This is a F.A.Q. that Joe uploaded on his website answering fans questions. This dates back to at least 2007.
How long does each comic take you to do?
Depends. Regular length comics take me anywhere from an hour to 3 hours. Super long comics can take me around 4.
Where did you get the idea for CTGM?
It stemmed from reading Concerned, and Jeff. Once I decided to do my own comic, I decided to do a spin-off of that comic, which was originally going to be just one episode long, but people liked it more then my old comic. So I dumped the original idea, and started CTGM.
CTGM didn't start off with a story. Why include one?
To get readers a chance to recognize my characters, and make it more interesting. Doing a comic where week after week, Bernard fails at attempting to catch the G-Man is funny, but I'd run out of ideas probably before Season 1 was even over. So a story was the next natural step.
You've said that CTGM takes place during the events of Half-Life 2. When in particular does the story take place?
One day before Gordon Freeman arrives in City 17. The events of Episode 1 have not yet happened, but I do plan on using it.
Explain why things still happen in between comics?
Because having a comic stop when it stops would be boring. Nothing amazing or astounding or noteworthy happens in between comics, but if you happen to notice the characters in one place in one comic, only to suddenly end up somewhere else one comic later, it makes for a more interesting (and fast paced) comic.
Why do you have characters from other comics in yours?
Let me clarify that I don't use other characters to make mine more professional. If anything, it's a show of respect to those comic makers. Any popular characters that you see in my comics only shows that I enjoy their comics very much, and I'd like to use them in mine. Take Jeff as an example. He's widely known on PHW. Well, why not have him in CTGM? Another thing goes for Kliener Noir. He's a mingebag trying to do the patriotic thing by saving his country from the evil Fruit Salesman. Well, G-Man is a dasterdly evil-doer. It's only natural that I incorporate Kliener Noir into the story somehow. To make a long story short, I like it.
Then why isn't Frohman in your story?
Because Bernard and Frohman both have the same character models. Also, Frohhman's kinda dead.
How long do you plan on doing CTGM?
Untill I feel the need to end it.
If you ended CTGM, would you do another comic?
Why doesn't Bernard have a custom skin?
I don't know how to skin. Otherwise, pretty much everyone would have a custom skin.
Why don't you get a real website besides Freewebs?
At the time, I'm not getting the traffic I want to be getting that tells me I should get my own domain and start up a .com website. If I can generate a good following, I might. But for now, Freewebs is fine.
What happened to Dave 'N' Bob?
I did a pilot for that series and it sucked. It sucked bad. So I'm currently looking into another way of doing Dave 'N' Bob.
Can I see the pilot?
Fine, but I warned you.
What gave you the idea for Ask A Combine Ninja?
At first, I was going to provide the voice for the Ninja, so as to not totally rip off Ask a Ninja, but then I decided it might be funnier to put the audio in it anyway. But the idea came from just experimenting with G-Mod, and I love Ask a Ninja, so I put 2 and 2 together and got 5.
2 and 2 equal 4.
......I knew that.
Is that why you dropped out of school?
Are you working on any other series besides Bob and Dave, Quick Break, and Ask a Combine Ninja?
Not presently, no. But if an idea pops into my head, I'll whip something up.
What cartoons/comics/media types have you referenced in your comics?
So far, I've referenced Red VS Blue, Cyanide and Happiness, Futurama, Family Guy, Concerned, Servers, Myspace, Click, and that's about all I can think of. I suppose you can count Jeff too, seeing as he's been seen in CTGM reading his signature newspaper. I believe C&H wins the most references with 2 or 3, and RvB has 2. Everything else has about 1. See if you can spot them.
Is there a reason you reference other stuff so much?
Because I believe people have fun seeing other jokes/acts in other forms of media, and I like re-creating them. It also leaves the readers imagination open because they'll never know what I'll reference next.
Why the stupid little titles for each of your comics now?
I was trying to be witty and come up with a smart title for each of my comics. At first, they were going to have something to do with the comic, but that was too hard. So now, I just think of song titles or t.v show titles that have some sort of relevance to the episode at hand and use that.
Is it safe to say your new template is a rip-off of VG Cats, and Ctrl-Alt-Del?
I'll go ahead and say that it is a rip-off. I like their layouts, and was tired of mine so I adapted theirs. I really don't think they'll mind all too much, seeing as I doubt they even know about my website, let alone my comic.
Now that Season 4 is finished, how long do you plan on continuing CTGM?
I may finish CTGM this season, but again, I'm not sure. I'm having a lot of fun making these comics, and it's clear that CTGM is my flagship comic. If I were to finish the comic, my next project would probably be TTEOAS, but again, I'm not sure if I AM ending CTGM.
I'm totally confused by Season 5. WTF is going on? Was Bernard sent back in time, or was he dreaming?
What I was aiming for was that Bernard dreamed the whole thing and the the entire CTGM series (or everything that had happened throughout) never happened. He never met Bulma, never met Yoda or Jeff, never met Alyx, etc. The joke is supposed to be that while in the air (from being thrown by D.O.G) he sort of slipped off into a little dreamland and thought of all this cool stuff that could happen. It's like those moments where you face imminent danger and you think of a million different things in a matter of seconds. Kind of like that. And we've all had those moments where we had dreams that felt like they were real? Same thing happened to Bernard.
So long story short, Bernard dreamed the events of CTGM, and they never happened.
That's really retarded. This whole time we were expecting a cool way for you to end your 100th comic, and this is the big finale!?
Lemme state that it was not my intention for CTGM to end exactly like this, but it seemed like the most appropriate ending. It opens up new possibilities for the series. No one saw Bernard's life before Episode 1, and I plan on showing that this Season. How exactly did Bernard meet the G-Man? What got him so interested in him? It will all be covered in Season 5. If it takes more then 30 episodes (*cringe*), then I'll go longer. This should be the most interesting Season yet.
So that's pretty much a dead giveaway that this will be the final season of CTGM.
Possibly. I'm already making plans for a Bernard/Steve spin off, and I have a Bulma and Charlie comic that I'd one day like to do, but that's all a long ways away. It all honestly depends on how this season is perceived. If people would like another Season, sure, I'll give it another whirl, but if people would like me to end it, then so be it. So long story short, I can't say if CTGM will go another Season. I'll let you know in a couple months.
So it's incredibly obvious that you don't write down ideas and mold them into a comic. How do you come up with your ideas?
Well I'll be honest, I very rarely write down ideas for an episode. Unless I get a brilliant idea that I must use, every episodes idea is thought up mere moments before I make them. I know, it's cheap of me, but I do put time and effort into making sure it's a good idea. I mean, there's really only two things to think of, in terms of what will happen in an episode: how the episode will open, and how it will end. The punch line is the hardest thing to come up with, and since this is a comedy series, almost every episode has to end with one. Good thing a lot of my ideas come from t.v shows or radio advertisements.
Ok, so we know your inspirations for making CTGM were Concerned and Jeff. But what made you want to make comics, specifically?
Well, I've always loved comics. I'm not a comic book nerd or anything, but they've always had a special place in my heart. I used to read a butt load of Sonic the Hedgehog comics, and occasionally a Spiderman comic. After that, I started reading Electronic Gaming Monthly, and they always had a page devoted to Hsu and Chan. I think Hsu and chan was what made me realise that comic making was in my future. The way it was written and made was just genius. If you read through my comics again, you'll see a lot of Hsu and Chan like jokes in there. I remember back in 9th grade for my art class, we had to make a poster about something. I don't remember what, but we could choose any art style we wanted. I picked a comic, and I used Hsu and Chan. I also blatently ripped off one of Norm's comics, but my teacher didn't know so it didn't hurt anyone. Anyway, I got an A for it so I guess I have to thank Hsu and Chan for.
So to make a long story short, Hsu and Chan was what made me get into the process of starting my own comic series. Even though there was a 2 year gap between the Art project and the first episode of CTGM.
What happened to the live action CTGM series?
It got canned for a few reasons:
-No one came forward to help me out. -I had no ideas for it. -I didn't have a fast enough computer.
Obviously, I have 2 of those 3 problems worked out (ideas, and new computer). I may take a stab at it eventually, but for now it's nothing to expect anytime soon.
So spill it: What's the deal with ending CTGM!?
A lot of things caused me to end CTGM abruptly. For one, it was very time consuming. A year ago, it was easy for me to sit down and produce a whole weeks worth of comics in one day, but fast forward to now, when my real job is a lot more demanding then it was a year ago, it's hard. I work close to 40 hours a week almost every week, and sitting down to make a comic is the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. On my days off, I'm never home and when I am home, I'm doing other things. I'm not trying to abandon what I set out to do a year ago (make funny comics), but people have to understand that I'm a real person who lives a real life. Another thing that stopped CTGM was the writing. Like I stated above, I never planned for CTGM to go past Season 5. It was going to stop at Season 4, but towards the end of Season 4, traffics for my site was at its all time high. I assumed demand was high since I was ending the Season, I figured I'd go one more Season, and that would be it. It was around this time that my job got harder, and me and my writing history caused CTGM to run into a brick wall in terms of where the story was going. I didn't want to end something good badly, so I just ended it. I realize a lot of people enjoyed CTGM, and I know this. I won't rule out a return to the comic. I liked making them, I made a few funny comics, and I enjoyed hearing feedback. But for now, CTGM is dead.
Great. So are you at least going to be making anything else?
Fortunately, I am. I'm creating The Bernard and Steve Show, which will be my new project (sorry, TTEoaS fans, I need to flesh out that comic a bit more). I'm looking into making a couple more Ask A Combine Ninja's, but otherwise, I can't really say what else I'll be doing. I don't wanna make a list of every single thing I'd like to do and not deliver. You'll all have to wait and see.