By Crystale Lopez
Brother duo A.J. Moore ’04 BA and Antonio “Tony” Moore ’10 BA took childhood memories and brought them back to life through their comics and animation company “GudFit Entertainment.” The UIW alumni have created several web and print comics to include the colorful adventures of “Super Newts,” “Dorse and Doose,” and a self-published children’s book, “The Adventures of Dorse and Doose – Sit, Stay, Dorse, PLAY.”
“GudFit Entertainment really began when A.J. wanted to take some of the characters from our childhood and animate them,” Tony said. “It started with that idea, then we began developing and adding back story to all the characters.”
The brothers explained their animated amphibians, “Super Newts,” are a more recent creation originating in the late 90s. “Dorse and Doose,” on the other hand, stems from the early 80s.
“In the comics and book, ‘Dorse’ is a red horse who thinks he is a dog,” A.J. said. “‘Dorse’ was actually a stuffed animal I had when I was kid and I always remembered it – he was missing an eye, had a busted neck and I called him ‘Dorse’ because I wasn’t sure if it was a dog or a horse.”
A.J. credited Tony for creating “Doose” the dog. The two said they went through several sketches debating what the dog should look like and there were several dogs they tried to use as inspiration, but it just didn’t stick until Tony suggested “Doose,” the dog with ears like a moose, and it all came together.
While each brother has his own duties in the creative process, both agree that their entertainment company would not work without the other.
“I handle the artistic side of things and character development but we always write together,” A.J. said. “There is never one story that is only written by me because that just would not work. We have to have each other’s feedback to be successful.”
A.J. considers working side by side with his brother to be a blessing because they think along similar lines and if there is a disagreement they come to a resolution to get the work done efficiently.
“A big part of my job is to bring the characters to life with a story that makes sense,” Tony said. “I am also the editor and offer critique of the work my brother creates. The input is very crucial to our projects – this way we are looking at it from two different perspectives.”
In addition to the artistic and creative process, a big portion of the job is handling marketing and understanding the business side of things.
“You have to talk with print shops, and talk about rates, colors, and sampling and doing panels at conventions,” A.J. said. “I am also the face of GudFit Entertainment when we travel and go out to events to see our fans, parents, and children.”
A.J. credits attending UIW with helping him create a solid foundation and network to fully pursue all his goals. While he knew of animation, UIW gave him knowledge of how things worked, without which he would have faced more challenges along the way.
“One can argue that to learn all you have to do is download a tutorial or find a video on YouTube, and yes, you can do that, but you are not going to get the hands-on training of being in a classroom, experience of working with a team, or having an instructor that teaches you about deadlines and grills you to get things done like I had professor Adam Watkins,” he said. “UIW made it a lot easier to learn and to continue learning.”
“Providing a real business-like level of expectations is the kind of challenge that prepares students for successful careers, and I think is the most valuable support that can be provided,” said Watkins, UIW associate professor of computer graphic arts. “As a 3-D animation student, A.J. was always ready for a challenge – he came to class prepared and did not shy away from sometimes harsh feedback and aggressive deadlines.”
Having experienced the university through his older brother first, Tony said his decision to attend UIW was an easy one.
“Being that A.J. attended Incarnate Word before me, I got to see the academics first-hand and how well it worked out for him and I thought, ‘Wow! This is how it could work out for me, too,’” Tony said. “I transferred to the UIW media/communications program from San Antonio College and UIW offered such a different aspect of learning that I feel I got a well-rounded education in the media/communications field.”
“Hank McDonnell was one of the professors at UIW who showed me quite a few things about media and film, and now he is a fan on our Facebook page,” Tony said. “I feel like things came full-circle – I attended UIW to learn and now he is giving back and showing us support by keeping up with us and our work.”
A.J. and Tony’s mom, Alberta Moore, agrees that having talent is important but getting an education is necessary when looking at the bigger picture of succeeding in life.
“UIW was a big key in their success, because ‘where did you go to school’ is always brought up,” she said. “Now they have the best of both worlds – not only were they born with the talent but they can also say they attended Incarnate Word to help them succeed.”
Watkins believes A.J. and Tony are both great examples of truly creative entrepreneurs.
“They came to UIW with some great talent,” he said. “Their work at GudFit is really great to see and outside the bounds of what most students look to do after graduation. Clearly they are very happy with what they are doing and have accumulated fans around the world.”
Support from family, friends and fans has proven to help A.J. and Tony in their animation endeavors.
“We get a lot of independent press and fan feedback,” A.J. said. “Fans want to know what is going to happen next with our characters.” When they first started out with comics, they had no plans to branch into children’s books but one thing led to another and people started asking, “are you going to do something with the red horse?”
“Everything was web comics and then people fell in love with ‘Dorse and Doose,” he said. “At first we thought we would turn them into a comic book, but it ultimately just screamed kid’s book so we came up with an entertaining plethora of characters with different backgrounds and nationalities from Louisiana to Argentina.”
A.J. and Tony said they appreciate the positive feedback they receive, especially from parents. They enjoy having the opportunity to touch people’s lives and strike a chord with them.
“Parents come to us at the comic conventions we attend so excited because there is something for kids and nobody is expecting to see a children’s book there,” A.J. said. “One of the reasons we do it is to keep the tradition of reading to your children alive. We thought about how great it was to have our mom read to us and how it made us feel, so hopefully some of these children can take some of our stories and make the same memories.”
A.J., Tony, their fans, the Super Newts, and Dorse and Doose alike look forward to what the future holds. The children’s book is one of 10 planned in the series. The brothers also plan to continue making new creations for kids while working on projects for older crowds as well.
“Our website guestbook shows we have fans from New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and all over so we also want to take our products global; on a large scale with merchandise like video games, animated features and motion pictures,” A.J. said.
Both A.J. and Tony feel they are living the dream right now.
“The joy is in giving back to the world, making so many people smile and getting to share our art and visions with others who might need it for inspiration or just because they need to laugh,” they said. “As Dorse would say, ‘it is the whole kit and caboodle.’”
Find out more about GudFit Entertainment by visiting http://gudfit.com.