Josel Nicolas on Doc Brick: Balloon Scientist Problem Solver

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 1 - 2010

Today we’ve got a guest interviewer in the person of Macoy (you can find his site here, though note that some of it may be NSFW), creator of the wonderful Maskot komik (which I reviewed at Metakritiko here). For this interview, he speaks to fellow komiks creator Josel Nicolas, who has a new monthly comic coming out in the pages of K-zone. Yep, he’s THAT Josel Nicolas. In K-zone. Read on:


Josel Nicolas makes intense, psychological alt-comix which range in theme from semi-autobiographical angst (Windmills 2: Bearkdowns) to Saw-esque dungeon torture (Roleplay). His work has garnered praise from the likes of Gerry Alanguilan and Ramon de Veyra. Earlier this year, he adapted Adam David’s award-winning The El Bimbo Variations into a graphic novel for his UST Fine Arts graduate thesis.

Given that pedigree, Josel’s latest project seems shockingly mainstream: an all-ages monthly comics feature in Kzone magazine entitled Doc Brick: Balloon Scientist Problem Solver.

So, tell us about Doc Brick.

Ah, Doctor Brick is my take on the Genius Cartoon Character template. It probably came about from my love for Dexter’s Laboratory and Jimmy Neutron, and all that faux science adventure stuff.

Only he’s a brain-slash-balloon tied to a brick. Where the hell did that come from?

Haha! It just came from me sketching around.


And did the idea of doing a science comic come from you, or did Kzone specifically ask for one?

Actually, it was a friend of mine who recommended me to his friend who worked over at Kzone. I sent over some of my work and they liked them enough that they allowed me to pitch an idea.

You didn’t send the sex dungeon stuff, I assume.

Actually… Haha, those were the colored works I sent in.

Wait, what? You sent in Roleplay and Bearkdowns to land a gig in a kids’ magazine?

Not the sex dungeon thing. Just the El Bimbo Adaptations, Invisible Ovens and a couple of robot comics I did. Not Roleplay. Haha.

I might send in Roleplay to Pulp. I need income after graduation after all.


Tell me about the other characters in Doc Brick. I like that robot…

Yes, the robot. Well the strip was supposed to be about kids in a high school for freaks. The three most unpopular kids were supposed to be Brick, Cody [a werewolf who turns human during a full moon], and Robert [Doc Brick's robot assistant]. But I decided to change it around since it might be thought of as a ripoff of Elbert Or’s Bakemono High which, is also about cute monster children.

So, being a fan of Dexter’s Lab, and having wanted to do a zany sci-fi story for the longest time–and loving the idea of a reverse werewolf–I came up with this.

But if Cody gets cured of his reverse werewolf-ness, He’ll be a human in the next issue?

Yes. I won’t be keeping the ones with problems around for long. I want to explore as many stories as possible within the span of 4 pages… sabi kasi nila every time na matapos ang story arc kelangan kong magpitch ulit ng bago.

So extend the story arc!

Haha! Sana, sana. Basta, its all in flux.

Sige, one last question: Did you discover anything new about your creative process while making a comic for kids? Yes, I saved the tough question for last.

Haha. Tough nga. Hm. Well, I was actually freaking out at the end. I wasn’t feeling up to doing the story and wanted to see if I could pass it on to you…

That’s a creative way of avoiding the question.

Haha! Pero ayun. I have a creative answer din.

Before I started working on Doc Brick, I was getting ready to write my long overdue Windmills 3 and was having a hard time with it. Then this opportunity came by, and presented yet another distraction from making Windmills–but it was a distraction that had a paycheck.


So I gritted my teeth and tried hard to come up with something that kids would like.

I felt constrained by the demands, and kept being tempted to wax poetic or make something mindlessly violent. But then I realized something: I shouldn’t be totally in the dark about what kids want because I’m still basically possessed of a 5 year old mindset!

So ego ego ego came through and I followed what I wanted to do, but kept in mind I couldn’t swear and couldn’t be too poetic in my writing

So in the end, Doc Brick is what came out–an amalgam of Dexter and all of those lovely short Alan Moore strips I read in ABC and his WARRIOR and A.D. days. Quite brilliant, those sequences. Alan Moore always maintained that the best way to teach making comics is to start out with 1 pager and 2 pagers or something to that effect, where you have to condense a whole story into a short work.

Never would’ve thought of Alan Moore as an inspiration for all-ages comics.

Oh! Alan Moore’s comedic stuff, the silly stuff like Supreme, or Jack B Quick, owe a huge debt to the early MAD comics! They’re short, funny and brilliant. Indulgent. I learned all I know about making comics, short or long, from reading Moore, amongst some other things.

Okay, thanks for your time and I hope the comic does well. I did some research and Kzone is supposed to have a readership of like 300,000.


Yeah, but I got that info from the Summit site, so, grain of salt.

Doc Brick: Balloon Scientist Problem Solver will debut in the April issue of Kzone magazine. Josel’s other comics are available at Sputnik Comics and Bookay-Ukay Bookstore.

Josel is on Deviantart at

[Images from Josel and from Komiklopedia]

5 Responses to “Josel Nicolas on Doc Brick: Balloon Scientist Problem Solver”

  1. Ok… now I know this was posted April 1 so I’m not sure if this is true or not. But Josel in K-Zone is like Arnold Schwarzenegger teaching kindergarten (oh wait….)

    But I gotta say, like plenty of April fool’s gags they actually sound awesome if they were actually true. And this is no less awesome. Josel on K-zone…. if this is real, then holy SHIT on a stick. I’m gonna be collecting K-Zone from now on.

    I always thought Josel to be one of the most original voices to come into comics in a long time. It’s not unheard of for a renegade cartoonist to go mainstream to great effect. Peter Bagge does strips for Discover Magazine after all, as do Peter Kuper for Time and Newsweek.

    Why not Josel for K-Zone? I think that would be awesome!

    • Paolo Chikiamco says:

      Hi Gerry! Rest assured, it’s the real deal (or so macoy tells me), my bad for not realizing that this scheduled update would hit on April 1. Should be interesting to see what Josel comes up with :)

  2. macoy says:

    i do believe i am going to start calling josel “kindergarten cop” from now on.

  3. Josel nicolas says:

    hahahaha! XD I love that people think its a joke.

    @ sir Ger: Thank ye kindly, sir. XD Sir, funny you mention AHNoLd, Team Coco fans will enjoy some nods to the pale irishman in the forth coming 3rd strip… hehe…

  4. Gio Paredes says:

    Congrats to you Josel. I hope you have more gigs to come. :D

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