I’ve received a number of questions over the years about the comic, and I thought I’d give some of my answers here. If you have any questions of your own, feel free to contact me, and I’ll try to answer them for you.
Q: Why is there so much nudity in Delve?
A: I began drawing Delve at a time when I was working at a job where I was routinely asked to censor the works of other artists. To put it simply, I was the guy who photoshopped sensible bras onto pictures of video game women so that the ESRB wouldn’t fine our company $10,000 per inch of exposed cleavage. We had to do this to protect the children from nudity, because video games are for children, and, if an American child ever saw a bare breast, then the terrorists would win.
Doing this made me sick to my stomach, but I did it, because I liked having a paycheck. I eventually got pretty good at it, and even became known as the go-to guy if you needed a bra painted onto your latest render of a hot video game character. This lead to even more work bra-painting, and an even worse churning in my gut every time I was asked to do it.
Delve was my outlet… my atonement for this artistic sin. I resolved to make a comic wherein I could draw whatever I wanted, and no one could tell me that what I was drawing was inappropriate.
Now the bra-painting job is long gone, but I’m still drawing Delve, filling the internet with bared elven breasts. I suppose it is not, perhaps, the most noble of purposes, but it is mine, and I am glad to do my part.
Q: If everyone is nude anyway, why is there no sex in Delve?
A: I have nothing against sex in comics, it just isn’t the theme of Delve. I like to think of Delve as existing in the world of my own teenage imagination from back in the day of my first exposure to fantasy gaming… full of lurid imagery and gratuitous titillation, but devoid of any real concept of sex.
The sexuality of Delve is personified in the character of Ssithikus, the Lizard King. He represents a very simple and even misogynistic concept of sexuality, but, in reality, he’s mostly harmless. He’s trying to be this swaggering alpha male dominator, but he has no clue what that really means, and, in the end, he mainly just likes looking at naked girls and bragging about what a stud he thinks he is.
The sexuality of Delve is the pulp fiction and dirty comics of our collective youth that frightened our parents so much. They warned us that filth like this would turn us all into criminal woman-haters and depraved perverts. Maybe they were right, but I still maintain that there is no real bite in this bark. Maybe we need this sort of thing the way we need to dress up like monsters on Halloween… to gaze into the darkness lurking within our own humanity, and recognize it for what it is… to call it out and laugh at it, and by so doing, rob it of its power to harm us.
Then again, maybe Delve is just an excuse to draw naked elves. I don’t know. I’m crazy.
Q: Why isn’t anyone in Delve wearing more sensible armor?
A: Actually, no one has ever asked that question about Delve.
Q: Why don’t you have an update schedule?
A: Because, if I had an update schedule, Delve would become a job rather than a hobby, and then I wouldn’t want to do it anymore.
Q: Where can I get a printed version of the comic?
A: I’m working on that. I still have to find the best outlet for it. I think it will have to be Print On Demand, because I don’t have the time or space to warehouse and ship these things. I’ll also have to finish building up the extra exclusive content for the print version, because, in my experience, most people don’t want to pay for something that they can get online for free.
Q: Why don’t you do a Kickstarter for the printed comic?
A: I am terrified of the concept of doing a Kickstarter, because I would be basically promising to do a crap-ton of work in exchange for being paid up front. If the Kickstarter failed, I would feel bad for failing, and, if it succeeded, I would suddenly find myself very deeply in debt to a lot of people. Psychologically, it’s a no-win situation for me. The only way I think it might work would be if I secretly did all the work to begin with and then ran the Kickstarter, promising to do the work if you all met my unreasonable demands. Of course that could totally backfire, and then I don’t get funded and have to say, “Oops, I accidentally did it anyway, here you go.”
Q: You mentioned something about struggling with your inner demons at one point. What’s that about?
A: Like many creative folks, I’ve struggled with depression most of my life. On more than one occasion I’ve flirted with the idea of self-harm. Sometimes, I am completely overwhelmed by crushing self-doubts. I’ve survived long enough to realize that this is just a cost of doing business as an artist, and the best thing I can do to cope with it is to drag it out into the light and laugh at it. I mean, if you can’t joke about that time you had a loaded shotgun tucked up under your chin with your finger on the trigger, then how are you gonna laugh it off the next time your own brain tries to kill you?
My advice to others facing the same sort of thing is to realize that this isn’t something that’s ever going to go away, and it’s not your fault. You can’t cure this by thinking positive thoughts or being a better person. Medication can help, at least to help you realize that these thoughts aren’t normal, and they aren’t really valid arguments. It’s nothing more than a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you can turn a suicidal thought off with a damned pill, then you can be pretty sure that it isn’t something you should be listening to in the first place. Learn to ride it out and get to the other side, like holding your breath when a big black wave is about to wash over your head. It will pass, and before long you may even learn how to surf these things.
It is never a pleasant experience, when those times come, but I have learned to wait it out and anticipate the relief to come once they pass.
If you are struggling with these issues yourself, I urge you not to try to hide it or deal with it in private. Get some help, or at least tell the people in your life that you are facing these problems. The deeper you bury this stuff, the more power it has over you. You can always wing me an email, and I’ll be glad to talk to you about it, so long as I’m not lying, curled up in a ball on the floor and weeping for no good reason. 8)