Want to write a Dragon Ball Z fan comic? Read this interview with Lady Tygry, the author of Unguarded, a fan comic about Freeza’s childhood, family, and untold friendship with a Saiyan!
What inspired you to create Unguarded: A Dragon Ball Z Fancomic that focuses on Freeza?
It was an amalgam of reasons but I think it really came down to the fact that I grew up and I wanted the show I loved to grow up too. Since I liked Freeza, it made sense I would focus on him.
Who is your favorite character, and why?
Broly, of course!
No, I’ve firmly been a Freeza loyalist since my introduction to the series. I don’t think my initial reason was especially compelling: I thought he was interesting, but I think it had more to do with his reptilian design. I had always favored those kinds of characters.
Do you have a favorite arc from Dragon Ball Z?
I revisit the Namek Arc often to make sure I keep consistency, but I like the Androids and Cell Games too.
How long have you been writing it?
I first had ideas for what it would become in the early 2000s but those ideas were fragmented and more self-indulgent. I drew a few scenes to amuse myself and share with close friends but it was nothing the average fan would care to read.
I revisited the story again in 2015 and that was when I finally sat down to write it with a purpose. I started online publication in June 2016.
How long have you been a fan of the franchise? What made you get into the series?
I started with the “Mysterious Youth” DBZ VHS, and it was actually a sort of punishment my friend intended since I had made her sit through the 1998 version of Cats.
I thought the series was strange but I liked that it was so different from what I expected with mainstream Western animation.
I thought Freeza was interesting, so my friend loaned me the Namek Arc that she had recorded off of Toonami. It snowballed from there.
What makes your comic unique among other fan comics?
Honestly, I haven’t read a lot of other fan comics so I hope I don’t step on any toes here. I read one Freeza fanfiction— “Breaking the Ice,” I think it was called– a year or two before I started doodling my own ideas. I hear good things about some of the other stories that have popped up over the years but they’re not something I’ve personally read.
Regardless, I feel confident that I was the first to explore the idea in the form of a serialized web comic. I try not to be cross if people make comparisons: we are drawing from the same source material after all.
Freeza being the focus is fairly different from the average fan comic. Unguarded isn’t an action comic—I’m not sure that would have worked if I’m fabricating a believable backstory for a character who idles as long as possible.
It might also be the most in-depth depiction of a backstory for him; his family and culture get a lot of attention as well.
Readers sometimes bring up the colored pages so that might be less common.
Unguarded does deal with more adult content, though I’m not the only person to do that.
Do you color the pages yourself?
I used to do everything by myself but I started paying other artists to color the characters in 2020. @TieraNova typically does the nature backgrounds, from 2021 onward.
I still handle everything else but I tend to only color covers, standalone illustrations, and the occasional “super secret” scene these days.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to be more involved in the Dragon Ball community?
I feel like I’m probably the worst person to give advice on this because I don’t think I am a part of the mainstream Dragon Ball community.
I love the franchise and I’ve been a hardcore fan for more than twenty years, but discussing the series sort of ran its course for me a while ago. That’s not to say that there isn’t more to discuss but rather, there are other ways I prefer to spend my time.
Dragon Ball is known for being a lighthearted series, and your website says your comic is dark. What does that mean to you?
As much as I love Dragon Ball Z, it’s not a series that is overly complex. I don’t mean that negatively. It is successful in what it’s trying to do. Characters don’t exposit much subtext and it’s good, shōnen fun.
That said, if I were to see Dragon Ball Z for the first time today, I’m not sure that it would hold my attention.
When I say “dark,” I mean that I’m going to explore much heavier themes that wouldn’t work in the canon unless they were diluted to simplistic jokes.
These include generational trauma, toxic relationships, self-deceit, introspection, the consequences of enabling shitty behavior, and similar topics. I like the challenge of tackling these topics.
Even if I don’t actually show the violence, there are some scenes in the second half of the series that some might find especially disturbing. Anyone under eighteen should give this one a pass.
It is not a series that I would expect the average DB fan to enjoy so I don’t go out of my way to put it out there.
I’ve relied on word-of-mouth and that seems to have brought in the right readers.
A Freeza Dragon Ball Z Fan Comic
How do you feel about a Dragon Ball Z fan comic focused on Freeza?
Are you inspired to write your own Dragon Ball Z fan comic?
Be sure to read Unguarded on LadyTygryComics.com.