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Interview with Nick Marino, creator of Holy F*ck
October 2014
Holy F*ck
Nick Marino is a long time friend of ours.  He makes comics & zines & music & until recently had a podcast empire.  So basically identical to us except for we never figured out podcasting.  His biggest comic to date is about to come out, so we talked about that & everything else.

Name: Nick Marino
Websites: http://www.nickmarino.net, http://holyfckcomic.tumblr.com

QRD – I know it’s been a while since you stopped the AudioShocker empire.  Do you have any desire to bring it back or start regularly appearing on someone else’s podcast?

Nick – NO!!! I don’t miss it. I was so ready to be done with podcasting. & I feel really good about wrapping things up with the AudioShocker. No more trying to balance everyone’s confusing schedules, no more scrambling to post things on time, no more tedious research for conversation topics... I’M FREEEEEE!!! It was an awesome experience podcasting day after day with so many wonderful people, but that chapter of my life is over now.

QRD – The podcasts were creating so much content that I assume it marked a lot of your social life & friend/peer interaction.  How has stopping affected your personal life?

Nick – It hasn’t affected personal life much. I still interact with the same group of people online & nearly all of us stay active on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, & deviantART sharing ideas & new art. So even though I’m not having personal conversations with the AudioShocker podcasters on a weekly basis anymore, I’m still staying up-to-date on what they’re doing with their lives & the art they’re creating.

QRD – With the end of Super Haters a little behind you, what do you feel really worked well & not so well with the series as a whole?

Nick – Super Haters was a wonderful place for me to experiment as I learned about making comics. I had a small but loyal audience who was willing to *somewhat* indulge me & I really appreciated that! For me, it was all positive.
As for what worked “not so well”... you tell me! I’m not especially objective about the quality of the stories because I’m so close to them. From my perspective, Super Haters was a fun journey that granted me a lot of experience in creation & promotion. So I feel like ultimately everything worked out great.

QRD – How would you feel about someone like Brian John Mitchell occasionally doing Super Haters fan fiction?

Nick – Personally, I don’t see why you’d do Super Haters fanfic when you could create your own knockoff superhero characters & just use them. I mean, that was the whole genesis of Super Haters in the first place -- instead of using stills from the crappy 90s Marvel TV shows to make shitty cut & paste webcomics, I drew my own shitty looking characters. & YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!

QRD – So the big news is Holy Fuck got picked up by Action Lab.  Why was it important to you to get a publisher instead of doing a Kickstarter?

Nick – WHOA! What’s with the profanity?!?!? It’s called “Holy F*ck” (which is clearly far more appropriate & dignified).
The plan from the very beginning was that Daniel Arruda Massa & I would shop Holy F*ck around to American publishers. Kickstarter was vaguely discussed as a last resort, but we never really planned for it.
A publisher made more sense for our goals with this particular project. The distribution, the printing, the networking, & potential career development... all of that was important to Daniel & I going into Holy F*ck, so we were really committed to finding a publisher that would help us achieve those objectives.

QRD – Is Holy F*ck going to be just a finite thing or is it going to end up an ongoing series?

Nick – Holy F*ck was created as a self-contained graphic novel. But Action Lab: Danger Zone publishes everything as single issues & then collects the remaining single issues (literally... covers & all) into trade paperbacks. So we had to split up Holy F*ck into a four-issue miniseries. That’s been a fun, interesting, & surprisingly complicated process.
Would Daniel & I do more Holy F*ck stories given the opportunity? Maybe if the demand is especially strong. But we’re more interested in fresh opportunities, which is why we’re currently developing new pitches together.

QRD – So there’s been a bit of controversy about the title “Holy F*ck”, but not really about the content.  Did you anticipate that?  Do you think that in the end that works better as a title than “The Bible II”?

Nick – The controversy stems from the fact that Diamond Comics Distributors wasn’t comfortable running our logo in the Previews catalog. So my Danger Zone publisher, Jason Martin, slapped those hilarious CENSORED bars over the F*ck on the covers.
The whole thing is so absurd to me because the word is already censored in the first place! But I did anticipate that our title might make some people uncomfortable, so I was psychologically prepared for things like that to happen.
As for our working title of The Bible 2, that’s all it was -- a working title. & when it came time to seriously consider pitching our story, I went online & vetted it. I learned that someone else had already self-published a comic book called “The Bible 2” in 2012.
So Daniel & I brainstormed a list of at least 40 other names. & eventually Holy F*ck was selected, which I think is great because it’s a much more accurate representation of our comic book.
As for the content, well, there hasn’t been any controversy... yet! Frankly, I think the last page of the first issue is far more controversial than the title. Oh, & our variant covers for Holy F*ck #3, those are juicy...

QRD – Do you have any worries about Holy F*ck offending people?

Nick – Nah, not really. I’m actually quite proud of how well Holy F*ck respects an individual’s right to choose what they want to believe in. The operative idea here being choice, because what I don’t respect is when people are told what to believe in (or even worse, when they’re manipulated into holding a set a beliefs).
But regardless of how I intellectualize the philosophy behind the story, it’s clearly a raunchy satire. The idea is to laugh along as a character like Jesus is ripped from his accepted biblical context & thrust into the archetype of an 80s action movie tough guy. It’s about subverting expectation & playing with assumptions.

QRD – If you were to suggest someone read only one thing you’ve done to get what you are about, what would it be?

Nick – I don’t have a single story that represents me in a total way. I’m all of my stories rolled up into the same package.
& nowadays I see my stories as opportunities to start conversations. I’m more interested in generating questions than supplying answers. So a lot of my work is about asking others to come on a journey with me & explore some challenging or bizarre ideas, regardless of whether those ideas are “what I’m about” as a person.

QRD – If Palin comes back in 2016, will Zombie Palin as well?

Nick – Nope.

QRD – Is there any mainstream comic you’d want to work on & if so what do you think you’d bring to it that others wouldn’t?

Nick – I’m still so far away from any gig like that. Years, if not decades! & who knows where I’ll be creatively by the time I’ve opened up enough doors to have that kind of opportunity? I don’t even feel like I can speculate on it.

QRD – Do you plan to continue to make zine style comics or do you think digital & professionally printed are the way to go?

Nick – I doubt I’ll ever stop making zines. I made them in high school. They got me through my college portfolio review. & my senior thesis in college was a zine! Years later, I was inspired by artists like you to start making minicomics & that led me to where I am now.
I’m not making zines or minicomics at the moment, but it’s great because I can always return to publishing that way. I even made some Holy F*ck minis for San Diego Comic-Con in July! People walking the floor were a little confused by seeing them at the Action Lab booth, but a few con-goers knew what was up. Zines & minicomics are great formats.

QRD – You’ve done a lot of different conventions over the years.  What have been the most & least successful for you financially, emotionally, & artistically?

Nick – I don’t even know how to begin to answer this question! I’ve rewritten my answer like five times & now I’ve just deleted it. Sorry.

QRD – Has the move from Pittsburgh to California effected your work?  Have you been able to find that same sense of community?

Nick – I’m not involved in Long Beach’s artistic community. So that’s pretty different for me. I was really entrenched in Pittsburgh’s comics & art scene by the time I left.
But I don’t miss it. Long Beach has been very freeing for me. I just don’t give a fuck anymore, man! I create what I wanna create how I wanna create it. & when I hit a roadblock in that process, I adapt to it & keep moving.

QRD – Anything else?

Nick – Thanks for taking the time to ask these thoughtful questions! I appreciate it :D