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Sean Howard - Squidi.net Creator and DeathSpank Writer
Interview by muddasheep, January 13th 2004, 11:54:47
Are you ready for another installment of Interesting Webcomic Interviews? No? Well, you should be! Because here comes an interview with just another important author: Sean Howard, the creator of "A Modest Destiny" and "The Starship Destiny". He uses self-made pixel art for his comics which just looks pretty. Some people are so impressed that they even steal his art. Those people are to be pitied because Sean knows his rights and he uses them. Recently there was an incident on the Penny Arcade forums where some people stole Sean's art to create avatars. This information should be useful when you're reading the interview. Oh, you skipped already? Well, okay. Have fun!

Hey Sean! How are you? Enjoying life?

Sure. Why not!

Any last words before I start with my questions combo attack?

Um... poop.

Well, well. First I'd like to see a personal introduction of yourself.

I hate these things. I'm Sean Howard and I make the webcomic "The Starship Destiny" over on squidi.net. Or "A Modest Destiny". Both of them really.

Why are you doing a webcomic? Do you think it's your purpose?

I'm doing a webcomic because, right now, that's what I want to do. I kind of like being my own boss, but as the comic becomes more and more popular, I'm finding out that my readers are my boss :) I don't think it is my purpose - maybe related to my purpose. Who knows? Two years ago, I wanted to be a game programmer. Now I never want to program again. Life is funny that way.

In your FAQ on your page you tell everyone not to call your comic a sprite comic. So what kind of comic is your creation? (Kid Radd for example calles itself a "fake sprite comic".)

I prefer "pixel art", but that's just because that's a term that I've been using since joining a pixel art community many years back. It's familiar and it has kind of a ring to it. I like it. Mainly, I want to differentiate between sprite comics and original pixel comics. If you asked me, I'd say sprite comics are "fake pixel art comics". :)

Do you think that a webcomic is something personal? Are characters in your comic similar to people in your real life?

Yes, but only in the sense that it is my creation. I'm going to take it a little more personally than something I merely own. I created this from nothing and I'm pretty proud of it. I can't say that my comic characters are like anyone I know. I mostly know mean, bitter, angry people :)

How many e-mails and visits do you receive each day?

Emails... well, during the Penny Arcade thing, I received about 200-300 emails each day. Now, it's only about 10-15 a day. As for visitors, I get roughly 12,000 unique readers a day. They've been cooling off since I switched from the fantasy "A Modest Destiny" into a completely new scifi comic.

Are you tired of being well known?

I wish people knew my comic, not me. I'm a mean, crotchy man who hates crowds and doesn't want to talk to anyone. My comic is a light hearted adventure that many people like. I'd prefer to be known by the latter, but I'm more famous for the previous one :(

How do you feel when you're working on a comic strip?

It depends. When you do one every day, you pretty much feel every day feelings. Some comics make me especially happy and proud, while some are merely mediocre. Some even embarass me. I'd say that creating is one of the greatest experiences you can know in life because the good days are so much more rewarding than the bad days are painful.

What do you think about your readers? Do they even care about you or just about your comic?

I love my readers. It makes me happy to know that I'm creating something other people enjoy. I think some do care about me, and I wish they didn't, but I think most people just like the comic.

Does your PayPal button on your page pay off?

Not even remotely :)

Have you ever done something wrong that you'd like to undo now since your comic has been released?

There's a couple comics I'm not super proud of that I wouldn't mind revisiting, but I pretty much concern myself with where the comic is going - not where it has been.

What were you expecting when you first opened the gates of your page?

I honestly don't know. I think when I first began, I was expecting more out of myself than my readers. I didn't know if I would have readers or what they would like. I just focused on creating a comic, one day at a time.

Is your wife very important for the comic?

Absolutely. Though I pretty much do the comic, she maintains the entire site. She knows all about the forums and DNS changes and stuff like that. I would be completely lost without her. Let's not forget that her job is what allows me to sit at home and make a new comic every day. Without her, there would be no squidi.net.

Did you experience any problems in your childhood? Were you an outsider or something like that?

Not really.

If you had children what would you do to give them a good reason to live? Would you teach them how to draw?

I'd have to let them find their own reason to live. If they want to draw, I'll encourage it. If they want to play sports, I'll encourage it. If they want to become a writer, I'll help them down that path. Finding a good reason to live is part of life and I wouldn't want to force any expectations on them.

What are your plans for the future? Do you see a book of your comic in stores?

Good question. I don't know that the future has that in store, but I certainly wouldn't mind it. I think the future of squidi.net really belongs in videogames, though. I have a background in creating them and they would really go well with the comic. Especially something like a graphical MUD. That would be great.
Note: MUD = Multi User Dungeon

What would you do if you could change the world?

I can change the world :) But I'd probably try to get people to stop looking at the trees and notice the whole forest.

How does the world look like in twenty years in general?

I expect it will be just like now, only with better TVs.

Do you feel lonely while standing in a crowd?

Yes... how did you know?

And the last question: What's your favourite language?

Computer or spoken? For computer language, Java all the way. I love. For
spoken, Japanese. Even though I'm fluent in English, I just find Japanese
so exotic. There is just something in my brain that giggles with glee
when reading kanji.

Thanks for your time, Sean. Wish you luck for your comic and your personal future.

Thank you and good night :)
The beginning.

Handing out weapons.

Enemies!

Links:
>Squidi.net
How readers rate this Interview: 8.25/10 (8 votes)
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