POTM Interview: Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary

The Month of November we have loaded our Plasma cannons and spent time with Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler as our POTM.  Howard has been creating Schlock Mercenary for 12 years now and continues to take us down some very exciting journeys with Schlock and the crew.  For the month of November we have been spotlighting Schlock Mercenary and I’d like to take this time to put that spotlight on the creator of this out of the world webcomic, Howard Tayler.

We hope through these 10 Questions you as a reader and fan get to know the creator a bit more.

What was the first comic you read as a child?

Howard: It’s hard to say. That was 40 years ago. It probably was not Garfield, though I remember loving that one at an early age. I do remember loving the comics page in the newspaper. Throughout my childhood newspaper comics were part of each and every day. 

Who would you consider to be your greatest influence as an artist and creator?

Howard: Probably the one the furthest out on the lever, the one that’s been there the longest for me. While I loved comics a lot as a kid, it was Tolkien who first really captured my imagination, and it was Larry Niven’s work that first dragged me into science fiction.

What, to you, is required drawing equipment or a writing necessity when you sit down to create?

Howard: Writing? I need my PC, in my office, with some peace and quiet. I’ve been trying to take the writing gig on the road, but with only limited success.

Drawing? A mechanical pencil with a soft lead, a set of four Staedtler pigment liners, a brush pen (Pigma Micron, Copic, or Tombo), a circle template, a straight-edge, and a french curve. Oh, and some paper. 
In a pinch I can get by with a pencil, eraser, and .05 Staedtler pigment liner, but that’s just sketchbook stuff. 

Where did you go to school and what was your major?

Howard: I studied music composition and sound recording technology at Brigham Young University. I graduated almost 20 years ago.  

If you could choose three adjectives to describe yourself, that have nothing to do with comics, what would they be?

Howard: Adjectives? I demand nouns. Husband. Father. Cook. 

Is there an environment you prefer to create in?  Such as somewhere quiet, or do you prefer music?  Does the sound of a TV show or movie in the background help get your creative juices flowing?

Howard: CONTROLLED. Ideally, I control everything — the temperature, the ambient sound, the foreground sound, the lighting — everything. Usually it’s brightly lit with movie soundtracks playing and an air filter running around the corner to create a wall of white noise. 

OK, just to get a more personal feel of who you are, is there an embarrassing or exciting story from your childhood you’d like to share with us? 

Howard: That, my friends, is why God gave us the gift of repression. I cannot reveal what I cannot find. There’s probably a temper-tantrum in there somewhere, though. My most exciting? Hmmm… I suspect that what I remember to be exciting would sound mundane, while the events that are the most exciting (or at least interesting) to readers are things that seemed pretty ordinary at the time. In the first category? Driving to Disney World, and making good on my escape during a very large game of tag. In the second? Sleeping through a hurricane, and swimming away from an alligator. 

If and when they make a movie of your life who would you choose to play you?

Howard: Young Richard Dreyfuss. Or maybe Stanley Tucci. The right actor (once my life is long enough to make a proper bio-pic) is probably a b-list character actor right now. 

Is there any upcoming news or other stuff you’d like to share with us?  Books? Kickstarters?

Howard: I’ve been telling stories with pictures for over a dozen years now. If you’re ready for something WITHOUT pictures, I’ve got a novelette called “Flight of the Runewright” in a new anthology from Cold Fusion Media called “Space Eldritch.” Here’s a short link to the Amazon page: http://amzn.to/QPZ3FF but the eBook is available from Barnes & Noble and Smashwords as well. It’s a horror story set in a near-future in which we’ve discovered that rune magic can take us into hyperspace and to new worlds, and the protagonist is boarding using false credentials.

To wrap up this interview we’ll ask an easy question.  What’s the Meaning of Life?  Trust me, there’s more than  just a few of us that want to know the answer to that…especially on Mondays. :)

Howard: We are here to learn to live happily, and to love one another. There’s a “42” in there somewhere, but I can never get it to fit without a shoehorn and some expletives.

I would like to take this time to thank Howard Tayler for taking the time to answer these questions for us and allow us to get to know him a little bit more.   Also thank you Howard for your continued work on Schlock the Mercenary.

If you haven’t had the opportunity go check out our POTM write up of Schlock Mercenary and make sure you go over and check out Howard’s wonderful webcomic.

Posted in Featured News, Interviews, Webcomic News, Weekly Pick and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Webcomic Alliance - POTM: Schlock Mercenary

    • Thanks Chris. It’s amazing to see Howard’s work, a 12 year and still going strong work. I’m just amazed at you creators and what y’all provide for us readers. I love these 10 Questions, it’s a great way to get a glimpse into the lives of the webcomic creator and gives readers (fans and new) a chance to connect a bit more with the artist. Thank you for your comment and continued support of the Webcomic Alliance.

  2. I’m a long-time fan of Howard Tayler and his Shlock Mercenary, and I enjoyed your interview with him very much, Todd. Thank you.

    One point I’d like to add is that there is an incredibly fun Shlock board game out now. ( I know how fun it is because I pre-ordered it back in Feb or March and it arrived last month.) It would make a fantastic Christmas gift.

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