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:
1. How is it that you two boys are so darned sexy after spending all your time playing video games? (from R Stevens)
Gabriel: I was under the impression that playing videogames was actually the source of my spectacular sexiness. The root of my power so to speak.
Tycho: This is a common misconception about me. I wear a very sexy puppet on my left hand which I use to converse with people, and I’m sorry if that has created any confusion.
2. Just to satisfy my morbid curiosity… how big is your audience? Can we have a unique visitors per day stat? (from Maritza Campos)
Gabriel: It’s like a billion I think.
Tycho: Well, not that much. On a given strip day, we can expect around 120,000 uniques or so.
3. When will you release the next book? And if one is not planned why don’t you just put all the comics on a DVD viewable as photo gallerys. Then you could have commentary and a making of video, or day in the life of PA feature.
Gabriel: We are actually in the middle of a heated legal battle over the first book. We had a little disagreement with the publisher. We thought he should pay us and he thought he should keep all the money and move to Alaska.
Tycho: I have nothing to add to that. He has accurately described the situation.
4. Are you ever going to publish your "Over Easy" or "Cardboard Tube Samurai" comics in a collected dead-tree format? (from Dedos)
Gabriel: That is certainly something we are looking into.
Tycho: That means "Yes."
5. Is the Fruit Fucker 2000 in fact Div’s bastard child?
Gabriel: Not that I know of, but there is a lot about those two that remains a mystery.
6. You once mentioned you get sued monthly. How often does Penny Arcade REALLY get sued and how often are the charges serious? (from Tombrazelton)
Gabriel: In our Five years of making comics I’d say we’ve only had two or three serious legal issues we had to deal with.
Tycho: Serious, as in, we required the services of a lawyer to resolve them. These days, we’ve started actually reading the contracts before we sign them, which I think will help.
7. You’ve mentioned once before, rather enigmatically, about a Penny Arcade cartoon nearly being made. Was there any truth in that, and if so, could you elaborate?
Gabriel: Yeah we were approached by someone who had some connections at various television networks and wanted to pitch the idea of a PA cartoon to them. We put a little bit of work into a pilot episode and got some positive feedback from the suits at one of these networks. It ended up being more work than it was worth though and so we dropped the idea and shelved the pilot. We have a lot of things we want to do with PA but a sitcom just isn’t one of them right now. We still have the pilot though and we may shop it around again later. We’ll see.
Tycho: There’s also the fact that we really didn’t enjoy that kind of work. There are a lot of cartoonists that read Comixpedia, I’m sure of it, and so they will understand me when I say that working in a medium that lets you control time as absolutely as comics do is a real luxury. I felt like our pilot turned out alright, but having to account for every second of every minute was exhausting.
8. What ever happened to the [girl] who owned pennyarcade.com? Why don’t you guys buy that domain from whoever owns it now?
Gabriel: The people who are in control of that domain are crazy. We have had all kinds of conversations with them and I honestly believe they are insane.
Tycho: The original owner died, actually. That’s not black humor or something, I mean she’s actually dead. Maybe that domain is bad luck.
9. I saw some photos of you guys on one of your interview pages and I was expecting you’d look like your drawings. But neither of you seem to look anything like your cartoon versions. What’s up with that?
Tycho: I’m not sure that there’s anything "up" with it.
Gabriel: In the beginning the comic wasn’t about us. It was just two guys who played videogames and so I just made up two characters. As time went on it became obvious that each of us was writing one of the characters and sort of giving them our personality. Eventually we just gave up and started calling them Tycho and Gabe.
10. I haven’t seen Batjew or Safety Monkey on the site much, whats up with them?
11. Are you content with the story-lines of modern gaming, or do you find yourself hoping for something more? Do you think video games have the framework to tell a tale of our times (or do you think one has already done so)?
Gabriel: Sure I think there is room for someone to make a game that tells an especially compelling or poignant story. I don’t think that’s a slam against current game storylines as much as it is a statement regarding the potential of the medium.
Tycho: There’s also the fact that writing a good story and making a great game are very different disciplines. Quite a few things need to go right, concurrently, in order to realize an interactive story.
12. Do you two ever have differences over what to do the comic on? If so, how often, and who usually wins?
Gabriel: Every so often that happens. We each have the power to veto an idea if we don’t like it. I may think something is super funny but if Tycho says no then we drop it or try and rework it. The same goes for me. He’s always coming up with stupid shit and I have to tell him to throw it away.
Tycho: It’s all true. Often I will want to do a bad comic, and he will insist that we do a good one instead.