It's Nifty! Pete Abrams Answers Comixpedia Readers' Questions
Pete Abrams started Sluggy Freelance in 1997 and has been producing the daily strip (Sunday to Saturday) ever since. Along with producing some memorable characters like Bun-bun the knife-welding lop rabbit and Kiki the hyperactive ferret, Sluggy has created some pretty sharp parodies over the years, lampooning movies and pop culture regularly. Sluggy has also attracted a rabid legion of fans known as "sluggites" who run the Sluggy Zone where fans of Sluggy Freelance gather to talk all things Sluggy.
1. How do Zoe's pants stay up? (from BoxJam)
Pete: Marshmallow Fluff.
Tom: She showed us!
Pete: She TOLD us! She TOLD us! (you want our wives to kill us?)
Tom: Wait, do you mean Zoe or Tracie?
Pete: Box Jam said "Zoe." So I assume that's what was meant.
Tom: And she uses Marshmallow Fluff?
Pete: Economical and tasty.
Tom: Well, Tracie uses a safety pin. She showed us!
Pete: Dude! SHUT UP, dude!
2. When is Mr. Abrams gonna let fly with what "Sluggy Freelance" really means? (from kjc)
I've already let it fly and it never returned. I guess that means it never really loved me after all. Sniff. I'll be alright.
3. Are you able to make a living based off of your comic strip? And, when did you realize that you could actually make a living off of your comic strip? (from CartoonLad)
Took me two and a half years to make a profit on the strip, and it's been my full time job since. Recently I started losing money again and had a fundraising drive. And thanks to many wonderful people, it's back to making me a living. It's kind of a catch-22: when your comic is small, you don't get much money, but it also doesn't cost much. When the strip becomes popular, you get more money, but things like bandwidth can really add up! Making sure the strip is both popular and able to pay for itself is the hard part. It's like a balancing act, and last year I fell out of balance.
4. Sluggy Freelance is a pretty wide-ranging comic as far as tone and subject matter. Is there any sort of idea for a comic that just can't be worked into a Sluggy storyline? (from Zwol)
As many of my friends can tell you, I come up with jokes and concepts quickly followed by "and THAT'S something you'll never see in Sluggy!" Oddly enough, with a little tweaking, many of them still do. Not the Monkey Porn though. That just never works out.
5. Are we going to see a 'Quatrix Reloaded' this summer? Maybe starring Oasis? (from Klepto-Man)
Will there be a second 'Torg Potter' storyline? I really loved the first. (Anonymous Fan Boy)
I have a concept for a "Quatrix Rebooted" storyline but it didn't gell right with the actual movie and will take far more polish. I may wait until seeing how the trilogy ends to decide on making more parodies.
Look for Torg Potter and the Chamberpot of Secretions coming soon!
Tom adds: And you know what you definitely *won't* see? A special, double-sided, hand-autographed Quatrix shirt! Those things still give me nightmares!
6. Some fans created a dialogue search tool for your comic strip, the character appearance tally page, and dress up as your characters at comic book conventions. Do you find this outpouring from your readers really cool or somewhat creepy? Or creepy-cool? (from Cartoon Lad)
So far it's 95% cool and 5% creepy, and I can normally outrun the 5%. And in those rare cases, there's always Mr. Pepper-Spray. You know, the French pepper shaker from Blues Clues? Sorry, I got a 3 year old. Blues Clues is unavoidable.
Tom adds: He means "Freedom pepper shakers," folks. He wasn't trying to be unpatriotic!
7. Pete, you started out with the standard newspaper comic format -- three/four panels, black&white, with an extra-large color Sunday -- even though the Web obviously doesn't require that. Since then, you've been moving away from that (spot-color on weekdays, odd-size comics). Care to comment? Does the 'newspaper' format have advantages even online?
I've never considered Sluggy for newspaper syndication, but I needed a place to start, and figured it would be good in preparation for getting my works published in book form. I kept the format because I could maintain it with my schedule and didn't have to reinvent the wheel each day. Now I feel much freer to experiment, keeping the books in mind. That way I don't run into surprises. Then my publisher changes the aspect ration of the pages, and SURPRISE!
8. I'd like to know what are the statistics on Sluggy. What are the readership numbers? How many people read Sluggy each day? (from Smilodon)
Daily numbers fluctuate greatly, but over the last 6 months I'm averaging 350,000 unique visitors, 8,500,000 page views, and over 600 gigs per month.
9. Do you view Sluggy as a print entity that begins on the net, or as a net entity which produces print by-products? (Anonymous Fan Boy)
Net entity high in B vitamins which produces print by-products and saturated fats.
Tom adds: Mmmmm.... Saturated fats.....
10. How often do you change things midstory? (Anonymous Fan Boy)
Things never seem to change drastically from my original intention. Instead there are always little shifts occurring which always have effects on future stories like a bag of puppies tossed in a lake. It might be a small bag, of really tiny puppies, like Chihuahuas, but once they hit the water, they make rings that expand outward and outward until the Chihuahuas become huge and hunger for human flesh!
BONUS: Where do you envision your main Sluggy Freelance characters winding up if you (hypothetically) were to end the series in the future?
Stacks of cordwood under a gray and white minilop.