Q. Why do you do these comics?
A. Well, I've always loved cartoons. To me cartoons are not
just a form of entertainment, they're also an art form. I also love to
make people laugh, it was my way of fitting in during high school and it
just sort of stuck with me. Also, the Xaverian Weekly needed a new cartoonist,
and I was the only person who applied.
Q. What is this "Xaverian Weekly" you keep mentioning?
A. The Xaverian Weekly is St. Francis Xavier University's newspaper, published weekly
(duh). It is free, of course, and only the editors get any sort of revenue
from it. St. FX U is the university I attended from 2001 to 2005.
Q. Wait, so why is it spelled "The Xaverian"?
A. To be honest, I have no idea. It probably has some logical
latin-based answer, but I just like to think that it was a typo and no
one would admit it.
Q. Do you get paid?
A. Ah ha ha ha ha ha! Ah ha ha. Ha. No. In Western society,
you have to do good work to get paid.
Q. What's up with comic # (whatever)?
A. Check out the blurb under the comic, and there should be
an explination. If there isn't, then you should probably be able to get
the joke; which means that if you don't then you're probably a bit slow.
Q. What sort of supplies do you use?
A. Surprisingly enough, I do use actual art supplies when I
make these things. The paper I use is just regular printer paper, usually
Legal size so that I have that extra space. I clip the paper onto a
legal-sized clipboard and draw the panels using an architect's ruler. Each
comic is drawn using a 0.5mm mechanical pencil, although sometimes I'll use
a 0.7mm one. The comics are then inked using Pilot and Staedtler drawing
pens, starting at 0.8mm and working my way down to 0.5, 0,3 and sometimes
0.2 for very tiny lines. The I take a big ol' white eraser and get rid of
all the pencil lines. I scan the whole page on my old Artec AS6E scanner at
300 dpi in black and white. Then it's off to Photoshop 6 where all the
smudges and stray lines are cleaned up. The comic is converted to greyscale,
rotated into alignment (my scanner always seems to scan crookidly), panels
are added, it's shrunk down to about 700-770 pixels wide (or roughly 1/3),
and text is added. Then it's saved for web as a 32 gif dividend or something,
uploaded to my keenspace workspace and given the name of the date I want it
to appear, like 20050101a.html
Q. Why don't you have a PayPal button?
A. People actually donate money to webcomic artists? Eh, I've
seen some pretty crappy comics with big ol' PayPal buttons, and I decided
that I wasn't going to do that. This is a hobby, not a job, and I don't
take it seriously enough of do it in a professional manner that deserves
payment. If you REALLY want to send me money (ha) we can work out some
kind of arrangement... but I'd honestly prefer it if you sent me your old
Transformers toys instead, or comics, or whatever.
Q. Where is your forum?
A. It broke. No one talked there anyway. A new one is possibly in
the works. I won't get my own individual PN only forum because I don't like
that idea. I much prefer large forums with subsections devoted to specific
comics, such as the system utelized by
The Nice. It just
gives readers more opportunity to comment on various comics without having to
join 20 different forums.
Q. The way you draw eyes looks familiar...
A. Well, it's not exactly a very complex way, is it? Male eyes
are based somewhat on Krillen's eyes from Dragonball Z (yes, I know many
people hate that show, but Krillen is such a simple character, I like his
look). Female eyes are... well, they're always changing. I've based them
largely on Isabel (Gonzalez) Marks' style, but other sources such as Soronada
or other online artists have had an influence too. I recently noticed that they
also resemble a much more dumbed-down version the style used by Martin Wagner in
his comic series "Hepcats", but this is merely a coincidence.
Q. What was with the big list on your July 1st,
A. It's just a list of different types of jokes I don't find
particularly funny. I mean, how many comics have you seen that are just
basically saying "Bush is stupid" or had jokes about Survivor or All Your
Base? I may not be the most origional cartoonist out there, but I do have
Q. Why a beaver?
A. Why not? Seriously, there are a number of reasons.
1) I am a Canadian, and the beaver is a symbol of Canada.
2) It's not all that common in comics featuring anthropomorphic characters
(there are other animals besides foxes and wolves, furry-cartoonist-guys).
3) Beavers are kinda cute. They have big flat tails, little eyes and
little ears. Plus they're brown and plain, like me.
Q. Oh, so you're a furry?
A. Short answer; no.
Long answer: The whole furry debate is arather grey area. There is no
clear definition of what constitutes a furry, and what people mean when
they use the term. Just as how there is no set definition of a Trekker (or
Trekker as some prefer to be called), there are many subsets of Furridom.
There are people who believe they do have the souls of animals, and they're
all fine and good. Do I think I have a beaver spirit in me? No. I just like
to draw cartoons, and animal characters are fun to draw. I don't try to preach
any sort of furry ideals through my work, but I don't condem them either. To
me it's the same as being into Star Trek, cars or superheroes.
I do draw things other than anthro characters, it's just that that is not
what Plugged Nickel is about. Most of my other "human" comic ideas I could try
and do, but I am not comfortable with my abilities just yet and these ideas
require a great deal of detail and work.
In closing, I think to be labeled a furry you must give yourself that label.
I do not consider myself a furry. But I do have many friends who do, and they're
nice folks who give me art and encouragement and porn.
Q. I want you to draw something for me...
A. Don't hold your breath. At any one point I have between 10
to 30 pictures I've promised people, owe people or just want to draw. I
don't really take requests, because that means I have to actually do them.
And commissions are a no-no.
Q. Can I use your character(s) in my comic?
A. Well, that all depends on a few factors.
1) Did you ask me permission first? I don't want to be surfing
around and suddenly find my characters in some sort of story arc of a comic
I've never heard of before.
2) Is there content that I might find objectionable? I'm a pretty easy-going
guy, so I would probably let you do what you wanted, but if you have to
think twice about it then it's probably best to just ask me if it's okay.
3) Will you do your best to portray my characters accurately? I'm not
talking design-wise, but character-wise. I've lent out my sprite characters
to people's comics, only to find them used it situations and acting in
ways that they would never act (often having to do with getting drunk or
4) Will you show me your comics so I can get an idea of your skill
and story-style? I'm sorry, but if I don't really find you comic well-drawn
or humourous/entertaining, I don't want to be a part of it.
5) Will you allow me to showcase these particular comics on my site
6) You must respect my ownership of the characters in question. Each
one is copyrighted to me, and as such I have the final say in their use.
So, if you decide that you want to publish your comic in print form and
include my characters, I'd just like to know and maybe get a mention in
the credits or something.
Q. Why Keenspace?
A. Well, Keenspace represents certain things to me. Keenspace,
when used properly, is a very easy and rather nice place to showcase one's
work. Keenspace has also hosted/hosts some of my most favorite comics online,
and to be even on the edge of their greatness is somewhat flattering to
me. And it's free.
Q. Where did you get so-and-so's name?
A. A lot of the more unusual first or last names are from characters
from the Sherlock Holmes series. Mycroft was Sherlock's smarter, lazier
brother. Of course, a lot of these Holmes-named characters don't actually
appear in this strip, so it's a bit moot. Some characters are named after people
I know, such as Cori Calinor and Kate the Astrogirl, but that is rare.
As for the Nickel... check out the background.
Q. Are your characters based on real people?
A. Yes and no. Mycroft is based on my own opinions, attitudes
and habits, yes. Most of the others are not, with the exception of Scott.
He's named after my cousin who is also one of my best friends, although
the character design doesn't really look like him. The conversations and situations are often based
on actual events however.
Q. OMG! Why don't you have a link to [insert
popular webcomic here]???
A. Well, there are a few reasons. One may be that the comic
in question doesn't have any link banners or anything up, and I'm rather
fond of those little link banners. Another reason may be that the comic
has been around so long, and has so many issues that I just haven't decided
to go and read through the entire archive. I have an odd policy; I must read a
comic's archives before linking to it. Or, perhaps I HAVE read the
comic and I didn't really like it. I tend not to get into the more mainstream
comics like everyone else.
Q. How did you create <insert each character's
name>? (Joanna "Jo the Freakazette" Davidovich)
A.Well, the first character I ever created was called Samurai
Onion Man, but seeing as how he's not in the comics I'll just skip him
and the others until I get to Mycroft.
I had been tooling around with the idea of creating
an anthropomorphic character based loosely on myself since I read John
Barrett's RoxiKat comic (who also happens to be the inspiration for me
drawing in the first place). Origionally, I had been thinking of some sort
of monkey, but fooling around one day I just sketched a beaver face with
glasses, and I kind of like how it looked. But, it got filed away with
my other doodles and was never to be seen again. So, about a year or so
passes, and I start university. I also start reading webcomics a lot more.
One of my favorites was (and still is) Funny Farm by Ryan Smith. I liked
his style because it was simplistic (a bit simpler than what he does now,
it WAS 2 years ago you know). I started doodling based on his style, and
suddenly one day in class I had a design that I liked.
It wasn't much, but it was a start. I built on it
slowly, giving him a basic design and personality, the latter mostly based
on myself. He went through different phases, his nose grew, his head widened,
his ears lowered, and his glasses became more complex. He became a hopeless
romantic, a wise-ass and a genius.
I applied for space at the VCL (hey, Barrett is
my hero, remember? He's there too) and that prompted me to do a lot of
sketches. I started coming up with little comics and such, and before you
know it I'm applying for the school newspaper.
Irving was based around the design of Krillen from
Dragonball Z, simply because I like the character. I liked the idea of
characters with antennae, and just on a whim I decided to make a bee. As
far as the hands and feet go... I just wanted him to be a bit different.
I guess as far as they go he's based on the Ninja Turtles.
Scott was just an experiment with another type of
animal, but because I drew him tall and skinny the first time, I decided
to name him after my lanky bristle-headed cousin.
And Ron... well, Ron was just an attempt to draw
myself. I have no idea where I got the hair from. But the basic face and
glasses design were based on the characture that Drake Fenwick does of
Q. Is Vanilla based on anyone in real life? (Joanna Davidovich)
A. Actually... she may have been at one time, but she went unused
for so long and her design and personality have evolved enough that any ties
have been severed.
Q. Wait, RoxiKat is a big inspiration to you.
Doesn't she have a...?
A. That is NOT why she inspired me! >_< It was a combination of
her very cute design with her happy "bubbily" personality. I enjoyed the
character not because she had big breasts, but because she was cute and
funny. Plus, I didn't learn her BIG secret that until LATE in the comics.
Not that there's anything wrong with that... >.>
Q. What's up with Scott's head, anyway? Do you
know nothing about sharks?
A. I know a bit about sharks, probably more than the average prairie-dweller.
I suppose you're asking why his dorsal fin is on his head instead of his
back? There could be a really lengthy explination about that, about the
cross-genetics in his parents and all kinds of other stuff, but that's
just made-up for people who think that I put a lot of consideration into
my characters' backgrounds before I create them. The simplest reason is...
because I thought it looked cool.
It might also have something to do with Sharky the Shark Dog from one of
my favorite older cartoon series, Eek the Cat.
Q. How did you get so much gift art? Are you paying people?
A. No, very seldom have I had to pay people for the art I've received. I've
been blessed with some of the nicest and best friends online, who take the time and
energy to give me such beautiful gifts. If you see an art piece that you like, please
visit the artist's site and tell them how much you like their work. Believe me, they
really appreciate it.
Q. Hey, there's a typo in comic (whatever)!
A. Yeah. I know. I don't fix them. Often time it messes up the rest of the text, so I just don't bother anymore.
It's a given, I know it's there, I just didn't find it until after it went online.
Q. Why don't the previous/next buttons appear under the
comic on some pages?
A. Origionally there was only one set of previous/next buttons. But if I put them at the top of the page, I got
complaints from people reading the blurb under the comics who had to scroll ALL THE WAY BACK UP OR PRESS "HOME" OR
"PAGE UP" OMG! So I put them below the comic, but because each update blurb is named like the comic
(ie 20050101a.gif and 20050101b.txt) the buttons appeared UNDER the text, and people who didn't read my blurbs
complained about having to scroll DOWN. So now written into into the update code itself is a second string of back/next
commands instead of on the page itself. When I don't include a blurb, they don't appear, but then again there's no reason
to scroll down either. MYSTERY SOLVED.
Q. What the heck is up with the "Get Pumped" pages!?
A. They're parodies of the infamous Real Ultimate Power
website. There are literally hundreds of parodies of this site, spurred by his own parody where he replaced ninja with
hippos. Check out the Neat Stuff section for the second Get Pumped section, Decepticons.
Q. Where is the Plugged Nickel store?
A. There isn't one. And there probably never will be. I don't have the readership, and I am not making one
with CafePress. Maybe someday I'll have enough readers to get a few shirts done, but for now the only thing for sale
are copies of the books I made of all the college strips, and they're $4 US plus S&H. Email for details.
Q. What the heck IS a plugged nickel anyway?
A. Plugs are the holes made in coins to extract some metal which can be used for other purposes.
Coins so tampered with are no longer legal tender. Nickels being coins of small denomination lend themselves for
use in this phrase. Essentially, the term means "worthless".
Basically, there's two origion theories. One is that these coins became plugged when the cost of silver increased.
People hollowed out their nickels (then made of silver) and filled them with a lesser metal, then sold the silver. The
second theory is that the term came from the Wild West, when cocky cowboys would prove their stuff by tossing nickels
into the air and seeing if they could shoot a hole or dent into them, IE plugged. That would also explain how the term
plugged came to describe an individual who had been shot. Of course, unlike the hollowed out explination, these nickels
were most likely still used in commerce... as who is going to argue when a gunman pays for his lodgings with a fist full
of plugged nickels and two six-shooters on his hips?
Q. HAI! You should draw Mycroft and Aeris having SEX! OMG LOLLERCAUST!!!!
A. No. Scott Ramsoomair would kill me. He gets mad enough when people give her boobs. In his words;
"No boobs for stinky." They are based on his actual cats, afterall. I don't think he likes the idea of a beaver bummin'
his sweet little fluffums.
Nothing is stoping you from drawing that, though.