Thump: The Interview

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Thump and Tweeter

A while back, we were privileged to review THUMP: THE FIRST BUNDRED DAYS, a novel concept that presents the 2016 campaign in a new setting. Rather than getting into the policy wonk details of how each campaign was run, Thump's creators -- Brett R. Smith, Timothy Lim, and Mark Pellegrini -- simplified the events to the traditional rhyming style of the children's picture book, complete with illustrations that draw from Peter Rabbit rather than from the editorial cartoon pages of your daily newspaper.

After reviewing the book, and seeing the reactions online of others once the book was released, we spoke with editor Brett R. Smith about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of Thump -- where he came from, and where he's going from here.

What was the "secret origin" of THUMP: THE FIRST BUNDRED DAYS?

Although we are all comics industry veterans, there isn't a mutation involved, and none of us were bitten by a radioactive rabbit. Our illustrator, Timothy Lim, is both a huge Trump supporter and a lifelong animal lover. Rabbits are especially close to his heart -- in a flash of brilliance during the campaign the name 'Trump' became 'Thump' and a character was born. Tim didn't even know that Vice President Pence has a pet rabbit named "Marlon Bundo Pence" until the inauguration, but we took that as a sign from above that Thump was meant to be.

What led to the idea to transform an alpha-personality like Donald Trump into an anthropomorphically cuddly animal like a rabbit?

For more than a year, the entire media establishment portrayed Donald Trump as a monster. If they aren't making fun of his hair or skin tone, they are portraying him as an outright demon. Just look at the fake news from his Japan trip -- he is apparently a monstrous koi murderer for following the Japanese PM's lead on fish feeding! By turning Donald Trump into an adorable rabbit named Thump, we're doing the exact opposite. Who can hate a rabbit this cute?

Comics that purposely take a conservative stance on issues traditionally don't strike a widespread chord with readers. For example, Solsun's REAGAN'S RAIDERS or ACC Publishing's LIBERALITY FOR ALL.  Via Twitter, you've been able to heavily promote THUMP. Are you getting enough good feedback to see success for THUMP and its future?

It's my belief that the best comics have a strong conservative undercurrent to their stories, even if not overtly conservative. Thump's case is different, the book and the character have been embraced by conservatives both on Twitter and its newer free speech-based competitor, Gab. The numbers are strong and have shown us that Thump has a YUGE future.

Creators in the comics industry have more commonly leaned toward the liberal. Many have run blogs with their political opinions expressed on them, and even more do so using Twitter. Has your work with THUMP brought you into conflict -- and had it also brought you into contact with closeted conservative creators?

We've heard from plenty of closeted conservatives in the industry that love what we're doing. Many of us are good friends -- conservatives in comics are a secret society, like the "Friends of Abe" in Hollywood. You know, many liberals in the comic industry have also reached out to tell us they love the art and the style we used. Ironically, the liberals are even more concerned about staying anonymous in their praise than the conservatives, because they fear being kicked out of the liberal cliques that have taken over the industry. The conservatives are already on the outside, so they have a little less to worry about.

Many industry vets I know are hopeful that the industry will swing back towards creating high quality books that tell compelling stories and sell at healthy levels, instead of obsessing over pronouns and blacklisting those that dare to think differently.

Seeing as there are already THUMP panels on Twitter that are not in THE FIRST BUNDRED DAYS (the "taking a knee" commentary being the most prominent), does this mean there's more THUMP to come?

We're releasing a steady stream of "in the news" pictures of Thump on both Twitter and Gab. We are already in the planning stages of the next THUMP project, but at this point I can't tell you if our recent images will be included or not.  We may at some point include some of them as additional content to future printings of THUMP, we're on our third printing already!

Any response from the Trump family or the administration?

We have not yet heard from a Trump or the administration. I can't blame them, they're busy working to make America great again. However I am quite hopeful that at some point we will get a copy to the family. As a creator, the idea of the man who inspired the book reading our creation is thrilling.