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An Interview witH Greg & Fake of

The Santos Sisters

Published 2023

Greg & Fake

If you want bang for your buck in a contemporary comic book, you won't find a better deal than Santos Sisters. It's got great art in the classic comic vein, it's well-written, funny, clever, it's published quarterly AND it comes correct with a cover price of five bucks American.

The Santos Sisters is a team effort, the core of which is dynamic duo Geg & Fake along with writers Marc Kopinarov, Dave Landsberger, and Graham Smith.

The Reglar Wiglar interviewed Greg & Fake & Marc ahead of the release of Santos Sisters #4 due out June 14, 2023.Chris Auman

REGLAR WIGLAR: “Greg & Fake” reminds me of a graffiti tag so when I bought Santos Sister #1 at Howling Pages (Portage Park!), I wasn’t sure if Greg & Fake were one or two people. I’ve come to realize that I am not alone in this speculation. Did you intend to create some mystery around the comic, and your earlier work together, by not using full names? If so, it worked.

FAKE: I used to work real jobs and do hiring and HR stuff. I would always Google the person after the interview to see what might come up. Hence, Greg and Fake.

GREG: Right. I never had a real job. Greg is my actual name.

MARC: It’s weird how you never see them both in the same place, though, no?

RW: How did Greg & Fake become Greg & Fake? How long have you known each other, where did you meet, et cetera?

FAKE: Myself and Greg and Graham (Smith), who also works on the Santos Sisters with us, all went to the same high school, Downers Grove North. The username Greg and Fake started in 2009, but we really have always been Greg and Fake.

RW: You guys used to do paintings on cardboard, sharing the work of sketching and painting, was that your first collaboration?

FAKE: We have been collaborating on various projects since high school. When I sit back and think a bit, we have done everything from coloring comics, freelance illustration work, animation, video games to even painting holiday themes on windows of McDonald's restaurants. The very first paintings we did together in high school were actually very similar to the cardboard paintings we started to do in 2009.

RW: What were those paintings of and where did you show them originally?

FAKE: Mostly pop culture mash-ups. For example a Star Wars character wearing a punk rock t-shirt. A few shops in Chicago, like Quimby’s, Chicago Comics and Galerie F sold them. We also would table at two or three comic cons a year and sell them that way.

RW: You eventually started selling them at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con (now called Fan Expo), and sales were slow until you started tailoring them to that particular audience of comics fans. Did you think about developing comic book characters at that point?

Santos Sisters #5

FAKE: I think the first time we felt pressured into developing comics was when Mike Moreci and Steve Seeley asked us if we would do back up stories in their upcoming comic, Hoax Hunters. For some reason, without us ever doing any sequential art ever, they gave us that opportunity. We did OK — several two-page stories including some Beef Jams stories. So if you want to see our first published work, you will need to track down Hoax Hunters.

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RW: Writer Marc Koprinarov and Dave Landsberger saw your work at Wizard World and dug it. How did the partnership develop from there?

FAKE: Yes, we met Marc and Dave at a Wizard World in Chicago. Lots of weekends hanging out and spitballing ideas. They would set up with us at comic cons through the years. It was easy for us to leave the table and go look around, knowing Marc or Dave was watching our stuff.

RW: Was Beef Jams the first comic you worked on together with Marc and Dave?

FAKE: The first thing we published as a group was a comic called American Nature Presents… it was an ongoing anthology series. We put out one total issue. It did have a short Beef Jam story in it. We also did a few Beef Jams shorts for

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RW: Speaking of Beef Jams (which I admit I have yet to read), one of the Beef Jams characters makes a cameo in SS #1. He’s having coffee at a diner, Bunyan’s, and he’s wearing a “Chicago Flood ‘92” t-shirt. Are either of you Chicago Flood 92’ survivors like myself? How about the Chicago Summer of ‘95?

GREG: A buddy of mine had that shirt. On the back it said “30 days in the hole”. We were nowhere near the Loop at that time. I think maybe his dad was somewhere in the thick of it. As for the ‘95 heat wave, I think I was young enough where it was just “summer” to me. I had to look it up.

MARC: In the summer of ‘95, I was like eight years old and visiting Chicago for the first time during the worst of the heatwave. Shit was wild, I couldn’t breathe.

RW: There's an ad for The Thirsty Whale in the classified ad section of #3 which I can only assume is a wink and a nod to Chicago’s glorious heavy metal mecca, The Thirsty Whale. There are many reasons why I never made it out to River Grove to see Enuff Z' Nuff and others, but I was wondering are either of you are Thirsty Whale survivors?

GREG: I got to see a couple of death metal shows there as a teenager. I wish I was a little older to experience its glory days as a suburban headbanger haven. The huge whale sign (RIP) and its logo will always stick with me. I threw it in the ads there because I always liked how iconic it looked in the pages of Illlinois Entertainer.

Santos Sisters

RW: There’s an old-school vibe to the Santos Sisters that reminds one of the Archie comics of the ‘50 and ‘60s, of course, but there are MAD Magazine-style visual puns and easter eggs like the Beef Jams guy and Alfred E. Neuman on the "Oliver Garden" sign. Did you read magazines like MAD, Crazy and Cracked growing up, or Archie comics? 

GREG: Oh yeah, MAD and Cracked, for sure. It was great reading stuff as a kid that went over my head. Archie — never. I picked that up in the last five years. It’s a lot smarter than I thought it would be and some of the artists that have drawn it are amazing. Rather straight-forward style-wise, but the cartooning fundamentals are super solid.

RW: Santos Sisters seemed fully formed from jump, did the idea develop quickly or was there a lot of experimentation that took place first?

FAKE: This was a harder question than I thought it would be to answer. I would say 20 plus years of experimentation to get to this point. Me and Greg are lucky to sorta share a brain at this point. We have the same idea of what the finished product should look like, how the characters are supposed to act.

GREG: Yeah, it’s definitely an accumulation of work leading up to that. We’ve had some of the characters and story ideas sitting in sketchbooks or notepads for years. For Santos Sisters, in particular, we started the development sometime in 2018 (designs, plot ideas, et cetera), and quietly worked on it until we released the first issue in fall of ‘21.

Greg and Fake studio

RW: Santos Sisters will be published quarterly starting this year. How has the switch to a quarterly publication been so far? Are tight deadlines more motivational or aggravational (assuming that's a word)?

FAKE: We self publish, so we want a schedule that we are comfortable with. So besides writing and drawing, we also secure the advertisers, we send the book to the printers and work with them to coordinate the shipping to the various distributors. Hopefully we can keep a quarterly schedule like this, to keep new stories on the shelves for the readers. 

RW: From what I understand, the division of labor now is that Fake writes and Greg arts, but you also have a group of gag writers. Are writer meetings done in person and is it always the same group? How does that dynamic play out? Yelling? Cursing? Group hugs?

FAKE: Correct. So the process is pretty simple. Script is written and it is sent off to the guys (Marc, Dave and Graham) to look over and punch up. Sometimes I will leave a space that says “Joke here”. After it is drawn and lettered we then share it again to see if anything needs to be tweaked or changed. We keep it fluid, and go with what works best.

RW: Santos Sisters #4 drops June 14 from Floating World Comics. Is there anything else you'd care to plug?  

FAKE: That's right! Issue 4 is at the printers now and will be in stores June 14. Issue 5 is available for pre-order now and will be in shops in August. The Halloween Issue will follow and feature our first variant cover.

Have your local comic shop add Santos Sisters to your pull list, to make sure you get a copy!

RW: Last question, are you gonna finish that beef sausage combo?

GREG: I’m pretty sure that’s not mine. I ordered the beef with hot peppers, dipped.

MARC: We can share it. I’ll meet you in the middle.

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Reglar Wiglar

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