I thought I would write something a little different for a blog post on the Ouro Bros site. Here’s the interesting part – It’s not about Stan and Balthazar, and Jeff’s and my comic! It’s actually about another webcomic, that goes by the name of Imy. More after the jump.
Irma Eriksson, originally a resident of New Jersey, USA, now is a citizen of Stockholm, Sweden, and has been since 2003. She lives with her husband in Stockholm, and a lot like Jeff and myself, she does a webcomic when she is not working her full-time job.
That comic is about the life of a somewhat boisterous, but lovable young lady that goes by the name of Imy. Imy lives with her boyfriend Jay, and also can often be seen palling around with best friend Kat. In the canon of the comic, she currently works at a coffee shop in her town, where she is re-vitalizing a weekly open mic night. Imy has a sister Mia who has a daughter Zoe, who looks up to her Aunt Imy a great deal, and is as Irma puts it is, Imy’s “biggest fan”.
So why am I writing about Imy? Well, she happens to be a huge fan of rock music, and the appreciation of rock music is a prevalent theme in Irma Eriksson’s webcomic. Whether it’s Imy trying to start her own rock band (see my take on “Imy and Triple Trouble” meeting Stan and Balthazar below), going to concerts and local shows, turning her niece Zoe on to all kinds of excellent music, or just lying down in and out of doors with her headphones on, Imy is the consummate music lover. I thought the idea of writing about this comic on our site fit in so well with the spirit of our own characters, who love music so much, they’re trying to live a permanent life on the road pursuing it as a dream.
I had the great pleasure of asking Irma Eriksson a few questions to go along with this review post. The following are excerpts from our conversation. Enjoy!
Jeremy:At what point in your life did you decide to do Imy? Did you jump right into creating the webcomic, or did it take a while to get started with what you wanted to do? Basically, would you mind telling me the story of how the webcomic got its start?
Irma: I had had it my head for a long time that I wanted to do a comic. I had some favorite comics, a Swedish one named “Elvis” and a Norwegian one named “Nemi,” that were my inspiration, but I had no ideas. I was certain that I wasn’t capable of it, and for a long time I just “thought about it.” One day, back in November 2007, I posted a cartoon illustration of myself that I did on my facebook account and a friend of mine suggested that I do a comic about life as an expat in Sweden. I told her I didn’t think I’d come up with any ideas, but I decided to sit down and really try. The ideas I came up with were simple, and didn’t have anything to do with beng an expat. But that didn’t matter to me because I finally had ideas. So I gave myself a goal – I would do 5 comic strips and see where it lead me. Unlike many other cartoonists, I didn’t start with any character development. I just dove right into the comic, with a few simple ideas, and the characters developed through the strips.
Jeremy: Are you making a living (or partial living) from your comic? What else do you do for money (if your comic isn’t currently generating a full income)?
Irma: Ha! Hahahahahaha! HAHA!!! I laugh because I’m currently thinking about how much money is going into NYCC (New York Comic Con, October 8 – 10, 2010 – Jacob K. Javits Center) that I will never get back, but it’s worth it because it’s about the experience, isn’t it? 😉 No, I don’t make any sort of living off of my comic. Up to now, I’ve mostly just broken even with anything I’ve sold.
I have a part time job otherwise (to be full time very soon) in the Music Research and Statistics industry. We monitor music airplay on radio and TV and create top 100 type charts from that. It’s a decent job and I really enjoy it.
Jeremy: It is clear from the subject material of your comic that music is a big influence. Do you listen to a lot of music while working on your strip? What other influences inspire your work?
Irma: Oh yes! Music is the beginning and the end to everything! I am listening to music constantly, especially when I’m working on the strip. Any other influence for the strip is mainly just anything that pops into my day-to-day life.
Jeremy: In your comic, you portray the family life (particularly the sister and niece) of your main character. Do you currently have a niece/nephew that inspired those characters? Do you have siblings?
Irma: Yes! I have 2 half sisters and a half brother. All were 18+ years old when I was born, so I basically grew up an only child. But they all have children, and my oldest niece is the inspiration for Zoe and her relationship with Imy. Considering I’ve lived in Sweden for most of her life I’ve only met her a few times. Zoe’s and Imy’s relationship came from the idea of the relationship I would have liked to have had with my niece had I lived closer to her. I have contact with her, especially now (thank the heavens for facebook!), but I don’t get to spend any time with her and share much with her, which is something that makes me sad sometimes. And, for the record, I love and adore my sisters and brother very much, and do NOT have the type relationship Imy has with her sister Mia with any of them!
Jeremy: Do you have any hobbies that do not include drawing? Disney Princess stamp collecting? Monster Truck repair and/or competition? Creating scale models of Octopi and/or Squid?
Irma: Haha! While those all seem like GREAT hobbies, no I don’t, really. I don’t like drawing 100% of the time. I can’t be that person. I burn out easily. I used to do web design for close to a decade, but I burned out on that after I taught it for 3 years. At the moment, it’s been so long since I’ve had the time to do anything other than drawing that I’ve forgotten what else I usually do 🙂 Also, I’ve recently moved to a new apartment and found that it’s affected my habits much more than I expected. For example, I’ve been in the new place for almost 3 months and have not yet watched any TV besides the Swedish crownprincess’s wedding 🙂 I think that when I’m not drawing I just like to chill – read a book, watch a movie or dust off the PS3 and play something like LittleBigPlanet before I start feeling too unproductive and go back to drawing again.
Jeremy: In closing, can you name your top 5 favorite bands to listen to right now?
Irma: Good thing you said “right now” since this changes often. Hmmm at the moment I’d say my top 5 are:
The Dead Weather
Kings of Leon
So that wraps up my review/interview of the wonderfully heartfelt, funny, and rocking comic Imy. If you will be going to New York Comic Con in a few weeks, be sure to find Irma Eriksson and talk to her about Imy! Irma will be at the Th3rd World table with such other great folks as Mike Witmer of Pinkerton, and Tom Racine of Tall Tale Features. She will be selling her first collected print volume of Imy comics there, so be sure to support her and buy a copy! Without further ado, I encourage each and every one of you to enjoy Imy!