Allison Gregory is passionate about comics, to say the least. So much so, that she’s created a collaborative web comic with a group of friends titled 20/40. As stated on the official 20/40 website, each of the five people involved “bring a different flavor to the comic, keeping it alive and vital.” Allison’s role is to write for and manage the site, and pretty much anything else that needs doing.
I spoke with Allison about her love for comics, the origins of 20/40, and the benefits of being a professional writing English major in this genre. Read what she had to say in our interview below!
Q & A with Allison Gregory:
Ann Reagan: Would you give us a brief synopsis of 20/40?
Allison Gregory: 20/40 is a web comic that documents the daily lives of three cities: one of heroes and villains, one of “mad” scientists (they prefer the term revolutionary), and a city forced underground into a cave system. It will focus on the adventures of Mary Jones- a villainess with super strength, Thomas Hikmet- a complete psychopath, and Nikolai Bjelic- a scientist with grafted bird wings. It has everything a comic needs: humor, action, romance, and science fiction.
AR: How old were you when you discovered comics, and which ones moved you the most?
AG: I am a longtime comic book and super hero fan; the obsession started when I was four and watched reruns of Batman: The Animated Series while at a friend’s house. From there, my older cousins introduced me to Superman, Wonder Woman, and my personal favorite- Spiderman. I didn’t read an actual comic book until I was eight, and it was about Scooby Doo- not super heroes! Web comics are my passion, though, as I currently follow eight stories.
AR: What comics inspired you to create 20/40?
AG: 20/40 was inspired by a whole array of comics and hero stories; the Avengers movie definitely sparked the idea of a city of supers, along with various web comics like Paranatural and Homestuck for the layout, humor, and complex storyline.
AR: How has your education in the Professional Writing track, and as an English major in general, influenced your writing and designing duties for 20/40?
AG: My experiences as a Professional Writing Major affect pretty much everything I do for it, and I do mean everything. Everything on the website, down to the informal tone to the blue background, is influenced by what I’ve learned in my Technical Writing course. To meet my audience’s expectations and needs, I had to research and figure out the best layout for the comic itself, what color would be best for legibility with the News posts and within the comic, and how to keep the website friendly and engaging for the readers. Since 20/40 is aimed for young adults (ages 16-24), every post or comment that I make has to be informal enough to not bore them when the whole point of a comic is to entertain.
AR: How did you meet the other members of the 20/40 team?
AG: It feels like I’ve known Diane and Ella Ramic forever. I met Diane in 7th grade and have been best friends with her ever since. Ella was introduced to me a little later that same year during an academic team meet, but we’ve been best buds since then. Sara Neidlinger has been my good friend since my junior year of high school. We bonded over a shared interest in the manga and anime series, Hetalia. Steven Montgomery is the newest member to the team, as I got to really know him this last school year. As a fellow English major, we had a lot to bond over.
AR: What are everyone’s roles for 20/40?
AG: Sara and Diane are the main artists. They take turns drawing chapters and various plots; Sara is responsible for the first chapter. Ella is the Extras artist; she draws little quick comics that are typically funny and lighten the mood. They also give some insight to side characters and their significance. Steven is a writer, and is developing his own storylines to be drawn later. I manage the website and various other matters, and I write some on the side.
AR: What’s in store for 20/40 in the future?
AG: As far as the plotline goes, the team and I plan on continuing for several “generations” of characters, kind of like DC or Marvel. But for the whole 20/40 enterprise, it’s going to grow into its own brand name. We plan on building upon it and starting our own line of products (calendars, art prints, etc. ) to sell at local comic and anime conventions. Be sure to look out for us!
Thanks, Allison, for taking time to talk with me. Special thanks to Dr. Angela Jones for bringing Allison’s accomplishments to our attention!
If you missed the link above, be sure to check out the official 20/40 website for yourself; you might just get hooked on comics, too!