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Interview with Magipunk Creator: Matt Loffhagen

Posted by Sian, Jan, 2015. Matt Loffhagen, Kotor Comics owns copyright to cartoon imagery displayed on this page.

I was at MCM Comic Con (Oct 2015) when I met Matt Loffhagen at his Kotor Comics’ stand. An array of fun looking characters had caught my eye and that was when I was first introduced to Magipunk. Matt has also produced a number of different works including a parody Star Wars web comic - Spoof Wars. He has also produced endearing one-off comic strips, e.g. The Problem with being a Gamer Dad.

At the convention, there was a poster, with Link (Legend of Zelda) facing up to his fears with courage. Matt explained he had drawn this when he first learnt the scary yet exciting news he was going to be father. 

I interviewed Matt to find out more about his life as a comic artist and his creations, including the Magipunk World.


The review for the web comic Magipunk can be found here:

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How long have you been publishing comic strips for Magipunk and what has been your inspiration for creating the Magipunk World?

Matt: I've been making Magipunk comics since 2013, but the main characters, Runt and Candy, have been around since 2006. The idea for Magipunk came from a few different sources, but the main one was a dream I had in 2010, where a bunch of pirates were fighting a demon on a spaceship. When I woke up, I thought it'd be amazing to have a sci-fi comic full of magic and wizards.

As I started generating ideas, I realised how easy it is to throw together elements from all my favourite fandoms. Crossing sci-fi and fantasy together means I can have pirates, wizards, aliens, monsters, robots and anything else I can think of. Especially for a three panel strip comic, it's very helpful that I don't have to slow down and explain how things work - it's all 'magic'.

One other big influence is Greek mythology. A lot of the main characters are named after Greek heroes, and the main premise of the comic is taken from epic Greek stories like the search for the Golden Fleece. At one point the pirates even find the Golden Fleece, but throw it away because it's not the ancient treasure they're looking for.

The Runt and Candy duo is genius. How did you arrive at this idea? As a side line to this, my thoughts are that Candy reminds me of Panty (from Panty and Stocking). Also, I thought Runt reminded me a bit of Cosmo – if you have watched Fairly Odd Parents…

Matt: Ha! I've heard comparisons like those before, someone once said that Runt and Candy reminded them of Bill and Mandy from the old Cartoon Network show. Runt and Candy originated from my old Star Wars comic, which was a parody of the Knights of the Old Republic videogame. My first attempts at a web comic involved retelling the story of that game, but with big bright colours and lots of silly jokes.

In that game you can choose to be either a male or female player character and you can choose to either be a hero or a villain - to show the split of different gameplay styles I created a dim but friendly male character and an evil female character. Runt and Candy kind of jumped off the page for me and would often seem to suggest comic ideas all by themselves - my favourite comics tend to just involve Runt and Candy messing around together, without a lot of distractions.

In 2011 I figured I'd had enough of the Star Wars setting, and I ended my old comic with Runt and Candy flying off into the distance, looking for new adventures. I instantly started to miss them, though, and wanted to come up with a new, homespun story about their travels. They were one of the last elements to fit into place in Magipunk - until they showed up, I'd always imagined a fairly serious story, but the moment I put Runt and Candy in the universe I was inventing, they shifted everything around them to be more bright, colourful and silly.

Which Magipunk character design did you most enjoy creating?

Matt: Hmm. A lot of the characters were really fun to create, so it's hard to pick just one. The orthodontist was fun to play with; I like his facial hair, big hat and long coat. I tried to make him look kind of like a cross between a wizard and a cowboy, which is a combination I don't think we see often enough.

Huntley Killington was lots of fun to create, although really difficult. I had an idea of what I wanted him to look like, but I couldn't get it right at first, so I got a friend who was studying 3D animation to create a mockup that I based his head on. The goldfish aliens were fun too; it involved a trip to an aquarium. I love the goldfish that carry big bubbles of air in their cheeks, so I took a bunch of reference pictures and built an alien race around them.

Are there any other comic epics you produce aside from Magipunk?

Matt: I do regular comics on my Tumblr (Kotor Comics) which are normally videogame related. Magipunk’s the only other regular comic I do at the moment. Anyone who enjoys Magipunk and wants more of the same should check out my finished comic Special Level, which is about a group of friends who find themselves in a magical hidden realm and have to save the kingdom from an evil wizard.

Is there a certain type software you 
prefer to use for creating your comics?

Matt: I use Manga Studio for a lot of other comics, but for Magipunk I use an extremely old copy of Macromedia Flash. It's about ten years old now but I have absolutely no patience for learning software, so I stick with what I know best! I never really feel like my comics struggle for using an older programme, so I stick with what works. It also means that if ever I decide to make a Magipunk animation, I can do so, as all the character files are animation-ready. I'm not planning anything at the moment, but one day it might be fun to try making a short movie.

What do you find takes the most time when preparing your comics?

Matt: Character design is probably the most time consuming. I like to fiddle with things and play with different ideas to get the right look for a character. I put about a year of work into the main characters and the comic's art style before I even started making comics. If a new character is going to make an appearance I generally need to have it planned a couple of months in advance to give me time to stew over ideas.

What would you say has been your most interesting comic project so far?

Matt: Magipunk is definitely up there on my list. Another one has been Almost Eden, which my wife and I did together - it's the story of our marriage, but from a post apocalypse perspective where we live in a cave and we're the only two people left alive. That comic's only online for my patreon backers.

Is there any upcoming exciting Magipunk stuff we should look forward to?

Matt: Well, at the moment we're finishing up the final story arc of the first 'chapter', which is exciting. Next chapter will feature a bunch of new characters, including a magical space bee inspired by Harry Potter who'll be joining the team.

New for Magipunk in 2016

Aside from a new chapter starting in 2016, Matt has has that it is posible that a printed book for the first chapter of Magipunk may come our way...

February 2016 will be Runt and Candy's 10th birthday. Matt assures us that there will be plenty of fun surprises then.  

"It's mostly an opportunity to mix things up and try some new dynamics. I'm excited to do things a little differently with the next chapter" - Matt Loffhagen, Creator and Artist, Magipunk, Kotor Comics

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