With comics and superheroes constantly trending and gaining popularity, finding something new and unique is like discovering a new planet. It can happen, but not very often. In my search, I’ve found a comic that has easily piqued my interest, and left me wanting to know what’s to come in the future for this adorably hilarious character named Arnie, the “flaming bag of dog-poo”. If you’ve already chuckled at the name, it’s a solid sign you’ll find this comic not only amusing, but touching at moments when you learn that Arnie didn’t begin in the title’s state.
When two young boys play a common and seemingly harmless prank, a lightning storm and unfortunate accident begins this transformation that leaves one of them changed forever. Reading this was more than entertaining, and becoming attached to the characters is inevitable, as Arnie also has a touch of “Ted” humor. I got the chance to interview the creator about life, comics, and his future projects. If you’ve never heard of “Soul Paste” then getting to know the author, Joe Cervelin, will definitely make you want to dive in with his wit, creativity, and ingenuity.
CC: What was your inspiration behind Soul Paste?
JC: I’ve been writing a lot about the working class struggle the last few years, basically since the recession, the feeling of being disenfranchised, the fact that many of us have to get stomped on for money, one way or the other, and in turn, we might pay other people to stomp on them. I also wanted to play with magical realism and present some irreverent or surreal elements in a matter-of-fact way. As I explored the sense of frustration now, it went full circle to my formative years, my creative center, a merging of those two extremes. This is also my love letter to the 90s, stuff that influenced me as a kid, music like Ween, Butthole Surfers, Chili Peppers, Primus, Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Beck, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Ministry, Marilyn Manson, older tunes by Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, movies like Kids, Serial Mom, Pulp Fiction, Clerks, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butt-head, and Liquid TV.
CC: Have you ever left a flaming bag of poo on someone’s doorstep?
JC: Nope. I love talking smack, but I’m not much of a prankster. Growing up, my friends and I were into the Jerky Boys though. Wink, wink.
CC: Were you a fan of comics growing up?
JC: First it was poetry with cartoony illustrations, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and Lighthouse in the Attic. I got into comics in the early 90s — Sleepwalker, Infinity Gauntlet, Dark Hawk, and Wolverine. Image Comics started and I got into Spawn and the general maverick spirit of the company. That was a gateway to more indie and underground stuff from Fantagraphics, Kitchen Sink Press, Boneyard Press, Dark Horse, and so on. Flowers on the Razorwire, Bill the Bull, and Pixy come to mind. Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown is probably my all-time favorite. The freedom, the audacity, the raw creativity — I love that stuff.
CC: How did you meet and incorporate the artists on your team?
JC: Originally I planned to draw Arnie myself in a black and white zine style. But I met Paul Grab and Adriana Guarderas, who were my neighbors in Culver City at the time, and they had a lot cooler artwork to bring to the table – two distinct and awesome styles. Our individual aesthetics and senses of humor had enough of an overlap where everyone was pretty stoked about collaborating.
CC: What do you see in the future for Soul Paste?
JC: I’ve outlined some future tales for Arnie. I’m also talking with some folks about doing an animated series that adapts and continues Soul Paste. My main focus right now is a new animation pilot, Coyote Munch Mini-Mart, which launches in mid-October. It’s about a tumbleweed that raps, but he’s also in the witness protection program. We have a great cast and crew for that, including some upcoming female emcees like Vel Nine (aka Vel the Wonder) and Vanessa Lynnae. Tyler Holtman (Jarthur the Alien) is animating the series, and his brother, Chase Holtman, a Los Angeles based comedian, is co-producing it. They do hilarious voice-acting on the show too. I’m super excited about the series. I also have two graphic novels that I’m looking to get out there soon.
CC: For fun, if you could become a fictional character from film, television, or comics, who would you choose to be and why?
JC: Man, their lives are too stressful. I wouldn’t mind experiencing some of the underdog victories in the Rocky or Karate Kid movies, even Teen Wolf Too, but just those parts. It may be fun to be Robocop, but only for an hour or so.
“Soul Paste” is available to order through Amazon as a digital download. It’s endearing and hilarious, giving the reader a refreshing new idea in the world of comics. The artwork from issue to issue changes as well which is creative and attention grabbing. Do yourself a favor and download this comic, also follow Joe and his team as they embark on a fantastic journey into an incredibly bright future!