Interview of BJ Hiorns and Joey Hetzel
Interview conducted by Hbomb on March 13, 2003

Hbomb: Hello. Welcome to another Snowflake Interview. Our guests here are BJ Hiorns of Jackie's Fridge and Joey Hetzel of Tonja Steele. Welcome!

BJ: Hiya!
Joey: I'm not saying "hiya."
Hbomb: Fair enough.

BJ: Joey's putting away some laundry...I'll just yell the questions at her as they pop up.
Hbomb: Ok. JCS asks: 1. Who's the better singer: Leonard Nimoy or William Shatner? 
2. If Crayola decided to name a crayon after you and your life. What color(s) would it be? 
3. If you were in charge, which boy band would be catapulted into the ocean first?

BJ: I would have to say Leonard Nimoy, just because Shatner sort of ruled himself out with that nasty advertisement. I would hope Crayola would have a deep green crayon for me. I like green. And purple. Maybe a swirly mix of both colors. Lastly: all boy bands. All of them. Big deep ocean. Big.
Joey: Why do socks still look dirty even when they're clean? AAAnyway. I HATED those William Shatner commercials. Like he actually knows he's "in" on the joke. I'd vote for Jon Bon Jovi. A crayon---YES! I'm still here! Crayons! I like black. A nice black crayon, with a hint of dark blue. If I was in charge, I'd catapult the remaining Beatles into the ocean, because they started this whole boy band business. Then 98 degrees.

Hbomb: Ok. Next question. Kaoz asks "Uh.. What are ur um other fav web comics?"
BJ: Geez...this is one of those loaded questions, cos I know I'm gonna forget someone....
Hbomb: Well, it's just my graphics guy. I could set him on fire.
BJ: I'd say, off the top of my head: The Nolans, Umlaut House, is pretty.....Chopping Block, Strange Daze, Pillars of Faith, Arrogance in Simplicity...darnit, I know there's more I'm forgetting. I don't work well under pressure. *snort* :p
Joey: Honestly, the only webcomic I try to keep up with is The Nolans, cuz I'm lazy like that, and our computer's butt-slow. I usually just mock the syndicated strips I read at work. Baldo's my favorite right now, though (to read, not mock). Boondocks has some nice digs on politics, also.

Hbomb: Ok. Imakuni? Neo asks "Can I Hug the Catball?".
BJ: That would be ill-advised.
Hbomb: I figured as much.
Catball: Yes, tell the person I hate them. It is not a good thing to hug the CAT WITH NO FEET!
BJ: Catball types pretty fast with its nose, doesn't it?

Hbomb: Next question. Zodo asks "Sock Sock Shoe Shoe, or Sock Shoe Sock Shoe?".
BJ: Ah, I think I answered that in the forum. It's shoe, sock, sock, desock, deshoe, sock, shoe shoe. Or something close. It really depends on how much coffee I've had, how much sleep I get and whether or not I can find my shoes.....or any socks.
Joey: Sock, sock, then walk around in 'em for a while, then boots. I think I just solved my laundry mystery, too...

Hbomb: Ok. Charizard2000 asks: "What first got you interested in making your own web comic?"
BJ: Shannon "Baby Man" Traska. He became a second time father today at 12:30pm, by the way...
Hbomb: Oh, sweet!
BJ: I've known Shannon since the mid-80s. We've both been into computers, and while he got deeper into computers, I wandered off into comic territory. He's always supported my little quirk, starting when we were both on the high school newspaper. He asked a while ago if I was still drawing, and I said I was. I was doing Jackie's Fridge and JoBeth! for the college paper, and I was dating Joey, who did Tonja Steele for the same paper. He had just heard of this new free service that was starting called KeenSpace, and figured JoBeth! was a good launch vehicle. It's easy to pick up and relatively universal. So we started with that, and added the other two over time. He set us up with a mutt computer, we bought a scanner, and after he patiently taught me some basics of scanning/uploading/html, Joey and I were off and running. So it's all Shannon's fault. That babymaker. I kind of like webcartooning, because we can get some exposure, build a portfolio and get feedback (and a fan following!) without the extremely costly process of printing up books and trying to distribute them. Web publishing is pretty slick. ...that's it, that's my two cents.
Joey: Now we just need to figure out how to make money off this. But otherwise, it is pretty cool.
Hbomb: I was about to say something to that effect.

BJ: I'm scared. The Catball is currently sitting six feet away from me, eyeing up the frog's cage. It's seriously freaky.
Hbomb: Are you sure it's not just a hologram?
BJ: Yeah, it was a hologram. Joey walked past and it got feet.

Hbomb: Anyway, Duke asks: Both: On average, how long does it take to make a strip, starting from sketches and ending with the finished, and colored, product? 

  • BJ: WHEN are we gonna see Teagen? 
  • Joey: Are you ever gonna do a storyline where Jesus and Liza do something wholesome together (doesn't have to be romantic)? 
  • Both: Favorite live-action movie? TV Series? Animated movie? TV series? 
  • Both: Favorite KeenSpot comic? Favorite comic that should be spotted but isn't? Least deserving of being spotted? 

BJ: Holy cow!
Hbomb: Well, I could go with Cholma's 9.
Joey: An average four panel takes me about 7 hours from pencils to scan n' coloring. Sunday style ones take, guys all see how many of them get put up late. And, Jesus and Liza're probably the only ones that don't have a story about yet. I do have a decent Liza and Damien one coming soon, though... 
Favorite live action? I dunno if I have one. It depends on the genre: Comedy'd be Zoolander, probably. TV'd have to be Cheers. Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle, too. Otherwise, the only TV I watch is football. 
Hbomb: Well, everyone knows the South Park movie kicked ass.
BJ: My pencil work takes about an hour or two, and it's really sloppy. Lettering is another 15 minutes or so, penwork and brushwork take another hour and a half to three hours, and coloring takes another 45 minutes to an hour and a half. So on a good day, I can go from script to finish in about three and a half hours, depending on how much dialogue or how complex the illustration is. When are we gonna see Teagan? Well, she got a cameo last year... I'm trying to get her in the strip, but I just have more stuff to cover first. I really want to have her around, and I'll try to get her introduced within the year. Which I think I said a couple years ago. Live action movie: right now, Dark City. There's an awful lot in that film, and it's very well done. My all time faves: Time Bandits, Highlander, the Spy Kids films, Das Boot. TV series would have to be Malcolm in the Middle, and we have to wait for the DVDs to come out, since we don't really watch TV. Animated film...geez, pick one. I'd say any animated film has something to it that's worth watching. Some of my faves: Lilo & Stitch, the Tune, Rock & Rule, Titan A.E., Beauty & the Beast, South Park BL&U. I liked Dreamworks' "Spirit" for the technicality of the animation, and it was engaging enough, but kind of simplistic. Oh, and anything by Hayao Miyazaki. The man can do no wrong. Animated TV series? Futurama. South Park, Simpsons, King of the Hill.... I don't really read online comics that much, so fave KeenSpot comic I don't know. I think anybody who can produce a consistant, quality comic should be 'Spotted. Which, of course, leaves me out.

Hbomb: So, which are we going to see first, Teagan on JF or Magical Schoolgirl Tentacle Fiends?
BJ: Probably Teagan. I'd love to get MSTF off the ground, and I've got a "Meet the characters" script done, but no time to illustrate it.

Hbomb: Ok. Cholma asks (not part of the 9) "Do you just draw the strips as they come to you, or do you actually plot out a storyline and even potential dialogue and then draw the strips off that template?".
BJ: A little of both, for me. The current strips, in the closet with Cary, are being done completely on the fly. I know the ground I'm gonna cover, and I make everything else up as I go. Other stuff, like the "Photographic Memory" story, was totally scripted, with a few strips added as I went (the "Black Beauty" segment wasn't in the original script). The gag strips are a little of each. Some strips are based on a single line of dialogue, or a rant, or a strange observation, and some are presented for character development. I like the strips that tend to cover both, because there's a little more to grab. I have a few stories written that I won't be able to do for years. sigh....

Hbomb: Oh, if this is getting too lengthy, I could cut it short or we could continue later.
Joey: Could we finish tomorrow, maybe? I have to work early (yippee). But not before I correct myself and say that "Glitter" is the greatest comedy ever.
Hbomb: Even better than "The Blair Witch Project"?
Joey: Blair Witch was just annoying to the point I couldn't laugh any more. Like the new Star Wars movies.

Hbomb: Ok, one more question tonight, and then we can wrap it up later.
Joey: But....I haven't answered the "creative process" one...(whines) I'll answer it later. Promise.
Hbomb: Imakuni?Neo asks Catball: "What is the Meaning of Life?". He's Catball's biggest fan.
Catball: Hate the meaning of life...
BJ: C'mon, Catball....share the wisdom of your feetless years....
Catball: *deep sigh* Okay, you know. The meaning of life is to hate things. And to not lose track of the search for important things, like feet, of which I have none. It is actually everything which I hate, so I like nothing.

Hbomb: Ok, we can continue this later, when Joey will talk about the creative process.
BJ: *boots the catball across the room* Sounds good.

Part 2

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