Archive - Oct 19, 2003
Question: What do you get when you cross a stand-up comic who specializes in one-liners and puns with a habitual psychopathic murderer?
Answer: A serial kidder who really slays 'em by repeated club gigs.
Alternate answer: Butch.
In my last column I discussed the merits of good dialogue and the painful way that most comic dialogue sounds when read out loud. The response to the column was the best I've had so far, with quite a few e-mails and posts responding at length about it.
So, what is this column morphing into?
As I sat back looking at some of my work recently, trying to figure out how to spontaneously get remarkably better at writing believable, effective dialogue, I glanced over and noticed a journal where I keep some of my poetry. My mind strayed back to my community college creative writing classes, where I read those poems in front of twenty or thirty people and then got critiqued by each person individually.
The most amazing thing to me about poetry is that thirty people can read a poem and have thirty completely different reactions to it. Everyone goes into a poem with different backgrounds and emotions, and draws whatever they need from it at the time. Looking back at the various panels of artwork I'd drawn, devoid of any word balloons, I realized that comics have at least as much potential as poems to fulfill those basic emotional and psychological desires.
Tycho and Gabe are the creators of Penny Arcade, arguably the most widely read webcomic ever. Besides practically pioneering the genre of "gaming webcomics" Tycho and Gabe have experimented with every kind of business strategy devised for webcomics including advertising, donations, merchandise, and in the good old Dot-com boom days, getting paid by video game review websites to run Penny Arcade webcomics.
Without further hullabaloo, Tycho and Gabe answer your questions:
I was sitting in front of a monitor, 9 to 5, at an Internet company I profoundly hated to pay for art classes I was finding useless. My dreams of print comic books were crumpling to ash, and I saw the Internet as just one more reason they failed. They were stealing eyeballs from the comic book store. Bastards.
And every day-- every day-- I had to listen to my boss, the Jeff Bezos of Savannah, Georgia, feed his clients the same old hype-lines that pumped everyone's expectations for the Internet to the ceiling: "Oh, yeah. We can do that. If you can dream it, we can do it. This is the future."