Look Who I Interviewed! Scott Kuehner Spills to Leah Fitzgerald
Scott Keuhner advertises Look What I Brought Home as the “world’s most hated webcomic,” but he won’t fight you for the title. Ranging from the raunchy to the disgusting, the subject matter of LWIBH has offended and intrigued many. Keuhner and his wife Amanda (who originally had a writing credit on LWIBH) run a site listing the potentially most offensive comics out there here. LWIBH isn't there - but it could be.
What was the inspiration for LWIBH?
Scott Keuhner: I was just getting back into drawing comics for the first time really since high school, and my wife Amanda suggested I do a comic with female leads. Not being a particularly talented artist, I'd always stayed away from trying to draw the female form so this was REALLY new ground for me. It sounded like fun so we sat down and created Bess & Emily. So yeah, there's no great story of inspiration here. I wanted a way to kill time on a deadly boring job, and we accidentally created something that sort of took on a life of its own.
What kind of readership do you have?
Keuhner: I don't have any hard stats but just in judging the email I get and the posts to my message board I'd say there are two basic groups of readers. Those who like the gross-outs and foul subject matter, and those who get something more out of LWIBH. I'm sure there all sorts in between, though. Ages and income brackets I'm not sure of.
Where do you see LWIBH going in the future?
Keuhner: It'll probably keep getting milder as I change and mellow with time. I've made some pretty big changes lately, and nobody seems to mind much. When LWIBH started, Bess and Emily were indistinguishable from one another (in character) to the point where I'd write a comic and THEN decide which girl I'd use for the gag. Now, they're completely different people living in different worlds. I'm taking greater care with the way I present these stories, and I'm often working on four or five different storylines at a time to keep my head going and keep things fresh. I feel my writing is a lot stronger than it was, and I'm doing my best and most creative work right now so there's no saying what this thing might look like in another year.
When you started the strip, did you expect it to be successful?
Keuhner: No, and that's a good thing! However, I've resisted every major urge to pack this in, and as a result LWIBH is one of the oldest webcomics out there. I don't know how many of the have been around longer, but there can't be more than a handful. And I recently passed the 1000th comic mark, so I guess these 'achievements' could be considered successes. At least in the area of personal satisfaction.
Why did you start Scrantonville High?
Keuhner: I always wanted to do a flashback storyline in LWIBH, showing the girls in high school. It was something I kicked around for a couple of years, then I started planning it. Around the time I started realizing it was gonna be pretty good, I noticed how badly The Scrantonville Kids was going. I had just totally run out of gas on that one, and I was gonna have to end it. So I took my planned LWIBH flashback story and just sorta fleshed it out a wee bit.
Do you worry about the continuity between the two strips?
Keuhner: Nope, that's the beauty part. It's all being retold as Bess remembers/imagines it. There are people there who wouldn't have been there. Almost none of it happened at all, so continuity is no great concern.
Why did Emily really stop talking like a – excuse the term – 'wigger'?
Keuhner: I didn't think it was funny. I mean, it was funny at times, but once I had a decent number of comics under my belt and there was no end in sight it seemed the thing to do. No sense running the risk of offending people if you're not making other people laugh, right?
The comic deals with lots of taboo subjects. Do you feel like you're saying something about these social problems? Why or why not?
Keuhner: There've been a lot of really nasty topics touched on over the years, but I've never really tried to say something until this past year. The theme of 2002 was that people change. Having changed a lot myself in the past year or so, I used the comic to reflect my own life and experiences for really the first time ever. Believe it or not, I've led a pretty normal life free of incest and trips to skanky bars and the like.