In Part Two of our interview with Tim Lim, we discussed his works and advice for others entering Indie Comics
TERESA MARTIN: How did you get into the arts?
TIM LIM: I’ve been working in the merchandising field for about a decade along with Mark with Pellegrini. In 2015 we started doing covers for comic companies primarily IDW. So, people know me from my variant cover works. Recently we started doing our own comics from Antarctic press. Most people will know me from political satire. We do a bunch of the Trump books like Trump’s Space Force, My Hero Magadamia, Wall-might, and our own IP is Black Hops. I did the art for Douglas Ernst’s Soulfinder as well.
Did you study art at University or trade school?
I’m completely self-taught. My mother drew as a hobby, so I just grew up drawing. I never thought I’d make money off of it. I’ve never actually won a single award for art, never in school or in college. It’s ironic I’m doing this even though, theoretically, I’m not even qualified for it because I didn’t even go to art school. It’s the beauty of the gig economy. If you have a portfolio and people like what you do, then you can do it so long as you know where to look and you have the resources to do it.
The funny thing is that when I was finishing up my doctorate a friend of mine said I could make a lot of money doing T-shirts. I’d just been doing it as a hobby. Sure enough, I submitted art for T-Shirts and you can make a lot of money doing those. I did so many for years. Finally, I was at a con and I was doing a lot of Transformers. A Hasbro rep gave me his business cards and I started working in merchandizing doing Transformers T-shirts, because at the time not a lot of people could do Transformers. It’s very technical. After that, they cycled me into doing other other designs as well. After five years, I had 685 works to show to people. In 2015, I went to the IDW booth at SDCC and I showed my portfolio. So, doing merchandising got my foot into comics. I started doing variant covers after that.
Which IP was your first?
Thump: The First Bundred days. We did that specifically because after the election there was nothing for a pro-Trump market. We saw a wide-open market that wasn’t being catered to. That’s how we got connected with Brett Smith. He wanted to find creators who were willing to take a risk on political books. He found us a publisher and we’ve been working together ever since.
Where did you come up with the idea of making Trump a Bunny Rabbit?
In my mind it seemed natural. I have five rabbits and everybody knows what they are. They’re mischievous, they get into a lot of trouble, have weird hair and, depending on the type of rabbit you have, they kinda have an orange complexion. And so, I was looking at a rabbit one day and I just thought that I could make an allegory based on this. Rabbits are hard to catch and depending on how you look at it—if you’re like me—you love a rabbit. But if you’re a farmer, you hate rabbits, because they mess up your garden. So I fished out the idea to Mark and said, “Just hear me out. I know it sounds crazy, but what do you think about this?” And he loved it. He was like, “I can see this!”
Black Hops is our first completely original IP. That’s our flagship property because it’s not political and it’s considered to be for most ages, maybe 8-10 and above. I think the action is suitable. We don’t go over the line. We’re not graphic or gratuitous. We try not to pander to the audience in a way that’s patronizing. We try to keep it open with many markets but at the same time be honest with ourselves.
How did you get the idea for Trump’s Space Force?
It was Chuck Dixon. We were in a message group together and Chuck had just seen the president make a speech about Trump Space Force and he said, “I want to do this. Who wants to draw it?” And I said I would. He knew I was legitimate. Brett jumped in about 15 minutes later and said he’d color it. That’s literally how it happened. Chuck’s a fast writer. He had the script ready in 48 hours. It was the fastest turnaround for a script I’ve ever seen!
I saw on your Twitter that you have met many in the Administration?
We’ve met several. Sebastian Gorka we’re pretty connected to—we text back and forth once in a while. We met him. We’re really good friends with Jack Prosobiec of One America news. The thing they have in common is they like the culture war. That’s what they focus on. Sebastian is really cool. He knows all this stuff. Brett actually met the President by accident! I met Sara Huckabee and Kelly Ann Conway. So a couple of people, by happenstance, just by the circles we run in. We do about one to two trips to DC a year.
Is the President aware of Trump’s Space Force?
Sebastian Gorka at the White House Christmas party actually took in copies of Trump’s Space Force as Christmas gifts. He said when he gave it to the President, he smiled and loved it. He was was very happy! That was really cool to hear. The other thing I know is that Antarctic Press mails a copy of all their Trump books to him, so who knows? It may end up in the Presidential Library one day.
What’s Wall-Might all about?
It’s another book about the President that is actually a parody of My Hero Magademia, except with Trump as a main character. Trump is the character of Wall-Might instead of All Might. It’s basically a satire of the 2016 election– a battle between him and Metal Hiraree, who is the villain of the story. The Wall-Might book is actually not very political. It’s making fun of the comic industry. We just used the political model as a vehicle for getting that humor across.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into Indie Comics?
Always us social media and use it for the good. Use it to put yourself out there. Your primary focus should be whatever you want people to see, you have to put that out there. Even though we talk about professionalism in the industry a lot, I am not innocent when it comes to putting my opinions out there. But I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting as much flack for it. And what people consistently tell me is that it’s probably because people know me as a political cartoonist. That’s what I’m known for. If I say something political that is for the President, no one is surprised. I think there’s a lot of pushback when it comes to other creators because–let’s say I know you for writing Spiderman–well, I want you to talk about Spiderman. I don’t want to hear about your politics. But, because people know me from doing all these Trump books and political parodies, they’re going to let it slide because that’s what I talk about. So, I think that’s the thing. You have to know your brand. If you’re trying to be an artist and you’re trying to cater to a specific medium, use social media to promote your stuff. Try not to get into fights as much as possible, try not to get into the weeds. Just focus on what you’re wanting to promote yourself with. And know your audience. We know so many artists and writers that are finding it hard to get exposure. Part of that is that they are sometimes waiting for an audience to come to them. That’s not really how it works. You have to go out and you have to market. You have to try and get people in on it. And when you’re on social media like Twitter and Instagram, it’s actually easier than you think. You just have to know how to reach those people whether it’s using hashtags or getting yourself ingrained into the community.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you! Absolutely!
See Part 1 of the interview with time here
Back Black Hops 2 here
Tim Lim’s work on Amazon
Follow Tim on Twitter: @PotusThump
You Tube: The Bunderdome