Creating a gag from nothing is a piece of cake for Melbourne-based comic artist and Legographer Franco Polizzi.
So when we asked him to come up with some LEGO-inspired comics for Christmas at Fed Square we knew we were in for some hilarious results.
Best known in the LEGO community as @LLWorld, Franco has built up a loyal following through his original comic-strips, wacky plot twists and pop culture parodies. He’s also notorious for killing off his friend’s sigfigs – more on that below.
We sat down with Franco to find out more about comic writing, social media enterprising and general life as an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO).
Fed Square: Which of your obsessions came first, LEGO or comics?
Franco: LEGO was introduced early on into my life and I only had a few sets, but I didn’t obsess over it back then. My real love is comics – from the early 90s I have collected Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman and various other comics. All up I have about 2,000 comics, sitting in boxes under the stairs.
Your @LLWorld account recently reached 25,000 followers. How does it feel to have hit the big leagues?
Great, I am ready to retire haha! The funny thing is that I felt like it was a big deal when I hit 300 followers, and then my first thousand. I remember when I was toe-to-toe with @legojacker which was fun, then his followers just blew up! Then I was toe-to-toe with @CheepJokes, but I keep getting overtaken. Soon it’ll be @theshortnews and @Brett_Wilson that will leave me in the dust.
The sigfigs (signature minifigs) of other Legographers feature a lot in your comics. Can you shed some light on the world of sigfigs and how they’ve shaped your latest storylines?
I love using other sigfigs, it adds a familiar dimension for the readers. I recently did a Zombie Apocalypse story where I killed off most sigfigs. Now that was a lot of fun, surprisingly all of the LEGO Instagrammers who I used loved it, they where so excited to see how I would kill them. Only one survived at the end. Oops spoilers!
How did you approach the task of creating entertainment for Fed Square’s Big Screen?
The comics component was making fun of myself because I’ve never celebrated Christmas, making fun of Brett Wilson’s Cracker Jokes, and adding Kanye West somewhere. That’s all the recipes for success that I needed.
You and @CheepJokes created The LEGO Christmas Tree – A Blockumentary. Who came up with the idea?
@Cheepjokes and I wanted to make a few videos for the event, we wrote different skits but we cut them for various reasons. The idea for the Blockumentary came from a group chat which involved @CheepJokes, @theshortnews, @Brett_Wilson and myself. One of us said it as a joke and it snowballed from there. The Blockumentary was written by Andrew, and we used my shamelessness and the love of seeing my big head on the Big Screen.
The studio set up where you filmed is pretty slick, whereabouts is it?
That’s “Inside the Brick” in Fairfield. It’s probably Melbourne’s best LEGO store, which also has a playroom for kids to book their parties and other functions. Sometimes Butters (@CheepJokes’ dog) makes an appearance there.
In the Blockumentary your wife Lee gives you a hard time for spending all your savings on LEGO. Just how big is your LEGO collection?!
Comparing the size of LEGO collections with other AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), mine isn’t that big. I might be modest about the size of my collection, however my wife doesn’t complain.
You’re co-founder and curator of another Instagram account called @Brickcentral, why do you think it’s so successful?
I started @Brickcentral with @xxsjc, @harleyquin and @wiiman. We set out to showcase the best LEGO photography on Instagram as well as photography tips and tricks to encourage people to explore their hidden talents. It’s a successful account due to the hard work of the moderators, the endless search for amazing Legographers, and the involvement with the community is key. There have been many other similar accounts that have followed suit since its launch. I can state for a fact that I am more proud of the work we did on @Brickcentral than on my own page, @LLworld. We are now running a new format where we have a new moderator running every new month – this keeps the account fresh and new every month. I seriously cannot thank all the mods enough for the work they put in it. Even now @xxsjc does a lot behind the scenes.
Have you tested out any other social media platforms for your work?
Yes, but none as successful as Instagram. I have Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all running and Tumblr is probably the best out of the three. I’ve also done test runs on Lumyer, Fyuse, G+ and a few others. I make my comics completely on my iPhone, therefore finding the right social media platform is key. It needs to be compatible with my format and with other platforms.
Do you have any advice for gaining followers?
My main advice is don’t do it for the followers, do it for yourself. Do something that makes you happy or something that you are passionate about. Use your voice, share your thoughts, post things that matter to you. If you only get 10 followers, those are the most valuable 10 followers you can ever have. There is no point having 25,000 followers for the sake of it. The most precious followers that you can have share the same passion that you do, and when those followers interact with you, it is the most rewarding experience that you can have.
Franco’s comics are showing on the Big Screen until 27 December as part of Christmas at Fed Square.