It's no secret around these parts that I'm an unabashed friend to all pugkind, and as such, it doesn't take much for me to break what little professional composure I have when my passions for pugs and comics intersect. Artist (and owner of two hearty pugs) Mike Norton didn't necessarily know this when he created his sword and sorcery concept for Battlepug for an iFanboy t-shirt back in 2009, but after allowing me to pester him with manic questions in honor of today's Valentines Day launch of he and Allen Passalaqua and Chris Crank's full-fledged Battlepug webcomic, he's certainly aware of my bias. Learn more about the pugified radness Norton and co. have unleashed upon the webcomic world below:

CA: Having only seen the basic Battlepug logo online and on the iFanboy t-shirt, the series seems pretty rooted in sword and sorcery motifs. Will the new series have more in common with Conan stories, Masters of the Universe, or something completely unexpected?

MN: Definitely safe to say those two [Conan and MotU] are influences. When I was developing the story I realized it was gaining details that even I wasn't expecting. There's actually a fleshed out world behind this thing now. I thought it would just be a silly parody (and it's STILL very silly.), but I think people will find a little bit more when they check in every week (hopefully!)

CA: You're doing Battlepug on top of an already busy comics career. What are your goals in terms of a release schedule and how have you prepared to meet those goals?

MN: At this point, it will be weekly. I have several months drawn already, so I think I'll be able to keep up. I don't plan on missing a week even if I do have a lot going on.

CA: Can you tell us a little bit about your own pug? How have your own experiences as a pug owner shaped your take on the series so far?

MN: I have two. A black one named Ninja and a fawn named Moe. One's spoiled brat that I've had since he was a puppy. The other is a roughed up rescue pug who has a few mental and physical issues. They're definitely an inspiration for the series. Their personalities have already seeped into two of the main characters. Pugs are pretty much the least threatening breed of dog ever developed. Their own bodies are their biggest natural enemy. The idea of a killer pug, well... I don't want to give anything away yet.

CA: Joining you on the book are Allen Passalaqua and Chris Crank. How did the Battlepug team come together and how has the work dynamic gone so far?

MN: Allen is someone I've worked with on several DC projects. We get along really well professionally and I trust his coloring magic implicitly. Crank is and old friend and he's stepped upped since lettering is a really hard job to do fast and well. They're integral to the strip as far as I'm concerned.

CA: With convention season coming up, do you have any special plans in terms of promoting Battlepug? Do you foresee your commission slate taking a more pug-centric turn in 2011?

MN: No special plans aside from having a presence at a few shows. I'll be at c2e2 in March and that'll be the first convention with Battlepug. It'll be exciting to see if people DO actually ask for pug sketches. I already get a few every so often as it is.

To read the first installment of the series head to

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