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An interview w/ Kristopher Straub of Checkerboard Nightmare

Me: So, lets start with some easy stuff first, How are you?

Kris: I'm doing pretty good.

Me: Really?

Kris: Would I lie to you so early in the interview?

Me: Maybe...

Kris: If I thought I had something to gain. What's your game, little man?

Me: My game's Yahtzee. So, what inspired you to do Nightlight Press?

Kris: Ah. Anyway, a long time ago when I drew stuff, it usually revolved around comic strip characters who knew they were in a comic strip -- rather, they'd go to a studio and film it, and that was their job. At the same time, I always felt shy or inadequately egomaniacal releasing my stuff as "Such-and-such by KRISTOFER STRAUB!!" So I made up a company name... I wanted that measure of anonymity.

Plus I wanted to do different kinds of stuff, writing and drawing and all that, and if the site is just called "Checkerboard Nightmare" it limits me to just Chex stuff.

When I get the time, I like to write short stories. I used to output a fair amount of music too, and now I'm learning guitar, which has set me back a little, but I'll do it again. I've been thinking about starting another (weekly) comic strip to exist alongside CN, or eventually replace it, but I have no idea what that comic would be.

Me: How about one of those strips about naked people who talk about sex all the time? Those are extremely popular.

Kris: Chex has always known nudity to be lucrative. He probably doesn't appear naked often enough.

Me: Do you feel like a part of Chex?

Kris: I think I'm a superset with Chex and Lyle as elements. I don't like Chex's lack of tact or malformed ability to exploit people and things, but I like his optimism. Chex will never learn, but he'll always be a failure.

Me: You mean he goes through life never succeeding? Who wants to read that?

Kris: Everybody! It's seeing how he wrestles defeat out of the jaws of victory I find interesting. If Chex succeeded, he'd be totally out of his medium. His canvas is webcomics, and he paints in failure. I have no idea what I'd do with a successful, popular Chex. (In the comic, anyway.)

Me: Get a drinking problem, sob to the press, and have the other boy members go on. Wait, that's Backstreet boys, n/m.

Anyway, Every good comic has a cute pet, I remember Shroeder the cat, but will Chex find that special... thing?

Kris: Schrodinger was close, but I don't think he needs one. He thinks he does. I'd rather see new supporting characters come and go then add a full-time one. I can explore the need for a fuzzy wacky cat in short bursts. Actually, isn't Chex his own wacky, fuzzy mascot character?

Me: Chex is fuzzy? Where was this storyline?

Kris: Up on top, at least. At most.

The cat one? I touched on it in both the Schrodinger week-long storyline (where they got rid of him), and in the earlier crossover with the MIA Bandwagon Comics, where Chex stole their fuzzy sarcastic animal. It was a chicken named "Cat." I'm really a dog person, honest.

Me: So, why Checkerboard Nightmare? Just a random drawing? And the gods said "This is good"?

Kris: I actually tried to figure that out recently, and I remembered -- for a brief while, I had this idea for a Little Nemo update, where this guy has adventures in dreams. His pajamas were checkerboard, and he had perpetual bedhead. Eventually I abandoned that story idea, but I liked that character design. His name wasn't Checkerboard Nightmare back then, but later that just struck me. My brother Kurt is responsible for his nickname "Chex." I was looking for one so I wouldn't have to write the whole thing out all the time, and that was just right.

Me: Do you think he could've meant Chess?

Kris: I don't think so, and Chessboard Nightmare didn't quite roll off the tongue to me.

Me: Do you perfer Chess over Checkers?

Kris: Yeah, but Max Payne beats 'em both. Strategy, feh!

Me: Feh!

Kris: Bah!!

Me: Two more til we hit the quick-fire round: What's your favorite Checkerboard Nightmare strip?

Kris: Um... not sure. But it'd have to be one of the absurd, non-storyline ones. Probably the ones about Vaporware peeing coffee and the one where Chex is about to write the prequel to Zapped ! and Nature removes him from existence

Me: Finally, if you, by some weird fate, became Checkerboard Nightmare, what'd be the first things you'd do?

Kris: 1. Check my crotch to see if I indeed had any privates.
2. See if I can hear/smell without ears/a nose.
3. Slowly build my media empire.

Me: Now, the Quick fire round, provide your first answer to whatever I ask.

Me: Paper or plastic?

Kris: Plastic, except the handles cut off circulation.

Me: Money or fame?

Kris: Money. Look how many of today's celebrities bought fame.

Me: What's up? or WASSAP!!!!

Kris: Neither. The part where the guy goes "bleeeeeeeaaaahhhh."

Me: Starship Enterprise or Millenium Falcon?

Kris: Millennium Falcon. There's less talking.

Me: Cookie Dough or Cookies?

Kris: Cookies. Less salmonella.

Me: Having an English accent or an Austrailian accent?

Kris: For a man, Australian. Woman, English.

Me: Why'd you provide Woman? Are you withholding information?

Kris: I was expressing my femininity?

Me: Alien, Predator, or Marine.

Kris: Alien.

Me: Survivor, Temptation Island, Big Brother, or getting a swift kick to the groin?

Kris: Swift kick, then Temptation Island, Survivor, another swift kick, and Temptation Island again.

Me: And the final question of the interview, Boxers or Briefs?

Kris: Briefs. No boxers and certainly not the in-between deals with the little pant legs.

Me: Humor Hut Inc. gladly thanks you for your time, we'll start untying the ropes now.

Kris: Could you leave them?

Me: Sure.

Any other comments before we stop?

Kris: Does the Hut sell humor or just rent it out?

Me: It's free, we just don't have much to offer yet.

Kris: Well, that'll do it for me. Thank you for being a gracious interviewer person.