This interview is going to be long, so prepare your mouse for scrolling! Why? Because I talked with - PeckishOwl and there will be many awesome comic strips! But before we get to them, have a taste of her gallery with something shorter first:
1.Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Of course. Did you know that human beings are only 30 000 genes different from corn cobs’ DNA? Something to think about, no doubt.
2. What is the story behind your username?
I’ve always loved the artwork by Anry Nemo showing an owl eating a bun; the one in my avatar. And that owl looks pretty peckish to me.
3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time and what impression did they leave in you?
I’ve read my first Tolkien book in primary school. It was “The Hobbit” and as a child I remember enjoying it tremendously – I’ve read the entire book in almost one go. I thought “The Lord of the Rings” would be something similar, but – as you know very well – it turned out to be a rather dark and complex saga, unlike the fairytale “Hobbit”. I was actually pretty scared reading some of its fragments - after reading about the night in Bree, when the Nazgul arrive, I couldn’t sleep for a day or two. To be honest, even though I liked “The Lord of the Rings”, I don’t think I’ve entirely understood its message and poetic value until high school.
It was my mother who first suggested I should read Tolkien – she bought her first copy of “The Lord of the Rings” when she was a student herself, so I’m proud to say I’ve inherited one of the first Polish editions of “The Lord of the Rings”. In high school most kids were unfamiliar with Tolkien’s books before Peter Jackson’s movies came out. Having no friends to talk about these books, I’ve always thought of “The Hobbit” and “LOTR” as “my books”. And then the movies arrived and suddenly these books became everyone’s. In a way, it took the charm away. But on the other hand the “LOTR” movies fever compensated, in some degree, for that.
4. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
I’d like to think of myself as a devoted fan, but not as a hardcore fan, who can easily recite entire family trees from “The Silmarillion” while woken up at 3.00 am and hung upside down by the ankles.
There is one poem I know by heart – one which I usually recite for the entertainment of my friends when we go mountain-hiking. It’s “The Walking Song” from “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
5. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?
I’ve read the books a few years before the movies came out. And I agree with what you point out. Some characters from the movie have eclipsed their bookish images I had in my head – especially Aragorn, Gandalf and Saruman – they were perfect, better than I’ve imagined they would be. But a great deal of heroes differed so much from their originals that the comparison between them and their bookish alter egos cannot be made. This applies especially to Boromir, Faramir, Theoden and Arwen. Some of these changes were actually made for the better. Boromir from the book for example acted like a downright toff. In the movies, he’s actually a very likeable person – or at least inspires a great deal of sympathy.
6. Now, could you introduce your parodic series? Oakentoons, Oakencrosovers and Oakenstills - what is the difference between them?
The whole Oakenenterprise is a parody of “The Hobbit”, concentrating mostly Thorin Oakenshield whose legendary #majesty makes him a perfect parody target. Oakentoons are cartoons. Oakenstills are just one image with a catchy punchline. Oakencrossovers are a cross between “The Hobbit” and other installments – films, games, TV series and so on.
7. How about your more serious Memories from Middle-earth? A joke among serious art is comical relief, so are these a sort of "serious relief" to you?
Well spotted. Yes, this gallery is about scenes I find very moving and entirely unmockable.
8. Where do you find inspiration for the humorous strips? Are you not afraid of it running out with regular posting?
Most of the episodes are an outcome of some purely random ideas – mixing quotes, movies and situations. Some of the first episodes were inspired by the blog “The Magnificent Home of Thorin the Majestic” at thorinissomajestic.tumblr.com. There’s also a very creative role-playing society of Tolkien fans on Facebook – fans who, for the last three years, had successfully managed to portray Tolkien’s chief characters in a very authentic, lovable and inspiring manner.
Some Oakentoons were my own private responses for rumors and trends surrounding “The Hobbit” movies. Now that all the movies were released there’s little to speculate left. Sadly, I must say I didn’t enjoy the last movie as much as I did the first two chapters (for reasons I describe here: peckishowl.deviantart.com/jour…). That’s why I haven’t been posting much since the premiere of “The Battle of the Five Armies”. Some scenes in that movie were an unintentional parody of themselves – especially the ones involving Alfrid, Legolas, Tauriel and Kili – and there’s simply no fun in mocking them any further. They made Middle Earth look silly in the primitive and not-funny-at-all meaning of silly, verging on the terms “stupid” and “unnecessary”.
9. Are you even able to read the books or watch the movies without thinking about possible use of the scenes for your strips?
I make my parodies with both love and respect for the books and the movies. I would never create a comic strip with humor I wouldn’t like as a Tolkien fan. And since I didn’t enjoy “The Battle of the Five Armies”, I’m having trouble with thinking up parodies about this particular movie.
10. Is humour and fun an important part of your life?
It’s that or going mad. I work as a medical doctor. You can surely imagine that it’s a profession where you don’t get to laugh all that much.
11. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- an Oakentoon you are most proud of?
A difficult question. Now that the series has more than 100 episodes, I can’t choose. But the one that sums up the idea behind the Oakentoons in a nutshell is definitely this one:
- an Oakencrosovers you are most proud of?
I like the medically valid explanation of Thorin’s tendency to hug his hobbit, as described by the legendary doctor Gregory House:
- an Oakenstill you are most proud of?
Oh yes, this one is one of the earliest but it never lost its freshness:
- a strip that was hardest to make or think of?
The anniversary episode #100 was the longest one and included collaboration with two other deviant Artists:
- a strip that you find most silly?
I can’t give you my vote, but I can give you the vote of my fans. The Oakentoon with the biggest number of favs is:
- any other strip you would like to share with us and why?
Yes. If the readers of this interview were too see but three Oakentoons I’ve created, I’d choose these three:
(the sta.sh made them appear blurry, I promise they aren't when you click on them!)
1. There’s too little hugging going around the world.
2. If you think PJ made it wrong, think again.
3. Everyone should know what Gandalf really did on the Carrock and should be able to do exactly the same, if the need arises.
12. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.
There are dozens of fantastic artists out there – Anita Schmidt-Pabst (wolfanita), Jian Guo (breath-art), knightJJ, Kinko-White, evankart, momofukuu, ramida-r, Niken Anindita (megatruh), Sceith-A, Fabio Leone – just to mention some of my favorites.
I have a special fondness for Anita, who has a type of humour very similar to mine. The biggest support and best inspirations I owe to the admin of www.facebook.com/KingThorinOak… and thorinoakenshield.net. You’ll know why once you visit these pages.
13. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?
If you enjoy funny cartoons about “The Hobbit” you should definitely visit . Here’s an appetizing taste of what you’ll find there:
14. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your humour?
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. That’s my favorite Tolkien quote of all time and my own little motto. Stick to it and I’m betting there won’t be that much in your life you’ll be forced to regret.
Thank you for your time and answers!
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