In the golden, glimmering crown of app and mobile knowledge that is Tapsauce, John Gholson’s “Appetite For Destruction” web comic has been our crown jewel. A collection of hilariously awful and usually impossible ideas for mobile apps, the comic represents Rocksauce Studios at its most creative. Below, we’ve compiled a a gallery of some of our favorite comics and after the jump, we chatted with John about the origin of the comic and his creative process.
Where did the idea for Appetite For Destruction come from?
It came from two sources. I’ve worked in apps for two years and every week we hear roughly a dozen ideas from clients and a lot of them are completely infeasible. They simply can’t be done. They’re what we refer to in-house as “unicorn tech.” It’s magical “I want to push a button on my phone and a guy will show up at my door instantly because I don’t want to wait for a sandwich!” stuff. The logistics of that…there’s no way to create that in way that everyone can use. Some of it came from that, but some of it came from living with a cat for the first time since I was a kid and watching the cat’s behavior and just wanting to draw cat stuff. The very first comic was a cat app.
How many ideas come out of the blue and how many are actually inspired by bad ideas you’ve actually heard?
None of them have been spun off from actual client ideas. We’d get in too much trouble if we were actually taking them and running with them. I’ve actually heard ideas that would work as gags, but all of the ideas have been from scratch.
When you write a comic, do you base it around what you want to draw that day? Like if you want to draw Ghostbusters, you draw a Ghostbusters app?
Sometimes that’s what it ends up being because the writing is the hardest part. I hooked myself into this format early on so I have to produce four gags based on on specific theme. The most difficult part is the writing. I should’ve made it a one panel gag! It would have been a lot easier! You can see that with the Planet of the Apes one, which was actually suggested by a co-worker. As for the Ghostbusters one, I had sat down and wracked by brain and it ultimately came down to what I wanted to draw that day. Sometimes it comes that way. There have been comics that have been “pulled from the headlines.” There was one last summer about a local heat wave. Last spring, for some reason, the “birthed” conversation started happening again with Obama and that inspired one of them. Sometimes, I just stare at a wall for three hours before writing and drawing it in the final hour because it just doesn’t come.
If you could actually have one of the apps you’ve drawn in the comic, which one would it be?
There’s a feature on the Boozr app that I like the drawing for because it look like Basil Wolverton and I don’t consider him an influence, so to see him creep out into my stuff was alarming. The feature is essentially beer goggles, where you hold it over someone’s face and they’re restructured into someone more conventionally pretty. That’s an idea that if someone actually made it, they could make some money with it. Very few of my comic ideas could ever make money. A lot of them tend to be things that destroy you phone. If you read them all back to back, there’s always one panel that requires you to destroy your phone. That’s not even something an app can do, but I guess that’s the ridiculousness of it. Like last week, it was “use your phone to light the Olympic torch.” It’s not the app that’s doing it. Your phone is on fire!