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Interview: Meet the Man Behind the Goth, Ricardo Porven - Donnie Goth's Master Mad Man


Interview: Meet the Man Behind the Goth, Ricardo Porven - Donnie Goth's Master Mad Man

Are you a ghoul of sorts? Do you like getting into mischief? If you’re into the abnormal then perhaps you may want to be introduced to a new kid on the block by the name of Donnie Goth. Ricardo Porven, creator of Donnie Goth, is a talent of sorts and has brought the creation of this mischief little misfit to life in his all new comic strip available from him to you via the new Facebook app! Porven along with artist Luis Diaz collaborated on a variety of stories and topics until they came to a compromise of sorts i.e. Donnie Goth and his slithering sidekick Oliver the netromander (necromancer and salamander). Porven has gone off to produce the strip all his own he has developed a sense of uniqueness and originality all his own. Now is the time that you meet the man behind the goth.

So where did the idea come from?

I was collaborating on a variety of comic stories with artist Luis Diaz []. Most of those concepts were long format, serious comic books. Luis had a character, LD monster, who he wanted for us to develop. We talked about developing short, funny stories that would be easy to update and showcase the character. I went and developed some scripts and ended positioning his LD monster as an imaginary companion to a seven year old goth kid, Little Donnie. Luis felt the scripts were to centric around Donnie and didn’t feature LD monster in the way he had im-agined. I thought the scripts were funny though and I didn’t want them to go to waste. So I developed another imaginary character, which ended up being Oliver, the necro-mander (necromancer + salamander) and set out to produce the strip myself.

Is everything you’ve come up from you or did you get ideas from other sources?

Everybody is influenced by the media they consume. The ideas come to me, but I am sure they don’t come from nowhere. At the time I was reading Calvin and Hobbes and there are some similarities I guess. I pay a little homage to it in the strip Zombie Butterf-ly. But, for the most part, the stories come from real life experiences that not only I but all of us go through. Being made fun of and feeling different. Having things fail despite our best intentions, relationships, this is all stuff we can relate too.

Tell me a little about Donnie Goth.

Donnie is fun character to write. He’s smart and funny. He has good intentions for the most part, but he’s totally in-touch with his dark side. Nothing ever seems to go right for him, that’s part of his charm. But he doesn’t let that get him down. Whether he gets blown off by a girl, or unintentionally spawns zombies that rip innocent people to shreds, he doesn’t dwell on it. He’s a goth kid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has to be gloomy. It’s a comic strip, with the emphasis on comic. Each strip is a joke. Sometimes it’s a sick twisted joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Where did Donnie get his name does his last name “Goth” represent anything in particular in his life?

Donnie’s name originated because of the original connection with LD monster. He was called Little Donnie then. Once I had him set off on his own strip, I wanted to give him his own identity. He was a Goth and the last name just kinda stuck and had a nice ring to it. Originally, the underlying joke was that Donnie was a 7 year old Goth kid. A little young for someone to choose a Goth lifestyle and the opening strip contrasted that life choice versus the rest of the kids in the schoolyard.

What about his pet salamander and why this creature of all others out there?

I really thought about it. There are so many animal friends in the history of comics; I wanted to look for something unusual. All mammals were pretty much off the list. Rep-tiles were off too, because I felt that the idea of an “evil reptile” was kind of cliché. When I was a kid, I liked salamanders, but never got to own one. I would see them in the pet shops and they were cool because they were both lizard and frog-like. And they all had these cool crazy colors. I gravitated to that immediately.

Now whilst this is an exclusive Facebook application do you plan to release it in a physical format perhaps like when the first series is done? I wouldn’t mind receiving a sighed copy.

Yes. In fact, Donnie will be debuting in Orlando Florida’s Megacon in February 2012. I’ll be selling a book there that will collect the first 6 of the new strips, the old strips, some individual pinup art and some of the more interesting Facebook conversations Donnie has had online. I’ll be promoting that and other merchandise, signing books, hosting a panel and hopefully debut a Donnie Goth music video at the film festival. (If time permits)

Why did you want to go with Facebook of all sites to release this comic on? What set Facebook apart from all the options you may have had available?

Back when I first started Donnie Goth in 2006, he was hosted on his own website. It was difficult getting traffic to the site until I started to use MySpace to announce new strips to my growing friend base. The social networking approach netted me over 2 mil-lion hits to the site in less than six months. I would definitely say MySpace was a huge reason for that. Knowing this and seeing how the social network landscape has changed over the years, I knew that the fastest and most effective opportunity to grow a large audience for the strip was to launch and deliver it on Facebook. Exposing the comic to as many fans as quickly as possible and at the lowest possible cost was my first goal. I didn’t realize the amount of feedback and support I would receive and was blown away by how much everyone loved the strip. Looking back, the decision was the best I had made and Donnie continues to grow at an exponential rate. I look forward to the day the fans number in the tens of thousands. (fingers crossed)

Apparently this comic strip of Donnie Goth was a “relaunch” where did first get its start?

See above.

If you were in Donnie Goth’s shoes what would you do?

I’d use my powers to take over the world. But Donnie’s a much better kid than that. Plus, he’s in middle-school right now, he’s more concerned with girls and where he fits into that crazy social scene. With time, we’ll see where life takes him. And we’ll have a few chuckles (hopefully) along the way.

Donnie Goth looks like it’d make a great cartoon series besides its comic counter partner would you consider this?

If I had the resources and time to consistently animate Donnie, I would be doing it. That being said, if any network wants to approach me about just such a vehicle, I’d be all ears. I think Donnie would be perfect for television. Hopefully, that’s where he ends up in the long-term.

Besides this creation you are an artist, writer, filmmaker, and a freelancer how do you manage to combine all of these activities into your daily route?

I try to dedicate some time to Donnie every single day, regardless of my work schedule. And I sleep less than the average person. Hopefully, that doesn’t catch up with me. LOL. But, while juggling all those activities is a constant challenge (including having a family with three kids aged 17, 13 and 9), I seem to be most productive when I am overwhelmed. It’s a trait I’ve had my entire career. When I have too much time on my hands I get lazy. Weird, it should be the opposite. But I know myself pretty well by now.

Which of these do you think fits you best?

I try to work to the best of my ability and at a professional level in all that I do. I think in all of those listed, my illustration skills are the weakest of my talents, because I have exercised them the least. But you’ll notice improvement on every strip. I’m still develop-ing the Donnie Goth visual language. It’ll get there. I have a few friends who are also multi-faceted creative’s. Those guys are very close to me, I feel we are few and far be-tween. I mean no disrespect to anybody by that. I have a great respect for those that have disciplined themselves in only one area and have become masters of what they do.

What would you say to those who’d want to get involved in what you’re doing?

It’s a considerable investment of both time and money to be successful. Never kid your-self on that point. It helps to have a flexible job to support you and give you the freedom to work on what you want when you want to. Be consistent, update when you say you are going to. Don’t assume because your work is awesome people will flock to it. Go out there and engage people. And also, be nice. There are enough moody a-holes in this business as it is. We are privileged to have fans, appreciate them. It’s not all about the money. But you should consider how you will get paid for what you do. There is a lot of options. Just don’t get frustrated if you don’t start earning any revenue right away. These things take time.

Halloween is just around the corner will we be seeing Donnie Goth getting into more mischief because of the holiday or any of the others for that matter?

For sure I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. For this month, we have a hilarious episode lined up called Hallows Eve Ball. And I am also planning a short animated vid-eo clip. I am also developing costume t-shirts for the shop. For the Christmas Holiday, we’re planning X-massacre. There’s a reason Santa’s suit is red. That’s all I am saying right now.

So based on this comic strip your into the dark morbid after life? Do you have any odds and ends you like to collect?

I have always rooted for the monsters. My first love was dinosaurs – born from a trip to the museum of Natural History in New York when I was six. And it grew on a healthy diet of Creature Features and Godzilla movies as I grew older. I haven’t been much of a collector growing up. I’m more of a consumer. I consume, it becomes part of my collec-tive memory and then I move on to the next thing. I rarely read or watch a movie more than once. It seems I can’t get enough I’m always looking for some new stimulation. But my heart is rooted in the dark. I “LOVE” scary movies, books, costumes, Halloween, etc. At one point, my goal in life was to become the next Rick Baker.

What are some of your favorite comic strips and or books? Do you have any rec-ommendations?

I’ve read a lot of different stuff. I’m sure most people would expect me to recommend stuff that’s similar to my work, but really, my taste is all over the place. But I will make some recommendations. I love “Y the last man”. I have been reading a lot of Brian Wood. (DMZ, Local, Demo) he’s great. I’ve also liked Douglas Rushkoff’s take on reli-gion in Testament. I have a lesser known TPB collection of short stories called Arsenic Lullaby that is so twisted and funny. I just picked up a book recently called Asterios Polyp that I couldn’t put down. And I have to mention Lenore by Roman Dirge. He cracks me up.

Would you say that Donnie Goth is just like me and you?

In a lot of ways yes he is. Except for the fact that we don’t have a Necromander of our own to rise zombies to do our bidding is a shame.

Thanks for your time do you have any last words?

Thank you for the interview. If anyone reading this interview hasn’t checked out Donnie Goth yet, do yourself a favor and like the Facebook page.

by: Natalie Perez

Ricardo Porven

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