Begin your shopping trip with this link or any of the ad links below, and Howard gets up to 8% of what you spend at Amazon.com at no additional charge to you.
Monday June 15, 2009
Interviews and QA
I've been interviewed a few times in recent months and I have failed in my responsibility to you, fair reader. I never linked the interviews for you.
The first interview was back in February. Nathan Gibson interviewed me for his "Do A Barrel-Roll" blogspot site as part of a class project. He gathered a couple dozen questions that he didn't end up using, but which I answered by way of preparation. I'll post that Q&A below.
The second interview was for a special-interest periodical called "Mormon Artist." Allison Aston dealt me some of the usual, "being a webcomic guy" questions, but there were also a few stumpers in there about home, family, and faith. My favorite part of the interview was the photo shoot -- those shots in the sidebar are nifty.
And now, the Q&A (most of these came from you readers):
Q: How much of your initial audience, in your estimation, found out about your work during science fiction conventions?
A: As close to none as makes no difference. I didn't start attending conventions until 2004, and the comic didn't have much of a convention presence until I really started in earnest in '06.
Q: To your knowledge, have any of your fans written fanfics using your characters? If so, how do you feel about that issue?
A: There have been at least two. One was a Buffy TVS crossover, and the other was a Harry/Hermione slashfic. My thoughts? I'm glad to have captured the imaginations of so many creative people.
Q: If you had to compare yourself to another author, who’s work would yours be most reminiscent of?
A: I'd like to be favorably compared to Terry Pratchett. I think we're both satirists whose characters are far, far more interesting than anything we have to say about society.
Q: What technological advance featured in your comic would you most want to see in real life?
Q: What relevance do you believe your comic has to society?
A: Laughter helps. I make people's lives a little bit better, or lighter anyway. I doubt my social commentary will have any net effect, considering how evenhandedly I pummel things.
Q: Do you feel that webcomics will eventually weaken the traditional comic strip industry? Is that industry feeling the same squeeze as the newpapers that publish them?
A: Eventually? It's already happening. That industry, especially the editorial cartooning industry, has been hemhorraging for years and is now in convulsions. I could lecture about disruptive innovations and how this all fits patterns we've seen for 150 years, but time is short and my fingers are tired.
Q: If you could chose your own topic, what talk would you give at TED.com?
A: I've got two. First, "The Free Content Business Model," and second "The Role of Talent, Hard Work, and Practice in Artistic Excellence." I'd need to do quite a bit more research, and tighten up both presentations before delivering them, though.
Q: What project(s) do you believe NASA should be focusing on?
A: Lunar industry and Orbital Manufacturing. Oh, and all the infrastructure to support it as actual INDUSTRY... I don't want a moonbase. I want a moon-nation.
Q: Why do you think that mercenaries are such interesting characters in fantasy and science fiction stories?
A: For the same reason they're so highly prized here in the real world. They are men and women with experience in multiple theaters of war who, during periods of peace at home, seek out trouble abroad in search of profit.
In short, they go where the action is so you never need to sit around waiting for a story to happen.
Q: Which of your characters has surprised you the most with their evolution development?
A: Elf. Oh, and Kevyn. And Tagon, now that I think about it. Surprise? It's stopped surprising me now that I know it's supposed to happen, and I should be planning for it.
Q: Are there any story arcs you would like your readers to take a moral from?
A: In "Emperor Pius Dei" I explored the relationship between good and evil, God and Man, and omnipotence, omniscience, and agency. Not many people noticed, which is probably best. It's a better story if you just enjoy it.
Q: What does Sandra think of Elf?
A: I'll have to go ask her. Hang on a sec.
Q: Do you envision a time when Petey will be forced to learn some humility?
A: I've already written it.
Q: Do you think you will ever be successful enough to attend comic conventions outside of North America?
A: Absolutely. Starting in 2010, I expect.
Q: What SF author influenced you most?
A: Niven, whose work drew me into this business in the first place, closely followed by Bujold (mercenaries, anyone?), Brin (uplift!) and Banks (snarky A.I.s).
Q: What software do you use to color/edit your strips?
A: Adobe Photoshop CS3.
Q: When can I expect to find your books at my local book/comic store?
A: Perhaps as soon as this fall. We're negotiating with a couple of independent distributors to get them placed. But if you go to your comic store and ask them to order books from me, I'll cheerfully send them two of everything at wholesale and eat the shipping myself.
Q: How has the economy affected your business?
A: It has made me nervous, and has broken my heart. I think the economy has been horribly mismanaged, largely because we've been TRYING to manage it, and the fault lies in part with the last 20 years of Congress, both sides of the aisle.
I think that the recession has ennobled me a little bit. We'll never pull out of this with "stimulus" or "bailouts." We're going to have to endure a lot of pain and work a darn sight harder than our parents did. Maybe, MAYBE we'll have to work as hard as our grandparents did. Make no mistake, though, we're going to have to WORK. If we can't find somebody to give us jobs ("give" and "jobs" should never be used in the same sentence like that) then we'll have to go out and MAKE jobs. That's what made this country great, that's what built this global economy, and that's the road out, rubble-strewn and uphill though it may be.
Q: Do you still have time to combine schlock, family and sports ?
A: Sports? What are these sports of which you speak? Next question.
Q: How do you prevent your wrist from getting RSI ?
A: I spread the work out, and I avoid things that hurt. In the grand scheme of things that's an evolutionarily sound strategy, and one that is not especially ennobling.