Why doesn't your comic load when I post it on my LiveJournal or favorite message board?
"Hotlinking" (a.k.a. loading images off my site onto another site) is now blocked by the site's server, because, with no offense to anyone personally, too many people kept posting comics off the site to their LiveJournals and favorite message boards. If you want to show people part of the site, post the link and send them here. Putting the direct code for a comic on a message board forces potentially thousands of people to load a file from my site automatically. That cripples my bandwidth, and with the additional amount now being spent to handle the influx of site visitors I just can't afford to let people steal bandwidth anymore- even if they didn't know they were doing it. Again, it's nothing personal.
Why don't you have comments on your blog?
Because I don't want to. Yes, having comments does bring interactivity and community to the site, but it also brings a vastly higher need for babysitting. Managing a comments section means managing the site more, which means spending way to much time monitoring what other people might be doing with my stuff. Combined with controlling "comment spam" and the risks of what I can get in trouble with for what others might leave in a comment, it's not worth it to me. I have nothing against comments sections, I comment in a few of them and I'm an active member on Metafilter and other boards; it just isn't what I want to do for my own site. Sorry.
Why didn't you respond to my e-mail, you jerky jerk-faced jerk?
I'm rather lazy and also have lots of work to do often. It's nothing personal. Unless, of course, it was. I try to read and respond to all the e-mail I get, so if you think I'm constantly never responding to you check the contact guidelines and see if you were blocked for habitual offenses.
Where do you get your ideas?
The dark, disturbing recesses of my warped, fragile mind. Also, I read a lot of weblogs and participate in group discussion boards, as well as engage in constant sarcastic conversation with the few friends I have left who didn't get fed up with my constant sarcasm. Failing all that, I eat an entire bag of sugar until elven Tree-gods materialize before me and suggest things like The Ghost of Adolf Hitler.
So are XQUZYPHYR & Overboard gone for good?
In some sense, yes. Now that the strip is called "Some Guy With a Website," I've retired the characters from the main weekly political strip. That doesn't mean there won't be other projects later on in life where I'll bring them back.
Where did the name XQUZYPHYR come from? Why is it always in all caps?
"XQUZYPHYR" was the handle I used on dial-up BBSs (local precursors to today's modern internet) way back in the early 90's. The original idea WAS to create a deliberately unpronouncable name, as it would only be known online. As the handle was always written in all caps, it has always seemed weird (as if XQUZYPYHR isn't weird enough on its own) to write it out otherwise, therefore XQUZYPHYR's name is always spelled all caps. As most comics are all caps anyway, you don't tend to notice it.
How do you pronounce XQUZYPHYR?
Technically, you can't (See above.) Most people use "Zy-fer," "the other guy" (as in Overboard and,) and just "X" (after the website being called XOverboard.) I sometimes abbreviate XQUZYPHYR as "'ZYPH," adding to the first choice as the more common way of saying it.
How does the comic get made? Any materials/technique tips?
The standard weekly strip is drawn on 8.5x11 inch smooth bristol board - about twice the print size. The pencils are done in non-photo blue (I recommend Sanford's Col-Erase, as they're one of the few NP-blue pencils with erasers on the end) and occasionally with blue mechanical pencil for tight detail work. The blue line is inked with waterproof black pigment ink pens- I currently use Alvin Penstix for most of the inking. Under recommendation from many, I avoid using Sharpies as they are acidic and will eventually ruin your original art. I avoid using White-Out as much as possible for the same reason, preferring to make any minor corrections on the computer.
Artwork is scanned into Photoshop as a 600 DPI black/white only bitmap, converted to grayscale to allow layers. Lettering and balloons are made in Photoshop using a custom font of my handwriting courtesy of Chank fonts. (Frighteningly enough, the font is actually available for purchase on Chank's site) A copy of the original artwork is made, which is then reduced to 300 DPI and colored. The only use for this process is if you are printing the strip, since it's helpful to have high-res blackline art with separate color files.
What advice do you have for people wanting to be professional cartoonists?
First, what every other cartoonist said when I asked them this question, and what you should tell anyone who one day asks you: get a day job, and then don't quit it. "Professional cartoonist" shares the same tier of possibility as "rock star" and in some cases is even harder as many rock stars don't actually need talent. Professional cartoonists always do, because the spread of online cartooning has honestly dilluted the pool with an even more competitive shit-to-gold ratio. For every Penny Arcade there are a thousand crappy webcomics diminishing the ability to generate public interest and making it harder for you to get noticed, and given the reluctance of print media to drop long-since-tired-out syndicated strips for fresher, younger artists, your chances of making it in the papers are even tougher. (I can count the number of publications I've been published in one one hand, and I've been I've been cartooning for over seven years.)
This doesn't mean you can't get a job in the arts- there's a rough-and-tumble world of animation, illustration, storyboarding, graphic design, and typography out there that I myself was involved in- but if your only goal for being a cartoonist is making money off it, that's probably the first reason you haven't made any money off it yet.