— Sarah O'Donnell (@everydayfoxlife) July 25, 2013
One artist I failed to mention in my ConnectiCon write-up was Dave Mercier, creator of MercWorks: The Joy of Despair. He approached us at City Steam and started talking about his comic, which he just started a Kickstarter for. I was having a (not so) serious discussion about 90s movies at the time, but I overheard some details here and there.
I made a mental note to visit Dave’s booth the next day, which I promptly forgot about! Buuut I did manage to find Dave online and check out his comic, which is really pretty funny. A funny, well-produced webcomic born in the Constitution State? I had to reach out to Dave, who took the time to answer some interview questions about his comic, the Kickstarter, and how he manages to update with original content regularly. Here we go!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and MercWorks? Give us your best elevator pitch!
My pleasure! I’m Dave Mercier and I’m a pretty cool guy who makes a pretty cool comic called MercWorks. It’s a semi-autobiographical comedy strip with an emphasis on storytelling and art, touching on themes of dating, depression, and society at large with twists from my own horrible imagination.
We met very briefly at an “after hours” event for ConnectiCon, and I totally missed catching your booth the next day. How much do you hate me? More importantly, what was it like tabling at ConnectiCon?
I don’t hate you at all! My table was pretty scrappy because I didn’t know I had it until someone texted me the first night with “where are you? There’s an empty ‘MercWorks’ booth at CTCon.” So I showed up the next day with whatever prints I had lying around the studio and a white picnic table cloth. Aside from my lack of preparedness, it was an amazing experience. It was the first time I had a table at a con and I sold a lot of prints, as well as got the word out about the Kickstarter in a very targeted way. All-in-all a huge success, and I can’t wait to do more!
Is this your first time running a Kickstarter? How is your experience with it so far?
This is my first time doing a Kickstarter and I’ve had a slow, steady panic the entire time it’s been up. The first few days were the worst, especially right before I put it up. The day I put it up felt like that moment right before you kiss somebody for the first time, but ten times worse and for the entire day. I was blown away by the support I got right away, and I’m really thankful to have such wonderful, supportive fans. We’re right on track with it and I’ve got high hopes.
Because my backup plan is to go on a month-long bender and ruin every relationship I’ve ever cherished.
As a fellow CT-based artist, what do you think of the web comics scene in Connecticut? (Err, “non-existent” is a totally acceptable answer.)
I think the only scene that isn’t “non-existent” in CT is the insurance agency scene, and having grown up here I’m pretty accustomed to it. Fortunately, with webcomics being an inherently internet-based medium it’s easy to make a lot of friends in our field without them being local.
Despite the dark humor featured in your comics, you actually seem like a guy who loves life! What’s that all about?
I really do love life quite a lot! I often describe my character in the comic as the worst version of myself. I think we all have a tendency to focus on the negatives sometimes, and we all have this sort of small, horrible stuff happen to us all the time. Philosophically, I don’t focus on the negatives – but it’s no use ignoring them either so I try to see the humor in it all. There isn’t anything inherently funny about a perfectly well-rounded character so that’s why I focus on my own shortcomings. It’s also a kind of therapy for me – there’s stuff I get genuinely depressed about, and I get genuinely lonely (we all do!), so to put it on paper and laugh at it, that’s incredibly cathartic for me.
Keeping a regular posting schedule is one area many web comic artists have trouble with. How do you keep up with new content every week?
Sometimes I wonder this myself. I base a lot of my comics on real experiences, so I take a lot of time to think about the stuff that happens to me in a given day. Sometimes they write themselves – for instance, I recently did a comic where a girl says “you have a nice ass for a white boy” which was something a girl really said to me. Throw a honey ham in there and you’ve got yourself a punchline.
I think more than anything it’s a matter of taking your deadlines seriously. If I say I’m updating on Mondays and Thursdays, I get crazy deadline fever if I’m cutting it too close. Sometimes it’s not your best work (most of the time, in fact), but you’ve updated on time and people appreciate that. They’d rather have new content that isn’t your best than nothing at all.
Any other projects in the pipeline that we can look forward to?
Right now I’m focusing on getting the book out there and pushing MercWorks a little more. I’ve been considering doing graphic short stories (novellas, are they?) for a while now, so I might start experimenting with longer-form stuff once the dust settles on that.
You only have 10 more days to donate to the MercWorks Kickstarter. Good luck, Dave!