The following is an interview with Joshua Hauke, the creator of the weekly ongoing webcomic Tales of The Brothers Three. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Hauke about the inspiration for the webcomic, the creative process that is involved in maintaining a weekly schedule for new comics, and the upcoming release of his latest print edition of The Brothers Three.
This interview was conducted on December 27, 2013.
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: We recently met at Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles, CA, where I had the chance to see your artwork and to learn about your web comic, Tales of The Brothers Three. When did you begin your work as an artist?
Joshua Hauke: Officially, it was around 2009, which is when The Brothers Three comic first started. Though, unofficially, I began much earlier. I was obsessed with cartoons and comic books ever since I was little. I used to sit at a small, antique desk that my grandparents had got me and drew characters from my favorite shows.
In fact, at the wise old age of 7, I sat my mother down at the kitchen table to break some tough news to her. I told her, “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be able to live with you and dad forever. If I want to draw comics, I’m going to have to move to New York, because that’s where all the big comic companies are.” As heartbroken as my mother surely was, she agreed. Her only stipulation was that I wait a few years before I go. I never made it out to New York mind you, but comics still managed to find me.
BD: For our readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about Tales of The Brothers Three, and what inspired you to create the story?
JH: Tales of The Brothers Three chronicles the misadventures of three brothers with overactive imaginations and all the trouble they get into because of it.
It has everything you could ever want in an all-ages comic: sock-sucking monsters, talking moose heads, hunted mustaches, barking spiders, sweater vests . . . Well, maybe that last one is more of an acquired taste, but trust me, there is a little something for everyone.
What really inspired me and made me want to create The Brothers Three was growing up with two brothers of my own. Over the years, I built up a lot of great stories, like the time we convinced my younger brother there were sharks in the toilet, or how I accidentally broke my arm after inventing a game called rocket chair. Plus, with the added bonus of the characters’ imaginations, even the smallest of memories can turn into a huge adventure.
BD: How would you describe your creative process of working on the web comic, especially given that you write and draw each of the comic strips?
JH: My creative process always starts with the writing. I jot down ideas here and there. Some based on things that have actually happened while others are inspired by silly conversations I have with my fiancée, like about why people would wear sweatpants out in public. (See Tales of The Brothers Three: Killer Sweatpants! for the full scoop.) It’s important for me to feel like I’m playing when I’m writing it. It often feels like the weirdest things I come up with make for the best stories.
Once I have everything all scripted out, I hit the drawing table. I also find that the more fun and wacky a story is, the easier it is to draw. Of course, when you spend 8 to 10 hours a day sitting at your drawing table, the more fun you can make it, the better.
BD: Do you find it to be challenging to maintain a weekly schedule, given that you release new comic strips every Sunday?
JH: Yes. Maintaining a schedule is one of the hardest things about doing a webcomic. My comic comes out once a week, and that is hard to keep up with sometimes. Thinking about people who release a comic every day makes my head want to explode. The best and only way to stay on schedule is to build up a buffer. I always write one month ahead and have my comic drawn up one week ahead. Not much of a buffer, I know, but over the last 5 years, I have rarely missed an update.
BD: Are there any details that you can give us about upcoming storylines?
JH: One of the things I’ve really been trying to do over the last year or so is to show a shift in relationships between the brothers. As anyone with siblings knows, family dynamics are always changing. Recently, Wayne’s (the middle brother) feelings towards Dougie (the youngest) have changed. In the next few months, you’re going to see Keith (the oldest) go through some changes, as well. He’ll make some big decisions, one possible involving a mustache, that will not just alter his relationship with his brothers, but may, ultimately, change him forever.
BD: You recently released a printed edition that collects the first year of The Brothers Three. Where can readers find this printed book, and do you have plans to collect future editions of the web comic?
JH: My first book came out about a year ago. It’s called Tales of The Brothers Three: Mustaches, Monsters, & Other Hairy Situations! You can find it on my website (www.brothers3comcis.com) or on Amazon. Also, I have new book being released in January 2014 called Tales of The Brothers Three: The Moose Kisser! My goal, fingers crossed, is to have a new book come out every year. So, if you enjoy these two, keep in mind that number three is already in the works.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JH: I do have something new in the works, but I’m not quite ready to divulge too much information about it yet. I will say that it’s not a Brothers Three-related project and that it is in the kids’ horror/adventure genre.
BD: When you are not working on The Brothers Three, do you take commissions for your artwork, and, if so, do you offer any specific artwork services to your customers?
JH: I don’t do a lot of commissions, but I am open to them. My favorite commissions to draw are non-licensed characters, things like monsters, bizzaro creatures, and dinosaurs. I’ll do anything from head sketches to full paintings depending on how much time I have. If anyone is interested, they are welcome to shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Tales of The Brothers Three and your other work?
JH: The best way to find more on me and the The Brothers Three is to check out my website, www.brothers3comics.com. You can also like the Tales of The Brothers Three Facebook page and follow me, or rather my alter ego, on Twitter (@mortimerjmoose).