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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon And so we return to Dr. Haas, whom we last saw on pages one and two of our story. He's important. Keep your eye on him.

In other news:
One of our readers (greetings to Meagan K) asked what other projects we are involved in, and what inspires our work.

Both Mark and I are involved in Mystery Anime Theater, which we perform at Otakon each year. I'm the producer/director/head writer/evil overlord and provide the voice of Tom, whereas Mark is one of the chief writers and plays Joel Saotome.

On the webcomics front, I unintentionally wrote the first part of the story which became No Headroom. I'm especially proud of the line "The sky over the port was the color of a television tuned to PBS."

I don't do much else creative that makes it out to the light of day. Mark is a lot more prolific than I.

My inspirations as a writer are Vernor Vinge, a science fiction author whom I've discussed here before; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes books; Lois McMaster Bujold, who writes the Vorkosigan SF novels; H. Beam Piper, who is best known for Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen; Kyosuke Fujishima, whose Ah My Goddess and You're Under Arrest are both gems; and Iain M. Banks, whose "Culture" novels I highly recommend.

I take my comedic cues from such disparate sources as Steve Martin, Denis Leary, Robin Williams, and Jonathan Winters (all standup comedians), the Monty Python troupe, Terry Pratchett (author of the immense Discworld series), and Hajime Kanzaka (creator of the Slayers comedic fantasy series), as well as Chaucer and Shakespeare.

I wrote that I'm replying to a reader's question. We have our email posted up there on the upper left, and we read every piece of email we get. Of course, we've gotten exactly two pieces of email so far, both from Meagan...

I know you guys are out there. I can hear you breathing.

* crickets chirp *

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs You know, it may be just barely possible that Dr. Haas is up to no good.

Letters, we get letters: I suppose I should answer those questions here? I haven't really been a big "projects" kind of guy ever since I came to terms a few years back with how much I dislike expending effort. But the excuse to hang out with my friends (and the fact that Jon is bigger than me) has kept me on board with Mystery Anime Theater, even though I'm not so involved with Otakon in general these days. I make comics sometimes, of course (and if you read through a couple of them you'll understand why I'm not the one writing MoS.) I'm a video game programmer but that's really more of a career thing. Other than all that, I guess my current project is to move to Chicago. I don't know whether that's thinking small or big.

As far as inspiration goes, I first started seriously trying to draw comics (as opposed to just doodling around in the margins of my school notebooks) after reading Don Simpson's Megaton Man. Not long afterwards, I turned down the road of manga-style art thanks to a friend's copy of Adam Warren's The Dirty Pair: A Plague of Angels, Issue Three. Kosuke Fujishima (Oh My Goddess) made me properly appreciate romance and characterization in comics, not to mention more prosaic stuff such as page layout, economy of background, and character design. I'm partial to Scott (Zot!) McCloud's brand of down-to-earth experimentation with the medium. And there always seems to be a little bit of Leiji Matsumoto (Space Cruiser Yamato, Captain Harlock) in the mecha designs I make. Between those guys, that basically covers it -- artistically-wise, at least.

Thanks for writing, Meagan! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to feed those crickets.