NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Ryan Sohmer of Least I Could Do, Looking for Group


Never let it be said that Ryan Sohmer is a boring man. While his entourage/small tactical force sold the goods and made the sketches (that would be Lar DeSouza, artist on Least I Could Do and Looking for Group), Sohmer sauntered around the show floor, trademark Red Bull in hand, shaking hands and just generally chatting with those who had come to see him in the flesh.

There was one point on Friday where I joked with other creators about the Halfpixel guys rolling in, wearing matching aviators, and walking in slo-mo with their coats billowing in the breeze. After meeting the Blind Ferret crew, however, I’d say the title of toughest team in webcomics is still up for grabs. I’ll be in talks with Mer about a possible steel cage death match for next year’s NEWW to decide that title once and for all.

But getting back to meeting Sohmer, what an experience that is! The charismatic creator holds nothing back, even with a recorder at his mouth. I hadn’t bothered to include my DS moniker on my name badge for the weekend, a mistake that Sohmer was happy to call me on (listen to the first few seconds of our interview for the audio context of this error). After that, he was pretty much in control of our encounter.

But next time you have a meet-up at a local bar, Mr. Sohmer, you had better believe I’ll bring my recorder.

(Language slightly NSFW)


NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Angela Melick of Wasted Talent


This interview represents my favorite story of the weekend. Were I a documentarian and had I been filming things, this girl’s story is the one I would have focused on.

Angela Melick is fairly new to the webcomics scene, though not webcomics. Her strip, Wasted Talent, has been around for about four years, though it was only within the last year and a half or so that she really started getting the word out about her work. An engineer by trade, Melick one day decided to really give the comics thing a go and so, she arrived at the first ever New England Webcomics Weekend. 

Thus began the schmoozing, and the networking, and the making of friends. Her bubbly personality and down-to-earth sensibility wore down even the blackest of hearts (I’ll name no names, but form your own conclusions). Before too long, after arriving on Friday afternoon, Melick had gained many new webcomics friends and it seemed she had smoothly and seamlessly integrated herself into the community.

But then, things took a terrible turn, and it would never be the same for Angela Melick.

…nah! A tragic twist would certainly make this moment more dramatic, but there’s really no need for one. Angela was thrilled to meet all the creators she’d traded IMs, Tweets, and e-mails with and I couldn’t help but be happy for her. So check out her stuff at Wasted Talent and also check out the Canadian-bred collective, Cloudscape Comics, of which Angela is a part.

UPDATE: And no, she did NOT call me Justin in the closing moment. I swear she did too, but she insists I simply misheard.


NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Alan Evans of Rival Angels


Networking. That’s the name of the game at any con, and though many did not see NEWW as a convention of any sort, the budding creators and hopeful artists in attendance took every opportunity to hand out samples and talk up their works-in-progress. 

Through the power of the NEWW forums, I found myself one such man, a man who was in need of a carpool. That man turned out to be Alan Evans, creator of Rival Angels, the web’s first and only comic about female wrestlers (and not in a pervy way). Alan and I hung out through the course of the weekend, crawling from pub to pub on Friday night (where the most I drank was two glasses of water the bartender graciously provided to cool down my order of steaming hot french fries) and meeting up periodically throughout Saturday to trade stories of meetings and panels.

Rival Angels fills a niche that I didn’t even know needed to be filled and so we can all thank Alan for that! Stop by the site where he’s got a good NEWW wrap-up underway (and you can even see what I look like in real life!) and stay for the feminine beauty and intense rivalries!


NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Paul Southworth


I’m not sure what the creators of webcomics are used to in terms of interviewing style, but the one I employed at NEWW sure ain’t it. I won’t say it was Michael Moore-esque, but guerilla tactics were utilized to get what I needed. Case in point, my hallway rendezvous with Paul Southworth, formerly of Ugly Hill and currently of… well, that’s still a mystery, isn’t it?

As I figured might be the case, it’s hard to track down people when you have little idea what they look like (sure, Southworth has a Twitter icon, but who in webcomics DOESN’T have dark hair and a goatee?). I was forced to rely on my auditory skills during those first few hours to pick up on the recognizable names and put them together with the correct faces. In short, I saw Paul early on and THOUGHT it was him but waited for confirmation from a colleague before pouncing.

Luckily, Mr. Southworth (or is that your father’s name?) was gracious enough to indulge my curiosities, even going as far as to drop a clue about who he might be collaborating with next (his first, as the interview tells it). So listen in and see if your deductive powers can crack the code!

Also, yes, guerilla tactics sometime lead to collateral damage, heard here in the form of a wee boy who went trotting by during the interview. Do as we did; chuckle and move on.


NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Braden Lamb and Vin LaBate of Kitty Hawk


While it was scary in some ways to finally talk face-to-face with some of the best comics creators out there today, the even SCARIER possibility was that they would remember some silly, off-the-cuff, cred-damaging remark I or one of the other podcasters made during the course of any given show. Such was the case when I came across the creators of Kitty Hawk (previously reviewed in an edition of HorizonsWatch), Braden Lamb and Vin LaBate.

It often happens that we are unsure about how to pronounce certain last names of creators, especially those of the up-and-coming nature. Mr. LaBate (luh-BAIT) falls squarely into that category. Mr. Lamb is also possessive of a name quirk, in that we didn’t believe that to be his true name, just some stage name he’d adopted at one time and stuck with up to the present day. Well, Steve, Brigid, I can tell you that, having been humbled by the man himself, that is indeed his real name.

Also, while credits usually roll along as writer/artist, this is not the case with these fellas. Braden is responsible for both the art AND the original creator role on the strip, hence his first billing, while Vin handles the writing chores. Luckily, after all these gaffes were tossed aside, Braden and Vin were still happy to talk about Kitty Hawk and what the future has in store for these promising creators.


NEWW Interview ~WITH~ Steven Cloud of Boy on a Stick and Slither


Hidden on the second floor of the Eastworks building, far away from the hustle and bustle of the first floor creator’s boothes, were the Dumbrella cast of creators. Nestled comfortably in the Dumbrella office space, there sat the group, hard at work selling their latest wares, and greeting every fan who happened by with a smile and a “Wassup?”

It was in this room that I ran into Steven Cloud. Ok, he was behind the table and I basically just walked up and said, “Yo”, but find him I did. The man with a quirky, iconic beard (‘fro on the chin, man) is outdone only by his quirky, iconic strip, Boy on a Stick and Slither. The soft-spoken master of the short-form ironic statement comic graciously opened up to me about everything from marketing techniques to his love for NEWW.

Be sure to return the love by visiting Steven at!


Q&A With Tom Dell’Aringa ~ON~ Marooned, Print Viability, and How To Make Webcomics

Like many webcomics creators and comics creators who will soon be webcartoonists whether they like it or not, Tom Dell’Aringa is struggling to grasp the idea of finding success with his space-comedy comic, Marooned. The Webcomic Idol finalist is looking for answers to his most burning questions, so take a look at what he’s dealing with and see what you think.

Digital Strips: Thanks again for taking the time to offer us some insight into your process and thoughts on the subjects again, Tom! It’s much appreciated. With these questions, I’m just trying to get a feel for who you are as a creator and what your process is. Details like this can always help struggling or new creators to establish themselves so the more you have to say, the better.

Tom Dell’Aringa: Glad to help!


I don’t think they’re ok…

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Q&A With Barry Gregory ~INTRODUCING~ ComicsMonkey, Discussing Print-On-Demand Options For (Web)Comics Creators

Recently, the folks at Ka-Blam, one of the leaders in digital printing, decided that the shenanigans going down at Diamond Comic Distributors had gone far enough and formed their own print-on-demand company to combat the monopolizing powerhouse. Labeled ComicsMonkey, it’s a service that could offer a solution to many publishers who can no longer do business with Diamond and who want to get their work out to the public via dead trees.

Barry Gregory, a partner in the whole Ka-Blam/IndyPlanet/ComicsMonkey she-bang, was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions about the new addition to the already well-known printer and just what it might mean for webcomics creators.

Digital Strips: How did the recent changes at Diamond affect the timing of your launch?

Barry Gregory: It certainly accelerated things.  We had planned to launch our service sometime later this year and only after a limited pilot program and a retooling period in which we evaluated what worked and what didn’t in the pilot program.  Now we’re just sort of jumping right in with both feet.

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Interview: Scott Bieser of Big Head Press

On his website, Scott Bieser describes himself as “Liberty’s Cartoonist.” Certainly the graphic novels published by Big Head Press, of which Bieser is a principal, embody a strong libertarian philosophy, mixed with liberal doses of science fiction. Consider Roswell, Texas, an alternate-history tale in which Texas never joined the U.S., Charles Lindbergh is president of the Federated States of Texas, Walt Disney is president of California, and Meir Kahane is a Texas Ranger, when a flying saucer crashes in Roswell and gets the story moving. lamuse1Or La Muse, the tale of a sexy superheroine whose seemingly limitless powers are matched only by her lack of inhibitions. (Last month, La Muse received an honorable mention in the Publishers Weekly Comics Week annual critics poll.)

In 2005, Big Head Press put the graphic novel The Probability Broach online in its entirety and saw sales of the print edition double. Since then, they have been following the free-webcomic-to-print-edition model, selling their graphic novels through a variety of channels in addition to comics stores. We caught up with Scott, who is a comics creator as well as a businessman, at NYCC and spent a few minutes talking about how the free-comics model works for him and what his plans are for the future.

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Q&A With Paul Southworth ~ABOUT~ The End of Ugly Hill, Future Endeavors, Premeditated Murder, And Really Long Reading Lists

Just last week, Paul Southworth posted that he was ending Ugly Hill, with the final strip to hit sometime in the near future. As an avid reader of the misadventures of Hastings Kilgore and all the other misfit monsters of Ugly Hill, I felt it my duty to get to the bottom of this sudden, unexpected announcement. The following is my conversation with Paul:

Digital Strips: Did it hurt at all to submit that post announcing the end of Ugly Hill?

Paul Southworth: Of course! All those maladjusted little tools are like my family at this point. I knew it was coming for a long time, though. It was just a matter of me getting up the cajones to go through with it. It’s hard to quit something like this, to conclude the stories of characters you’ve been working with for years. It’s like they become part of your brain, and they’re always back there, whispering ideas to you about what they want to do next.


One of the many lucrative offers Kilgore was presented with

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