My interview with DoomKick is up, if you’ve been wondering what specific psychosis goes into making an Andy Christ book. Had a lot of fun chatting with Jesse Chagnon about art, influences, growth, the origins of Andy Christ, and gas-powered mechanical penises. It’s a good read, guys. Check it out.
Most Andy Christ related news these days seems to get the most exposure on Twitter and the Facebook fan page so I haven't been on here much. Starting to question how much I really need a proper website when a Tumblr could do the job for now.
But the new book will be out on April 20th, hopefully along with some stuff to tighten up the look of the website, which I'm not super jazzed about these days. Book's shaping up great. I'm really happy with it and I think you guys are gonna dig it. Here's some teasers. You can find more on Instagram, Twitter, and the Andy Christ fan page.
Scud the Disposable Assassin turns 20 today. In broad strokes, this was an indie comic created by Rob Schrab, one of my favorite creative people in the world, about a robot assassin you'd get out of a vending machine, it kills its target and immediately dies. Scud becomes self-aware in the middle of taking out his target, a monster named Jeff, and decides instead to maim the thing. To pay the hospital bills and stay alive, he becomes a hired killer. Along the way, he works for a cyborg mafia, fights zombie dinosaurs and a space werewolf, travels to alternate universes, and in the end, sort of almost kind of becomes the Anti-Christ.
You're getting the picture here, right? Scud was a hugely formative creative stepping stone that Andy Christ wouldn't exist without. It's one of those books that let me know at a young age that other artists are as crazy as I am and it didn't have to all be clear-cut heroes and villains and polished, traditionalist superhero art. That there was a place for cartoon violence, loveable misfits, giant monsters, insane characters, bizarre new worlds, and high concept stories no one's ever seen before... Really, whatever you wanted, comics could accommodate it, and an audience existed for it. Scud was a book that I needed to see before it could have even occurred to me to do what I do now.
So happy birthday, Scud. Thank you for existing. I sincerely have no idea what I'd be doing without you.
So 2013. Damn. Hell of a year.
In January, I decided to finally buckle down and finish a project that, if we must go all the way back, started eleven years ago. I drew a little boy with a striped red shirt and spiky blond hair and named him "Andy Christ" with a pretty decent idea of who he was and little solid concept of where I might take him. I wrote a script somewhere around 2007 that would eventually, after countless edits, become the first two books in 2013. July 1st saw the release of my first ever finished full length comic book. The second was released in September. On December 6th (my 30th birthday, uuuggghhh), I released this thing and made a lot of people very sick:
I have mixed feelings about those first two books. There's a lot I'd do differently these days. The art's not up to the level of quality I'd like it yet, the characters are at times a bit one-dimensional, the storyline is simple but still a bit of a mess with all the jumping around in time, and neither book exactly captures the "spirit" of how I'd like an Andy Christ book to feel, somewhere between the meandering cuteness of Episode 1's earlier bits with the brutal horror of Episode 2's back end. Funnily enough, Slushy the Snowman may be the closest I've gotten. The art is simple but reasonably assured (I made a mistake drawing it on smaller paper, I now realize) and the story exists somewhere in the space between innocent, childlike whimsy and horrible reality. It's heartfelt but dark, cute but scatological, sad and funny. It draws the most consistent laughs of anything I've released so far. It feels a little like an Andy Christ Saturday morning cartoon.
Don't misunderstand me. I'm very proud of these books. They are finished and I do not intend on going back to awkwardly insert a stormtrooper riding a Dewback in the background of the orphanage's parking lot. But like the new year, every new project should be about learning from the mistakes of the previous.
On that note, what to look forward to in 2014? Episode 3 saw an odd development cycle that will unfortunately be pushing the release back a bit. I don't have a date set yet. Conventional webcomic wisdom is to never stop releasing. But I've had a solid six months now of non-stop updates so I forgive me for taking a break. Not a "break," mind you, as I'm working on these pages every day. In striving to top my work so far, the story concept went through countless permutations, the script has been rewritten five times, and I'm going for a sixth as I finish pages. Episode 3 is tighter, more consistently funny, action-packed, and character-driven than anything I've released so far. I'm not screwing around but I am also not rushing. The first two books had so many panels where I'd surrendered to time and said "Good enough." I don't want to do that anymore. The website also needs work. I don't think most people are even aware that my books are for sale or that they come with extra stuff. I need to figure out how to make that more obvious.
A little teaser: Episode 3: The Void will follow Andy and Frooky's journey through Limbo, the way station between Earth and Hell. They will send someone to Hell, walk the Hall of Mediocrity, and encounter the Stygians, the vicious and tragically stupid bottom feeders of Hell. We will learn a lot about Frooky and come to understand how and why a demon became best friends with a six-year-old boy. We'll finally get to see a bit of the world outside Andy's orphanage: Synapze Tower, Desolation Row, and Frooky's favorite strip club, the Hellcat... I swear this makes sense in context.
I am HOPING to again release the full paid book just as the first page releases free. We'll see how it goes. Many pages will be cut in half in the free release, which will be more conducive to the webcomic format and should give me a hell of a lot more lead time to get these books right. I'm not sure yet if I'll stick to the current Monday-Friday release schedule or go back to M-W-F. It all comes down to time, and I still have so little of that.
When Episode 3 releases, I'm going to do a little something special with the first two. They will be released again with the bonus comics, "Slushy the Snowman" and "Monster," in full color. Original buyers will get these free. I'm also looking into getting them to work on Kindle, so you can read Andy Christ books on the go without hassle. I'll keep you updated.
If you've stuck with me thus far, sincerely, THANK YOU. If you've commissioned work from me, BIIIG THANK YOU. I'll be making a huge marketing push leading up to 3's release. In the meantime, if you could, if you like what I've done so far, please, show your friends my silly little comic. Even if you hate it, even if it's just to say "GRRAARGH, look, this guy totally ripped off Tim Burton/Jhonen Vasquez/Naruto(?...yes, I've totally heard this one)." If you bought it, send them the PDF. Share. I'm not greedy. More eyes are more important than more money. We need those eyes to keep this dream (nightmare) going. Like Andy Christ on Facebook. Follow Andy Christ on Twitter. Get the word out. 2014 is all about expanding. The more readers I get, the closer I get to making this into a reasonable income supplement, the faster I should be able to get books made for you guys.
Didn't intend to ramble and don't know where to stop. So I'll shut up now. Thank you guys again for making this my most productive, creative, and encouraging year ever. Let's make 2014 even better.
So when your friends ask you "What the hell is Andy Christ?" you can show them this.
They will likely have more questions. Questions like "What the fuck WAS that?" and "What is wrong with you?" and "I think I am going to be sick all over your person." And you'll be all like "That last one wasn't even a question," except you don't finish that sentence cause now you have partially digested Spaghetti-O's on your new shirt.
Wow, that really got away from me. Anyway. If you're into the idea of seeing Andy talk, you should definitely watch this.
Gonna be selling these bad boys on N. 2nd St. Philly, November 1st!
Only $3 each!
Get both books autographed for $10!
Hard at work on the third (hopefully final) draft of the script for the new book, and I believe I've figured out a system that's going to work.
After Andy Christ 2: Keeping the Faith wraps up its free site release at the end of November, the site's going to take the holidays off. Don't worry though, there will still be updates, the nature of which I'll get into with you later. Then, I believe, sometime in January, Andy Christ 3: The Void, will start releasing. The Deluxe Edition will not be available right away. Regular MWF update schedule still applies but most pages will be split in half, making them more readable as a webcomic and giving me some more lead time, and the book itself will be split into Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 ends, some time will pass, there will be other updates, then Part 2 comes out WITH the Deluxe Edition and a new bonus comic.
In an ideal world, I'd have a new book for you every three months, but as I've said many times before, I get two full days a week to work on this. The other five, I'm at work, and I'm lucky to get a few hours of Andy Christ in a night.
But if things go according to plan... Updates should be far more substantial and frequent in the future.
Till then, guys. Enjoy the rest of Episode 2. The ending is a doozy.
Most comics you'll buy at the store clock in at 24 pages with ads if you're lucky. I always feel like mainstream comics take forever to get their stories moving and I think that's why. Both Andy Christ books have come out to 32 pages each. I was thinking I could bring Book 3 down to 28, maybe? It felt like a leaner story to me. But no, the script is at 26 and counting. Today, I'll hit 32 and beyond and have to start cutting things.
I guess Andy Christ books run long because I want them to be relatively self-contained in terms of structure. If I needed to, I'm sure I could figure out where all the act breaks would go.
It's a little discouraging. I probably work a lot harder than I have to. That's EIGHT more pages I have to draw than most comic artists. I just don't want to compromise. I don't want to rip stories in half and say "Come back in three months!" That's a cheat. And I want to give you value for your dollar.
In writing Andy Christ 3: The Void, I spent twenty minutes researching what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and then I made a list of people I hate. You'll see.