QWtD - alejkhan interviews Exzachly!
lucky7s76 at 7:31AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 229
joined: 10-25-2007
The following interview was conducted by alejkhan in the Community Interview Project!

Username: Exzachly

Comic(s): Last Place Comics

When I first heard I had to interview you, Exzachly, I decided I should do some research. I went to your DD profile, but…nothing. You seemed mysterious, enigmatic, nonexistent. So, my first question is, how would you describe yourself in your profile, if you had actually filled out your profile?

Hi, my name is Zach. I am a 25 year old college educated male who makes this kick ass thing called last place comics (occasionally now it seems). I live with my lovely girlfriend Inez, best bud Devin, best bud's girlfriend Sandy, unrelated random guy Marshall, and my 19 feral cats. My hobbies include: extreme football, extreme wrestling, being extreme, mountain dew, long walks on your face, extreme ultimate frisbee and other variations of extreme sports (i.e. extreme gymnastics, extreme breathing, and extreme extreming).

I gathered from your author’s notes that you began your comic in the ancient tradition of drawing in class/for a class that didn’t require drawing. Where do you find yourself drawing these days?

Mostly at home. That one was easy! Oh yeah, I'm probably supposed to make jokes with this question… uhh… deep space.

To follow, where are you actually the most productive?

Deep space…. where no one can hear you … uhh… deep space.

Take us through your creative process. How does an episode of “Last Place Comics” get from your brain to our computer screens?

It'll start with me either saying something funny or being inspired by any old thing. Even if I only have some weird image or funny line to work from, I can usually brainstorm off that until I get a finished comic. The worst is when I don’t have a place to start, then I’ll just pace around mumbling “funny… funny… something funny…” until I force something out. I plan the entire comic in my head before I start drawing.

Next is the actual creation process which is extremely uninteresting. Like most people these days, I work on an ivory desk with panda skin paper. I ink it (giant squid ink), then send it by carrier bald eagle (killed after use) to myself for my “consideration” (killing baby tigers). For coloring, I use about 60 aerosol spray paint cans (spraying most of it on Arctic Foxes, thus compromising their natural camouflage and ensuring their demise), then I throw about 900 plastic six pack rings into the ocean.

Anywho, Tecra M4 tablet for drawing. GIMP for coloring. It aint hard.

“Last Place Comics” is an interesting title. You say that the strip “Nice Guys” is the basis for the title. You also say it makes no sense character-wise. To quote your author’s notes: “The comic from which the title ‘Last Place Comics’ came (from). Odd because (i) think this is the only time in (the) the strip the main character does anything nice… ever.” You took away a question I could’ve asked. How does that make you feel?


To follow, why didn’t you check your grammar? To quote you once again: “Bad grammar kills.”

… And yet you're still here…. This isn't awkward…

To follow, why did you pick out the “Nice Guys” comic punchline as the title?

I suck at naming things. I name my characters exactly what they are: Toothy the angry tooth (guess what he is), the man with no arms aka Mr. Armless (guess what he's missing), the Justifier (guess what he does). Pulling some random phrase out of a comic and making that the title was an easy way for me to avoid naming it. At the time, I didn't have a huge backlog of comics and Last Place was pretty much the best I could find. It kind of fits though. Failure and misery abound in the comic.

Why the comic strip format? Why gag comics?

Last Place appeared in my university newspaper for a year. The periods that were strictly 4 panel were because that was the aspect ratio the editors demanded of me. Before and after that, I really don't stick to the comic strip format all that much.

As for why gag comics, because it's what comes naturally for me. I’ve given a lot of thought to trying something more serious, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't create believable characters if I tried. I'm way too stuck in my own head to have any insight into human nature other than my own.

To follow, was there a particular comic strip that inspired you to follow this format?

Not really. I can't think of a comic strip I've read that made me say “yeah, that format ROCKS!”

There are many one-off characters that appear to fulfill a gag, and every once in a while they get a bit more air time. What makes a character worth bringing back?

As you say, most characters are created as an easy way to tell a joke and really can’t be used for anything other than that particular joke. Some of these jokes can be built on and that’s the most common reason a character will make it back. A lot of these characters are the joke, so the problem is how do you keep telling the same joke again and again without it getting boring? I mean, with one dimensional characters like F. Unicorn and Toothy, you know what's gonna happen the second you see them; so how can you keep surprising the audience without compromising that one dumb thing that makes the character what it is? The only character I do that seems to have any real mileage is my perennial loser version of Aquaman. Anyways, I guess the point is I'll bring them back if there's a joke to be had by them.

You complain a lot in your author’s notes about being unsatisfied or unsure of a joke or of the use of the four panel format in order to deliver the joke (by the way, you are more often than not needlessly worried), but where do you feel you were most successful?

Short, simple jokes work just fine in four panels. Let’s see… the Your Mom ones come to mind. Actually, I have no problem with most of those early strips. It’s just working in any set number of panels will limit the kind of jokes you can do. Each joke is meant to be a certain length, whether its 4 panels or 8 or 27. You need a certain amount of panels to fit in all the information, set it up, to get the timing right. The joke dictates the length of the comic and if you can’t use that length it will show.

And finally, it seems a lot of the inspiration for the situations in “Last Place Comics” come from your everyday life and your friends, so I have to ask: Just how close are you to being “Zach” in “Last Place Comics?”

Not exactly. It’s true that all of the comics are based on actual events, but in real life I’m a 900 lb woman and I made it all up.
By the time you finish this, you'll have read it. :3

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
alejkhan at 10:28AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 390
joined: 1-5-2006

Thanks for answering my horrible questions with non-horrible answers, Exzachly!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
skoolmunkee at 10:28AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I have to say, the questions and answers are probably the funniest I've read yet.

Exzachly, what are your feelings on baby seals? Do helpless kittens have a place in your art process?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
amanda at 10:42AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 2,075
joined: 9-19-2007
It must be awesome living with 19 feral cats. At the very least, I bet they keep magazine solicitors away.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:51AM
houseofmuses at 11:09AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 156
joined: 4-4-2008
This interview tells us all exzachly what we needed to know about you!!!! XD
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
robzidious at 11:29AM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 48
joined: 1-8-2009
Great interview! I was laughing the whole time (extreme extreming). I've been following Last Place Comics since I started DD. One of the funniest things I've read on the web…not just DD. The updates have slowed down tremendously but when it is updated it's worth it. If you haven't checked Last Place Comics out, you should because it is absolutely worth it!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:08PM
fukujinzuke at 9:59PM, Feb. 6, 2009
posts: 282
joined: 9-3-2008
That's way too funny! Great interview!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
harkovast at 6:56AM, Feb. 7, 2009
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Okay Exzachly, I thought your questions were good but your answers are even better!
You are the most imaginative 900 pound woman I know!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:42PM
Exzachly at 2:08AM, Feb. 16, 2009
posts: 565
joined: 4-21-2007
Do helpless kittens have a place in your art process?
Why do you think I keep 19 of them around? If I wanted pets I'd buy a swarm of screeching owls, pretty much the ultimate pet.

You are the most imaginative 900 pound woman I know!
You have to have a big imagination when youre trapped inside this 900 lb fleshy cell inside your actual prison cell at San Quenton. Trust me guys, those endangered species laws aren't to be messed around with…
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Sei at 4:12AM, Feb. 16, 2009
posts: 26
joined: 7-5-2007
Lol, very funny interview xD. I've only read the most recent page from that comic so I'll have to backtrack and catch up on the archives.

Congrats on getting “Last Place Comics” first place ;].
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
Bocaj at 6:05PM, Feb. 17, 2009
posts: 3,278
joined: 4-3-2007
Great interview!
Exachttyytyttyry was awesome!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
ifelldownthestairs at 6:40PM, Aug. 10, 2009
posts: 432
joined: 7-4-2007
Damn, you're right - it is similar. I can especially relate to the “funny… funny… something funny…”

The similarities end with the ivory desk though - I use a stuffed polar bear, which I killed with a hammer (to ensure the back provides a nice, flat surface).

Are you still extreme extreming? Dude… that's gonna get you killed one of these days, you need to be careful.
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
Exzachly at 3:14AM, Sept. 1, 2009
posts: 565
joined: 4-21-2007
Yeah, you put the whole thing much better. How basically the ideas just come at random and its up to you to either pay attention all the time or try and force one later. Personally, I've always been horrible at remembering ideas, and I'm too self-conscious to carry around a notepad or anything cause I don't want to look like a self-important douche.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
ifelldownthestairs at 10:58AM, Sept. 1, 2009
posts: 432
joined: 7-4-2007
I'm too self-conscious to carry around a notepad or anything cause I don't want to look like a self-important douche.

Amen to that. Though I have thought before that it would be funny to buy one of those mini-recorders for that same reason…

Like some fat black chick in line at a movie theater bitching about something or another… “Tah-RONE!! Da HALE yoo MANE y'awll ain't got no MUNNEH??”

And then just jump in front of them, click it on, and say into it “Comic idea - obnoxious black bitch holds up the line because her boyfriend is broke.”

Then when I regain consciousness in the ambulance, “comic idea - treatment is refused when I make fun of the EMT's gay mustache.”
you know why birds don't write their memoirs? because birds don't lead epic lives, that's why. who'd want to read what a bird does? nobody. that's who.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM

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