Mixing the humour of the Odd Couple with the attitude of Atomic Robo and the can-do spirit of digital comics, Drew Crowley’s Hugh and Bot is the latest web comic sensation to land on your iPad thanks to ComiXology’s Submit. Fresh from an appearance in this weekend’s Sunday Digest, we contacted Drew to find out more about the lovelorn slacker Hugh and the work out the best way to cope with a robotic roommate like Bot.
Tell us where the inspiration for Hugh and Bot came from? It’s quite the unique take on the ‘Odd Couple’ roommate scenario!
DC: Hugh & Bot was originally a webcomic I did around 10 years ago. For the first strip, I had an idea for a joke that referenced the Three Laws of Robotics from Isaac Asimov. In order for the joke to work, I needed one of the characters to be a robot and so Bot came to be. And Hugh is, in many ways, a representation of myself. Bot being robot also meant that I had an automatic pass to do sci-fi type storylines, which definitely interested me.
It has a very web comic feel with each page building to a crescendo was that how it was originally published and if so what did you make of that experience? If not, how has it been published before – if at all?
DC: Hugh & Bot originally ran as a webcomic, for nearly three years, back in the early 2000s. I actually collected all of the original strips into two volumes that you can buy on lulu.com (http://tinyurl.com/knuqwu7) This particular issue was written as one complete story, but I’m sure there is a residual web comic writing style left over from my days writing the web comic. I really enjoyed the web comic experience. It gave me a great work ethic because I had to put something up three times a week. I’m proud to say that during the entire run of Hugh & Bot, I never missed an update.
If you could change anything from those early issues, would you?
DC: The only thing about those early issues that bugs me is there was a lot more swearing. I’m not against swearing, but as Hugh & Bot grew, I felt it kind of went away from that. So those early strips feel awkward to me. And of course, the art looks very rudimentary to me now. But I’m kind of glad it does. If I was still happy with the art, I don’t feel I’d be growing as an artist.
You’ve recently been published on ComiXology, tell us how that came about and what sort of positives you hope it will bring to your work?
DC: A friend clued me in to ComiXology‘s new “Submit” section, where independent creators can submit their comics. ComiXology has a few things I don’t. For one, there’s a built-in audience of comic readers, so hopefully more people will find my stuff. And second, they make the comic look really nice on an iPad and add all the nice transitions when paging through. That’s something I can’t do.
Are you a fan of digital comics on the iPad and if so what are your thoughts on what it can do for indie publishers like yourself? And what books do you read and rate?
DC: I think the iPad has a lot of potential for comics. Especially when it comes to indie publishers. The biggest expense is obviously printing, when it comes to actual books. This removes that cost and makes it easier to get things out into the world to a big audience. I’ve only just begun collecting comics on the iPad so I haven’t had a chance to read or rate many titles. So far, I’ve picked up Lookouts and Wolverine and the X-Men.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next? Is comics just a hobby for you right now or do you work at it full time? Do you have other series etc.
DC: There is currently a second issue of Hugh & Bot in the works. I’ve done two other comics that I’ve self-published in print about different characters. Those might end up on ComiXology as well. And there’s another webcomic I do the art for, called Separately Sushi, that’s currently on hiatus, but should be coming back pretty soon.
Finally, if you could choose a robotic room mate which robot from comics or movies would you pick and why?
DC: Robots never make good roommates do they? I suppose I might go with Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit. He was a funny guy.