Living With Insanity is a humour webcomic about everything that a creator can go through when trying to make it in the comic business.
Originally drawn by writer David Herbert, it was launched on drunkduck.com on December 6th 2008 and updated for a month and a half before Paul Salvi became the artist and helped the comic gain a larger readership. Eventually the comic was moved to its own site and updated until 2011 when Paul left to pursue his own projects. Fer Galicia took over the art duties and has continued to this day.
While I was the artist, the strip was about trying to make a newspaper comic while crazy things happened. With Paul coming on board, the newspaper plot continued but was pushed to the background as the surroundings became more and more bizarre and surreal. Eventually these elements were pushed to the side when Fer became the artist and the focus of the comic shifted back to semi-autobiographical stories about trying to break into the comic industry, and this time the project was a superhero comic book since I have more experience with self-publishing comic books. Also, the format was changed to standard 22 page chapters rather than an ongoing strip with occasional story arcs.
The website did gain a large following, however it was attacked by a virus back in 2011. After going offline for nearly five months, the site was brought back but lost the archives and most of its readership. Fer’s strips were uploaded as normal and when he required a break from the comic in 2012, Paul’s strips were uploaded daily. The site was then attacked again and somehow, the archives wiped. However, this time the uploaded strips were restored within a week.
David – The lead of the series. After being hit by a car and suffering brain damage from the accident, he got a settlement that allowed him to pursue his career of making comics. However, he’s finding that it’s not as easy as it seems or the pros tell everyone. Since I conceived of this as a semi-autobiographical comic, I didn’t really see the need to name the protagonist differently since it was obviously me.
Alice – David’s room mate and, later on, girlfriend. She works at not EB Games and occasionally cosplays. During the Fer chapters she’s the only member of the cast not affiliated with the business in some way and is friends with Julie, the model. Alice was originally based on a girl I was dating when I was drawing the comic and was meant to be someone David could bounce jokes off of. She eventually grew into an amalgamation of several exes and other friends I’ve had over the years.
Paul – The people David was submitting to arranged for Paul to work with him since they liked the writing but hated the artwork. He’s a talented artist who is slumming it. Paul started drawing the comic back in January 2009 and was on board when I pitched the idea of him being in the comic as well since I wanted someone for David to talk business with.
Helena – David’s cat, who has a sadistic streak and likes to torture. She was introduced in the second strip as a cute kitten, but Paul saw the sadistic side and redesigned her as mangy, emphasising the inner evil rather than it being hidden. I think it worked.
Hannibal – A robot head with dreams of world domination. However thanks to not having any appendages, he needs to rely on Helena to do all the work for him. Hannibal was meant to be a joke character who had dreams of world domination but was impossible to be any kind of threat.
Sally – David and Alice’s neighbour. While she dresses like a goth, she’s actually very sweet natured and positive. Originally a throw away character is created to work on designing multiple characters, she soon came back.
Jenna – Sally’s roommate. She’s a nudist who is friends with the others. I created her when the ex Alice was based off bet me you couldn’t have a naked woman in a comic known for more than just being naked. I had her with Godiva style red hair and a very casual pose. Paul changed things up, realising she could be a selling point.
Afro Guy – Another throw away character who got a bigger role. Originally supposed to be a one off gag about me being so white I’d never be able to write a black person, everyone seemed to assume he was a supporting cast member and so he started appearing more. Unfortunately I had a hard time getting him to fit into the comic and he pretty much became the token black guy.
Mike – A freelance editor David hired to help manage Emerald Justice. He’s very ambitious and tends to forget he’s not working on that big a budget. Mike is based on a couple of editors I’ve worked with in the past, mostly one I had to let go because even though he had some great ideas, the pencillers he wanted to get would have made me broke before finishing the first issue. His intro page is also nearly word-for-word an interaction I had with another editor.
Fer – An artist Mike hired to take over from David as the artist on Emerald Justice. While a talented artist, his libido and substance abuse tend to cloud his judgement. I contacted Fer years ago when he was looking for writers with comic pitches and I pitched him Fatum Chronicles, a re-imagining of an old sprite comic I did as a teenager. While that never got off the ground, he did some guest art for LWI and when Paul announced he was leaving back in 2011, he was my first pick to take up the reins. I think he’s done a good job, what about you guys?
Julia – A model Mike hired to help promote Emerald Justice. She’s eternally optimistic and bright, willing to go the extra mile to get the job done and help others. I wanted more women in the comic and had had the idea of hiring a model to help promote my other comic Gemini Storm for a while, and so Julia became that model.
Chloe – Mike’s girlfriend and the Emerald Justice team’s land lady. On a blind date with Mike, they talked business and she leased him an empty office space for cheap. She was born from an arc I had where David and Alice think back to their first date, which would be based on a first date I had been on a few months previous. Realising it didn’t work, I decided to make a new character who would date Mike.
More to come later as more strips are uploaded.