Creator Interview: Robin Daehling

Our features went on a bit of little unexpected hibernation, but now it’s spring time and we’re back! This moon’s featured comic is one of our newest comics, Say Something by Robin Daehling. Say Something is a slice-of-life/fantasy comic about a teenager trying to get through life while being cursed by a speech demon, who will kill anybody they talk to. Say Something is in the process of a relaunch, with pages coming out daily on their website! Wool Wolf asked Robin about the impact webcomics can have on reader’s and author’s lives, struggles, and pursuits.

" ...Finding a character that acts like you and is loved by a large group is a fantastic feeling. It almost feels like they love you in a strange way. When life is hard, it helps to remember that. Sounds cheesy probably haha! But we all need some amount of cheese in our life!”

Follow Robin on Twitter (@.RabbitTactician) and Tumblr @kaydaeh​.

1. Can you tell us some about your comic’s plot and themes?

Well, Say Something was originally a basic 8-page mini comic about a nameless protagonist haunted by a speech demon, much like Buddy. Truth be told it was for a project in college back in 2014! I was going through a rough patch in life and was feeling like my voice wasn't being heard, so Say Something was born. Some of my classmates were enamored with the story and wondered if I would continue it. Overtime I developed Buddy, gave them a name, backstory, personality, and fell in love with them. 

The plot right now mainly revolves around Buddy living with this demon in them. Being a slice-of-life, though, there are a few subplots sprinkled about - many that have yet to be revealed! And perhaps there's an even larger plot waiting in the wings. Theme-wise I think the biggest one would be "triumph over evil." The first page shows Buddy bantering with the demon and they're thinking "my purpose is to kill you and nothing more." All they want is freedom from their evil curse. 

2. You mentioned that the creation of Say Something was rooted in a rough patch in your own life.  How do you feel fictional webcomics can effect people's real struggles, for both the creators and the readers?

Works of fiction help alleviate everyday life, that's been proven time and time again. For readers to find a webcomic and really connect with a character is near indescribable, based on my own experience of course! Finding a character that acts like you and is loved by a large group is a fantastic feeling. It almost feels like they love you in a strange way. When life is hard, it helps to remember that. Sounds cheesy probably haha! But we all need some amount of cheese in our life!

For most creators, their characters are often an extension of themselves. I know there's the stereotypical thing where creators are awful to their characters, which I am very guilty of. Sorry, Buddy. Anyway, maybe it's because I mostly consume light-hearted media, but many of the characters I love have something good happen to them even if that character is having a bad time. Their creators have them smile and laugh. I feel like if creators are having a rough time, they may draw their characters smiling so they, in turn, will smile. I know that if I'm having a downer of a day, I look at Marian's smiling face and my mood instantly improves!

3. How do you hope Say Something, specifically, will effect your readers? What are some of the goals you hope to achieve through creating this story?

Well, I do hope Say Something effects people in a positive way. I understand that Buddy is in quite the predicament, but maybe some readers can relate to them and lean on them if that makes sense. Even if it's a slight distraction from any hardships the reader may have, I'll be content with that.

As for goals I hope to become a better writer and a better artist. Say Something is not my first comic by any means, but it is my first long running comic. It'll be interesting to go back and look at my first pages once it's completed and see how much I've grown! Say Something is far from being over, though, so no worries there!

4. Where do you think the webcomic community is headed, and where would you like it to go? What are some of your hopes for the culture surrounding webcomics?

Based on my own judgement and observations, I feel like the community is fairly open and accepting. Even now I've been graciously accepted into Wool Wolf because of my wonderful and accepting friends. Honestly I never expected to be a part of something like this. I would love for the community to continue to be friendly and open to give other budding artists a chance. I feel it can be very difficult to get noticed outside of webcomics, so we should help each other out in that regard.

5. What advice would you give to people who are looking to start a long-form webcomic?

Oooh boy haha! Make sure to plan ahead. No matter the genre make sure to plot out your major points well ahead of time. Do not hesitate to reread your script and make sure things makes sense page to page. I can't tell you how many times I've rewritten one specific point in chapter three because it was just a convoluted mess! Aside from the technicalities, a really important piece of advice is this: never give up. A long running story can get incredibly overwhelming and you may have nagging thoughts that tell you it's not worth it. Do not listen to that voice. I love Say Something with all my heart but even I have dark thoughts that tell me to quit. I'm certain there are others who feel the same about their own work. Someone out there loves your comic, though. If anything, keep that thought in the back of your mind for when you need it. 

Perhaps the most important bit of advice: sometimes you may need to take a break and that's okay. Burn outs happen to everyone and it happens when you least expect it. Allow yourself to relax; play your favorite video game, go pet a dog, or lay in bed watching Netflix. This is something I learned recently and it's changed me for the better. This is something I learned recently from you, Lucheek, and it's changed me for the better. 

Wool Wolf is excited and honored to represent Say Something and Robin Daehling. Thank you so much for your time, Robin. 

Comic Quick Pick

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.