By Stephanie "Bobbi Bergman
Sometime in early November of 1998, I recieved the following letter:
I checked out his samples, and was amazed to discover that not only was Mike a great artist...but good lord! He actually knew something about games. And even stranger...he was actually funny. Those are some very rare qualities to find in a hardcore gamer. Not even two weeks later, we launched Penny Arcade, the second comic strip here at loonygames, and our first original one.
Since then, PA has grown to run twice weekly, and is one of our most popular features. Heck, there are a ton of people who stop by here on Wednesday and Friday just to read PA. Via exposure on Next-Generation Online, the kids (as I soon learned there were two of them) soon found themselves with a fanbase that included hardcore gamers, casual browsers, and a boatload of developers.
Here's just some of the companies that have e-mailed either me or the kids personally about Penny Arcade: Bungie, Dynamix, 3DO, Ritual...the list goes on and on. I was playing Starsiege: TRIBES the other night (coincidentally the kids' favorite game) and had this conversation:
Hey, are you loonyboi from loonygames?
You get the idea. My point is this: I love Penny Arcade. If you're reading this, chances are you do too. Everyone loves Penny Arcade. But nobody knows anything about the guys behind it. So, I set my sister Stephanie off to interview them...and boy did she come back with something strange. I am proud to present this interview with (CW) Gabriel & Tycho Brahe. Enjoy.
- Jason Bergman, editor, Big Cheese.
PS: It's scary how much this sounds like me and my sister. :)
(CW)Gabriel: Michael krahulik. Commander in charge of milk. I don't really have a number.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Tycho Brahe/Jerry Parkinson. The rest is classified.
Ok...Gabriel first, Commander in Charge of Milk?
(CW)Gabriel: It is delicious.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: He loves milk.
(CW)Gabriel: I am pro milk.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: He plans to run in 2000 on a pro-milk platform.
Wow. I think I'm speechless, a loonygames staff member who puts something before beer!
(CW)Gabriel: Beer has nothing on milk. I will go with the cow any day. Well not go with it like on a date. Just like you know drink it's milk and stuff.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Just milk, or would you say you have an all around affinity for dairy?
Chocolate milk, perhaps?
(CW)Gabriel: now that sounds like a plan
Ok, now Tycho, you've been classified?
(CW) Tycho Brahe: That information is classified.
Aaah. I was going to ask what you had been classified as.
(CW)Gabriel: Gay. Gay and stupid.
Gay and stupid?
(CW) Tycho Brahe: I am really just fattening Gabe up until I make a meal of him.
What is Gabe classified as?
(CW) Gabriel: My minion. Smarter than Tycho.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Do you see now, how the animosity of the characters is actually not too far off? :)
So you are the characters in Penny Arcade?
(CW)Gabriel: Oh no. We have been figured out!
(CW) Tycho Brahe: I guess the cat is out of the bag.
(CW)Gabriel: It's us alright.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Way to go, Gabriel.
(CW)Gabriel: Shut up and die.
How did you two meet?
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Yeah, now you know.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: We met in journalism class in High school, have always wanted to a comic strip of some kind, and we would never really get around to it because we were too busy playing video games. It just took us a long time to figure out what exactly it was we wanted to do.
(CW)Gabriel: I was an artist looking for a writer, he was a writer who was looking for well i don't know what he was looking for.
Who came up with the concept for Penny Arcade?
(CW)Gabriel: That would be me. See how that whole "smarter than Tycho thing" worked out.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Actually, the real story about that is pretty interesting - Are you ready?
(CW)Gabriel: Ya it is.
Oh, I'm ready. :)
(CW)Gabriel: I'll let you tell it.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Oh, wow. Okay. Here we go, kids:
(CW)Gabriel: But don't mess it up.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Next Generation Online, back about November...
(CW)Gabriel: Ya November.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Put up a little blurb about their being interested in a comic artist for their great Print Mag, Next-Generation. So, Gabe here cracked out a couple strips,
(CW)Gabriel: thatís me
(CW) Tycho Brahe: And he sent them in (they have never been seen since).
(CW)Gabriel: For good reason
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Well, I got the bug then, too - I wrote a couple strips, and Gabe drew them, and
(CW)Gabriel: I was afraid he might kill himself if i didnít use his ideas.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Shut up! Who's the boss of you?
(CW)Gabriel: He usually is. They blew us off.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: And so, we wrote them back everyday, with messages like "did you read our strips" or "please love us" or something to that effect, until finally, like Gabe said, they blew us off. They never actually found anybody as far as I know, but I could be wrong. Either way, we sent the strips out to a bunch of sites, Planetquake, Telefragged, and loonygames. You guess which one we ended up picking.
(CW)Gabriel: Good story.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: The characters themselves, in what is probably the weirdest thing about this story, never actually showed up in any of our test strips. Their first arrival was in the strip that ran in issue 16 (May not be the right one) of loonygames. They were never meant, really, to be a part of it as our original design was concerned.
(CW)Gabriel: It just kinda worked out that way. Now you se why he is the writer.'
So, can we see the test strips? :)
(CW)Gabriel: ya lemme see if I still have them on my machine
(CW) Tycho Brahe: If we do have them, I think that you might be amused by them. They are certainly evidence that the strip has changed a lot.
Can you quantify how it's changed? Or is it more of a progression kinda thing you can't put your finger on?
(CW) Tycho Brahe: Well, the comic strip itself is based, almost entirely, by conversations that we have. We actually live together, we have a little LAN and all that, so we have an opportunity to really detest each other.
(CW) Tycho Brahe: In terms of how it has changed, take it away, gabe!
(CW)Gabriel: Um. well see I draw these pictures and sometimes i make them with funny faces and stuff. Um. Well it has gotten more focused i think. I mean when we first started doing this we really werenít sure if anyone was even reading them. Now we know we have a fan base out there and so we are putting a lot more effort into the strip and how it moves along.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1999 StephanieBergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.