Comic Genius With a Talking Dog: Stephen McCraine

61D61eK-RiL._UX250_When I was younger, there was always at least one cartoon on TV where one of the characters was a kid genius. I always wanted to be a kid genius, because I thought it meant I would be able to go on adventures, make high tech inventions from trash, travel through time, and be able to outsmart my parents and teachers. I instead had to settle for above average intelligence and imaginary adventures, but I’ve always enjoyed the kid genius concept. Stephen McCraine felt the same way I do about the idea and he decided to write his own kid genius comic called Mal and Chad, which takes the idea in a delightful new direction. His boy genius Mal must hide his scientific genius from his parents and classmates, but he’s not alone in his scientific pursuits. He is joined by his best friend Chad the talking dog and together they face life’s challenges. I sought out Stephen to discuss his comic genius and found out what’s next for the pair.

Whitney Grace (WG): Why did you decide to get into comics?

Stephen McCraine (SM): I love the medium– it’s a wonderful tool for spreading ideas and telling stories.

WG: What were some of your inspirations when you were growing up?

SM: The work of cartoonists like Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Jeff Smith, Kazu Kibuishi, Gene Yang, Doug Tennapel, and a bunch more.

WG: What was the first comic you ever drew?  If you can, go way back to when you were still working on your fine motor skills with crayons.

SM: I think the first comic I ever drew was one about some pirates. It’s funny, you never actually see the pirates in the comic, you just see the ship they’re on going from island to island, and in each panel the ship changes size slightly, so that it gives off the impression of a squishy banana or something. My mom wrote the speech bubbles for me since I didn’t know how to write. I was probably 4 or 5 years old.

WG: You’re most well known for Mal and Chad, please explain what that comic is about.

SM: Mal and Chad is an all-ages adventures series about a boy genius and his talking dog. There are currently three volumes out from Penguin books– and a comic strip that I’m serializing through Tapastic.

WG: The boy genius character has been played around with other creators.  What makes Mal and Chad different from its counterparts?

SM: It is definitely a trope. I suppose the difference with Mal is that even though he’s brilliant, he’s still insecure. His inventions create as much problems for him as they do opportunities fun. It’s kind of like if Charlie Brown were a genius inventor– that’s Mal.

WG: What do you think would happen if Mal invented a device that allowed him to enter our world?

MalChad_cvr-7SM: I would have to apologize to Mal for putting him through so much grief. The poor guy has had to deal with a lot of problems– fighting monsters, impressing the girl of his dreams, cleaning his room.

WG: After apologizing to Mal and Chad, what would you do to show them a great time?

SM: Ice cream. Definitely ice cream.

WG: I love Mal and Chad and I’m an adult, but why do you think kids like the comic?

SM: I think kids enjoy the energy. I try to draw my comics in such a way that Mal is always moving and reacting and emoting. I think kids enjoy that.

WG: How do you write and draw the story to make it appealing for all ages?

SM: I create my work from a perspective that there’s not as much difference between adults and kids as you think. When you’re young, you might be afraid of monsters under the bed, but as you grow older, the monsters don’t go away, they just change shape. We all have monsters we are dealing with whether we are young or old, and this common struggle is one of the many things that makes up our shared humanity.

WG: You work on another interesting project called Doodle Alley, would you please explain what that is?

SM: Doodle Alley is a blog where I publish short comic essay covering topics like how to motivate yourself and how to deal with failure and how to defeat procrastination. It’s basically everything I’ve learned so far as an artist put into simple, easy-to-understand comics. Please check it out!

WG: Why did you decide to write comic essays?

SM: I feel like comics can compress information pretty tightly. It can make information every accessible– if there’s something I can’t explain with words, I can always show it with pictures.

WG: How do you come up with topics for them?

SM: The topics were taken from my life, struggles I’ve had as an artist; things I want to share with people so they don’t have to go through the same struggles.

WG: What other creative projects are you working on that you would like to plug?

SM: My new book, which is currently coming out on Doodle Alley, is called The Art of Impact, How to be Heard in the Age of Noise. It’s a book about branding and how to stand out from the crowd and get your work noticed. Check out the first essay!

WG: Do you have anything to declare?

SM: Declare? Hmmm.  I believe there is a world beyond our world.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Giveaway

Hey Nation! We are giving away FIVE Blu-ray copies of Resident...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is Out of This World

It’s hard to think that there was a time when a...

Ben Wheatley and the Cast of ‘Free Fire’ Talk About the Film’s Lengthy Shootout

Put a bunch of scumbags in the same room and give...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
NBA Playgrounds Pro Roster
NBA Playgrounds Pro Roster Announced

NBA Playgrounds Pro roster announced! See the list of professional NBA players...

Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 5
The Universe’s Biggest Threat Revealed – Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 5

Finally, the threat that requires Superman and Batman to put aside...

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Now Available

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Now Available from...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Bring Back Memories of Prince in Full Vivid Color

They say time heals all wounds, but really you just become...

Five Things You Should Know About the Valiant Summit

The Valiant Summit came has left a huge impact on the...

9.5/10
Batman 21, The Wait is OVER!!!!

Title: Batman 21 Writer: Tom King Artist and Inker: Jason Fabok...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
EIROA The First 20 Collection has begun Shipment on the Colorado

From C.L.E. Cigar Company – April 21, 2017 (Miami, FL) –...

WWE and Loot Crate Reveal Their Latest Mystery Box and Surprise!

The Game, Triple H has revealed the next wave in the...

Evil Geniuses Special Edition
SteelSeries teams up to create Evil Geniuses Special Edition Gear

SteelSeries teams up to create Evil Geniuses special edition versions of...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Full Bellator 178: Strauss vs Pitbull 4 Weigh-In Results & Photos

UNCASVILLE, CONN. (April 20, 2017) –The official weigh-ins for Bellator 178:...

Bellator 176 and Bellator Kickboxing 5 Weigh-In Results and Photos

All Photos Credited to Bellator and Lucas Noonan. TORINO, ITALY –...

Combate Americas Adds Women’s 105-Pound Bout for the April 20 Card in Tucson, AZ

NEW YORK – April 6, 2017 – Combate Americas announced today...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity Issue Nine – Ten Inch Mutant Ninja Turtles

The porn parody has a long, hard, turgid and difficult to...

DC’s New Aqualad is ‘3-Pages of Gay’

3…2…1…Okay, now that the Social Justice Warriors who have only read...

12 Incredible Assyrian Women Around the World (Reposting)

March commemorates Women’s History Month in the United States of America,...

Event News Event Reviews
Romy and Michele Reunite on Stage

This summer something exciting will be happening… Romy And Michele’s High...

Blackheart Burlesque
Artistically Exotic and Downright Sexy – Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque

Your cosplay fantasies come to life, but way better and sexier...

Danzig’s Blackest Of The Black with Ministry, Suicidal Tendencies, Atreyu & More

This year marks the first Blackest Of The Black Destination Festival....

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

As Balto Heads on Tour with their Latest Album ‘Strangers’

Balto is a quick on the trigger, Folk, Country, Blues, Gospel,...

Lebanese Englishwoman, Nadine Khouri Lulls you with ‘The Salted Air’

There is something fitting about a woman who’s last name translates...