Explore “The Depths” adult furry webcomic – interview with the creators.
by Patch O'Furr
Meet webcomic writer Leilani. She’s interested in discussing furry webcomics, experience working with them, and how furry artists can be more successful with them. We chatted together with artists ABlueDeer and Kino Jaggernov about their project.
What is “The Depths”?
The Depths is an adults-only webcomic featuring anthropomorphic creatures in a historical alternate-Earth setting from the 1920s through the 1930s. The narrator is Leilani Perierre, a beautiful, brave, and savage sea otter. The webcomic focuses not only on Leilani’s origins growing up on a remote paradisaical island, but also her tales of romance, mystery, and epic adventure – above and below the deep blue sea. “The Depths” doesn’t just relate to the sea, it also relates to the soul. The cast includes Leilani, daughter of a tribal chieftain in the South Pacific, David (Leilani’s main love interest), Malana (Leilani’s foil), Kalea (Leilani’s BFF), Jamie (antagonist and foil to David), and Thierry as a French detective whose story is mostly unknown.
The creators say:
The Depths hit the internet in March of 2017 and generated buzz immediately. While the project is now doing regular weekly updates, it was slow going until funding was gathered for artwork. At the time Leilani, the creator and writer, was struggling with a foreclosure on her and her cousin’s home, and a lack of clientele coming forward for her other line of work, social media marketing and PR. Everything seemed to change when she joined forces with artists ABlueDeer and Kino Jaggernov. Business picked up and the Patreon, which launched this past April, now has 49 subscribers. The Depths ranks among the top 100 Most Read webcomics, based on Belfry’s comic List, and ranks in the Top 20 on Top Webcomics’ list. Not bad for only 36 pages.
Here’s a discussion with the team about The Depths, its growing success, and webcomics in general.
DP: What exactly is The Depths all about?
Leilani: Well, it started out as just a character. I had had the sea otter character for many years, and I’d written so many stories about her adventures on her own private South Pacific island. Finally, someone remarked on one particular story I did and mentioned how awesome it would look if illustrated. I’d grown up with comics all my life, in fact, my college thesis was on comic book censorship, so I got really excited about the idea. Of course, I lacked the artistic abilities.
ABlueDeer: That’s where we came in.
Leilani: Exactly. *laughs* I had known ABlueDeer for a while and we’d worked on a few comic projects already. So it was an easy choice, because he has a huge, loyal fan-base. The Depths is an erotic fantasy, but from a female point of view, and amidst the gratuitous sex and nudity, there’s drama, adventure, peril. And that’s really hard to find these days. I’ve written stories that feature sex and nudity, but they intertwine with drama, comedy, the supernatural, even horror, so I’m hoping my writing will translate well to The Depths.
DP: How did you two get into this?
ABlueDeer: Honestly, the main reason I got into this was because I wanted to help Leilani see the dream of seeing the comic become a reality. We’ve been friends for a good while already and I thought it was the least I could do to help her take the step forward. The idea of The Depths being an historical adventure in the 1920s, including mystery-solving, adventure, and some level of sexiness was very interesting to me too. I have a special weakness for stories that exist within an historical setting. And of course the share of drama that Leilani is giving the story makes it even more interesting.
KJ: Leilani and I have been friends for a long time too, and The Depths is her baby. When her comic needed a little extra help, I wasn’t going to leave her in the lurch. No way.
Leilani: A lot of people are already commenting that the webcomic reminds them of those vintage South Seas movies on television, or they equate them to the 1940s or 1970s pulp comics with a South Pacific Island setting or twist. I think that’s what’s really selling it so far, that it’s bringing the past back to life. It’s not a modern-day story, but the art really makes it look phenomenal and real and very modern.
DP: What’s your impression of the overall popularity and content so far?
KJ: It’s pretty amazing how fast it’s taken off. It’s only 36 pages old and already it’s got a pretty significant following. Leilani has worked very hard on the script, and I’m personally fueled by the drive to see this project succeed. As far as the content is concerned…well…I’ll admit, I have a fear of the ocean, of deep water. I’m terrified of it. So, you can draw your own conclusions, I think! *laughs*
Leilani: I think KJ’s been a real sport and is very courageous not to let fear distract from the art. Someone commented to me that when she views the comic, she truly feels like she’s underwater. That’s the kind of emotion I love to see, when a comic can take you to another world – even if it’s just under the sea. That speaks highly for these two wonderful artists.
ABlueDeer: I believe any amount of attention the comic gets is well deserved. Not only because of my share of work, but of course because of Leilani’s writing and Kino Jaggernov’s incredible coloring and backgrounds. I believe the story has a lot to tell, judging by its most interesting and captivating arcs. But it is only starting, so it’s natural that there’s only potential in the future. I can only hope that it will keep running for years and years as Leilani wants it to.
Leilani: I just love seeing what I’ve written being brought to life each week in such bold, brilliant colors, and great poses and layouts. Before we even launched the project, we did a survey and managed to get responses from over 200 people. 95% thought The Depths would be a hit. So far, they’ve been right. I encourage anyone who wants to start a webcomic to first speak to a large online audience up front, at least 1,000 people, and offer a survey. Get their input, consider it, and if you love what they say, use it.
DP: What’s your view of the webcomic industry today?
ABlueDeer: Spiky subject. I believe there’s not an industry per se right now. The Internet allows anyone to share their creations and points of view, and so it’s a very difficult market, with so much competition. But there’s probably space out there in the internet for webcomic creators to make a living from their webcomics, a bigger market that still needs to be explored and become efficient as an industry.
KJ: It’s certainly different than it was when I first started out doing comics. Back in the early 2000’s, everyone had these grand plans of being able to support themselves on their art alone. Most of them are either dead or the creators have just moved on. There’s still some awesome comics out there, but they’re a lot harder to find because I think a lot of people think, ‘Why should I spend hours of scripting and drawing each page which will be quickly read in a minute or two, when I can just play some video games badly, swear a lot, and post it to Youtube? I’ll get way more views!’ Webcomics hit a saturation point a long time ago, and the only ones left these days are the ones who don’t take it seriously or the TRULY passionate.
Leilani: I think that’s what really makes me feel good about The Depths. It IS to be taken seriously, it’s not funny, there’s not much humor to it, so if it’s doing as well as it is, it must mean there’s some passion in the story and art here. We’re in the time when, KJ’s right, you can get your fifteen minutes of fame for doing almost absolutely nothing. So if someone wants to bring a webcomic to life, it shouldn’t be for the fame, much less the fortune. There are already lines formed around the whole planet for that. You should do a webcomic because you just want to see it done, and you don’t care what John Q. Public has to say about it. I know The Depths won’t please everyone, and that’s not the aim. The Depths pleases me, and a lot of other people. That’s what’s important.
DP: What kind of future then do you see for the webcomic industry?
ABlueDeer: Well, we’re in a new era and industries seem not to be the future. So maybe, what we’re seeing now in the world of webcomics is what there will be in the future: plenty of small places and small communities supporting themselves to survive and become better, and maybe, in the long term, become popular enough throughout the world to become a larger part of the culture of the world as a whole.
KJ: The comic industry itself isn’t exactly doing well, despite the popularity of superhero movies. While there’s still a future for them, it’s a future that’s being kept alive by the truly inspired, because unlike movies or streaming video or games, the comic industry isn’t really seeing much, if any, growth. Should that passion die, the only webcomics that will be left will be small hobbyist strips, I think.
Thanks to these hard working furry artists for taking time for a chat! If you like what you see, visit Leilani’s Patreon to help make more of it.
Interesting interview and commentary on webcomics. I don’t think webcomics will die, but like anything else they are going through a rough patch. Things change with technology, but, like superheroes, no one ever completely dies. I work in book publishing. A lot of people felt books would go the way of the Dodo because of the Internet, but they’re still here and millions get published every year. I have faith that good, strong stories and characters will always find a following. Good luck with “The Depths”!
“The Depths” is one of currently 43 comics on the Ursa Major Awards’ Recommended List in the Graphic Story category. Don’t forget to nominate your five favorites when the nominations open for the 2018 Awards in January 2019.