Sunday Sitdown ~WITH~ Chad Diez, Part 1

It’s time to catch up with Chad Diez! The well-known artist of such strips as Today: The Comic and Sophisticated Pig (SP) seems to attract controversy everywhere he goes and his latest webcomic endeavor is no different.

Channeling the best of TMZ, Extra, and even the gold standard, Entertainment Tonight, Chad has decided to tighten his focus on one specific subject, that being the wide world of celebrity news (re: gossip, slander, and defamation)!

But why the change? Why shrink the blast radius of your ire and displeasure? The answers to those quesstions, and more are contained here in this interview, granted live, via AIM! It’s got misdemeanor charges! Super Mario Galaxy! And even Oprah! So get ta’ readin’! The controversy awaits!

The Midnight Cartooner: Dude, THERE you are! Er… right?

Chad Diez: Lol, yeah. Sorry again, man. I’m with my son today and he gets me distracted.

M: Ah, no problem, man. Would another day be better for you?

C: No, it’s cool. He’s good (for now).

M: Alright, I’ll work that in if there’s any problems.

C: Nah, I gave him a glass of Nyquil. He should be out pretty soon. Heh, just kidding.

M: I’m totally ok with that.

calling child services

C: Crap.

M: It’s alright, we’ll just get through what we can before the authorities arrive.

C: Sounds good to me. Talk about an exclusive!

M: “Child abuser Chad Diez talks about Hedlinerz and his future… from the back of a police cruiser!” I could even do it as a guest strip for you!

C: Lol! There we go. And I was worried about Friday’s strip.

M: I’ll see what I can get you.

C: Right on! I think I’d be the first webcartoonist up for child abuse charges. So…yeah…I’m gonna try to avoid that…

M: So, how’ve things been with you, Chad Diez, creator of Today: The Comic, former artist on The Pet Professional (PP) and SP, and current general manager of Hedlinerz? More specifically and recently, why did SP end? It really had no fanfare one way or the other, it just sort of… died.

C: SP ended because a bombshell hit me in my personal life. Wiz [Rollins’, writer on SP] original script lasted up to that last page that I drew. By the time I got to that last page Wiz and I had talked about what was going to happen next but as far as I remember there wasn’t a script, so with all the stuff that was happening to me personally…we just didn’t revisit it.

And I regret it.

I don’t put any blame on Wiz because I know he would have written the script if he knew I could have done it. I’m sure I gave the impression that I was overwhelmed at the moment. That led to a week then a month then months and so on… We had a lot of ambition for that strip… Wiz, whose real name is Jorge Vega, had just won last year’s Comic Book Challenge. He’s been swamped with that since then.

M: Wow, I wish I’d made that connection sooner. So do you want to touch upon the life stuff that got in the way or just leave it at that?

C: Aah, I can…

M: I’m not going to push, but I DO have a box of tissues handy…OPRAH!

C: Stop it, this is my Oprah moment okay. I want to ‘vent’! <SOB>

You know…it’s okay…I think I’ll pass on that one… I don’t know if I wanna say it.

M: That’s cool, no pressure, plenty more to talk about. So SP ended. Did you feel the need to create after that, to start another strip right away?

C: No, I actually needed a break to figure out my personal life and what the hell I was going to do for a living. I had come from drawing Today to PP then to SP. I felt slightly spent. And on top of that…I wasn’t happy with the work I was putting out.

M: Overall or just certain aspects?

C: Well, those last 4 pages of SP I just wasn’t happy with. They look rushed to me. Background were always a pain for me and those pages had to have a certain feel to them in the background. It was all in the art, not the writing.

M: The problems, you mean.

C: Yeah. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to go back to Today but my ideas were bigger than the time I had available to do it.

Sophisticated Pig panelM: So refresh my memory, did you go back to Today briefly before starting Hedlinerz or was that the next move after SP?

C: Here and there I drew a few strips here and there for Today but it was just me testing the waters…I knew I wanted to change it in a major way but was still looking for the time and the ideas. I hadn’t fully realized what I wanted to do with it if I had come back. And yeah, that was after SP.

M: So you came back, did a few strips, and realized that celebrity news and gossip was your choice of plaything.

C: Well, yes and no. I have this small crusade in me that hates the fact that the general public doesn’t like reading comics (for the most part). Newspaper comics are slowly dying off and comic book fans are really the only people who buy comic books. I have this drive to do a comic that appeals to the general public. It’s what made me create Today. Even when drawing PP or SP, I always had this drive to get it in the eyes of the general public.

The move to take the concept of Today and use it only on celebs is just my drive to offer a comic that anyone could read and like…and who doesn’t like hearing about Britney with no panties? My sister is a huge celeb fan. She’s on TMZ and those other sites all day in her cubicle at work. There are a lot of people like that out there.

M: So the switch from all news to celeb news was an attempt to broaden the audience and get more peepers on your work?

C: Yeah…I know it sounds ass backwards to jump from the general news to a more concentrated audience like celeb gossip when I’m trying to appeal to the general public. but it’s a baby step in my eyes. If I focus on one subject like celebs and people dig it, then possibly from there I can expand the comic. I could have gone with just weird stories in the news or politics or sports but I chose celebs.

If that makes sense at all…Perez Hilton

M: Considering the popularity of sites like Perez Hilton and TMZ, yeah, it makes perfect sense.

C: Yeah, exactly.

M: So would you plan on continuing the celeb angle if enough people are checking you out or would you then broaden your horizons?

C: If Hedlinerz gains an audience like I’m hoping for, yes, I’d want to expand it into general news but I wouldn’t be drawing it. I can see that happening and if that day came I would bring another artist on board. I would continue drawing of course, but just have another artist taking on either the celeb section or the general news section.

M: That sounds like an awesome idea!

C: Thanks!

M: Imagine, a whole army of writers and artists who report and draw about the news of the day.

C: That’d be the idea. And Hedlinerz is my start.

M: I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, but that really sounds like a great idea. I don’t know if thats the end result you had in mind, but if so, well done, sir!

C: Well, an army wasn’t what I was shooting for…I don’t want to get ahead of myself but another artist on board, definitely.

M: Got anyone in mind or is that too far off to even consider?

C: Too far off right now.

M: You know, Daku and Brigid actually asked me if you would like to come on to help me with the DS strip occasionally.

C: Really? How did that come up?

Yes, how did it come up? And will he accept? And will Hedlinerz gain enough strength to overcome all odds and take over the world? And where is the Super Mario Galaxy? And will his son live?!? Find out tomorrow, when I post Sunday (Monday) Sitdown ~WITH~ Chad Diez, Part 2!


P.S. His son lives.


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