The Sep’arrgh Weys Track Is Good Too

Yesterday I sat down with Dan Long to get some behind-the-scenes insight into the making of his webcomic. Here is the beginning of my interview with the artist behind Edmund Finney’s Quest to find the Meaning of Life:

Dan and I meet at a beauty parlor in a blue-collar neighborhood on the upper-East side of Nova Scotia. Dan is having his hair and nails done in preparation for attending the 2010 Winter Olympics. I ask when how he plans to spend the time during his long flight to Vancouver. He responds with, “Van-what?” I decide to change the subject.

WAH: What was going on in your life professionally and personally when you initially decided that you wanted to create and publish a webcomic?

DL: I decided to do the webcomic thing after several rejections from newspaper syndicates for “Edmund” and other comic submissions.  According to the syndicates, “Edmund” was too different for the comics page, so it wouldn’t fit nicely in there.  I liked the concept too much to shelve it, and I recently discovered that lots of comics were online (I think PVP Online was the first webcomic I’d heard of, sometime in March of ’09).  I was surprised to see this fancy template called “Comicpress” already created for people who wanted to do webcomics.  So, I did it- launched in April of ’09, and started discovering other webcomics along the way.  I’m really enjoying the community thus far.

WAH: What were the main influences that helped you to construct your theme and characters?

DL: Actually, none.  Edmund was a random man I drew one day while doing random sketches- totally by accident.   I liked the way he turned out, and for some reason he seemed like his name would be “Edmund”, then “Edmund Finney.”  From there, I brainstormed on who Edmund Finney was, and he seemed like the timid, thoughtful type who might be searching for philosophical answers.  Though not an “influence,” per se, I suppose his character traits are somewhat like Ichabod Crane.  Maybe because Edmund kind of looks like Ichabod, my mind assigned Edmund some of those qualities.  I think Edmund is slightly more confident than Ichabod, though he’s not above screaming in fright and running away from an ominous situation. The theme and tone I’d probably say are mostly influenced by Berke Breathed’s “Outland,” especially since my comic has become more of a “Sunday” format as of late, compared to the four-panel “daily” strips in the beginning.  Outland was always so ridiculous and pleasantly outrageous to me.   I think Edmund Finney’s world has a lot of that craziness going on day by day.  My ultimate influences are The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes, but whose aren’t?

Have a great weekend everyone.

– Ben