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Thursday May 14, 2009 12:17 pm

WEBCOMICS: Thinkin’ Lincoln With Miles Grover, Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe!




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Interviews

Lincoln
Quick, name a strip that might feature a rap battle between Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, a recurring cast of supporting players including zombie Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Jose de San Martin, Queen Elizabeth II, Punxsutawney Phil, and pie charts. Can’t do it? I can. It’s Thinkin’ Lincoln by Miles Grover. If you like your historical figures hysterical, petty, snarky, and anachronistic, you’ll want to hang out every day with Abe and his dead friends .

Besides, where else will you find Abe Lincoln saying “Yesss, I am an awesome boyfriend?”

TOM MASON: Okay, Miles, why Abraham Lincoln?
MILES GROVER: I just really admire Abraham Lincoln. A while into making the strip, I realized it’s kind of a funny way of showing it though, casting Lincoln as this sort of idiotic, buffoonish man-child.
TOM: How do you decide which historical figures to throw in?

MILES: Well, as with Lincoln, I generally include figures I admire from history. Though sometimes I add people who are just visually interesting, or who I think will be surprising or interesting. I’m sort of obsessed with being weird and inconsistent in the strip, and kind of a lot of the essence of the strip is the weird juxtapositions of all these characters from different eras, or sometimes they’re a robot or an animal, but they all have modern dialects and laptops and so forth. So a lot of the time I’m looking for historical figures who will fit by not fitting as much as possible. If that makes sense.
TOM: Perfect sense. When did Thinkin’ Lincoln begin?
MILES: I started the strip in July of 2005, which means I’m getting pretty close to my 4th year anniversary.

TOM: Congratulations. Do you post every day?
MILES: I update it every weekday, except when I don’t. I counted a little while back and I think I’ve missed between 80 and 100 updates over the years, which is a little less than once a week on average.
TOM: What’s your daily schedule like with the strip?
MILES: I do the comic the evening before it goes up in most cases, after I’m done with work and night school. I have about a 40-minute commute home from work and I usually try to think up the comic I’m going to do during that. That doesn’t always work, though, so there are nights when I’m up pretty late finishing the strip.

TOM: How long does it take to do each one?
MILES: It can take me anywhere from about 45 minutes to bang out a strip — you know, if inspiration strikes really hard — to, oh, maybe 5 hours some nights.
TOM: The strip is fully digital. What made you decide to go that way and can you walk me through the steps and programs you use?
MILES: The strip is digital because as I work full time and go to night school, and it’s easier and faster to get it done that way. I see it as a vehicle for jokes more than art, so I guess you could say I’ve tried to streamline the visuals. I make the strip in Adobe Flash all in vector art, pulling from a big library of faces and other art I’ve created in the past, though most days I’ll usually have to make at least one piece of new art. A lot of times there’ll be some prop I need that I’ve never had before, or else I’ve never had Abe be this particular shade of angry.
TOM: What made you decide on the web as your outlet?
MILES: I read a lot of webcomics and I’m a web designer, so the web seemed like a natural venue for Thinkin’ Lincoln. Plus, there probably isn’t a newspaper in the world that would run it.
TOM: What kind of feedback are you getting?
MILES: I get mostly positive feedback, though I know the comic isn’t really for everyone. I Stumbled on another webcomic once which I guess reviewed other comics in the comic, and anyway the main character said he wanted to murder me for making such a bad comic. So that was nice.
TOM: You’ve got over 800 strips in your archive so far. Where would like to take Thinkin’ Lincoln from here? A book deal? Greeting cards? Action-figure heads?
MILES: I will probably start self-publishing some collections of the strip soon, maybe 100 comics at a time. Action figures or greeting cards would be neat too, but I haven’t tried to figure out how feasible they’d be. Doing all my own merchandising is hard work on top of all the other stuff I do, but fortunately my wife helps me out.
TOM: What kind of marketing and promotion do you do?
MILES: I’ve done a little bit of advertising, but mostly I try to focus on making a good comic that will promote itself. Advertising probably works better.
TOM: Are you able to monetize the site in any way?
MILES: I currently sell T-shirts and run ads on the site. I also have in the past had a donation system where I’d draw comics for donations, which was pretty popular because I wasn’t charging enough for it. The site definitely pays for itself and then some, but it’s not enough to quit my day job just yet.

TOM: “I am the beef hat of your destiny.” I hold out hope that the phrase will still catch on.
MILES: Ha-ha, so do I! I mean, there are so many uses for a phrase like that.

Feel free to try that phrase around the your apartment or at work. I think it works whether you’re mowing your lawn, trying to pick up someone at a bar or even plotting to conquer the world. Thanks, Miles, and good luck with Thinkin’ Lincoln!
Some sample Thinkin’ Lincoln strips that crack me up.
ABE LINCOLN on the relationship between Batman & Robin

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S Practical Joke

ABE LINCOLN on lack of sleep

(artwork: a 2-panel section from Thinkin’ Lincoln, ©Miles Grover)

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