Last updated on November 8, 2023
by S.E. Fleenor
Grog the Frog: The Book of Taurus by Alba BG and Davilorium follows Grog on a surreal and riotous romp through a mystical land. A mix of absurdity and frustration propel the comic forward as Grog insults, fights, and jokes his way to go see the Perseids. His journey with all its twists and turns and delays is reminiscent of a dream where you’re trying to get somewhere specific but keep getting waylaid…nothing seems quite real, nothing seems quite right…
In a world where magic is real and one tiny frog with a bad attitude might be the greatest Dark Arts practitioner to have ever lived, even the most casual of encounters could lead to self-fulfillment…or absolute chaos. Honestly, Grog likes it chaotic, so buckle up!
Alba BG and Davilorium take BoC behind the scenes of Grog’s world in this interview. Grog the Frog: The Book of Taurus is out now from Silver Sprocket where it can be purchased.
Because Grog is so little and unserious, people often underestimate him. His nonchalance is mistaken for foolishness when in reality it’s his devil may care attitude that makes him such a remarkable wizard. He sees past social norms and niceties to the underpinnings of his world, flouting the supposed necessity of seriousness to becoming an expert. He also doesn’t really care what others think of him. What can we learn from Grog about navigating a world where everyone else thinks they know what it takes for you to be successful?
Grog wouldn’t allow us to say things like “you just need to believe in yourselves,” because he is so over that. He knows his worth, and who are we to decide who someone is? Every hero teaches something to the readers and maybe this is what Grog can teach us: focus on your own shit, brew your potions, collect stars. Be occupied by the big things that fulfill you so you won’t be worried about what others think of you, because you’ll be much too busy smashing it! All great wizards are only interested in magic, not in criticism, that is for small losers. Don’t be a fake wizard, fools!
Grog isn’t really a good guy–and he’s aware of this! But, he is remarkably and surprisingly compassionate at one point in the comic. Refusing to fight an opponent for the honor of being king, Grog instead invites the man to share his story, which Grog records. In the process, Grog frees his opponent of his confinement to the role of king. Why did you choose to ground a hilarious satire with a story about self-rediscovery?
We loved this question! Because for us, this could be the most important thing within the comic and we’re very happy that you noticed it. Grog, let’s face, is an absolute little bitch, but he’s not a villain. He’s a rascal with a kind side, but for the moment we need to talk about this in a more ambiguous way because in the near future we’ll be discovering things about his past that will expand his personality, and we don’t want people to think that he looks bad but at the end of the day is a good amphibian, because that is not the truth. He is a rapscallion…but just with..some…nuances?
In this first story there’s a little trap that everyone can interpret their own way. Everything happening within the story lead us to understand that, indeed, Grog has been kind with the bull and Nerea, but there’s specific sus moments that could lead us to interpret other things, for example: when Grog makes fun of the elder lady during the trance, or when he winks to Biscuit, or even when Grog places the Taurus book in his library and says: “one step closer”. All of that could point that Grog has been playing with us, and that his true purpose was to get the book since the beginning, or at least in some moment he realized that he could obtain it and decided to abandon the idea of catching the Perseids somehow along the way. I mean, we don’t even know, we also don’t know what truly happened there. Grog has enough power to trick the other characters, the readers and even the authors of the book.
We want to break a lance for him and say that his kindness didn’t look fake.
Anyhow, this first book is very short, because we thought of it like a little adventure that could work as an introduction of Grog and his universe. We already know his past, it was revealed to us. Now we only need a little success and a lot of dollars to keep bringing his life to this world!
Grog loves fashion. He’s all about designer clothes and luxury materials. He changes his outfit several times in the story. Why do you think fashion matters so much to him and why does this somewhat trivial detail make us like him even more?
Let’s be honest, first impressions are everything. Grog is a creative soul and loves himself above anything else, so he would never choose old unfashioned rags to cover his precious little body. Know your worth. In fact, do you know the proverb: It is not the cowl that makes the monk, the suit doesn’t make the man…? Those make Grog crack up.
I think this makes all of us connect more with him because, who doesn’t like fashion? C’mon, to be a frog with an infinite wardrobe…
The art is so distinctive and heightens the bizarre, quick paced mood and tone of the comic. How did you develop this style and when did you first know Grog’s design had clicked?
We met in university, the very first year of our Fine Arts degree program. We were pretty bad, we stank, we sucked big time. So we basically improved and grew up together, we learned a lot from each other and that helped us personally and artistically. We also have very similar interests, our referents have been more or less the same, and each one of us has made their own synthesis, we influenced each other a lot. That’s why we have our own different styles, but they’re very similar and compatible. Working together is not an issue, mostly the contrary, because we click perfectly. We’re lucky!
About Grog’s design, it was real quick. One day, while being bored and artblocked Alba drew a frog in the corner of a sketchbook and wrote a balloon next to it saying: “I’m evil.” We instantly started laughing and imagining scenarios–we knew we had something there! The only thing we modified was making him chonkier and smaller. Then, then we knew we had it.
I’d love to hear generally about your creative process as a team and how you tackled pulling together this comic that isn’t super long but is jam-packed with art and color and mystical characters and side quests.
We wrote and developed the story together. We had a few sketchbooks in which we noted anything that came to mind, and sometimes it was hard, because we had way too many ideas (it is so easy to do anything with Grog, he fits in any situation, genre…). So the most difficult part was actually selecting together what we wanted to keep. And in this process of selection we established relationships between things that could work together, one thing led to another…and that’s how we came up with his entire universe. Apart from this, David did the storyboard and sketches and Alba the line art, color, and final touches. Everything is very organic, even though each one has their “operating position,” sometimes we swap tasks, or give advice, opinions…
On youtube, I saw you plan to make this a 12 book series, with each book named for a sign of the zodiac. Without giving too much away, can you tell us anything about why you chose the zodiac and what that brings to the story?
Not every book is going to be related 100% to a zodiac sign. The signs are some kind of a guide. The first one has been Taurus, and we have already thought of a few more for other books. Aquarius, for example, we thought we could name it: The Book of Laguna, you get us right? But we want Grog to be our character, not a story that ends in book 12. There will be more zodiac-inspired books because in Grog’s backstory, astrology is important, and like you saw already he is trying to complete some kind of library that is missing some specific books.
But we better shut the hell up, because he would curse us if we spill the tea so early, and imagine having to choose other humans to tell his story… in this economy!…it would be devastating, we better stop here.
In that same video, you talk about your dream to make the comic an animated show. What do you think animation will bring to the story that isn’t possible in comics, beyond the obvious like movement and sound?
Dude, we know it’s the obvious but have you imagined how good this would look with music? With the absolute unit of a frog running and bouncing around? It would be epic. Apart from that, we think that animation just hits deeper, it creates moments, bonds…Don’t you remember parts of your life that were special because of animation? Maybe you got out of school and were home alone and could watch your comfort show while eating something yummy? Sometimes, at least for us, animated shows were an oasis in the middle of a hard time, or made a certain period of life more melancholic, or funnier, or sadder, anyhow we think is something wonderful. What it keeps moving us to create is remembering when you were a kid and everything around sucked but you could sit and watch Dragon Ball, or Pokemon and enter that universe. You waited all week for that moment! We just want to return what was given to us. And we’ll do it, remember it!
Grog is the kind of character who is almost instantly beloved. That’s reflected by the fan art included in the back matter of the comic. Why do you think Grog is so loveable despite being pretty cantankerous? What is it we just adore about a grumpy lil guy?
Easy, for the same reason we love cats. In fact, Grog’s personality is mainly based on one of Alba’s cats; the oldest. He was abandoned when he was little. We found him in the middle of nowhere, starving. He never fully recovered from that, he has a starving trauma and he would eat like crazy–even stealing food, like BREAD for example, but will refuse to eat salmon, please, that’s for peasants–to the point that he got really roundy/chonk (he’s been on diet and now is slim as a toothpick). He is what we call “a sybarite” meaning a person that has only the urge to experience and enjoy the pleasures of life: eating, resting, sunbathing… He is such a picky cat, he would only sleep on top of fresh clean clothes, not in any stinky cat tree. You can only pet him if he’s in the mood, you’re basically his servant, and he gets mad if otherwise. I think this is what in reality everyone loves about cats: they are adorable little fur balls, but they decide for you. They don’t put effort in being liked, they are true to their nature. I think that with people happens quite the same, and that’s for sure Grog’s energy.
If readers want to learn more about you and your comic work, where can they find you online?
First, you could follow Grog directly on Instagram @grogcult
David’s social media handle is @Davilorium everywhere (link goes to Instagram)
Alba’s is @albabbgg on Instagram–there you can find her other links to other socials.
Alba BG is a Mediterranean child, full of dreams, and ready to tell all the stories she’s been gathering.
Davilorium is a Mediterranean kid who has just started his great journey. Writing, drawing, animation, music, tattoos — he’s friends with everything he can touch!
S.E. Fleenor is a writer and editor who wears many hats. They are a freelance developmental editor, editor of Decoded Pride literary magazine, co-founder of QueerSpec.com, and their essays, creative nonfiction, and fiction appear in various publications including The Independent, Buzzfeed Reader, VICE, Electric Literature, Xtra Magazine, them.us, Upworthy, Denver VOICE, and many more. They teach online and in-person writing workshops, and co-host the comics and pop culture podcast Bitches on Comics, which has over 65,000 downloads, putting us in the top 15% of all podcasts. They are a head writer and voice actor for the horror narrative fiction podcast Tales of the Sapphire Bay Hotel, and their short story “Anomalous” was adapted to audio through Decoded Horror Channel’s Graveyard Orbit. They are a member of GALECA: the society of LGBTQ entertainment critics.