Illustrator’s comic series goes viral with help from brown dog

  • K.C. Green in his Easthampton studio. Gazette Staff/Jerrey Roberts

For The Recorder
Published: 1/19/2017 1:42:38 PM

For comics today, a web series can be easily shared on Facebook and can quickly gain a following — and then some can go viral.

That’s what happened to 29-year-old KC Green of Easthampton after two frames from his webcomic series “Gunshow” were passed along the internet as a meme. He drew the comic in 2013. Since then, it has grown in popularity.

“Social media is everything,” Green said.

Cashing in on his famous comic series, Green recently raised nearly $455,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to create a plush doll based on his popular character Question Hound featured in “Gunshow.”

Kickstarter is an online platform that allows people to post their projects and receive funding from investors. The creator of the project sets a goal and deadline. If the goal is reached, Kickstarter takes a 5 percent cut as well as a payment processing fee of 3 to 5 percent.

Green’s Kickstarter campaign proved wildly successful. He describes his “Gunshow” series on the Kickstarter page this way:

“Normally the first two panels are only seen. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all! But it continued to seep into the consciousness of America and the world as things seemingly just got … worse.”

In the six-frame comic, the scene is set with Question Hound, a brown dog wearing a hat sitting in a chair and a coffee mug on the table. Oh, and the room is on fire.

“This is fine,” the dog says with a smile. “I’m OK with the events that are unfolding currently.”

As the dog drinks his coffee, his hat catches on fire and his arm starts to melt.

“That’s OK, things are going to be OK,” the dog said. In the last frame, the dog’s face is melting off.

While the comic was created in 2013, it didn’t go viral until a year or two later with a meme of the first two frames.

Green said the “This is Fine” meme was often associated with how students feel during exam week.

The meme gained popularity again in July when it was shared by the Republican National Committee’s Twitter account. While the comic is widely known online, Green doesn’t receive monetary benefits. “Likes and shares don’t correlate with sales,” Green said.

Cartoons in his blood

Green said he grew up in a career of cartooning where he shares his work freely online. He said it’s nice to get his work out there in one way or another.

He started selling work in 2008, but some products did not do well. Green also earns money through commission work. Around 2015, Green started selling “This is Fine” products through TopatoCo, an online retailer of comic merchandise based in Easthampton.

He now sells “This is Fine” T-shirts, hoodies and cellphone cases, in addition to print books of his comics.

This year, Green decided to bring Question Hound to life, launching the Kickstarter campaign in August to create a 13-inch-tall plush dog doll which holds a coffee mug with the words “this is fine.”

“I, for one, hope there’ll be a day when we no longer have to look for the dog on fire to support our feelings, but until that day comes, maybe a nice big plush of the boy will help,” Green wrote on the Kickstarter.

He raised nearly $455,000 from 12,700 backers, exceeding his goal of $35,000 to make about 3,000 dogs. The plush dog was pre-ordered by people around the world for $25. Green said about 14,000 dogs were sold through the Kickstarter, and he purchased 3,000 extra to sell through Topatoco.

The plush dog also comes with a “Play Pak” to place the dog in the scene as well as stickers and a magnet.

Green moved from Oklahoma to Easthampton six years ago and started working with Topotaco. He’s done freelance for Nick Magazine, Mad Magazine as well as some writing for SpongeBob Comics. He keeps his comics updated regularly on his website kcgreendotcom.com.

Growing up, Green said he was inspired by “Rugrats,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Powerpuff Girls” and Looney Tunes. In elementary school, he began drawing comics of his own, but was also irritated with his work.

“I ripped them up in anger and frustration,” he said.

But he kept drawing, many times the same characters. One day, for no reason, he gave the dog a hat. And one day, that dog became Question Hound.

The “This is Fine” comic is featured in “Doomed to Repeat It: Gunshow Volume 6” which is a collection from 2012 to 2014.

And for those who like the meme, Green encourages people to at least read the full comic.


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