With their second collection of comics getting published in the non-virtual world this year, the four cartoonists of the webcomic "Cyanide & Happiness"
seem to be approaching a completely new level of webcomicsuper stardom. "Ice Cream & Sadness,"
out today, collects 120 of the groups best comics from the past year plus 30 new strips, an intro by Randall Munroe of "xkcd," and a host of hilarious, black humor versions of children's worksheet games. This past week, Matt Melvin and Dave McElfatrick corresponded with ComicsAlliance about their new book, who they would marry, f*ck, and kill amongst themselves, and Abbott and Costello getting an AIDS test.
CA: You guys were working together for years before getting to meet in person, what was it like when you got together for the first time?
Rob and I were the first to meet in person. We went to a coffee shop and ordered hot chocolates. It was a little awkward; we've known each other for so long, but only over the Internet. We quickly broke the awkwardness, though, and jumped right into our normal juvenile antics.
It was a little different for me because I wasn't just meeting people I'd never met in person before, but people I'd never met in person before from the other side of the Atlantic ocean. I think we all got on great the first time we met, and over time it's only gotten easier to understand each other. But then, you could say that for any group of people getting to know each other, so really, this answer isn't all that special.
CA: How often do the four of you get to see each other in the flesh?
In the flesh... as in naked? Never. (We're very shy.) But we see each other in person several times a year for cons or just vacations. Dave actually just got his visa and is now living in Dallas near Rob, so they're practically neighbors now.
I get to see Rob every weekday now, since we work in the same place together! Before that it was solely conventions or whenever we would arrange to visit each other to do work. I haven't seen Matt and Kris in a while though, so it'll be good to catch up at the next convention we're all at (New York).
CA: Do you guys ever work together or are the strips conceived and executed individually? What is your approval process for which strips go on the site?
Every strip is conceived and drawn by an individual, but the process from beginning to end can involve varying amounts of collaboration. I think that's what makes our strip so unique and appealing to our audience: we're allowed to be very specific to our own senses of humor, but are always able to rely on one another. It makes for a broad spectrum of types of humor, albeit still confined to what WE like.
CA: Are there any strips you regret putting up? Are there any strips you're especially proud of? Why?
I guess my humor has changed over the years, so there's strips that I might've perceived as amusing years ago that I'd sniff at now. My personal favorites change all the time- today i think I enjoy a relatively recent one about a guy with a highlighter pen
. It seemed to go down pretty well with the fans.
I did a comic about Abbott and Costello getting an AIDS test. It was one of my favorite comics to begin with, but an ill-informed Australian got pissed because he thought I was talking about the Aussie politicos by the same name. I don't know how that comic could have been taken to be political at all, but his angry email that accused me of only knowing about "big black dick in [my] face" really made me smile.
CA: From looking at your Facebook fan page and your site's FAQ, it seems like you guys are inundated with strip ideas from fans. Do you have any horror stories of people trying to press strips on you/get you to draw a fan suggested idea?
Haha, we get that a lot. I think due to the comic's simplistic style, a lot of people have a go for themselves to see how they do. It's flattering that we get a lot of imitators, although the pushy ones aren't so much fun.
We had guest weeks on the site a few times. The last time we did it, we let anybody submit their strips and we'd pick the best seven. We got somewhere like 10,000 strips sent to us. And most of them weren't quite up to par with what we were expecting. It was pretty rough.
CA: Let's play the marry/f*ck/kill game. Of your fellow C&H creators, who would you marry, who would you f*ck and who would you kill? Why?
Well, I'd first have to marry Dave to get him a green card. I'd probably kill Kris. He'd probably be the easiest to take out. I guess that leaves me with Rob to f*ck, but only by default and by no means would it be enjoyed by either party.
I think I'd marry, f*ck and kill all of them. In that order.
CA: This one's for Dave McElfatrick, how have you been using your time since you got a U.S. visa? Is living in the USA as glorious as you imagined it would be? Is there anyone/any community in particular you'd like to thank for helping out with the petition?
I've been working a load on animations with Rob and eating incredibly unhealthily. It's been great, I lived here for four months from January to April of this year, so I'm already somewhat used to the place. The sense of freedom I have now though is indescribable. I love it. I'd like to thank the fans, of course! They're the ones who stood up and kicked that petition's ass for me, and I'm just so amazed that I've got so many people behind me all around the world. THANKS!
CA: What's the next step for Cyanide & Happiness, are there any big projects coming up you'd like to talk about?
We've got our second book coming out and we're working on a lot more animated shorts. We're also opening up our own merch again: t-shirts, plushy dolls, posters and more. We'll also be at the New York Comic Con this [weekend]!
Check out "Cyanide and Happiness's" new book, "Ice Cream & Sadness," available today.