Friday, September 30, 2011

The Andrew MacLean Interview!

Andrew MacLean stops by and talks to us about drawing and rocking out like a badass. He hates glass bottles clinking together, and is deathly afraid of spiders. Also, he's illustrating an upcoming book called Meatspace. Watch for it. Tell us what makes you scream and cry on Twitter. Email, it's like a message in a bottle. Facebook is our casual hangout spot. Fanoff has a ton of cool stuff, go check it out! Tumblr is fun to enjoy. Comic Booked has us and so much more. Go over to iTunes for this and other stuff. Read our webcomic Super Cute, and look at your friends in wonderment.

Andrew MacLean draws his inspiration from movies and comics, particularly Mike Mignola. Check out that sweet picture up there for proof. It's available to view alongside more awesome art on his DeviantArt page. Find your jean jacket, and listen to the interview with a dude who is definitely one to watch. Not creepily, though.

Austin Wilson and David Hopkins wear jean jackets under their shirts at all time. This interview runs 57:17 and is dripping with artistry. Not because of us though. Because of Andrew MacLean's art. Download the rest of our shows and go read our webcomic!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#052 - Information For Your Brain Hole (With Liz Suburbia)

It's a very special episode this week because it guest stars Liz Suburbia! Go check out her webcomic Sacred Heart, and follow her on Twitter and Tumblr. She unequivocally rocks. You should look at Super Cute, our own webcomic! Listen to our insane mutterings on Twitter. Email to make sure we read it while we're wearing our tweed jackets. Facebook lets you see the faces of everyone who likes both Hideous Energy and Super Cute. Fanoff treats us right, so we try to do the same to them. Tumblr sits in a frame. Comic Booked is a playground for comics. Go to iTunes and download all episodes of Hideous Energy!

Episode #052:
• Intro - We talk about weird stuff - surprise - before we talk about Discount Comic Book Services and how they love us for some reason.
• Topic Thunder - Guest starring Liz Suburbia! We talk about "Mad Max" and then about Do-It-Yourself comics and their role in the larger landscape of comics; piracy and whether it is the Apocalypse some people say it is; and yet again we have to discuss whether or not DC hates women. Seth Breedlove wrote an article we mention.
• You Should Read This - David selects "Planetary;" Austin picks "Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether;" and Liz Suburbia chooses "Finder."
• The Listen Bitches - Liz Suburbia picks "Tambourines-N-Thyme" by Nana Grizol; David picks "Is This It" by the Strokes; Austin picks "Creepin' Up the Backstairs" by The Fratellis.
• Outro - Ummmmm...

David Hopkins and Austin Wilson have made some awesome friends through this podcast, and Liz Suburbia is one of them. This show runs 1:45:48. Read our newest Super Cute strip, download all Hideous Energy episodes on iTunes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Do It Yourself Comic - Editing

I've gone through quite a few steps on the way to creating my own comic - concept, design, plotting, and scripting - and now that I have a finished script in hand, it's time to do something with it. Instead of starting in on the actual art process (see: design), I'm going to spend some time editing what I've written and see what changes.

I won't spend too much time on this since the process has a dual nature. While I was writing the script I edited out certain things that weren't working, almost always because of space. The comic I'm setting out to make is 16 pages, and you wouldn't think only six pages less than the traditional comic book would make too big of a difference, but it seemed like it did. This partially might've been because I had the story in my mind, and written down as a loose outline. Without seeing it in the context of comic book pages, where I would have to worry about pacing the dialogue along with the overall flow of the story, I wouldn't be able to see where I might need to make cuts. I'm sure some people might spend more time on the outlining, and get every piece as meticulously into place as possible, but I didn't want to get bogged down on what will be a very small story. This one-shot shouldn't take me months to outline, so I got the basic gist of the story down and went ahead.

One thing I ran into immediately was having enough time to give my readers a sense of who the main character is. I had all of these aspirations of showing a storyline unfolding with the main character, but also giving the reader a sense of who the secondary character is, and that quickly went out the window. My goal to show how anger can affect us got whittled down to one central act, and the main character became the sole focus. Another thing from the original outline that was changed was the timeline. I had it written that I would show the main character at work over the course of two days, but that was impossible because of the page count.

Movies sometimes utilize a technique known as a "jump cut," which I'm pretty sure was the product of the French New Wave, or so David tells me. It's a method that can work beautifully on-screen, allowing the filmmakers to show the passage of time in large or small chunks, and present a visually interesting change that will keep the viewer engaged. In comic books, however, it can sometimes be too jarring, and only work in conjunction with captions or dialogue explaining the new surroundings. I utilized a few jump cuts, and did so for a few reasons. First, I was working with a very limited amount of space to tell my story. I needed to set up the main character's life, both in and out of work, and I wanted to show him at home to give the readers some kind of comparison between how he acts when he's alone, and how he acts when he's with people (or one person in particular). Second, after I realized my 16 pages were quickly being eaten up by the script, I knew that using jump cuts would be an easy way to cut out certain chunks of narrative, and do so in a way that served the story.

One of the bad things about editing as you work is it takes longer to produce a final product, and definitely presents the possibility of getting wrapped up in making the work perfect before it's even finished. Normally when I'm writing something I'll worry about editing later, but since this is such a short comic, one I can finish and not worry about sequels or follow-up issues, I didn't worry about getting caught up in the editing.

Most likely after I go back to the script and look over it I'll see pacing problems, or maybe plot points that don't make sense. I will definitely see dialogue that could be better, and that will be the majority of what gets edited. I'm going to go into it with my editing weapons out. Murder your darlings.


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Sam Humphries Interview!

We talk to writer Sam Humphries, the writer of Our Love Is Real, a one-shot getting ready to be published by Image Comics! He talks about having sex with plants and dogs, but also about corporate-citizenship, as well as how awesome he looks airbrushed on the side of a van. Tell us what your van looks like on Twitter. Email and we shall talk, internet style. Facebook probably looks different, but who cares? Fanoff has MP3 downloads of us talking! Tumblr has pictures that we love, and you might too. Comic Booked is a place we hang out 'cause it's cool. You can download this and every other thing we've done, ever, on iTunes. Also, go check out our webcomic Super Cute.

Give a listen to us chatting with writer Sam Humphries. We discuss co-opting genuinely cool and artistic facets of culture, whether there are children out there reading comics, and also bigotry and hatred. It's a lot of fun, trust us! There are, however, no monster trucks.

Austin Wilson and David Hopkins just bought some vans and airbrush kits. You will know when you see them coming. This interview runs 1:23:45 and made the guys bleed out of their eyes immediately because of that running time. Download us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#051 - He's a Duck Banker

For our 51st show we talk about comics, but also hair and duck banking. No, that second thing is not one of those HILARIOUS special sex moves. It really is about ducks, and banking. Go check out the second Super Cute webcomic! Sit next to us digitally on Twitter. Email and we promise we'll read it. Facebook wants you to click like on Hideous Energy and Super Cute. Fanoff makes sure to always tell us we're pretty. Tumblr reminds you why there are colors. Comic Booked is where the comics go to play. Find us on iTunes and download the holy crap out of us.

Episode #051:
• Intro - We're dorks who worry about HP and MP and all kinds of other dorky abbreviations, and Discount Comic Book Services graciously sponsors us.
• Topic Thunder - There was almost an "Avengers" game, and it was almost awesome to play it; JT Krul is done with "Green Arrow;" and DC, again, may or may not hate women.
• Read 'Em and Weep - Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli; Demon Knights by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves; and Ultimate Spider-Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.
• Hair - Everyone has it, kind of.
• Outro - Duck banking.

David Hopkins and Austin Wilson aren't sure they know where some of their words come from. This show runs 1:35:43. Go check out the new Super Cute strip. Read it, then download this show and others on iTunes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making the Comics - A Peek Into Super Cute

Even though we don't talk about it too often, David and I continue to operate Hideous Energy exactly as it was operated the day it began. Our love of comics has never waned, and we are the right kind of obsessive to ensure that it won't. It was only natural that after so long of loving something so completely we would decide to create our own, an object of adoration that would be born from and exist within the ruby-tinted love we huddle around every week when we record the Hideous Energy podcast.

What all of that means is we started a webcomic called Super Cute. There's some information on that site under the "About" tab which touches on this briefly, and gives a little insight into how things came about. The even shorter version is that we found Brent Hibbard, our artist, and things seriously fell into line pretty easily after that. I've been struggling with getting comics made for some time now. I only write them (although right now I'm working on "drawing" one too), so no matter how much time I've put into a project, seeing it come to fruition has always relied on someone else. Super Cute is officially the first comic I've been involved in making, because it's the first that has not only been started, but completed. Which means I've had a lot of starts and stops over the years. Something happened with this one though, something different. Once Hibbard sent us his art, and David and I both saw he was awesome, he started working to become the artist of this project and he never stopped. His commitment was never in doubt because it was on display in every image he sent us. It is sort of laughable how much everything worked exactly like it should in the run-up to this webcomic being published, once we found our artist.

The first official strip is up on the website. Here's the strip that was originally going to be published first, strip #000. It didn't rehash any information we'd already published through the "Characters" tab on the site, but it did give readers another week to wait until the actual stories about these two characters (Bronson and Leonard) began. So we don't feel like we asked Brent to draw something only to file it in a drawer, here is the finished strip, entitled "#000 - Diagnostics," along with a breakdown of the process on the road to a completed strip. Thanks to Brent for being dedicated and awesome! Go check out the webcomic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#050 - "Fifty" Kind of Sounds Like "Filthy"

For the 50th time we talk to you about comics and all kinds of nuttiness! Can you believe we've done this 50 times? Also, we have a webcomic now! Talk right to us on Twitter. Email if you want to talk to us about anything and need more space. Facebook now not only has Hideous Energy, but Super Cute (our webcomic) as well. Fanoff collects us and we love that. Tumblr is skin deep. Comic Booked has us and so much more. Go download this show, and all of our others on iTunes. Count them and realize we love you and this sooooo much.

Episode #050:
• Intro - In honor of our 50th show ever we talk about Dick Carpet, then expertly segue into mentioning our sponsors, Discount Comic Book Services.
• Read 'Em and Weep - DC books, talked about for A LOT. Or a while. Either one. Batgirl #1 by Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf; Animal #1 by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman; and Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales.
• Top 5 - People Whose Bodies We'd Possess and Why
• Outro, With Special Surprises - We sign off for the 50th time, and give you a little behind-the-scenes peek into what recording the show is actually like.

David Hopkins and Austin Wilson won't stop, because they can't stop. This is what Hideous Energy is all about. This show runs 1:30:33. Go to and check out the new strip! You should also go to iTunes and download all of this, all 50 episodes of us doing this weird thing we do.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#049 - It's Time To Travel (With Secrets)

We traveled back in time to record this episode and reveal what we've been working on all along. It's a webcomic! Talk to us about it on Twitter. Email and have long, heartfelt conversations with us. Facebook now not only has Hideous Energy, but Super Cute (our webcomic) as well. Go search for it, until we get 25 fans and get our URL. Fanoff loves us and we love them. Tumblr has the pictures. Comic Booked will let you enjoy us over there too. If you love life, download us on iTunes. That will prove it to yourself.

Episode #049:
• Intro - Counting blessings can and should include counting Discount Comic Book Service. Also, us.
• Read 'Em and Weep - The DC Relaunch is finally in full effect, and we review Flashpoint #5 by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, as well as Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. We discuss this a lot.
• Secret Project Revealed - If you've been following us at all, you might have heard/seen a few references to a secret project. It's why we had to skip recording last week, and it can finally be revealed! We interview (kind of) Brent Hibbard, our awesome artist on our brand new webcomic, Super Cute. It's at, and will be updated every Wednesday with the show! Thanks to Brent (the One we call Hibbard), this run-up to episode #050 has been a ton of fun. Right now there is a promo photo posted of the two characters the strip will focus on, and next week the webcomic officially begins with strip #000. Check it out!
• Top 5 - Worst Ways To Time Travel
• Listen Bitches - David picks "Brother" by Murder By Death, and Austin picks "The World May Never Know" by Dr. Dog.

David Hopkins and Austin Wilson found Brent Hibbard, and together they all created a webcomic. It's a lot of fun, so go read it. This show runs 1:26:49. Go to and find your way to us in all forms, but also go to! Oh yeah, and download this show on iTunes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Whitney Matheson Interview!

Today we bring you an interview with someone who also talks and writes about comics - it's Whitney Matheson, from USA Today's Pop Candy column! Check out Pop Candy, and probably put it into your bookmarks immediately. Send us links to cool shit on Twitter. Email to let us know about things that need knowing. Facebook is maybe awesome? Fanoff has MP3 downloads of us talking! Tumblr will make you lose consciousness. Comic Booked let's you listen to us too. Where else? How about iTunes! Go there immediately and get this and other shows we recorded.

Whitney Matheson stops by to chat with us regarding pop culture, how she came to write for USA Today, and her journey to comics. Also, she talks to us about how she could totally kick Ryan Reynolds's ass, and how Pee Wee Herman almost made her cry. Thanks for listening!

Austin Wilson and David Hopkins would probably never even try to fight Ryan Reynolds. Fight him with hugs maybe. This interview runs 50:42, and is available from Fan Off, Comic Booked, and most importantly from iTunes!

The Do It Yourself Comic - Scripting

If you're following along you'll know I loosely plotted a comic I'm working on making myself, and that I've also briefly worked on the design for how the art will look. The plotting was definitely loose, since I'm going to be creating a mini-comic. That doesn't mean there has to be a simple plot, but that's the path I chose.

Now that I know what I want the theme of my comic to be - the idea of giving and taking, and how anger can affect both of those - I can start in with the actual scripting. Normally I would focus a lot more attention on creating characters, and that would play a huge role in the plotting. I've spent less time doing that here since there will only be two people in my book. In actuality I've most likely thought about these two guys more than I told myself I would, imagining their back stories, their demeanor and why they do certain things.

Here are the first two script pages. Click them to see them better.

I knew I wanted to start the comic with the main character's hand just lying there, to show inaction and how that plays a role into who this guy is and how he feels most of the time. His hand is lying there limply, almost like he's dead. That easily led to my wanting to show him shutting his alarm clock off, another action which can be used to show what kind of thoughts and feelings we're going to be seeing from this guy.

After I wrote that first page I knew I wanted to do something unique with page two, possibly a two-page spread. The first image that popped into my head was a long panel, one where we saw the main character lying there looking dejected and not at all happy to be awake. I wanted it to be more than him simply not being a "morning person." I wanted there to be a sense of doom, or depression. As my head went through all of this I started thinking about depression, and I remembered a story my mom told me once about a family member dealing with depression. She would see him constantly lying back, with an arm draped across his face, and it struck me as a very sad pose. I thought of this person desiring darkness, doing all he could do to push the light away, and it made me feel for him. So I wrote that into the script. 

Next, I thought about how to lay this page out, and whether I would write it into a two-page spread. Using the theme of hands, how they are pulling us through our days, I tried to think of where I could go, and how to use my theme to get there. I really liked the idea of trying to play up this character's sadness. The more I thought about the sadness the more it started taking on a new form, and started seeming like this guy wasn't just dealing with a job he hated, but a life he wasn't sure he could live anymore. It started to become about despair.

Thinking of layout, searching for an interesting way to move the reader's eyes through these pages, I thought about how I wanted to show the character reaching down for something, basically for the simple reason of I thought it would look cool to have the panel be defined by the outside of his wrist and hand, and have him reaching down into another panel. It would make for a short page, but hopefully the layout and emotions/story implications presented would make it stick in the readers' minds. After I thought that, my mind shifted quickly to what he could possibly be reaching for. The first thing I thought of was a prescription pill bottle. My thought process went like this: "Yeah! Wait, no. That's way over-dramatic. How bout some Tylenol or something. Well, wait. Yeah, it might not be so bad for him to be reaching for a prescription pill bottle. And yeah, how 'bout he grabs it and discovers it's empty. Ooooooh. Yeah. I like that." So that's what I wrote in.

It put a nice little fire under my ass, and got me excited to write the rest of the script as quickly as I could, so that's what I'm going to try and do. I don't really think there needs to be an entry on editing, but ya' never know. Maybe I'll come across something I think I should write about, and how I made the decision to alter dialogue or some other small part of the whole process/product. Stay tuned.