The Devastator is a humor book harkening back to the days of National Lampoon and MAD Magazine. Founded in 2009 by Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows, two comedy writer-editors from Los Angeles the quarterly published indie book features a mix of upcoming and renowned writers and artists from The Daily Show, Marvel and DC, and Adult Swim, as well as cartoons, essays, and cock blocking wizards!
Geekscape sat down with Amanda and Geoffrey Matrix style (inside a group g-chat window) to talk about the origins of the book, their current Fantasy issue, and the long standing war between print and internet comedy that we made up for the purposes of this interview.
Amanda: I was obsessed with print books and magazines and a kid. I was the kid who everyone took their essays to edit before turning them into the mean teacher. As I got older I got more and more into comedy nerdom, and knew I wanted to write my goal was to travel a lot and work for a magazine or publisher. I studied English Lit in college and moved to LA to work for a publisher, Phoenix Books (now defunct, but at the time they were the #1 fastest growing indie publisher). I had written for College Humor and McSweeney’s here and there, and comedy.com for a bit. Then Geoff and I, in December ’09, burned out on the internet comedy cycle, thought about bringing back humor in print!
Geoffrey: I’ve been writing comedy from a very early age, sometimes to the detriment of my grade point average. I wrote a humor column for the school newspaper, which I’m sure is very embarrassing.
Geekscape: We’re high school newspaper column brothers!
Amanda: Oh yeah! I did some newspaper shiz too. Nerd club 4 lyfe
Geekscape: Loser High School Newspaper Trio engage!
Geoffrey: ACTIVATE FORCE SHIELDS!
Amanda: I am picturing this as a very shitty anime.
Geoffrey: My influences were pretty much the same as Amanda’s – I read a lot of X-Men, National Lampoon, The Onion – we both love classic Simpsons. I was also into old radio guys like Bob & Ray, Stan Freberg and stand-ups like Bob Newhart, along with The Muppets, which puts me into a very weird category of geekdom even within “Comedy Nerd” After graduating from Emerson College, I got my first job as an Associate Editor for National Lampoon’s website. I’ve been writing and producing internet humor professionally for 10 years now, writing comics, articles, web series and more for Fox, Warner Bros, Cracked and currently I’m a freelance comedy writer for CraveOnline.
The cover of Devastator #5: The Fantasy Issue
Geekscape: Amanda mentioned the ‘internet comedy cycle,’ was there a driving force that made you guys want to put together a physical product as opposed to ‘it’s a blog and sometimes it’s videos!’
Geoffrey: We love print! We think there’s a certain type of humor, this mix of satirical prose and comics that works really well in print. Plus it’s rewarding having a bookshelf full of your work, as opposed to a folder in a hard drive
Amanda: Exactly. The tangible experience of reading can’t really be replaced. Also, I think the immediacy of internet humor is really fun but it sort of lacks perspective. The fact that we have to really take our time to craft our work focuses us.
Geekscape: Internet humor seems to have a limited shelf life, too.
Geoffrey: That’s because the most clear-cut path to getting attention is to make videos based on things users will be searching for.
Amanda: It’s great to know that once something crazy happens, a million people are going to make fun of it, but yes, stories get old fast. There can be an ambulance chaser quality to some of the broadest internet humor.
Geoffrey: Who’s gonna be the first to make fun of that thing kim kardashian said?! Will it be YOU, Geekscape?
Geekscape: Glendale! Mayor! Something something large ass!
Geoffrey: One million views!
Geekscape: I would definitely place Devastator in the DIY ‘comedy nerd’ movement that’s happening now, but I think it’s cool that you guys have gone old school with print instead of, say, a podcast. Has there been a good response to the book or are a lot of people irritated that the magazine isn’t on their Kindle?
Geoffrey: Everyone is really happy this is a print book. We have a very small group of people who digitally subscribed and we mail those people PDFs. The vast majority are like us, who love comedy in print and want to support that but we offer the option, because… y’know, the future?
Geekscape: I didn’t realize you offered both options. That’s interesting that the print is favored, especially in an age where even most comic publishers are starting to focus on digital subscriptions.
Geoffrey: I think it’s because a lot of our subscribers meet us at comic book shows. When they see the print book, that’s what they really want and connect with. they hold it and want to snuggle with it at night. The covers are surprisingly soft!
Geekscape: Devastator: the anime body pillow of comedy.
Amanda: That is the most perfect slogan ever.
Geekscape: This interview has not been a waste! What’s the format of the book like?
Amanda: Well, it’s a mixed format book – a blend of short comics, and written pieces with artwork. You can jump from a comic to a prose novel parody to an infographic.
Geoffrey: A reviewer once described our content as the onion meets a vintage t-shirt shop. You’ll see a lot of retro pop culture parodies.
Geekscape: And you guys have a pretty awesome lineup of writers writing those parodies.
Amanda: Thank you! We mix together all kinds of up-and-coming talented writers with artists, and some brilliant cartoonists.
Geoffrey: Writers and artists from The Daily Show, The Onion, Adult Swim, Marvel, DC Comics and more!
Geekscape: Any personal favorite material so far?
Geoffrey: From the fantasy issue, I love ‘Rat Knights of Rat’s Hollow’, a Mouseguard parody written by contributing editor John Ford and illustrated by Mouseguard artist Nate Pride.
Geekscape: Holy shit that sounds amazing.
Amanda: It LOOKS amazing too!
Geoffrey: Marvel Brand Management vs. Capcom Legal Affairs in D#4…
Amanda: I really love Ryan Sandoval and Lili Sparks’ The Arcade Hire in D#4, an employee handbook for possibly the world’s sketchiest arcade.
Geoffrey: Cathair Apocalypse, Hold Me Closer Charming Cat-Man, and Cat on a Hot Tin Plate in D#3.
Amanda: And everything R. Sikoryak has done for us, in issues 1, 2, and 3.
Geekscape: The new issue is FANTASY. Sell it!
Amanda: So you’ve got the best of the best in this one. It’s our most ambitious issue yet!
Geoffrey: This issue is the stuff of legends.
Amanda: Our cover: drawn by the illustrator laureate of the interwebs, Dan Hipp (MISTERHIPP).We have an original comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal’s Zach Weiner and Tony Millionaire exclusive artwork! One of Funny or Die’s best, Scott Gairdner, does a piece that will explode your face with hilarity.
Geoffrey: We riff on Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy…
Amanda: And Geoff, tell ’em about the reverse book!
Geoffrey: And the reverse book is a playable Dungeons and Dragons parody called “Wizards of Cockblock Forest” In order to become the most powerful wizard in Cockblock Forest – which is a lot like Brooklyn or Echo Park, only magical, so it’s not that bad – you have to have sex with faeries.
Geekscape: Of course you do.
Geoffrey: But every other wizard wants to have sex with faeries too, so the competition is fierce! Can you cockblock your rivals and bed the most faeries?
Geekscape: You’ve had a really strong convention presence lately. Where will you be next?
Amanda: Well, funny you ask because we’re in a con storm right now! We just returned from Stumptown Comics Fest which was amazing! This weekend, May 5-6 we’re doing Toronto Comic Arts Fest in CANADA Exotic Canada! Then on Memorial Day Weekend its Phoenix Comic Con, which has become a huge show. We get a month off of shows in June, during which we will be doing a series of Game Night events across the LA area to play Wizards of Cockblock Forest. Then it’s San Diego Comic Con!
Devastator’s Fantasy issue is out now and you can order it HERE. Check them out online and be cool like us by making Devastator subscriptions a new all occasions gift for everyone that you know. Also, if you’re going to be at any conventions stop by and visit Geoffrey and Amanda. They’re crazy nice, have an animation cell from Samurai Pizza Cats framed on their wall, and they were in newspaper in high school, so they’re not intimidating at all.