming memories are of playing the Amiga with my dad- I must have been six or seven- the great old point-and-click adventures such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, as well as platformers like Superfrog and strategy games like Lemmings and the original Civilization. From there I moved on to Nintendo, with my first console being the N64. I have such fond memories of those early days and I think it's really kept my passion for gaming alive as I've grown older.

At the moment, what are your favorite and least favorite video games?
Outside of Super Smash Bros., I am really enjoying Fire Emblem: Fates (it just came out here in the UK). On the PC, I play Guild Wars 2 on and off, which is a beautiful game, and have recently finished the absolutely gorgeous Ori and the Blind Forest, which I would thoroughly recommend.
I can't think of any current video games that I really dislike, but as a rule, I'm not too fond of sports games or first-person shooters- this tends to be because I'm not very good at them, though!
As a fan of Super Smash Bros., what expectations do you have for the next entry in the series?
First of all, I can really expect King K. Rool to make an appearance! I'm confident that the developers are holding him back for the next entry.
(If it helps, click on the image to view it in higher resolution.
Or, y'know, just go to her website.)
I would love to see every character for SSB4 make a return. There are definitely some characters I would see as 'at risk' and it would be a shame for players to lose their main, so I'm hoping for that, along with an option to turn off stage hazards. It would be great to see more viable tournament stages- certainly ones with more interesting, battle-ready music than Animal Crossing!
Where did you get the idea to start Final Smash? How do you get most of your ideas for it?
Originally, the idea for Final Smash! was for it not to be a webcomic at all, but rather a series of short, Smash-related animations which I would post on Youtube. However, as animation is so time-consuming, I eventually realised that I wouldn't be able to keep up any sort of schedule, so I rethought the idea and came up with the webcomic. I'd still like to turn a couple of them into animated versions, though- if I have the time!
Sometimes, ideas for comics just come to me out of nowhere, but most of the time I try to think of a character, stage, or special move I haven't used and how a joke can be built around it. With such a weird and wacky group of characters there is a lot of potential for funny interactions, so I sometimes look at 'slice of life' comics as well- see my 'Early Bird' comic [above] for an example of that!
I also have to thank my brother who vetoes my ideas and is such a useful sounding board, as well as the fans on Twitter who help tell me what works and what doesn't. Humor is subjective- if I find something funny, it doesn't necessarily mean everybody else will!
What character do you enjoy working with most on your webcomic?
I have to admit having a slight bias towards Ike, as he is my Smash main and favorite character! But I don't mind working with any character, really. A lot of the challenge is that half the cast doesn't talk, so it's about finding a balance between those that do and those that don't, and trying not to overuse one particular character.
I'd definitely like to do some more with the Zelda characters, as I've been neglecting them a little- and it's one of my favourite series!
Did you ever think Final Smash would be as successful as it is now?
I didn't go into making Final Smash! with any exceptions- it was more to flex my drawing muscles and have a bit of fun with characters that I love. So it's been unbelievably exciting and humbling for the comic to have been so successful. I read all the positive feedback online and it really makes it all worth it- plus, I've met some wonderful people and made lots of news friends in the Smash community. I have to thank all those who have shared, reblogged, and retweeted my work so that it reaches a wider audience. It's appreciated more than you know!
Are there any interesting ideas you've had that didn't get past their conception?
Yes! I've abandoned a few comics halfway through drawing them (leading to a very frantic finish this week!). While I may still use these ideas, so I keep them secret for now, one idea I did want to do involved a typo in the patch notes where Kirby got 'buff' instead of 'buffed'- leading to an extremely ripped, pink puffball. Unfortunately, I found that another artist had done something very similar, leading me to leave that on the cutting room floor for now!
I just wanted to praise you for a second in that you're so active among your fans. Why do you think this is such an important aspect of what you've created?
Thank you! Quite simply, the comic would be nothing without the fans. It's a big reason why I started a Twitter account to sit alongside my Tumblr. Tumblr doesn't give the same opportunities for fan interaction (I can't reply to anonymous messages, and due to the webcomic format, I only post once per week). Twitter gives me the chance to talk to people directly and not be such a distant face- and also to spread the word about what other artists are doing!
I always encourage people to message me, whether it's just for chat or whether you'd like to share some comic ideas or feedback. Consider me a sponge: I'm very open to taking things on-board!
What do you think the future of yourself and Final Smash holds?Eventually I would love to release a book containing some of my comics. I know others, such as Katie Tiedrich from Awkward Zombie (one of my favourite webcomics) have done this, and it's something I'd be really interested in doing myself. If I did, I'd want to include a lot of tidbits and preliminary sketches to show the thought and drawing process of each strip!
The dream, of course, would be to be able to work in a job which let me express my creativity in the same way my comics do. By building up a portfolio of work, I'm hoping that can someday become a reality.
Lastly, as a Brit, do you have any smack towards the US for omitting the usage of u's 90% of the time? (We deeply hate that letter.)
Oh, it's not just the 'u'! What's with all these z's instead of s'? And you call aluminum a proper spelling?! Haha, I kid though- according to my analytics, just under 60% of my visitors are from the US! I love you guys!

Once again, thanks to Nicola! Please do check her out on Tumblr and follow her on Twitter! I heard she's doing a cool art giveaway, and I know I'm sure as heck entering, I don't know about you!

Interested in more interviews? Here's the last one I did with MyNewSoundtrack!


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