We are Back Once again True Believers with an all new installment of our world renowned, Emmy nominated*, Tony Award** winning segment 20 Questions with Comic Artists. Today we have with us Neil Kohney from the amazing webcomic The Other End. You can check out his web page here: http://www.kohney.com/
(*Someone named Emma liked one of our posts.)
(**A guy named Tony made us an offer we couldn’t refuse)
The Other End is a daily webcomic with an assortment of recurring characters brought to us by the number #4 and the letter H. We caught up with Neil at his palatial estate just outside Martha’s Vineyard, where a lot of great webcomic artists have formed a sort of Shangri-La right in between the toxic dump site, the ancient Indian burial ground and the pet cemetery. But let’s get to the interview:
Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
So, I started my first comic series when I was in the 7th grade. It was a parody super hero series about the titular Dyno-Dan, and it was terrible. This was all on notebook paper, by the way, distributed to a few close friends. But I kept trying to make it happen, until I eventually gave it up in high school. Then, in late high school, I started drawing up some one-off comics that eventually became the first iteration of The Other End. Over the years, I switched from computer paper to digital, got my own domain, and tried to make a name for myself in the great wide world of webcomics. Then, last year, I decided to switch things up with the introduction of storylines. I had a few running characters, but hadn’t done much with them. Nevertheless, the storyline angle just felt right, and I haven’t looked back since.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, The Far Side, Peanuts, blah blah blah. Literally every major newspaper comic has influenced me one way or another (some significantly more than others). That being said, I always look to the 1950s Peanuts comics for inspiration. There’s so much amazing humor and art that just got lost to time, drowned out by the animated specials, running jokes and more memorable characters of the 70s and 80s.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
Fitz’s. I love those glass bottles.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I want to make something that recalls the best qualities of old school comics, while embracing the advantages of the new medium (HD comics, baby). I don’t think there’s enough of that, especially among the most popular genre-defining webcomics, some of which can barely be classified as comics.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
Sorta. I work on screenplays and such, but that kind of writing is so similar to scripting a comic that it feels like an extension of that interest.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
Professional, definitely. It’s mostly all about making that sweet sweet cash. Of course, it’s impossible for a comic NOT to be personal, to an extent. Especially if you’re the only one working on it. And my future children will absolutely have to compete with my comic characters for attention and love.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
For one, I don’t get overtly political. Not that I’ll never do some more political stuff, but I hate straw men, and it’s tricky to avoid that. Also, I try to avoid toilet humor. Not because I think I’m too good for it or anything, but it doesn’t work that well in print. With plenty of exceptions, of course.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
Wacom tablet and Clip Studio Paint, which I try to make look as hand drawn as possible. I’d love to work on paper with real pens and paper, but I wouldn’t be able to crank out a daily comic if I did that. Plus, I hate paint, so I’d be limited with the colors.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Nothing. Basically, I decided this is what I wanted to do, and decided that I was never going to miss an update. And so far, beside the occasional technical problem, I haven’t.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
The other day I got an email with the subject line “Screw You”, which contained a bizarre rant from a fan that basically said (I’m paraphrasing), “Screw you, I finally caught up with your comic and I like it a lot.” So that was pretty cool.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I had an ad box on my site for a while that occasionally forced my readers onto other sites. It took me forever to figure out what was doing it, and I was furious. And when I tried to remove it, it took down my site for a few days. All while I was out of town for vacation. So that all really sucked.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Nope. I had a book for a bit, but I think the publisher actually closed shop. Since then, I’ve been too busy to pursue any other print options.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
This is nowhere near a comprehensive list, but some of my absolute favorite creators are Asher Freeman (Flop Comics), Twistwood (Captain Macbastard), el Fury (bastard comics), Reza Farazmand (Poorly Drawn Lines) and J.L. Westover (Mr. Lovenstein)
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It certainly takes up a helluva lot of my time. Beyond that, while it’s certainly a big part of my life, I wouldn’t say it’s had an impact on my life. It’s just something I really like to do and something that helps me get where I want to be. And while I’ll probably write and/or draw for the rest of my life, I could see moving on from it at some point. I want TOE to end when it’s ready to end. Not that that’s coming up anytime soon!
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
I’ve never remembered a troll’s comment for longer than a day or two. So yeah, I don’t think it was worth their time.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
My daily deadline is the only motivation I’ve ever needed. Because once I miss a deadline, this immediately turns into a hobby, and its way too much work to just be a hobby.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I’m a water drinker 99.99999999% of the time, but I do like a classic rum and coke.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I’m not sure if that’s a hashtag or some sort of cult, but I’m in either way.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Mainly the writing and the drawing and the inking and the coloring and the lettering and the networking and the social media stuff. But I’m pretty good with coming up with ideas.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’ve got a couple ideas for spinoffs and various new adventure comics, but I’m not sure when I’m gonna have time for all that. If anyone wants to help me make a little time for new projects, you can support me on Patreon at patreon.com/TheOtherEnd
And there you have it True Believers, another interview from our newest member of the Root Beer Party. Welcome to the party Neil, pull up a chair and grab a frosty mug from the freezer and fill it with Fitz’s Root Beer, this round is on the house. So let’s all top off our glasses and raise them to Neil Kohney. Now let’s all go to his site and read up on all the happenings over on The Other End, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.