Interview conducted by Amy Letts; Reposted with permission.
Alan Evans (a.k.a Albone) creator of the webcomic Rival Angels takes the hot seat…
A1: Rival Angels is about four girls trying to make it in professional wrestling and find that surviving their battles with each as room-mates is a completely different matter. The four girls in question are Ultragirl Sabrina Mancini, Lil Dragon Sun Wong, The Definition of Technician Krystin Moline, and self-proclaimed Miss Rival Angels, Aphrodite Brooke Lennox.
Q2: What’s so attractive about female wrestling? Besides to obvious!
A2: Female wrestling is niche-y. That niche brings the passionate fans of female wrestling and intrigues those that may not be fans of pro wrestling. Personally for me as a storyteller, I knew it would be much more interesting to tell the story of several female wrestlers than male ones. If you are aware of pro wrestling, you already know that 85% of the exposure is on the male side. This is my chance to explore that under-served segment.
Q3: How realistically does ‘Rival Angels’ reflect the sport of female wrestling?
A3: Rival Angels reflects pro wrestling in that it’s very loud and showy in the wrestling aspects. The over-the-top characters and the larger than life characters. However, one huge difference is that the matches are real, like in Mixed Martial Arts. None of the matches are pre-determined, so obviously that’s a huge difference.
Q4: Strong female role-models or gratuitous T&A? Which is it?
A4: Strong female role-models in the mold of the characters that Joss Whedon tends to write, like in Buffy or Firefly. The girls are very real, with real problems, fears, hopes and desires that readers can identify with and also with such broad appeal that readers of any age can appreciate.
Q5: How do the characters real life challenges compare to their challenges in the ring?
A5: Sometimes the challenges, like living together as room-mates, is the greater challenge! These four young women share a space with 1 bedroom and 2 baths so tensions can get high. Plus, they’re all essentially going for the same job and there’s not guarantee that they’ll all make it into the pro ranks of Rival Angels. As anyone will tell you, supporting friendships and maintaining relationships is a tough act but throw in a combat sport like this and the problems begin to mount up quick.
Q6: Fight scenes require challenging poses – do you use models or other referance material? Are they moves genuine wresting moves?
A6: Yes, they are 100% real and accurate moves and holds. I do also use a ton of reference, both from my own library and google. My own library consists of many years of attending wrestling shows and taking a ton of pictures.
Q7: Who or what has been the biggest influence upon your art style?
A7: The Image guys of the ‘90’s were big in my early drawing style, especially Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane, and Marc Silvestri to a degree. They all drew super powerful poses and some of the very best looking images ever. Recently, I’ve been Lora Innes’s (The Dreamer, Paperwings Podcast, To Appomattox) apprentice and every aspect of my art has improved from drawing to composition. She also puts the ‘fun’ in fundamentals. XD
Q8: What where you doing before you started ‘Rival Angels’?
A8: I was mainly spinning my wheels, trying to figure out what to do next with a comic project. I was finishing up ‘Worldwide Solutions,’ which was Fringe meets Heroes, which was a lot of fun but I was struggling to find an audience. I knew that wasn’t my future and I’m very happy that the inspiration for Rival Angels came to me.
Q9: What is the future of ‘Rival Angels’?
A9: The literal answer is, ‘Season 2,’ which just started 10 pages ago. The first season was 520 pages long so Season 2 could be that long as well and I do have a Season 3 in store. I want to spread the word about Rival Angels so people can see what a fun read it is, whether you like big action or girl drama. I’ve been looking into what a live-action short might entail and I think that would be a lot of fun for everyone.
Q10: Okay this is the last question and it isn’t really a question. This is open mic – Your chance to say anything else you want to say about ‘Rival Angels’.
A10: Rival Angels is the #1 wrestling webcomic but it’s way more than just action in the ring. The series depicts the differences between relationship and friendship and seeing the characters evolve personally, professionally and spiritually. One of the more intense moments in the comic and for the readers was when Sabrina and Sun had a HUGE falling out and was much more severe than just ‘Team Sabrina vs Team Sun.’ The readers went crazy! Of course, that made Sun and Sabrina’s reconciliation that much sweeter. Rival Angels is action-drama with comedy relief, so if that sounds like something for you, we’d love to have you stop by.
You can pick up the books at RivalAngels.com, which I will personally sign and ship. I’ll also be at comic conventions C2E2, Anime Central, Otakon, Wizard World Chicago and Mid-Ohio Con if you feel like stopping by and saying HI.
Thank you for the interview Albone and good luck with Rival Angels and the many comic conventions you are attending this year!