Q. I know that you're selling out of certain tshirts soon, but are you still continuing to sell custom prints of SGR strips? Or are those going to be discontinued as well?
Over the years I have taken careful aim at my foot with a favoured firearm but man is the learning animal and I... am a man. Most Scary Go Round items will remain available until they run out naturally (the books tend to last three or four years) but in the case of custom prints, that's never.
Q. What has been your favourite story arc over the years? Also, if I'm allowed two questions, which character are you most proud of creating and developing?
My favourite story arc is the story where The Boy goes on the French exchange and meets the Easter Bell and Elodie. It was exciting to write and fun to draw. The character I'm most pleased with is Ryan.
Q. Is there a single panel or page that you like the most? Some scene that just came out better than you'd ever planned?
A. This was the point where finally I started drawing like I wanted to.
Q. What have we done to make you hate us so much that you would deny us Scary Go Round evermore? I know some of us are Americans but this is a bit much.
A. The way that some Americans think that people from other countries hate them is peculiar. You won the culture wars, everyone likes Coca Cola. Remember that cowboy man who was in charge? We just thought he was funny. I love America and Americans but not as much as I love Britain and the Queen. Who can forget "Seven Seas Of Rye"?
Q. I always notice the characters' clothing, especially the female characters -- do you have any kind of background in fashion? They always seem to be wearing very accurately-observed, current fashions, and I'm intrigued that you take the time to dress them that way. I'd love to hear about that.
A. I think fashion is interesting and women's fashion in particular! Dressing a man is essentially the business of covering five tube-shaped areas. Here's a shirt, raise the waistline on the trousers an inch every ten years. But the shifting sands of women's fashion provide the artist with a world of new things to try drawing every six months and a way to say something indelible about the characters. This was particularly helpful early on when I, like most artists, drew people's faces and bodies fairly generically.
Q. Is there any chance of a Scary Go Round anthology?
A. I'm not sure where the notion of this 1800+-page book came from but I imagine that it exists in the same place as Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote film - development hell! Impossible, impossible to practically produce.
Q. Will I still get Dr. Ladysounds' Top 20 music picks? I am over 45 and no longer with the hookup to know what's worth listening to, as the radio is aimed at my teenaged daughter and I can no longer throw myself in front of it to protect her.
A. This question will be answered in a special, terrible comic on Thursday. Shelley is capricious and her contract demands are outrageous, it is a matter that will take some negotiation.
Q. Will we see what happens with Roxy Postlethwaite before the
conclusion, or did I somehow miss that because it was a
limited-distribution story packed in with one of the collections?
A. Ho ho! This reader is referring to my ending of the Erin Winters saga on a limited-to-400 mini-comic. Hugo refers to his run-in with London types in the Super Crisis Quests story; his teenage protege was wooed away by big-city money, signed a record deal that went nowhere, had a small part in "Casualty" and is now working in a branch of Agent Provocateur in Birmingham.
Q. Where did Desmond Fish-Man come from? Lets see more of him before the series ends!
A. Poor Des, we never did find out his origin! While I'd like to think that this will be answered in the new comic, Desmond is a figure apparently reviled by a large section of my readership (presumably the ones who do not agree with me that Jar Jar Binks is "totally wickles" - how wude). So while concept sketches exist for his origin story and continued appearances, his future is in the balance.
Q. Will Shelley Winters be in the new comic?
A. When I was coming up with the ideas for the new comic I had two that I worked up: the one you are about to see, and a Shelley Winters comic based at the Ministry of History. I hope to make some of those Shelley stories into books but it won't be for a few years. I love writing and drawing her though so I might do some one-offs on the blog.
Q. Will we see Ryan again? He is like a role model to me and I will be sad if we don't.
A. Like Shelley, I hope to find something productive for him to do as I enjoy writing him a great deal.
Q. According to the "About" bit of your site you were a journalist before you were a cartoonist. So how did you become a cartoonist? What made you sit down and start drawing Bobbins? Why cartooning rather than any other medium?
A. I don't know what the answer to this is! I grew up somewhat remotely from my schoolfriends and making comics was how I filled the time at home. I'm never bored when I'm drawing and making things up and looking around me on the train or the bus, people prodding at their phones or making deathly chitchat seem more bored than they've ever been, so I think that I keep going in the opposite direction as fast as I can!
Q. Scary-go-round used to be mainly about 20-somethings (I think)... then the focus shifted more to teenagers... and now the main characters are children. Can you confirm that (a) you are slipping into a second childhood, and (b) the new comic will be Tackleford Toddlers?
A. When you're 21 you think everyone in the world is your age or irrelevant. I don't know, perhaps you've read... most webcomics? I have always wanted to write both older and younger characters and as I've got older, I realised how trivial most of the things that bothered me as a 22-year old were. Children are exciting to write because they don't know where the limits are, older people are fun to write because they aren't cowed by fear or embarrassment. Far from a "second childhood", I am simply trying to crumble as discreetly as possible.
Q. I always wondered what became of Holly/Molly. She was a semi-homicidal multiple
personality - she would have fit right in with Scary-Go-Round. She could have escaped
from that mental institution and began to stalk old friends. Something to consider for the new comic?
A. When I started introducing characters from Bobbins into Scary Go Round, it was mostly because I wasn't that good at making up characters at that point. I needed to flesh out the cast and it was the easiest way to do it! But I considered Holly a bit flat in 1999, let alone 2004.
Q. My question concerns Natalie Durand. During scenes with her in the afterlife, she is sometimes depicted as normal, sometimes as a crazy eyed skeleton, and one illustration appeared to have her giving off a reflection of the mottled drowned girl who tried to pick Ryan up in the afterlife bar. What exactly was going on there? Can she shift shapes, and if so why did she appear as a skeleton to Ryan, and then a drowned girl?
A. When I made those afterlife comics I tried to make them dreamlike and illogical, people would see people from their schooldays, people wouldn't be visually consistent, or one person would be another person but you didn't recognise them. The implication was that none of it was actually happening, that it was all imagined or open to interpretation! I may not have made this particularly clear. Or indeed clear at all. But there is no law saying I have to.
Q. Would you mind doing a long time silent fan a favour by making up a happy ending for Moon? I am always so sad at how her life is treating her.
A. Moon got out of jail after 9 years aged 32 and got a job as a catfish wrangler in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. She eventually married an Okie noodler named Bobby McGinty and had a little baby called Clyde.
Q. What ever happened to Tessa and Rachel respectively?
A. Rachel was immolated in a giant wicker vole and Tessa left town thereafter with good reason!
Q. Howdy John, I fairly recently latched onto SGR (during the Atlantis story), and have been wondering how you draw the comic? It looks like its just raw pencils scanned in and colored, but I am not sure. I love the style and as an artist would really like to know how its done?
A. I use Manga Studio 4 to draw itand Photoshop to colour it and a Wacom Cintiq 15X that mysteriously gets hotter by the day. When it finally bursts into flames we will find out what kind of "man" I am.
Q. I was just wondering if the new stuff will be completely new, or if we will still get to see some of the characters we know and love.
A. Some! But not all. The first 12 comics introduce the central characters, almost all of whom you've seen before. Beyond that, don't expect any Lazarus-style comebacks or familiar phoenices from the flames.
Q. My question is, are you suitably proud of yourself? I hope you are.
A. I feel... young. Give me another ten years and ask me again.
I hope this answers most of what people want to know. If you have any more questions that I somehow skirted (such as, do you like ham? what is your favourite jam? did you lose that toe to a clam?) write them in the comments and I'll do a follow up on Friday. Because this blog definitely needs me to talk about myself some more.