Wednesday, December 12, 2018 • Evening Edition • "At least we're not ComicBook.com!"

Conspiracy of Birds: an interview with Trevor McKee

Written by The Indie Huntress on Sunday, March 04 2018 and posted in Features

Conspiracy of Birds: an interview with Trevor McKee

I can't get enough of this awesome comic strip!!


Source: Trevor McKee

I have been binge reading the webtoon, "Conspiracy of Birds" for a few days now. I started at number one, and worked my way up to present day at episode 183. Conspiracy of Birds has had me snortling for the last few nights. I have the same stupid grin plastered on my face that I do when I am reading The Farside or Calvin and Hobbes. It's been awhile since a comic really tickled me. And I adore strip comics.

I am old enough to remember when the Sunday papers used to be jam packed with comics- Sunday was the best day of the week for that reason alone. There is something really special about comic strips, they are an art all on their own. Each one requires a story jammed into 3-4 panels, and they have to be on point. The creator of CoB (Trevor McKee) writes, draws, color and letters all of it. The progression in his art from the first strip to present day is amazing. It really makes me giddy to see someone make such strides in their work, and find the groove and style that appeals to them the most. It's magic to me, because it is abundantly clear that Trevor has a strong passion for his work.

Trev ice cream

When I asked Trevor why he started this strip, he sent me a photograph of an introduction inside his book. It reads:

Bird Pants, as it was first called, was originally created s a casual attempt at political humor. My plan was just to post it to my blog and social media for my friends to see. I quickly realized that writing nothing but comics with a political theme would leave me twitching in uncontrolled rage. I considered leaving those early comics (which are also of low artistic quality) out of this collection. I realized though, that in order to properly tell the tale of Conspiracy of Birds, one must understand its beginnings as Bird Pants.

It's a comic about me and about how I cope with the world around me. It's about how I see others, and how (to my estimation) others see me. Do I exaggerate and sometimes just completely make stuff up? Yes, of course. My life without the occasional robot, space alien, or mystical talking penguin thrown in would be pretty mundane to the casual reader.

I hope you enjoy not only the individual comics in this first collection, but also seeing the evolution of the series. It is a project that in many ways commanded it's own creative direction as I began to understand my own reasons for creating it.

Lastly, if you paid money for this comic, thank you. I am sure I've still spent far more money creating it, than I am ever going to recoup, but it was nice of you to try. If you've stolen it, also thank you. I've always wanted to create something petty thieves and internet pirates felt worthy of theft.

Meet the characters:

trev bio copyTrevor:
A majority of CoB comics center around Trevor. He is, of course, loosely based on me (the creator). Trevor is a strange guy who doesn't quite fit in anywhere. He's got peculiar mannerisms, says peculiar things, has peculiar habits, and generally gets on everyone's nerves. He is a fairly intelligent guy who dances to the beat of his own drum.

 

todd bioTodd: Trevor's cousin and best friend. He's a single dad (to Jake) who is also the "everyman" of the comic. He's not particularly bright, but he is not dumb either. Todd often serves to be the grounded voice of reason to the strange friends and loose acquaintances that surround him. He's the sort of person that often questions if he's the one that's gone crazy, or if it really is everybody else around him.

 

max bioMax Feldspar:
Usually just called "Feldspar" by his friends, Max sees himself as a brilliant scientist and engineer, only nothing he does in that regard ever works out right. His ineptitude is often the source wild and zany conflict within the CoB universe.

 

larry bioLarry:
Larry was originally hired as Trevor's "Emotion Owl" to be his voice in situations where Trevor had trouble speaking for himself. Larry's pastimes include drinking beer, giving terrible advice, and sometimes being helpful to the gang,

 

Jake bioJake:
Todd's infant son Jake does the things that most babies do, only Todd, and occasionally a babysitting Trevor have no idea how to deal.

 

 

Krissy bioKrissy Bronus:
Jake's mother and Todd's ex. Krissy isn't exactly parent material so Todd has primary custody of Jake. Trevor is her sworn enemy as he was the one who dropped the dime on her when she tried to cook Todd's face with a clothing iron. She spends much of her time in and out of prison where she lost her non-crazy eye in a fork fight in the cafeteria.

beth bioNurse Beth:
Reluctant friend of Trevor and Todd, Beth is not one to put up with any of their nonsense. In fact, she has a pretty low tolerance for anyone or anything. Beth cares for Arbordale Hospital's patients with her unorthodox and occasionally effective nursing techniques.

 

beefo bioBill Beefo:
Trevor's Uncle on the other side of his family, Bill runs the local burger joint. He's a gun, meat, and America loving tough guy with more than his fair share of body hair. He and and Trevor often spar over political and social issues, but Trevor and the gang hang out at his restaurant anyway. As Trevor once put it, "He's fat, racist, thinks guns will solve everything, but ya know, he's family."

Included in a gallery at the end of this article, and throughout it, are some of my favorite strips. I realized that if I included 'all of my favorites' I'd just be ruining the entire thing for everyone because I would end up posting over half the strips. Yes- it's that damn good. Every one of the characters adds something special to the comic. Trevor writes in such a way that each character plays off the others well. Their personalities are are big, and it makes for great entertainment. My favorites are Trevor, Nurse Beth, Bill Beefo, Larry, and Fish Sticks the cat.

Beth is the best

Fish Sticks might be tied for number one with Nurse Beth. Nurse Beth doesn't take any shit, and I can't help but to love her for it. I adore Trevor's character because he is kinda goofy, weird, and does his own thing- it's endearing and very comical. Larry is a bit of a devil- but he is good hearted overall. I think he has a softer spot for people than he initially lets on. Fish Sticks is a cat- all cats are great, even if they're jerks- they're still great. There is one episode in particular where Larry uses Fish Sticks as a distraction to save Jake from a Duck- he has a monocle and top hat and I laughed at that until my sides hurt. He doesn't talk, except for cat noises, but man... he's great.

Fish sticks is the best

 

Bill Beefo- I have a love/hate relationship with this character- he is everything I hate about conservatives, and everything I love to make fun of. On Beefo, Trevor says, "He started off as making fun of recist redneck stereotypes, but then I realized I liked him, and I wanted him to be more interesting than that, so imo he evolved into a sort of a big loveable pot roast of a person."

Trevor did an amazing job with all of these characters and continues to develop them. As I said previously, the progression in his work is something amazing. Not just the art, but the character development too. All around it just keeps on getting better, and after doing it for three and a half years- I'd say he's got a lot to be proud of.

Beefos bot

How long have you been doing Conspiracy of Birds?

3 ½ years

Where did the title come from?

Well, at first it was called Bird Pants, but long story short it conflicted with something else that was local (a mixed media artist) and I didn't want it to get confused... so I changed it. It's mostly just meant to be nonsensical though.

Your art has really progressed from the early strips. Is it all digital, or do you do some by hand?

The early ones were traditional... then I started doing digital coloring, then I think around # 49 or 50 I started doing 100% digital.

Is it easier going full digital?

Not really in terms of making it easier to draw, you're still basically doing the same stuff, a pencil layer, and an ink layer all done by hand... but it's easier in terms of formatting and such. You can achieve different results with digital I suppose. I tend to be a perfectionist so it takes me longer than just doing it on paper because I can sit there and fuss with every single line. It's why I started doing those quick comics, to teach myself to loosen up a little.

larry beth

Do you have any printed copies of your comics?

I have one so far collecting some of the earlier work, which can be purhased through the website.  I'm going to do at least 1 more "early works" thing... then go from there. I kinda want to separate out those early ones that are really rough looking, but I still want to make them available. I'll put 50 onward into a bigger book... or I'll do more smaller comics with those.

How often are you releasing the strips?

I'm really really trying for weekly. That doesn't always work out. But I do those quick ones so that makes up for it.

Do you actually have the cat Fish Sticks?

Sadly, I do not. My family is trying to convince me to get a Fish Sticks.

(Indie's note: keep bugging Trevor to get this cat. If my readers can get him up to 4800 likes, I'll kick in for the adoption fee!!)

What advice do you have for creators, or those aspiring to be? 

My advice to other creators is: Whatever idea you have that you think isn't ready yet, or that you're not ready to execute, do it now. Right now. It doesn't matter how you start, just start. Write that first line or draw that first panel. That voice inside your head that's telling you that you're not ready yet is wrong. The act of 'doing' is a part of the creative process. That voice will keep your ideas in limbo indefinitely if you let it. Start RIGHT NOW.

You can check out Conspiracy of Birds in the following locations:

Web page: http://www.conspiracyofbirds.com/

Tapas: https://goo.gl/MCepqD

Webtoon: https://goo.gl/gVsUZD

Tumblr: https://goo.gl/FLd5aZ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cobcomic/

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About the Author - The Indie Huntress


Indie is an on and off again writer for The Outhouse. She fell deeply in love with independent comics a few years ago, and has made that her focus. She loves all forms, types, and styles. She is genuinely excited to see what people have created and admires the passion put into comics greatly.
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