First off , let me say that this show rocks! Not only do they produce one of the best shows on Adult Swim, they actually take the time to interview and answer questions from a hack like me. Truly remarkable and admired. Additionally to interviewing Superjail! lead artist, Kristofer Wollinger, I recently had the privilege of interviewing Superjail! co-creator Christy Karacas.
Gunfart: Is (my opening paragraph of the Superjail! review) an accurate description of the show?
Christy Karacas: Sounds perfect!
GF: Your Wonder Showzen animations are very different than that of Superjail!. Would you say you are creating more for an intended audience or for yourselves?
CK: Well everything augenblick studios does is amazing. I had nothing to do with anything over there until superjail-which i think the look is a combo of kind of how I draw combined with a 70's hand drawn vibe meets underground comics meets a bad kids notebook...etc...it's not for any intended audience we just want it to look funny and cool.
GF: Did getting a Mature rating for Superjail! frighten you or acknowledge you were working in the right direction?
CK: (It) wasn't really a concern. Again-we just try to make the funniest/coolest thing we can. To be honest we've rarely been censored, more often its a problem with fake names like stuff in the backgrounds you'd never think was a problem. For instance, we had to change the name of 'grub steaks' to 'chubb steaks'...not really a big deal, kind of hilarious actually.
GF: I love some of the studios earlier work that celebrates the Golden Age of animation. Is it fun to recreate and recognize the overlooked genius of now forgotten artists? (Like Max Fleischer.)
CK: Again, I had nothing to do with golden age, but as far as recognizing Max Fleischer I think of all of us love classic animation like the Fleischer Popeyes, Looney Toons etc...that stuff is just great animation - it's funny drawings doing funny things and we try to add as much of that kind of stuff to Superjail! so its not just talking heads.
GF: Has Superjail! been confirmed for a second season? What's the future hold for the series?
CK: We're figuring it all out now - it's looking pretty good though...if there is one I think we're going to learn a lot more about the characters, their pasts, and lots of new crazy fights violence, environments. looking forward to it.
GF: What kind of personal resources are required to make the show? How long does it take to make an episode? Is the staff mostly local from New York?
CK: Well, it was a crazy process and took a little over a year to do one season - I think we started writing in April 07 and finished the last episode in September 08 ( I could be wrong - it's been so long haha)...so yea it took a while - the studio (augenblick studios) is located in Brooklyn, NY, and the entire production is done in-house which is great. I wish more productions in New York would try to do it completely in house. There are so many talented artists and animators and it'd be nice if there was more work for them here.
GF: Christy, Which comes first: the script or the art? I ask because some of the some of the more psychedelic sequences are as intricate and deafening as a guitar solo at Budokan.
We've actually tried both - for the first few episodes I'd thumbnail them from the outlines and then the script would be written off that, but I think around the 5th episode we started to write the scripts first and I would board it based on the scripts. We're constantly making small (sometimes big) changes to both the script and the storyboards from the very first thumbnails, to the the voice recording all the way up to the final edit.
GF: Did you volunteer to be the voice of Alice or were you recruited?
CK: I was recruited by Nick Weidenfeld. The voice of Alice originally was a girl trying to sound like a man and Nick was like "Isn't she really a man trying to be a woman?" So I did a voice as a joke and he was like "you have to do it!" I'm honored; I love Alice.
GF: Where did the idea of the Twins come from? Who exactly are they?
CK: The twins are like foreign exchange students from somewhere far, far away.
GF: Jailbot reminds me of a nicer version of Maximillian from the Disney movie The Black Hole, will he get a larger role in future episodes?
CK: I think they might be distant relatives... yes he will definitely get a larger role - I feel like we have lots we didn't have time to do with him that will be funny and destructive.