Jump to: Skinterview | Related Links

Remember the name Tony Millionaire. You heard it here first. Or maybe you're already familiar with his frighteningly funny weekly comic strip, Maakies, which is published in gorgeous collections by Fantagraphics Books. Perhaps you've read his Sock Monkey children's stories, put out by Dark Horse. Anyway, you don't know Tony Millionaire like Mr. Skin knows Tony Millionaire.

The great artist--in fact, the greatest artist of this (or any) generation--spoke recently with Mr. Skin about the long trek he's taken to get his cartoons on the air. Yes, there was a brief moment when Maakies shorts played for the last few minutes of airtime on Saturday Night Live, but that was only a hint of what was to come.

On the evening of May 11, log on to Adult Swim Fix for a special preview of The Drinky Crow Show, Millionaire's pilot for Adult Swim. At that time, you'll be able to vote for The Drinky Crow Show.

If enough of you do, the pilot will be picked up as a series so that viewers can continue their intoxication with this soused bird and his slurred sea shanties. The pilot airs on TV the evening of May 13. Clips are available immediately on Maakies.com, but first let's here from the man himself.

How did Drinky Crow go from the drawing board to cable TV?

I got a call and met with Nick Weidenfeld, a producer in charge of programming at Adult Swim. We had lunch two years ago. He said he wanted to do a show. I had people approach me before, ever since I got that Saturday Night Live gig, and it never works out. He said, "No, if I'm going to call you I'm going to do everything I can to get your show on the air." He did. Very slowly, after long periods of nothing happening, eventually we got a pilot put together.

You produced the pilot with Eric Kaplan; he's the co-creator of the show. Who is this guy?

Eric Kaplan is a writer and producer on Futurama and a bunch of other shows. He has an animation company and said, "Let's do it with my animation company." And I talked to Nick and he said, "Sure." He wrote the whole script, but the thing is he read all my books first to get it into his head.

Speaking of being inside your head, are you Drinky Crow?

Yes, I am. The thing is every cartoon character I draw is a self-portrait. Drinky Crow is me when I'm like, "Give me the booze! Give me the booze! Where's the gun? Where's the gun?" You know, you get in that mood sometimes. Uncle Gabby is me when I'm trying to rationalize my insane behavior.

What are some of the adventures that our favorite alcoholic crow gets himself into?

The pilot's about Drinky Crow being kicked out of the house by his girlfriend, Phoebe Bird, and he attempts to kill himself with an anchor around his neck, goes to the bottom of the ocean, where he finds the most beautiful mermaid that he falls in love with. He realizes he has something to live for, so he spends the rest of the episode trying to win back the heart of the mermaid.

Do you get to see the mermaid's tits?

We had to do starfish on her tits. They said, "You can do anything you want, but no nipples."

What do they have against nipples?

They think that somebody else may have something against nipples.

How sexual does it get?

They go to a Chinese grocery store to try and find fish that have women parts just to prove that mermaids don't exist, and they pull out a bosom fish. We had to put a bra on the bosom fish.

No full-frontal cartoon characters on the show?

The mermaid is quite sexy, and you can really see her boobs, but the starfish are like pasties on there.

What inspires you to come up with such sick fantasies?

Everything that I do is inspired by my real life and things that have happened to me, as you may have noticed by reading my comic strips on Maakies.com; a lot of those jokes are stolen from conversations I've had at bars.

Does that mean you've put an anchor around your neck and fallen in love with a mermaid?

In fact, metaphorically--if that's the right word--I did in that when I had a broken heart in New York I put an anchor around my neck and found my delightful wife, Becky Thyre.

You wrote a whole book on how she tamed you.

That's right. It's called Billy Hazelnuts. You can see that on my website too.

The animation looks great, far improved from the shorts that ran on Saturday Night Live. That's Eric Kaplan's company?

He has an animation company in Transylvania. They do CGI work. They did a couple of tests for Drinky Crow and I said, "No, no, no, no, no." You can't make him look like a plastic Jimmy Neutron character. He has to look like my comic strips. Going back and forth with them, I invented the whole look of the show. That makes me the art director. That's why it looks so good.

They would make models of the characters. Then I would take those models and do drawings on the models. I actually printed them out and drew them on paper. Then I would scan them and send them back. They would put my lines on their computer models and keep the colors very simple, so there's not a lot of gradation of shades. It really looks like a Sunday comics version of my strip.

This is only a pilot, so what should fans do to insure it a long stay on Adult Swim?

What we need is a tidal wave of support and public clamor. That means going onto the Adult Swim message boards and going onto Adult Swim Fix, where you can actually rate the show. You just push a little button and say how much you like it. That must happen on the night of May 11. I need a lot of people to go there, look at it, like it, and push the button that says how much you like it.

How many shows have you produced?

We produced one pilot and hopefully we'll produce more. It's a really great show. It's very funny, and it kind of has the mixture of the look of Futurama with newspaper comics.

Any last words for the MrSkin.com readers?

Yeah. Go for the boobs. That's where the money's at!

Related Links: