Recently, I had the chance to talk to Frank Gibson, author of the Capture Creatures comic series from BOOM! Studios. The series started as an art project riffing on Pokémon between Becky Dreistadt, illustrator, and Gibson, writer.

Each of the 152 (and counting) creatures is painstakingly painted and cataloged for online perusal. The creatures are classified in eleven groups including Air, Energy, Insect, and Plant. This menagerie has the same chimeric formula as Pokémon, but a soft radiance all of its own.

Zach: Capture Creatures is now a comic book. How did that happen?
Frank Gibson, author: The original project was inspired by the work of Ken Sugimori. He's the watercolor painter who designed the original pokémon. We thought it would be a good exercise to create all these creatures the same way. Ken Sugimori did his over a one-year period. It took us two years. We published the Capture Creatures hardcover encyclopedia. It has all the creatures, their different iterations, and how they change.

From there we were doing Adventure Time books and I was working on the Amazing World of Gumball comic for BOOM. They said, "Hey, do you guys want to make a comic based on Capture Creatures," and I definitely did. A long time ago I wanted to do a slice-of-life story about the Creatures, slightly in the future. I said, "Let's do it," and they said, "What do you need?" I needed a team. Becky paints and that takes from 1-3 days a page so we got an amazing team together, to take the pressure off her, and we were up and running from there. We're going up to issue #8 and then we'll see what happens.

Z: Are you planned just up to issue #8 then? How far do you have plotted out?
FG: I'm actually looking beyond issue #8. There's an eight-issue arc, but I have up to #12 in my head right now. I've never worked in this long format before, so it's a new thing for me. I really enjoy it.

Z: What kind of background do you and Becky have with console RPGs?
FG: Becky is a big Kingdom Hearts fan. Right now I'm playing Fantasy Life for the DS. Of course, we love Pokémon. We were Pokémon kids. I was a little late to Final Fantasy. I came in at IX, and now I'm going through the classic ones.

I've been playing a lot more board games lately. Recently, I played in a game of Arkham Horror where we made decisions based on the characters we were playing. So I was the crazy hobo.

Z: And you made crazy hobo choices.
FG: Right! Also, I'm a big professional wrestling fan, and there's a printable .pdf game that came out recently that's a wrestling RPG and I'm really excited about that. You get used to the fantasy settings, but this is what I grew up on. It's a contemporary setting and you get to jump into a different kind of character's head.

Z: Is that Piledrivers and Powerbombs, by any chance?
FG: Yes, that's the one! I'm just waiting to get together with a couple of friends when we get back to Los Angeles.

Z: That sounds like fun! Go for it! What's your writing process like? You mentioned you do the writing and Becky does the illustrations.
FG: She does the pencils and also paints the covers. The first issue wasn't so bad because we had a year to think about it. It's 30 pages — I'm really glad they let me do it.

I start with a basic idea like, "They're in a cave and this is what's going to happen." Then I sit down and freewrite, usually for about a week, every morning. I'll write for a couple of hours and get ideas out there. From there, I go from paper and pen to the computer and type it out. I rearrange it in Scrivener. Then I script it out like a screenplay.

Becky pencils it, she sends it off to Kelly Bastow who inks it, who sends it off to the coloring team. Then it goes to Britt Wilson, who does lettering for Fiona and Cake. The team does such a good job! It's a neat process since I'm used to self-publishing and doing everything myself.

Deadlines are new. Deadlines are horrifying! Writing for a deadline is tricky, but it's a good skill if you want to do this full-time. People will sit in the chair and wait for inspiration, but even that is putting in the hours. For Capture Creatures, the brainstorming and freewriting is at least 10 hours per issue.

Z: Final question: If you could have one Capture Creature as a pet, which one would it be?
FG: The easy answer is Bon Bon Fire who's in Capture Creatures #1. It's a red panda, it's cute. I've also always wanted a shiba inu, so Innuma. It hasn't show up in the comic yet, but I've always wanted a shiba. We don't have room for one now, but maybe once we move.

I know how that is. Thank you, Frank Gibson, author of Pokémon-inspired Capture Creatures. May all of your adventures be with friends, and all of your dungeons be mysterious.

For those of you keeping score at home, my favorite Capture Creature is Markipolitan. This beastie is a Bavarian village take on terrarium-type pokémon like Torterra. Instead of a tree growing on its back, the ram-like Markipolitan is covered in idyllic little villages. The dutiful creature looks like a fluffy friend, but watch out for the guard tower located on it's craggy tail! — Zach Welhouse

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