We won’t lie, we were a little bit apprehensive when we decided to get in touch with the creators of indie sensation Man vs. Rock, after all these are the people who created a character who has sexual relations with rocks and believes they are the source of all that is wrong and evil in the world! However when the answers to our tentative questions arrived in our inbox, we weren’t disappointed. So sit back and enjoy a glimpse into the truly indescribable world of Man vs. Rock!
For those who haven’t experience the joys of Man vs. Rock, how would you describe it to people (and how do they tend to react when they hear your pitch or see the book for the first time?)
Kevin Bieber: Man vs. Rock started as a story about one man … a hero named Boris who convinces a once-proud nation to rise up and destroy the British pound. Then it morphed into a massive ponzi scheme with Bernie Sanders to hide his taxes from the US government. Turns out, those stories didn’t have much buzz in LIEberal Hollywood, so we made it into something a little more realistic and accessible: a story about a crazy geologist named Buck Stone, who thinks rocks are going to rise up and destroy the human race to pay us back for millennia of rock abuse, including enslaving rocks to build the pyramids and waterboarding rocks at Gitmo to find Osama. Society reacts to his crazy theories and … as you Brits say, the sugar cubes hit the Earl Grey.
I don’t mean to sound sexist, but when people hear about our book, their reaction depends entirely on how big their penis is. For example, David Beckham absolutely hated Man vs. Rock. Margaret Thatcher loved it though …
What is about rocks that you find so damn objectionable that you would want to cast them as the villains in your comics book?
KB: Think of everything bad that’s ever happened in recorded history – World War II, the JFK assassination, England’s performance in the Euro Cup this year … What do all those events have in common? It’s indisputable that a goddamned rock was nearby when all of those tragedies happened. Coincidence? Me and Alex Jones don’t seem to think so …
Buck Stone is a deeply confused and messed up hero, which heros or anti-heroes were you inspired by when creating him?
KB: Isn’t it obvious? Like most heroes in comics today, Buck Stone is inspired by American chef sensation Guy Fieri and pre-molestation Jared Fogle (the Subway guy). Looks wise, I consider him to be a slightly less sexy Camilla Parker Bowles.
You don’t seem to be afraid to be controversial or offensive, is that something which you consider when you’re writing, or do you just try to be as funny as you can? What has been your highlight of the series so far in terms of jokes or moments which people have repsonded to?
KB: We’re just trying to be as funny as we can. Like the old Ronald McDonald proverb, sacred cows are the most fun cows to slaughter ..
As far as the highlights, fans seem to have a lot of different favorite jokes, which is a good thing I suppose. Some people really like the scene where Buck meets the President in volume 2. Some really like the fact that Buck thinks that only his semen can neutralize the rocks. Others like his twisted origin story. When we’re pitching the book at cons, we know whether we’ve got someone by their reaction to a rock being crucified instead of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever felt you’ve crossed the line in terms of good taste? Have you ever self censored stuff and thought something was too rude or offensive?
KB: No. We only change a joke if we don’t think the joke is funny or could be funnier. If someone is offended, they are free to not buy or support the book (until that great day when Trump becomes President and includes Man vs. Rock as required reading at all Trump University classes).
How much do you think that edgey humour has helped spread the word of Man vs. Rock?
KB: I don’t think it’s so much that our humor is edgy as much as I think it’s unafraid to piss people off at a time when seemingly everyone is scared to death of even slightly offending someone. I think people appreciate a story that’s true to itself and willing to be different and ruffle feathers, and that’s probably a big reason Man vs. Rock has spread.
You’ve started releasing your books in colour, what’s that all about?
KB: The Wayans Brothers appeared to us in a vision (as we were on our knees behind a Taco Bell, licking the grease dripping from the dumpster) and told us that the world would never accept our Comic Book unless it was In Living Color!
Also, we encountered several fans at Cons that really wanted it in color. Ask and ye shall receive!
We also have black and white copies we sell at cons for the hardcore fans that like that gritty zine vibe. We are the Russian Bathhouse of comics, we want to make sure everybody goes home oiled up and feeling good.
You’ve released the first volume on ComiXology, what do you make of digital comics as a way to get people reading your books? Have you had any problems in terms of censorship as the book begins to build momentum and get read by more people?
KB: Comixology has been great about Man vs. Rock and has never tried to censor anything. And like I said above, we value integrity here at Man vs. Rock, so we will never censor anything unless it improves the joke or someone pays us a lot of money …
As far as digital comics are concerned, we think it’s a great way to get your book out there, but realize there’s a lot of competition out there and people have a lot of options. In our experience, it’s much more effective to reach people at cons.
How did you guys come to work with artist Jared Lamp – it must be important to have an artist on your wavelength to avoid miscommunication and to get the most out of the characters? How much input does he have into the direction you’re heading with things? Or do you just send him a script full of crazy ideas and hope he can make sense of it (and not call the cops on you?!)
KB: Jared is the man, and the perfect artist for Man vs. Rock. As for our process, given the absurdity of our book, we send Jared pretty detailed scripts with lots of jokes, and communicate as much as we can during the development of the book. Except for our upcoming Volume 7 cover, that’s all him …
We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention other artists who have contributed to Man vs. Rock – Jeremy Labib, Summer Fitzgerald, and John Bring.
How much are you inspired by trying to include current events into future stories? Or do you just use the odd Trump joke to make it look like you’re being satirical and not just filling up a book with dick jokes and swearing?
KB: Current events are great, but can get stale pretty fast, so we’re pretty careful with those. But there are lots of pop culture references that seem to always be topical like Trump or the television show Friends, so we don’t mind using those so it doesn’t look like we’re not just filling up a book with dick jokes and swearing.
You’re expanding into the world of videogames and webcomics (as well coloured in comics!) what’s next for you guys and your pursuit of world domination?
KB: Lots of dick jokes and swearing …
You can purchase Man vs Rock volumes 1 and 2 from ComiXology for £1.49/1.99 and you can read extra Buck Stone stories fro free at manvsrock.com where you can also play their awesome video game!