Category Archives: explanation

The Process

If you’ve read more than 2 of the Basket Case interviews, you’ll know that there’s a specific pattern to them (and by pattern, I mean that the questions are almost always the same).

When I send out requests for interviews, I have two choices. The first is to contact an artist that is already familiar with me, generally because I actively comment on their strips on GoComics. The second is to cold-call them through whatever contact method they have online (facebook, email, or a contact form on their website). The first case is usually pretty straightforward because I don’t have to introduce myself that much. Just say that I have Basket Case, and ask if they want to be interviewed. The second situation requires a lot more politeness, but still has the same goal – asking if they want to give an interview.

After that, if the answer is “yes,” then I send the boilerplate questions (who are you, what do you want your readers to know about your background, how did you get started), along with the caveats that I know they may not want to answer any of these questions, and if not, I can get the information from other sources. In almost all cases, the artists so far have been very good about replying to every single question. Then, I’ll tailor the interview by asking a series of follow-up questions specifically designed around their answers, or what I know about their strip(s). Again, I state up front they can ignore questions they don’t want to answer, or answer questions I didn’t ask. This is followed by formatting the text, adding links to pages they mention, and putting in artwork they want included in the interview, or if they let me, I go through their website and locate artwork I want to use myself.

The last step is proofreading, passing the interview back to the artist for corrections and/or additions, and getting final approval before posting it on the blog. The main thing is that the boilerplate acts as a framework for artists that don’t know me to feel like they know what to expect from the interview up front. It makes for rather predictable results, but as long as it works, I’ll keep using it.

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Pressing the pause button

Back at the beginning of the month, I was laid low by a kidney stone for a little over a week. This made working on the interviews difficult, at best. During that time, I used up a lot of my backlog of new interviews, while I was hoping that some of the other artists that had agreed to do their own interviews would send me their answers in the middle of the month. However, everyone got busy, and my backlog continued to shrink. Then, we got into the week leading into Thanksgiving, and I figured there was no point in trying to ask new artists if they wanted to be interviewed, and my backlog just dried up.

Right now, I have the follow-up answers from one remaining artist, but I have to format and proof them, collect sample artwork, and send the file to him for review and approval. So, I may have his interview ready to post by the end of this week, or the beginning of the next. And, I’m going to start sending out invitations again, while also asking past interviewees to post links to their interviews on their websites. But, that means I need to create a logo for this blog site as a click button.

The bottom line is that Basket Case is on pause until I can get interviews to run again. In the meantime, I’ll post some observations on M-W-F, and maybe some photos of commissioned artwork I’ve received in the past.

If you are an artist and want to be interviewed, post a comment on the About page. If you know an artist that you think should be interviewed, have them contact me, too. Thanks.

Adam Warren Sketch, and who do you want interviewed?

One of the reasons for creating Basket Case is that I like quite a few webcomics, and paper comicbooks in general. However, many of them fly under the radar and don’t get the appreciation they deserve. I read about 50 titles a day (some of them aren’t daily, so that brings the numbers down a bit), and I’m excited to say that I have one artist interview in the works, another 3 where I’m waiting on the answers to my initial questions, and another 3-4 people that have said “yes” to my request, but haven’t said anything after getting the questions. I’m hoping you like them as much as I do.

In the meantime, here’s a pencil sketch I got from Adam Warren back in 1991 at an anime con, when Adam was still drawing for the Dirty Pair comic.

Finally, the next poll question: Who would you like to see get a Basket Case interview? (please answer in the comments)

URL address and new question

First, at the suggestion of Alex Hallatt of Human Cull, I secured the site name webcomicsinterviews.com. The older URL still works, so you don’t have to change anything if you’ve already bookmarked this page. And, I am currently working on 4-5 interviews that I’m really excited about. The plan is to run an interview a week, and then have other stuff 2-3 days in between.

So, next question – Where do you get most of your comics entertainment from? Newspapers, GoComics, Comics Kingdom, Individual websites, or somewhere else?

 

A comment on single panel strips

There seems to be a little confusion concerning the idea of what a single-panel strip is.

I draw distinctions between 4 different sources. The first is newspapers. Newspapers often include one-panel comic strips to fill in otherwise odd-shaped blank space on the page. The most common single-panel strips these days, if you look at more than one paper, will be Non Sequitur, Bizarro, Marmaduke and possibly Family Circus. The most famous, of course, is The Far Side.

The second and third sources are the online comics hosting sites GoComics and ComicsKingdom. I prefer GoComics because the interface is a little easier to navigate, and the server is faster. They have quite a few more strips that fit the gag category, including Wayno Vision, 1 and Done, Too Much Coffee Man, Wide Open, The Daily Drawing, and Sketchy Chics. I don’t frequent Comics Kingdom as much, so I’m only aware of Piraro’s Bizarro and Family Circus (which I don’t read). I’ll add here that Comics Sherpa has single-panel strips as well, but the artists are still trying to find their chops, and may not be “professional quality” yet.

The fourth group includes magazines, such as Playboy and the New Yorker. While there are a lot of single-panel strips here, at least some of them aren’t “gag strips” in the classical sense, in that a lot of the stuff that runs in the New Yorker makes you go “hmmm,” rather than being laugh-out-loud funny. Here we used to get (“back in the day”) the science strips of Sidney Harris, the horror one-pagers of Gahan Wilson, the macabre humor of Chas Addams, and the off-the-wall stuff of B. Kliban (precursor to The Far Side). We can probably add Mad magazine to this list, but I don’t have any examples to work with at the moment. And, please note that Kliban, and Kliban Cats are currently in reruns on GoComics. Plus, Rich Powell of Wide Open also does work for Mad magazine.

There is a fifth category, and that is self-published webcomics, which would include Sketchy Chics, and conceivably Bent Objects (although many people, including photographer Terry Border would argue that his stuff doesn’t qualify as “comic strips”). Over time, though, more of the independent webcomics are being brought over to GoComics, at least until their contracts run out.

So, I’d say there are a lot more single-panel gag comics out there waiting to be nominated by their fans, or creators. I’m hoping that some of them are ones I don’t know about yet, but really want to read when I learn about them.

In any event, if you haven’t left your suggestions here yet, please go to the previous blog entry and leave a comment there (or, comment on this post. I don’t care.) And while you’re at at, maybe you can give me your views on the differences between “a single panel comic”, and “a single panel gag comic.”