Interview: Solomon Fletcher ‘It’s really important for me to show the people in my comics practicing consent, communicating, being safe and respecting each other–even when they make mistakes. ‘

One of my “new years resolutions” for Sequential State was to talk to more creators about their comics. Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to talk with Solomon Fletcher about their porn webcomic Goldy & the Bears, about sex positive education, and making video games. I’m happy to post the first in what hopefully will be a year of more interviews here at Sequential State.

Some of the images in this interview may be NSFW.

Thank you Solomon for taking the time to talk with me – you can see more of Goldy & the Bears at its website – Now is a great time to catch up on Goldy & the Bears – chapter one has just wrapped up! You can find more of Solomon’s work at their tumblr solomonfletcher​, and support Solomon on Patreon, a service that allows backers to support the ongoing creation of art.

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Alex Hoffman: Solomon, for those who aren’t familiar with your work, could you describe what you’re working on right now? It seems like your art practice is very multidimensional.

 Solomon Fletcher: LOTS of stuff! I feel like I usually have about 2-5 projects going at any one time which can be helpful and also detrimental. A lot of stuff gets put aside and abandoned, though lately I think I’ve been better at picking up forgotten projects and continuing with them. Right now I have a few things in the works. First is a twine game called Animal Intern, which will be a short cute game about interning with an animal of your choice (bear, deer, or tiger) and explores themes of self-positivity. I’m also working on a collaboration comic with Anna Anthropy– a crossover porn comic of our two characters Starwench and Goldy. She wrote the script for me and I’m drawing it. I’m also scripting and thumbnailing chapter 2 of Goldy & the Bears, as well as working on some promotional stuff (prints, stickers) to bring with me to cons this spring. I also keep a sketchbook for my Patreon, which I try to do 10+ pages in each month.

 That’s a pretty busy schedule! How do you manage your work? Do you think you are an organized person or is your art practice more haphazard?

 I do my best to keep organized! I have a mini whiteboard by my desk that I write down a daily to-do list on each morning and try to keep my goals small and manageable (ie. “finish page 1 pencils, page 1 inks” instead of just “finish page 1”). I definitely get distracted a lot by new ideas and wanting to start on them right away. I think I’ve been better at sticking to the things I start, though. Unless I have a really urgent deadline, I usually allow myself to work on just whichever current project I feel like at the time, since it’s important to be happy while working and not feel burnt out.

 I think it’s very interesting that you are working both with video games and comics. What do you think draws you to these mediums?

 They’re both really narrative mediums, and I like to tell stories. I feel like most of my friends and folks I follow on twitter/tumblr are either in comics or games. Seeing my friends making small/independent games has definitely encouraged me to try making games myself.

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Twine games, if I remember correctly, are very narrative focused, similar to choose your own adventure books – what are your goals for Animal Intern? Is the twine format a stepping stone to different formats for games in the future?

My goals for Animal Intern are very small–I just want to make something in twine! It’s a very simple story and it’s just something small and cute I wanted to do to begin messing with twine and see if making games is something I want to keep doing. I feel like the twine format for games is already really popular! Lots of folks use it to tell stories and as a game format, and I really like it because it’s simple and accessible for almost anyone since all you need is to read and click in order to play

Let’s talk about Goldy & the Bears – what inspired you to write this comic? 

It started out REALLY small. I was taking doodle requests and a friend asked for “Goldilocks getting drunk with the three bears” and I drew a cute girl surrounded by buff hairy guys~ After that I was like, this is perfect for a porn comic! After way too much planning I finally just dove into writing and drawing and posting it, and it’s been great! Below is the original doodle of Goldy & the Bears that I built off of for the comic –

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Those faces look familiar! One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the constant forward motion of web comics in the sense that style changes over time and the artist becomes more comfortable with their characters. It feels like this with Goldy – the way you are drawing now and the way you were on page one feel very different to me. Is that something you consciously changed, or is it more organic?

That’s something I love about webcomics–seeing the creator’s style change over time and how the characters evolve. The changes in my comic were mostly organic. I told myself when I started not to be precious with it, to let myself change tools and styles if it felt right. When I first started the comic I was using a brush pen and it didn’t feel right, then I moved to micron pens (which Art School had taught me was a tool you shouldn’t use to ink whole pages) and it felt closer, but not right still. I couldn’t get my inks to resemble my pencils. I eventually switched to regular ballpoint pen (Art School would be mortified) and it worked so well. I got more comfortable allowing my drawings to stay loose and sketchy instead of trying so hard to make them look perfectly immaculate, smooth, digital. I love the way Goldy looks now, I love allowing my pages to be imperfect and not worrying so much about keeping everything looking consistent from page to page.

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What was your thought process behind repurposing the Goldilocks fable? Was there something thematic about that story of intrusion and impulse control that seemed right for this comic? Or was it more about wordplay, repurposing the word bear from the original to your design?

It was definitely just wordplay. It’s not a very deep or metaphorical comic. I started it out as something to do for practice, just for fun, and even though now it has a Real Website and fans and an update schedule, it’s still fun and I want to keep the comic lighthearted and simple.

One of the things that I think is so unique about Goldy & the Bears is its focus on sex-positive education. Could you talk about that?

It’s really important for me to show the people in my comics practicing consent, communicating, being safe and respecting each other–even when they make mistakes. When I was younger no one ever taught me about consent, sex-positivity, body positivity. I learned a lot of really wrong and harmful things from reading erotica and NSFW comics when I was young. I want to see more safety and consent being integrated into porn and erotic comics/writing! It’s also a really good outlet for me to draw these characters participating in consensual, safe sexual activities because it helps me rewrite times when I was abused into the comic and transform them into these scenes all about consent and care between partners.

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Comics as a medium is a great way to deliver information – was teaching readers about sex positive topics your intent going into Goldy & the Bears, or did that idea evolve over time?

It definitely was, but I wanted to avoid the comic becoming a textbook for sex ed. I prefer to keep the comic mostly narrative and teach through the characters’ examples and stories. Often though I’ll link to other sources (like Planned Parenthood articles, educational comics or posts, etc.) to give readers more info on a certain subject.

Essentially you are making sex positive practices the background, and the porn comics the foreground.

Yep!

What are your long term plans with Goldy & the Bears? Is this going to stay as a webcomic, or are you planning to print it in the future?

For now it’s staying as a webcomic. I spent tons of time worrying about making sure the format was right for print when I began drawing it, but it’s easier to just focus on putting it online right now. If I decide I want to print it in the future, I’ll worry about it then. 

Do you think that your interest in making Animal Intern will cross pollinate into your comics-making? Any chance that Goldy turns into a game at some point?

 Possibly! I have some stories saved away that I feel could work pretty well as comics or twine games, so once Animal Intern is out I might take what I learned from it and do some twine-comics. I’ve got no plans to make Goldy into a game right now but it’s a fun idea to think about! It would certainly be a very cute dating sim!

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