General Questions
What influenced your drawing style?

Mostly my traditional drawing background, mingled with some anime from my childhood: Ronin Warriors, Zoids Choatic Century, Yugioh, and more recently, Avatar The Last Airbender. I've done some figure drawing and usually use myself as a model if I need one, and thus the realistic anatomy.

Why did you make this comic?

Being stuck at Middlebury Russian school for 2 months without any contact with the English-speaking world (other than the internet), my obsession with the Russian names Viktor and Aleksandr, and the fact that no one was reading any of my other stories. Basically, desperation.

What inspired the story?

9/11 is the big one. Other than that: cute firemen and my pre-med status. But seriously, it was meant to be a lighthearted romance, but turned into something more. Stereotypes, the debate over whether gay marriage is liberal or conservative, the ridiculous lifestyle of modern doctors, the causes of shyness... these are all sources of inspiration.

How long does it take to make each page?

About 4-5 hours. I sketch a thumbnail about 2x3 inches, which takes a few minutes, and make some random lines and shapes on the final page for where everything should be. Then I start sketching, erase the sketch lightly when I'm done, and trace over it again harder with the same pencil. Getting the gestures and expressions right is the hardest part. Then I take a picture with a digital camera and do some magic on Photoshop, which takes about 30 minutes.

Where else can I find your artwork?

Unfortunately, I don't have anything else that's recent or original. Everything is here on this site. But if you like Harry Potter or Avatar: The Last Airbender, I have a deviantART with my old fanart.

Have an unanswered question? Send me a PM or leave a comment on any of the comic pages!

Character-Related Questions
How did you come up with the character designs?

Ooh, this is a fun question. I wanted Victor to have a rugged military look--sturdy, tall, plain, the endearingly dumb American--but also gentle and shy. As for his ethnic/religious background, I chose it based on his mother's views on gays (this is somewhat important later) and the New York City region. Victor was brought up in a relatively poor conservative home. He probably has a bit of every race/ethnicity, but his mother is mostly English and grew up in Florida, and his father was from New York and German-Italian.

Dr. Brodsky is Russian-American, raised Jewish, although he's really an atheist. His bangs originally covered his eyebrows, which made him look timid and young, so I had him comb it back, but kept the narrow jawline. I wanted him to look poised and elegant, but not... quite... you know? Thus, the dimples and the semi-circle eyes.

What about their personalities?

I've always had a thing for shy bulky guys with big hearts and sprightly men with big brains. I also like to write about decent hardworking people (sorry, bad boys). What happened to the traditional ideal man? They can be interesting too, especially with all the quirky disturbed characters who already exist in the fiction world. Victor and Dr. Brodsky are based on many people with qualities I admire, who are mostly teachers, older relatives, and random people I meet or hear about. As I edited the story, Victor became more painfully shy and Dr. Brodsky became more flamboyantly gay. Not sure how that happened.

Why did Victor become a fireman? Why did Dr. Brodsky become a doctor? What are their families like?

This is all revealed later in the story!

Are they both out?

Victor is out only to his immediate family and one close friend. Dr. Brodsky doesn't usually bring up his sexuality, but if you ask, he'd have no problem telling you. Isn't it rather obvious anyway?

What are their guilty pleasures?

Dare I say it? Victor secretly gets turned on by sex scenes in epic war movies, even though he pretends to turn away whenever we get a teasing glimpse of the hero's muscular backside. Dr. Brodsky is disgustingly shameless about almost everything, but he would never admit that he prefers delicious greasy fast food over his grandmother's cooking.

Who's on top?

Hm, well, Victor doesn't really know yet and Dr. Brodsky is rather flexible about it, depending on his partner's preference. Who do you think should be on top?

Have an unanswered question? Send me a PM or leave a comment on any of the comic pages!