Neil Swaab, 30, is a New York-based cartoonist known for his weekly comic strip Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, which runs in papers such as Rochester City Newspaper, Real Detroit Weekly, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, among others. In addition, he served as a character artist for Adult Swim series Superjail!, which began its run in September.
I recently conducted an email interview with him. My questions are in bold.
What were your duties on Superjail? How did you get involved in the show?
I was a Character Layout Artist. Along with four other guys, I drew all the key poses and created a lot of secondary characters and inmates for the show. I got involved through Aaron Augenblick whose studio was producing the show. Aaron and I are fans of each other’s work and have mutual friends in common and had discussed possibly working together at some point throughout the years when we’d run into each other. When Superjail! came up, he thought my style and sensibility would be perfect for the show and got in touch with me to work on it.
Is this the first time you worked in animation?
What are the staff on the show like?
Awesome! They’re a great group of people, extremely talented, and incredibly hard working. Everyone in the studio put their life and sweat into the show from people as high as the creators to people as low as the interns. It was a real labor of love.
Do you know if Superjail will get picked up for second season?
I’m afraid I don’t know.
Superjail is one of the very few US animated series that's not outsourced to an overseas studio. What is your view on outsourcing? Should more series be animated in-house in America, even if it will lead to Filmation-like quality?
Well, outsourcing is a big deal. Obviously, we want to keep more jobs in America and Augenblick Studios proved they could do it and produce high quality work at the same time. In order to compete with outsourcing we need to give them something that can’t be replicated in India or China. I believe what was done on Superjail! is a good example of that.
Do you have any favorite cartoons currently on TV?
Not really. I actually don’t watch too many cartoons. I don’t have cable and, lately, I can’t say I’ve even watched a lot of TV. I’ve never even seen Adult Swim, which Superjail! airs on.
You do a comic called Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles for alt-newspapers. How's the strip doing?
Pretty well. It’s in a bunch of papers and seems to be doing particularly well in Italy, where I’ve built up a large fan base due to my inclusion in the magazine, Internazionale.
Any thoughts about creating a show for television? Maybe an animated Mr. Wiggles, perhaps?
I’d love to. After taking a long break, I’m finally back to work on writing a pilot for a Mr. Wiggles TV show. Once it’s completed, I hope to start shopping it around and trying to get a studio interested in working with me on it.
Interview © Charles Brubaker
Mr. Wiggles © Neil Swaab
Superjail! Created by Christy Karacas, Stephen Warbrick and Ben Gruber © Cartoon Network