I (Chris) started reading webcomics a couple years ago. I started out with User Friendly (which I've since dispensed of as a "phase"), Penny Arcade, and Sluggy Freelance. Eventually, I stumbled upon Keenspot. Avalon, Real Life, and Pentasmal were three of my favorite strips, when I found out - these were just regular guys with some artistic talent drawing these. Josh Phillips was still a college student, Greg Dean was 22ish (?) and Aaron Farber was a high school student, still. It struck me then that I could manage putting one out among the rest of my schedule.
It took me three months to finish my first comic, because of my lack of attention span. The next one took me around a week. Soon, I became able to draw, scan, and edit a comic in the space of a couple hours. In the meantime, I had registered for webspace with KeenSpace and on November 8th, 2001, I began posting the comic.
The premiere date itself was a tip of the hat to Avalon, which I still consider my greatest inspiration - November 8th was Avalon's second anniversary.
I'll take questions now.
Why do you do a comic?
I've always wanted to be a cartoonist - I was taking classes in it as early as 7. Then, I decided to actually make it happen.
How do you make the comic?
I have frames (four to a sheet) printed on regular printer paper. I draw with a #2 .5 or .7 mm mechanical pencil and scan it with my Visioneer at 600 dpi in black and white. After cleaning up the frames and doing any extra editing (adding other frames, duplicating images, etc) I line the frames up in a template (sometimes making a new one if I don't have one for that number of frames - the template is basically a previous comic at 600 dpi). I then convert the image to greyscale and shrink it to 1/8 the previous size (from 3000 pixels wide to 375), and that's the image I post.
What exactly does Stefan do?
Stefan has two functions in the production of the comic. One is essentially inspiration - the comic would not exist without him, because it is from our conversations that the humor of the comic is usually born. These are our lives in comic form.
His other function is as a writer. He often makes contributions in phrasing the jokes - I've not always the ability to turn a nice phrase.
Are Charles and Steve supposed to be Chris and Stefan?
What are your inspirations?
Apart from Avalon and Real Life, there've been a few others. Absurd Notions is an extremely intelligent comic that's responsible for some of my cynical sense of humor. Mac Hall showed me some really good college humor - my strip is at base much the same premise as Ian McConville's, but he's far more advanced than I in most respects. College Roomies from Hell!!! is practically the GOD of college comics. Fans! has possibly the best writing and one of the most engaging storylines of any comic I've ever seen. It occasionally switches artists, but Jason Waltrip is the usual guy, and it's no wonder he's actually getting paid for this stuff.
As for non-comic inspirations, I'd have to cite the movie Fight Club (I've yet to read the book...), Douglas Adams, and Phantom of the Opera, off the top of my head. There're more, but none that occur to me as immediately.
As for Stefan's, we'll have to see if he feels like putting something up.