Interview: Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker, The Young Protectors – 10/13/16

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Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker

On 10/13/16, we interviewed artist Adam DeKraker and author Alex Woolfson about their queer superhero comic The Young Protectors for our second annual Graphic Novel / Web Comic week. More info about Alex, Adam and The Young Protectors at the end.

See it on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/qsfdiscussions/permalink/569645436515738/


Alex Woolfson Hello 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Hey guys… so I see Alex is here.

J. Scott Coatsworth Do we have Adam too?

Adam DeKraker Hey there!

J. Scott Coatsworth Hey guys… welcome back!

J. Scott Coatsworth We had the guys on last year for this week. We are thrilled to have them again.

Adam DeKraker Thanks for having us back for year two of graphic novel week! 🙂

Alex Woolfson Very glad to be here. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Carole Cummings, Ben Brock, Aidee Ladnier, Gus Li, Lexi Ander the Young Protector boys are back!

J. Scott Coatsworth So wanna start by updating us on what you guys have been up to since last year?

J. Scott Coatsworth Jamie Fessenden, Jenn Burke, Kelly Haworth, Kelly Jensen, Elizabeth Noble come join us as we talk with the Young Protector guys

Adam DeKraker Well, I just wrapped up the art for the cover for Vol. 2 of Engaging the Enemy, our first story arc. Kickstarter to be announced soon for the publication of that edition.

Adam DeKraker And I’m just diving into chapter five of our story, which will be the last chapter of this story arc.

Adam DeKraker Lots of fun coming ahead. I think Alex has crafted a pretty great finale for our heroes.

J. Scott Coatsworth Wow… I was gonna ask when the next one was coming

J. Scott Coatsworth Ooooh, do tell. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth We should totally make some news here today.

J. Scott Coatsworth 😉

Alex Woolfson I can’t wait to share that new cover art with y’all. Adam knocked it out of the park. It is awesome. 😀

J. Scott Coatsworth When do we get to see it, Alex?

Adam DeKraker No spoilers from me on the story. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Dammit. 😉

Alex Woolfson I think I’ll share the fully colored cover art when I launch the Volume 2 Kickstarter. But I’m tempted to share the linework with our Patrons. It’s really great. 😀

J. Scott Coatsworth Yes, Adam never disappoints. You two have a great partnership going here.

Alex Woolfson And continuing the overall update, I think we’re coming up on 500 posted pages of The Young Protectors on the site. http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/typ/ete_title_page/

J. Scott Coatsworth Wow. That’s an opus.

Alex Woolfson I feel very luck to be able to work with Adam and Vero. They are the best. (And really sweet, cool people in person, BTW.)

Adam DeKraker Yeah, we’ve been keeping up with 2 pages a week for… jeez, I don’t know how long. Grateful to have had such a solid readership that keeps us chugging along.

J. Scott Coatsworth Do you guys ever have disagreements?

Adam DeKraker Sure, but we’re creatively so much on the same page, that they’re usually pretty easy to settle, honestly.

Alex Woolfson We’ve been posting since March 2012, so four and a half years now of The Young Protectors. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth *imagines Adam drawing a laser cannon to fight Alex, and Alex knocking it aside with big words*

Adam DeKraker Plus, Alex is a legit good guy who will actually listen when I’ve got an issue, no matter how small, so it always works itself out. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Have you ever missed a week?

Alex Woolfson Yep, that’s my experience too. One of the big pleasures of working with Adam is that he totally gets what I’m going for and what the story needs. He just makes it cooler that what I could have imagined. 😉

Alex Woolfson that=than

Adam DeKraker Missed only one posting, I think. And that was tough for me to let happen, but it was the week of my father’s funeral. Alex (and the readers) were more than understanding.

J. Scott Coatsworth Of course. (((Adam)))

Adam DeKraker And, since we’ve been doing 2X a week, our readers still got their weekly dose of queer teen dream superhero action. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Are you ahead of the game, or do you pretty much just publish as you go?

Adam DeKraker ha… well, we try to be ahead of the game.

Adam DeKraker Right now, I’m super grateful to have a talented artist, Julie Wright, stepping in for a brief interlude story so I can get a little more ahead of the game.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Julie is a great guest artist.

J. Scott Coatsworth That’s a great idea. 🙂

Adam DeKraker I think my pages will be start posting up again on the 29th. The beginning of Chapter 5. It’s a doozy. Really action packed stuff.

Alex Woolfson It was a fun chapter to write, and I can’t wait to see what Adam does with it.

Adam DeKraker Alex hasn’t even seen what I’m working on yet for chapter 5. 🙂

Alex Woolfson 😀

Adam DeKraker (pages coming to your dropbox tomorrow!)

J. Scott Coatsworth Did you sketch the whole thing out before you started, Alex?

Alex Woolfson Very much looking forward to them, my friend.

Alex Woolfson No. I always have a clear vision for what is going to happen on the page. And very rarely I’ll give specific notes about panel layout if I think it would be especially tricky or if I get a particular hit for an effect. But working on The Young Protectors is a true collaboration, and one of the great gifts of working with an artist as talented as Adam is to get his take on the best way to tell the story visually.

Alex Woolfson Also, my stick figures are scary.

Adam DeKraker I will say this… I’m getting some good ol’ fashioned Demon-drawing in this week.

Adam DeKraker (I consider that a tease, not a spoiler!)

Alex Woolfson The readers have been eagerly awaiting a bit of Giant Demon tease, methinks.

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL

J. Scott Coatsworth I meant in terms of plot.

J. Scott Coatsworth Did you figure out the whole arc ahead of time?

Alex Woolfson Ah. I see, Scott. 😀

J. Scott Coatsworth But I love the sketch comment.

J. Scott Coatsworth You guys should totally do one week dialogued by Adam and sketched by Alex, even if just for fun.

J. Scott Coatsworth or one page rather

J. Scott Coatsworth 😛

Alex Woolfson There are some writers who do send actual “thumbnail sketches” to their artists, but while I do want to be very clear about what’s needed for the story, I’d rather get Adam’s fresh take on how to realize things visually, since his instincts are so strong.

Adam DeKraker A bizarro universe side story, perhaps. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Oh yeah.

Alex Woolfson My “sketches” would make the angels weep. But it sounds like a fun idea. 🙂

Alex Woolfson So, to answer your real question…

J. Scott Coatsworth *waiting with bated breath*

Alex Woolfson With everything I write, I become more committed to pre-writing, i.e. outlining. Not only does this make my work easier, it also is IMHO the best way to create a satisfying story for readers. We’ve all been burned with shows like X-Files where it becam…See More

Carole Cummings “Lost” OMG!

Alex Woolfson Carole Cummings Yep.

Alex Woolfson …that’s expanded to coming up with full outlines for everything I write. I am very much a “plotter” (instead of a “pantster”). So I had a full outline for The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy from the beginning.

Alex Woolfson If I come up with a better hit for a scene, obviously, I’m willing to improve on my outline. But I always make sure that what I’m creating delivers on the promises I’ve been making previously.

J. Scott Coatsworth I am learning to be more of a plotter. I love pantsing, but you’re right, that often ends up in weird dead ends that are unsatisfying for readers and for me.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Hi guys. Question, split in a couple questions: In the 4 years you’ve made YP together, how much has your work process possibly changed?
Are you faster at pages now, as in do you know each others way of work so well that something doesn’t need to be asked anymore, and such?

Alex Woolfson Scott: Yes, I actually got burned on a film script I worked on for a year when I was pantsing. Got to the end, and I was left with no satisfying way to finish the story. After that, I said “never again.”

J. Scott Coatsworth Good question, Marianne. 🙂

Alex Woolfson (Actually, I worked on that script for 2 years, now that I think of it. :/ )

J. Scott Coatsworth Damn

Alex Woolfson J. Scott Coatsworth Sometimes the best lessons are the most painful.

Adam DeKraker If your plot is strong enough, it should allow for moments of genius “pantsing” along the way…

J. Scott Coatsworth I settle for “mildly illuminating” myself

J. Scott Coatsworth 😉

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Btw, seeing the pencils for Vol. 2… Yes, please! 😉

Adam DeKraker I think we’ve streamlined our process over the years. We understand what to expect from each other. Understand each other’s strengths. I don’t know if we’ve picked up much speed or not, though, because we’ve had a number of side projects (mostly related to fulfilling the first Kickstarter rewards) which have kept us from having an extended no-break on regular pages run.

Adam DeKraker So, we’d be working on the regular pages while at the same time fitting in pin-ups, trading cards, etc.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen And doing a great job as always 🙂

Adam DeKraker aw. 🙂

Adam DeKraker So much work besides just making the comic! And on Alex’s end, he’s dealing with managing all the guest artists we bring in to work on the stuff that I can’t manage to fit in. Plus, managing the Patreon and a pretty full con schedule.

J. Scott Coatsworth Yes, Alex is fricking EVERYWHERE.

Adam DeKraker haha. He’s a machine!

J. Scott Coatsworth I have run into him three times in the last year, and I don’t do that many cons. I am starting to suspect he is a cylon.

Adam DeKraker We’ve actually gotten to do a couple shows together this year, which was cool.

Alex Woolfson It’s a lot of fun to do a Con with Adam. I wish we could do that more often.

Adam DeKraker I don’t do many cons and with us on opposite coasts, it’s hard for us to team up for show.

J. Scott Coatsworth If anyone else has a question, feel free to jump in.

Alex Woolfson Danish: I agree with Adam that it’s hard to know if we’re “faster” per se, but it feels like it’s consistently getting easier to create ever better work, if that makes sense. Working on this for close to five years, Adam and Vero really know now what T…See More

J. Scott Coatsworth I bet you say that to all the pages.

Adam DeKraker lol

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen As I’ve only managed to travel the Atlantic for YaoiCon, and probably only one I can hopefully afford to travel for again, could hope to see Adam there one year *hint hint*

Alex Woolfson I would love to get Adam on the West Coast for a Con. Maybe there’s a way to connect that with a Kickstarter signing. We’ll see.

Alex Woolfson But yes, as we’ve had more success, I have had a bit more work on my “publisher” side of the plate. Working with Adam and Vero and writing is the fun part. But it’s also a business—so that takes a lot of time. Still joyful work, but working with Adam and Vero is more fun. 🙂

Alex Woolfson (Except for the chance to interact with readers at Cons—that’s the most fun of everything. :D)

J. Scott Coatsworth You guys may or may not know/remember, but YP inspired my own serial story, The River City Chronicles. But I have a hard time keeping track of all the character details. How do you do it?

Adam DeKraker I’m writing something myself and I need a chart, honestly.

Adam DeKraker (visual thinker)

J. Scott Coatsworth Me too.

Alex Woolfson Scott: Help me out. When you say it’s hard to keep track of the character details, what specifically do you mean?

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Oh, since there was a question about character traits, will Kyle get his own bonus comic/interlude outside of the prologue? Or will more of his past/origin come to be known in last chapter?
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 17 hrs
Alex Woolfson
Alex Woolfson (And it’s always awesome to hear our work inspired another creator, BTW.)
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 17 hrs
J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth Alex – all the little things. I mean, for your work, hair color, eye color, height etc are all a given – they are in the art. But the details like mother’s name, the school he went to, his favorite fruit.
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 17 hrs
J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth You know, stuff that comes out in the writing over time, that needs continuity later
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 17 hrs
J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth All the little details that make up the character. Do you use a spreadsheet? A notebook of character sheets? Or… ?
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 17 hrs
J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth Oh and see Marianne’s Kyle question up above.
Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs
Adam DeKraker
Adam DeKraker As far as executing the art, it can be hard to keep track of details of the characters in a scene that we’ve been working on for months and months (and I’m sure I miss some stuff all the time), but I try to leave myself notes in case it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a character… where were they, what were they doing, etc. Trying to the important details consistent for the sake of continuity.
Unlike · Reply · 6 · 17 hrs
J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth I can imagine. Like he has a cut on his face today, and is healed tomorrow?
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 17 hrs
Adam DeKraker
Adam DeKraker More like he has a cut on his face today and it disappears today. Our last three chapters have all taken place on the same day, basically. 🙂
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J. Scott Coatsworth
Write a reply…

Alex Woolfson
Alex Woolfson Scott: Ah. 🙂 Well, keeping notes is useful. (And now we have these nifty little trading cards that help me track a lot of the details.) But overall, I just feel like I know these characters. And while 500 pages is indeed a good chunk, it’s not so dens…See More
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J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth Yeah, I’m up above 50k words now. And it gets to be a bit hairy to track. 😛
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 17 hrs
Alex Woolfson
Alex Woolfson (And of course there’s always our TV Tropes page. Which, while it’s not 100% canon, it always fun:

http://tvtropes.org/…/pmwik…/Webcomic/TheYoungProtectors

J. Scott Coatsworth How many words does 500 pages in comic form represent?

Adam DeKraker Marianne– I’d love it if we could go back and do a Kyle origin story. Since he’s been the focal point of the first arc, it might not be right away, though. Having said that, I’m not sure what Alex might have in store for the future. 🙂

Alex Woolfson Hold on, J. Scott Coatsworth. Let me open Scrivener. I think I can answer that for you. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL OK

J. Scott Coatsworth Adam, what are you working on outside of YP these days?

J. Scott Coatsworth (while Alex is busy looking that up)

Adam DeKraker Writing something…

Alex Woolfson What’s you writing, Adam? 😀

Adam DeKraker way too early to talk about, really, but grinding it out.

J. Scott Coatsworth *refrains from making comment on Adam and grinding*

J. Scott Coatsworth 😉

Adam DeKraker lol

J. Scott Coatsworth How about you, Alex? Any plans beyond YP?

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen I vote more YP 😉 With new main focus character, or more as now.

Adam DeKraker Which character(s) would you like to see in pole position for the next story arc?

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Mitch or Spooky. I’m so intrigued by both based on bonus/interludes and Alex’s prose stories.

Adam DeKraker I’m not gonna break any news here, Marianne, but I think you’ll be enjoying the next story arc. 🙂

Adam DeKraker It’s a sci-fi/superhero kinda deal.

Alex Woolfson Scott: Just in terms of my comic script pages, we’re at 95,251 words.

Jeff Baker Yeow!

Adam DeKraker Or will be, if I can cross the finish line with it!

Alex Woolfson Is it prose or comics, Adam?

J. Scott Coatsworth Damn. That’s denser than I thought. 😛

Alex Woolfson (Scott: And that’s without having to describe minor details. I try to leave things as open as I can for Adam, and just focus on the essential story stuff. And dialogue, of course.)

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL

Adam DeKraker Eventually, It’ll be a comic…. I hope!

J. Scott Coatsworth I imagine you’ll have a ready audience.

Alex Woolfson Very cool. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth As long as it’s not something like “field dynamics of light emitting diodes”

Adam DeKraker Hope so. The YP readers have been pretty amazing and loyal.

Alex Woolfson Danish: To answer your question, there are a couple things on my own plate:

Alex Woolfson 1) If there’s interest, I would love to do another The Young Protectors arc with Adam and Vero after Engaging the Enemy is done.

J. Scott Coatsworth Um… I’m guessing there is interest.

Alex Woolfson 2) And right now, I’m working on the outline of a prose novel I’m very excited about. It’s in line with my overall brand of showing real heroes who just happen to be gay, but it’s a fantasy story. Stay tuned. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Ooooh. We will so help you with that when it comes out.

Alex Woolfson J. Scott Coatsworth Thank you! 😀

Alex Woolfson Actually, it was your friendship (along with Angel’s and the other folks I got to know at RainbowCon) that was the final push for me to decide to take the plunge.

J. Scott Coatsworth Awwwwww… *blush* Well, you clearly know how to tell a good story.

J. Scott Coatsworth So can you guys tell us anything about the upcoming pages?

J. Scott Coatsworth Even a hint?

Adam DeKraker Hm…

Alex Woolfson Scott: There will be at least one scene where a boy works on his relationship with his father.

J. Scott Coatsworth Father, not sugar daddy? 😉

Alex Woolfson Ha! No, not sugar daddy. Although I think there might be some readers who might want that development…

J. Scott Coatsworth Alex Woolfson Muwahahahahaha.

Jeff Baker They have a burning desire to get together?

Adam DeKraker lol

Adam DeKraker I’ve drawn a lot of fire and flames over the course of this series. But, the next chapter…. it’s the flamiest!

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL… um, you could take that two ways…

Alex Woolfson LOL. Yes, there are a lot of flames.

J. Scott Coatsworth I understand Young Protectors is now available on Kindle (like I totally didn’t buy a copy the first day). Where can folks get it in all its forms?

Alex Woolfson Well, the best place would be at my store:

http://store.yaoi911.com/

Alex Woolfson You get a signed copy and I send it in a nice, carefully packed cardboard box.

Alex Woolfson http://store.yaoi911.com/books/

Alex Woolfson But you can also get it from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Artifice-Alex…/dp/B00E4A27TY/…

J. Scott Coatsworth Oooh, that was a good one too.

Alex Woolfson https://www.amazon.com/Young-Protectors…/dp/B01L4RVQB4/…

Alex Woolfson Both the physical and Kindle version.

Alex Woolfson Libraries can order copies from Brodart.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen I mentioned this in the YP comments. I’m very much looking forward to see how many ways Adam can manage NOT to show Laampros’ in explicit ways :-p

J. Scott Coatsworth And let’s say someone (a friend) was interested in joining the next Kickstarter. How would he or she get on the notification list? And what goodies might I (I mean he or she) expect this time around?

Adam DeKraker As am I, Marrianne! lol

Adam DeKraker It’ll be a high-wire act, for sure!

Alex Woolfson Scott: People can sign up for my mailing list here:

Free Comics

Alex Woolfson And this next Kickstarter will be just about the book. There will be a couple special add-ons, but the last Kickstarter (while fun) nearly did me in. It’s taken over 2 years to deliver all the dozens of rewards. For this one, I want to send backers their books right away.

J. Scott Coatsworth Awwwww. *sad face* But I understand.

J. Scott Coatsworth OK, we’re wrapping this up now. If anyone else has questions, please leave them here. If you guys don’t mind, can you check back here once or twice over the next 24 hours and respond to anyone else who pops in?

Alex Woolfson Of course. 🙂

J. Scott Coatsworth Thank you so much, guys. You were fantastic!

Adam DeKraker Certainly!

Alex Woolfson It was a lot of fun, Scott!

Adam DeKraker Thanks again for having us. You guys are the best. 🙂

Adam DeKraker Next time, I’ll come loaded with a few spoilers. 😉

Alex Woolfson Ha!

J. Scott Coatsworth Yes please. Even if you have to steal them from Alex’s hard drive.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen *sobs* I’m (obviously) backing the next kickstarter, but as a non-American I say damn your high dollar price *lol* Evil, evil currency. Almost 25% higher than last KS time.

J. Scott Coatsworth yes. evil. blame the bankers. 😉

Alex Woolfson And Volume 2 will be a lot bigger than Volume One—many more pages—so there’s it’ll likely be a bit more pricey overall to create and ship. But lots and lots of beautiful content. 🙂

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen I’m SO looking forward to it! Even with higher shipping. It’s gonna be a big and gorgeous comic.

Marianne Hoffmann Larsen Thank you guys for doing this 🙂 It was fun.

Alex Woolfson Thanks for your good questions!

Jeff Baker Thanks so much for doing this chat! My only question, for Alex and Adam is do you ever base the characters on people you know?

L.v. Lloyd Michelle Rae Have you been keeping an eye on these?


Alex Woolfson is the writer and Adam DeKraker is the artist for the queer superhero graphic novel, The Young Protectors:

The Young ProtectorsEvil can be seductive…

Kyle–a closeted, teen superhero who can control fire–has finally summoned up the courage to enter a local gay bar. It’s his very first step towards accepting himself. Unfortunately for him, his very next step out of the bar places him face-to-face with The Annihilator, “the most dangerous supervillain in the world.”

And the price that The Annihilator demands to keep Kyle’s secret will lead Kyle down a path fraught with danger, adventure and unexpected romance. It’s a path that will force Kyle to question what it really means to be a hero and will ultimately thrust him and his young teammates into an epic conflict against vastly superior foes.

Kindle | Paperback


Bio – Alex Woolfson:

Alex Woolfson grew up loving science-fiction and action movies, but never got to see what he really wanted to see—kick-ass genre stories with real heroes who just happened to like other guys. After Alex started a successful career as a filmmaker in the Bay Area, he soon realized the best way to make the “big-budget” adventure stories he craved would be as full-color comics. Inspired by the sci-fi thrillers he loved as a kid, he teamed up with illustrator Winona Nelson to create the science-fiction graphic novel, Artifice.

He currently lives in the Bay Area where he is writing scripts for his latest story with gay action heroes, the superhero webcomic The Young Protectors.

You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexwoolfson

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

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/alexwoolfson


Bio – Adam DeKraker:

Throughout his career, Adam has illustrated comics and designed products featuring a wide array of popular characters and licensed properties, including Superman, Batman, The Teen Titans, Spider-Man, Spongebob Squarepants, The Hulk, Harry Potter, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Catwoman, The Justice League, Star Wars, Jimmy Neutron, Wolverine, The Legion of Super-Heroes, WildC.A.T.S., Rugrats, Smallville, and Danny Phantom, among many others.

Adam is currently the artist for The Young Protectors, a weekly superhero webcomic written by Alex Woolfson.
In addition to comic book illustration and product design, his body of work includes character design and development, storyboarding, film production, and magazine & trading card illustration.
Some of his clients include DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Nickelodeon, Time Out New York, Disney Adventures, Topps, Lonestar Press, Kurt S. Adler, Digital Film Academy, Newspeak TV, Green Ronin Press, and Upper Deck Company.

Some of Adam’s pencilling credits include: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes, The Titans, Adventures of Superman, Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution, Amazing Spider-Man Family, Justice League: No Smoke Without Fire, Spider-Man: Unlimited, Birds of Prey, JSA: All Stars, Justice League: Trick or… Trick?!, Secret Files, Star Wars: Legacy, Superboy, Legionnaires, and JSA 80 Page Giant among many others.

Adam’s inking credits include Smallville, Countdown To Adventure, Catwoman, Batman, Batgirl, Spongebob Squarepants, Rugrats, Jimmy Neutron, and Danny Phantom.

Adam lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Adamdek

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adamdek?fref=ts

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/search/adam%20dekraker