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QRD #65 - Getting by with friends
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Jason Young
Jamie Barnes
Mike VanPortfleet
Scotty Irving
Shaun Sandor
Ben Vendetta
Ben Link Collins
Nick Marino
Joe Kendrick
Brian John Mitchell
Carl Kruger
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Interview with Nick Marino Creator of Super Haters
October 2013
Nick Marino
Nick Marino is the megaforce behind the Audioshocker podcast network.  He also made my favorite webcomic Super Haters & he even took part in the Silber 5 in 5 series.  Unquestionably one of the handful of people that caused me to keep making comics.

QRD – I’m a big fan of Super Haters.  Do you think it will ever come out of hiatus as a daily strip again?

Nick – Nope. Super Haters is on its deathbed. I plan to end it for good with #500 on June 25, 2014, which is the 5th anniversary of the webcomic.

QRD – Did you start doing reviews & podcasts as a tricky way of promoting your own comics?

Nick – Ha-ha-ha no! When I started podcasting in 2007, I actually believed I had a unique perspective on the entertainment industry & I’d be making the world a better place by telling people what was “good” & “bad”. Eventually I realized that I was full of shit & there was nothing special about my opinions. But I already had this podcast website & everything... so why not use it to promote my other art?

QRD – I know you did some snarky punk zines as a teen, how did those prepare you for making comics?

Nick – Eh, they sorta didn’t prepare me at all. In college I made offensive comic strips for the student newspaper & quickly learned that having an editor sucks compared to self-publishing. & when I started printing my webcomics in 2009, nothing I learned from photocopying zines in the 90s was still applicable.

QRD – Some of your comics you do everything, others you “just write”, & others you take on a varying amount of the chores.  How do you figure out what parts you are going to do for a story & what’s your ideal working situation?

Nick – When I have a story to tell, I’m willing to do any step of the comics creation process that my collaborators don’t want to do. That normally means production (scanning, cleaning, or formatting), lettering, & sometimes coloring. When I don’t want a collaborator (or a collaborator doesn’t want me), I’ll do everything (though I hate drawing). My favoritest thing to do is just write the story! Although, now that I think about it, I’ve never just written. So I guess I don’t know if it’s my favorite thing.…

QRD – How many podcasts are you doing a week now & how many would you do ideally?

Nick – Uggghh… I dunno how many I have. I lost track!!! Ummmmm… let’s do the math together... two weeklies, four every-other-weeklies, & two podcasts where I don’t do any of the talking, but I’m still involved in editing & posting them. Is that ideal? I dunno. I just keep cranking ‘em out.

QRD – What’s a pet peeve you have with other people’s podcasts that you try to avoid?

Nick – I hate -- HATE!!! -- when people try to emulate radio, especially NPR/This American Life style of production.

QRD – Does telling so many personal stories on the podcast create a weird thing where strangers think you’re good friends?

Nick – I’ve found that my personal stories really get people to open up in the comments & share about their own unique experiences. I love that exchange. & I’ve become good internet friends with a lot of our dedicated listeners. I find it really rewarding.

QRD – Do you ever think of making your podcasts into videocasts?

Nick – Nah, I don’t have a passion for video production & I love the illusion of audio. It becomes interactive because the listener imagines the physical aspect of the conversation.

QRD – You worked for a while with search engine optimization as your day job.  Do you think that’s benefited your podcasts & comics?

Nick – For a time it really benefited the AudioShocker website because I went nuts with the SEO. We were getting crazy traffic for a ton of weird searches. But my SEO antics were becoming a detriment to the health of my blog, so I cleaned up my act. Now I focus on using relevant images & succinct text to get quality traffic, not quantity traffic.

QRD – Do you see yourself as ever being in a band again or doing a tour performing your songs?

Nick – A band? Probably not. That is, not unless I was running everything. I’m too controlling & opinionated about my music to share the decision making. Maybe solo... just me & a guitar. But I’ve never toured! I dunno if I’d like it.

QRD – A lot of your content (comics, podcasts, music) you have available for free.  Do you think they should be free or is it just no one will pay for them?

Nick – I believe that people should financially support the art that they enjoy. I’ve made most of my art available for free for a number of reasons & it would take me an entire essay to explain those reasons to my satisfaction. Suffice to say that I look forward to creating more opportunities for people to buy my work in the future as I continue to prove myself as a creator.

QRD – What would be your dream job in the comics industry?

Nick – I don’t know that I have one anymore. Frankly, the comics industry is a pretty depressing business. Shitty contracts are everywhere, from the indiest of indies all the way up to the crappiest of corporates. Real estate... now there’s a good industry!

QRD – Has the move to California effected the art you make or your artistic career in any way?

Nick – Yeah, I’m happier here & I think my work shows it. Things are less forced now. & -- although this is also a drawback in some ways -- I’m no longer entrenched in a local community of creators, so I’ve found myself gravitating towards more personal & fulfilling projects.

QRD – Anything else?

Nick – Brian, you’re great. Seriously, thanks for all of your support. It means so much to me. Oh, & Ultimate Lost Kisses #13-14 are fucking brilliant! Everyone should get their hands on those mini-comics.

Other QRD interviews with Nick Marino:
Indie comic creator interview with Nick Marino (February 2011)