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Filling In The Blanks: A Short Interview with Howard Tayler

Earlier this week ComixTalk posted an interview with the new line-up of Halfpixel (Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Brad Guigar and Dave Kellett). Since as part of the creation of the new Halfpixel, Kris, Brad and Dave left the Blank Label Comics collective, I wanted to get a comment from someone on the Blank Label team. Howard Tayler, the creator of Schlock Mercenary, was kind enough to answer quickly some questions about this week's changes and the future of Blank Label Comics.

 

What was your reaction to hearing from Kris, Brad and Dave that they planned to leave Blank Label Comics?

I was in turn surprised, worried, and invigorated. You see, I had noticed that there was some scatter-shot going on with our projects during 2007, but because I was so focused on getting my own much-delayed book finished, I didn't see that the solution lay in fission.

So yeah, I was surprised at first. Then I was worried. Was it something I said? But once the reasons behind their departure became clear I realized that Blank Label had quite literally reached critical mass, and spinning these guys off into Halfpixel was a great idea. Indeed, my only gripe at this point is that I can't take credit for what a good idea it really is.

But let's be absolutely clear about one thing: there isn't any of the infamous "webcomics drama" to be found here. If I may overburden some other literary terms, you will certainly find character development, chapter headings, and maybe even a cliffhanger or two, but none of that soap-opera-esque, jaws-agape, how-DARE-she-do-that-to-me drama.

 

I'm not 100% sure I know the actual business structure of Blank Label Comics - is there anything to unwind or sort out legally because of the change in membership?

Ah, the business of the business. We are a member-managed LLC, and I am the registered agent in the State of Utah. We had to update the corporate records to reflect the change in membership, and that was done about two weeks ago. There will be some final payouts of shared advertising revenue as those payments post in the next couple of weeks, and that's pretty much it for the unwinding. Easy-peasy!

 

As talented as the guys leaving are, right now Blank Label Comics is home to six very good and very productive creators Among the six of you I think there are 8 major serialized comics, countless books and a lot of years of experience making comics. How does today's change impact BLC -- if at all?

Hrrrmmm... *takes off socks, runs out of toes* We have over fifty years of cartooning experience among us, and I think I'm the short-time contributor in that stack. Steve Troop has close to twenty (though for this count I lowballed him at a round 10.) I am regularly astounded at the work of my Blank Label compatriots. Certainly we will miss Brad, Dave, and Kris, but their departure has almost no impact on our cartooning. It is more along the lines of how we share the workload. There was a little bit of panic at first ("Oh no! Who will empty the moderated comments queue?") but we've already picked up the slack. For me personally I think the biggest change is that I'll have to actually create a bookmark to read their strips, rather than just hitting the hub each day.

 

What's on tap for BLC as we head into 2008?

We have two big projects in the works which I shall conspicuously fail to outline for you here. One is about 75% of the way finished, though, and we may be able to make an announcement as early as next week. The second is harder to pin down time-wise, but we're shooting to finish it up in Q1 of 2008.

Aside from that, expect to see more book projects from each of us, some neato-taquito new non-book merchandise, and our shining faces at conventions hither, yon, and beyond. You know, the run-of-the-mill, non-newsworthy stuff that happens to be the kind of work most people only get to dream about doing for a living.

 

(From the archives: ComixTalk published a community interview with the Blank Label Comics collective in its February issue.)