Comic books have given the world a chance to see inside the minds of some of the greatest writers and artists. Classic and brand new characters have stood the test of time and continuously gained popularity with reboots for newer generations, feature films, action figures, and reprints. The experience of reading a comic book itself has remained fairly similar until award winning writer Ken Lamug created his highly anticipated book/comic hybrid, “The Tall Tales of Talbot Toluca”.
With the interactive aspect of this exciting and visually stunning hidden object comic book, readers are able to not only follow the fun storyline, but take part in it. For parents especially that are hoping their children incorporate more reading into their extracurricular activities, Lamug’s book definitely provides a unique combination of colorful visuals and adventure (with a side of time and space travel, of course). The story follows Talbot and his friend, Damien, as they travel through space, time, and alternate dimensions to search for Professor Boz and save the universe from Dr. Kadoom.
I got the chance to speak to Ken Lamug about “The Tall Tales of Talbot Toluca” and found that his love for writing and comics go far beyond a hobby or simple interest. He’s an award winning author with talents like writing, directing, and street photography. As if the book itself wasn’t enough to head over to Kickstarter and help fund this project, Lamug is an intriguing visionary who inspires you to want to me more active within the pages of your favorite stories. If you were ever one of those kids who constantly saw the magic of your own imagination come to life just by running around the yard in a cape, Lamug may be your long lost best friend.
CC: Tell me about your inspiration behind “The Tall Tales of Talbot Toluca”.
KL: I was driving my kid to school and we were talking about coming up with a story idea for a graphic novel. I was telling him a story about how when I was back in school I formed a “nerds club” with two other friends. I was very much into puzzles, trivia, IQ test and things like that back then. So, it sort of spawned from that idea. I was initially thinking Talbot and his friends would be in some kind of a “geek/nerdy” club. I talk about this a bit in my kickstarter video, back in elementary school, our class rooms were below street level. You had to take stairs going down like a subway, and we had this hallway that was dark towards the end. Being that the Philippines was rich in supernatural stories, the kids always talked about something scary at the end of the hallway. That was a little bit of inspiration for the “secret lab” idea under the school. What if there was a secret lab where they used to do experiments, opening portals into other dimensions.
CC: How did comic books and interactive games play a part in your life growing up?
KL: Growing up, my dad was totally into Adventure Games like “Maniac Mansion”, “Day of the Tentacle”, “Police Quest”… and even the series Leisure suit larry where you have to travel around town and find a girl. I loved those games because you were free to roam around, talk to people, solve problems, and then I got to read “Choose You Own Adventure” books which was the closest you got to reading and “playing” a character in the book. I believe there was another series of books similar to CYOA but I don’t remember the name anymore. Anyway, I loved those books where you can “play” them instead of just passively reading. “Where’s Waldo” is obviously another great influence. I never even owned a copy of “Where’s Waldo” until I was an adult. I only saw them at the library, and now they have a lot of apps and games that are similar in style and I tend to gravitate to those games more than other types.
CC: Who or what would you say has influenced, or inspired, your work the most?
KL: Even when I’m creating “kids” type of stories I tend to veer towards the darker side, more like Edward Gorey and Tim Burton type stories. I find those the most interesting where your imagination can just go in different directions. In my indie film work, I’m definitely a Tarantino fan (I guess who isn’t anymore), and I also enjoy Shaun Tan’s work and Mike Mignola.
I feel like I absorb whatever feels good at the time and that’s what influences me. So, it’s an ever changing process which could be good and bad too. When it comes to inspiration, whenever I see any person who pursues their dreams despite all the odds, those are the ones that inspire me.
I’ll give you an example. Being here in the U.S. I would sometimes complain about not having enough space, enough time to work on my projects. Then I look at Japanese Manga artists and these guys work in a closet sized room, drawing 16 hours per day pumping out their comics every week. Then I realize, I don’t have it that bad after all and that I need to work harder and faster. It puts things into perspective, you could say.
CC: Congratulations on your previous awards! What is in the future for Talbot Toluca? You?
KL: Thank you! I do hope that adults and kids will respond positively to the book and the story. This is only a small portion of the story and there’s so much more to tell. Since my original plan was a 150 page book but after doing 50 pages I realized it was going to take longer with all the puzzles so I decided to do a smaller version which will be a good test. I have about 5+ more picture books and comics planned and different stages so I hope to keep finishing those. If I can do two books per year that would be great. It would be great to see more Talbot Toluca books in different formats as well. I think it will be fun.
CC: Just for fun, if you could become any fictional character, who would you choose to be and why?
KL: I would probably be one of two things… Indiana Jones or one of the Ghostbusters!
Let me tell you this, when I was a kid, I was so into Indiana Jones, I started reading books on ancient Greece, Mayans, Egyptians… I kept a notebook with glyphs and translations, but since I didn’t have a bag like he did, I made one out of paper, stapled it and wore it around like a dork. I would go around the neighborhood looking at rocks, checking to see if there were any clues of ancient civilizations on them.
CC: Anything else you’d like your readers to know about the book and the Kickstarter campaign?
KL: Just that i’m very excited about this and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Also I’m planning on doing some giveaways soon, so they have to watch out for that. There will be a raffle for anyone who tweets with #talbottoluca hashtag will be entered in. More information to come once the kickstarter launches. And I appreciate everyone’s help making this adventure come true.
If you’d like to see more about this one of a kind book, and help fund it on Kickstarter, head over to Kickstarter-Talbot Toluca! You’ll definitely want to take advantage of the chance to be a part of this book and the new age of comics!
Kickstarter: Talbot Toluca