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Interview: Entities-R-Us Creator Terri J. Garofolo

With a bio so complete on her Entities-R-Us site, I thought to meself: "What the bloody hell am I going to ask Terri J. Garofalo that she hasn't already answered herself?"

Well, after fixing a cuppa and taking a few appreciative sips of me Barry's proper Irish tea, the thought dawned on me: Don't ask her anything she's already answered herself. DUH. See, me granny always said a cuppa fixes everything.

With this being October, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to add this little interview to my spooky melting pot, and Terri was considerate enough to agree.

So, my maggoty minions, enjoy the interview, and then visit Entities-R-Us to read all the cool stuff.
    Lili's Lair: Terry, could you please give the readers here at the Lair a little bio on each of the characters in your Entities-R-Us comic strip?

    Terri J. Garofalo:

    Arno Alkaloid: Team Leader/Founder of Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunters.
    He is a paranormal junkie of sorts, very interested in uncovering the truth behind the mysteries of the world. Arno is, for better part of a word, a nerd. Yet, he is confident in his nerdiness wearing his pullover knit turtleneck with dignity.

    Merv Shwermble: Tech Manager
    Merv is a techy. He is more interested in the equipment than the paranormal. Historically, Merv was a sound guy in the “Hair Band” industry. When that dried up, Arno discovered him, in a local Radio Shack, hocking batteries. Merv tends to experiment himself into sticky situations. He plays the “goofball” to Arno’s “straight man.”

    Erna Eggleston: Psychic Medium
    She is the Zen of the bunch. Her feminine energy irons out the kinks in the team. She is quite patient with the crew except when they stray, weekly, onto the Ouija Board for Ouija Nite (Ghost Hunter Guys Night Out). Erna knows that the Ouija is nothing but trouble. Erna is the main communicator between the physical and the metaphysical worlds.

    Vlad: Demonologist
    Vlad is in charge of all the “get-ridification” practices, such as exorcisms, etc. His skills at this are a little suspect, especially when he uses random Latin phrases quite randomly… Vlad is a bit egotistic. He thinks he’s pretty cool with his high-collared cape. He rarely talks and mostly glowers. And, he sports a wicked sense of humor sometimes.

    Vera: Investigator In Training
    Vera is a practicing Wiccan. She is also very sensitive to the fact that witches were persecuted through the ages. So, she is perpetually on guard for any minor slight. This offers Merv a fair amount of opportunity to tick her off. Vera’s anger management problems, coupled with her energy vampire tendencies, keep her at the training level. Until she learns to stop draining the batteries and committing battery, she will not move up in the ranks.

    Carl & Thor: Ouija Nite Ghosts
    These two entities are Ouija Nite regulars. Thursday is Ouija Nite for the ERU boys. Carl and Thor show up to communicate false information and to terrorize Arno and the guys. Carl was a Roman soldier with insecurity issues in his last life. Thor was a beer slugging Viking.

    Office Entities
    Ms. Henpeck: Arno’s former kindergarten teacher.
    She haunts Arno personally because of all the awful things he did in her class. Arno was known to freak out the youngsters with ghost stories. He once told a fellow student that the poor kid was abducted by aliens. Henpeck swore she’d haunt him when she died. She is true to her word.

    Imps: Nature Spirits
    These mischievous entities were accidentally brought back with the luggage from a ghost hunting trip to Ireland. They wreak havoc on the office.

    Lili's Lair: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with new ideas for your strip?

    Terri J. Garofalo:
    They just show up. I tend to carry a pad with me in case I get an idea deluge. Sometimes I resort to napkins. Many of my ideas come from personal experiences on paranormal investigations. Some result from watching paranormal TV shows or reading material. The material mostly just occurs. Apparently I have my own personal connection to the insanity of the Universe… which I appreciate since it makes life a lot more fun.

    Lili's Lair: When you first began Entities-R-Us did you have a continuous story line you wanted to work with over a period of time?

    Terri J. Garofalo: Entities grew from a story line based strip called “In Spirit”. The ERU crew was invented as a quick solution to needing a ghost hunting group. They just ran away with the strip. So, I extricated them from the comic and created “Entities-R-Us.” “Entities” is mostly a gag strip. It is versatile enough to support story lines in the form of investigation series (often based on actual ghost hunts). It’s the best of both worlds for me. I can tell stories and I can shoot out a joke.

    One of the unique things “Entities” does is Guest Draws. I will actually draw a celebrity into ERU as a Guest… They are shown character sketches, which they must approve. Then they are shown the final comic, which they approve. This allows them a say in their portrayal. They are also welcome to use the sketches and final comic on their websites, etc. So far, Brian Harnois, Barry Fitzgerald, Shannon Sylvia, Dustin Pari and Kris Williams have participated. Coming soon is Amy Bruni, as soon as I get it colored.

    Lili's Lair: Do you prefer writing and/or drawing any one of the characters over the others?

    Terri J. Garofalo: I have no preferences for any of my characters. I tend to use Arno a lot as he is the lead investigator. And Merv is often drawn to take much of the abuse… (There are not laws on the books regarding character abuse in comics… Snicker.)

    I love drawing ghosts. First of all, they are EASY – squiggly vapors of manifestation. That cuts my inking time down considerably. Second, they are like extras invented on the spot for a situation. I can get pretty creative with these guys.

    Lili's Lair:
    Do you have plans to put all of your current strips into book form to sell?

    Terri J. Garofalo: Currently, I have a book in the works. The intention is to have it out by mid-November. I’m in the process of moving so that is pushing my back against the wall. This will be more than your average comic collection. I am including personal paranormal experiences as well as the ERU story.

    Lili's Lair:
    Do you have any cool new projects you are working on that you can tell us about?

    Terri J. Garofalo: I am going to update the website… I want to make some changes. That involves me getting a web designer under my jurisdiction. I can art direct it, but I am allergic to code. I’ve mucked this site up enough; it’s time to call an expert!

    Comic-wise, I’ve been in talk with the Shanley Hotel and Brian Harnois about doing comic books. I’m not sure how this will unfold, but I’m open to suggestion from all parties. It’s a seed right now. I’ve watered it. We’ll see what it grows into.

    AND, I’m going to open the Entities-R-Us store… Finally, folks will be able to get their favorite ghost hunter goofballs on T-shirts, mugs, etc… In time for Christmas! (Man… I better get crackin’!)
You can visit all of Terri's creepy creations by visiting Entities-R-Us