|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2010)|
January 17, 1979 |
Los Angeles, California
|Other names||Kristofer Straub|
|Education||UCLA Alumni, Computer Science|
|Occupation||Cartoonist and Graphic designer|
|Known for||Creator of Starslip, Checkerboard Nightmare, chainsawsuit and F Chords|
Kris Straub is a webcartoonist and the creator of Checkerboard Nightmare, Starslip, chainsawsuit and F Chords. He is also a co-founder of webcomics collectives Blank Label Comics and Halfpixel. Straub co-created the series Blamimation with Kris and Scott (an animated series) and Kris and Scott's Scott and Kris Show (a live-action comedy webseries) with Scott Kurtz. Both series air at Penny Arcade's PATV web video content imprint.
Starslip was a daily independent science fiction/comedy webcomic. Starslip Crisis was part of the webcomics cooperation collective Blank Label Comics, until Straub split away from Blank Label to merge Starslip with his new collective, Halfpixel, in November 2007. The comic initially ran under the name Starshift Crisis. The nearly identical Starslip Crisis appeared early in the strip's run, with its own website and associated content, differing only in that the term "starslip" replaced "starshift". The two ran in parallel, until a strip in August 2005 which definitively ended the plot of Starshift Crisis, but which played out differently in Starslip Crisis. Reportedly the name change was caused by a legal issue.
Starslip Crisis was first set in the 3440s, aboard the starship IDS Fuseli, named after painter Henry Fuseli. The Fuseli was a former luxury warship which has been converted into a starship museum. It is still capable of military activities. The Fuseli travelled from system to system with its exhibits (using a faster than light "starslip drive"), the comic chronicling the adventures of the crew. Much of the art featured upon the Fuseli dated from the 20th or 21st centuries.
Much of the strip centered around the exploits of, and relationships between, the three main protagonists:
- Memnon Vanderbeam is "the fussy, arrogant curator of the Fuseli." He tends to be self-centered, often putting the lives of his crew at risk, while acting in his own self-interest. He constantly abuses Mr. Jinx, and suffers from "Space Affective Disorder". He is wholly devoted to art and his beloved museum, valuing it more than anything.
- Cutter Edgewise is an "ex-pirate, drunk, and the Fuseli’s pilot acting on behalf of the Terran military." (ibid)
- Mr. Jinx is the "alien operations assistant to Vanderbeam. Like C-3PO without all that raw courage." (ibid) Jinx is cirbozoid, an asexual insectoid race that has repeatedly faced extermination at the hands of others.
On January 12, 2009, Straub rebooted the artwork and modified the name of the strip after a storyline where the Fuseli, the ship the comic is set on, escapes from a Universe destroyed by the Future.
Starslip Crisis was nominated for five Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards in 2006: Outstanding Newcomer, Outstanding Black and White Art, Outstanding Use of Flash, Outstanding Web Design, and Outstanding Science Fiction Comic (which it won). Kris Straub was also nominated in 2006 for Outstanding Writer in the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. The strip was nominated for three Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards in 2007: Outstanding Black and White Art, Outstanding Science Fiction, and Outstanding Web Design. The strip was officially ended on June 15, 2012
Checkerboard Nightmare was originally hosted independently, it moved to Keenspot for a time, before becoming one of the founding comics of Blank Label Comics. During 2006, it appeared monthly on the webcomic news site Comixpedia. The strip is self-aware, using metahumour extensively, and the title character, Checkerboard Nightmare (Chex) is obsessed with gaining fame as a webcomic character and is willing to do anything necessary to achieve it. The setup of the strip does not change beyond 'Chex wants new readers and concocts a hare-brained scheme to get them', satirising the strict adherence to format exhibited by, for example, sitcoms. Its targets expanded as the strip progressed, and shifted from satirising webcomics to the search for fame in general with the move to Keenspot.
Checkerboard Nightmare storylines have included Chex physically attacking other webcomic creators (drawn in each creator's art style) in an attempt to gain fame by getting rid of the competition, and a one-shot comic in which a character from Queen of Wands, which had just ended, was run over by Chex and another character in a car as a parody of a similar gag in the webcomic Something Positive.
Checkerboard Nightmare received an Honorable Mention in the Comedic category at the 2005 Cartoonist's Choice Awards, Honorable Mention in the Comedic category.
Formerly titled indie comic by kris straub by kris straub, chainsawsuit was launched in March 2008 as a parody of badly drawn gag-a-day strips. Straub soon renamed the comic after one of its recurring characters so that it could expand beyond mocking indie comics. It ran for a few months on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, then began to update every weekday starting in August 2008.
Its topics range from current events to pop culture. Recurring characters include Chainsawsuit, a man with a series of chainsaws strapped to his body for self-defense against zombies; Famous Chef, a caricature of Gordon Ramsay; Lazy Cat, an ultraviolent send-up of Garfield; Two Cops, a police officer who was accidentally enrolled in the academy twice and is regarded by all characters as two separate people; H. P. Wuvcraft, a cuddlier version of Lovecraft; master pickup artist Huntyr Chase; and Straub himself, who appears in some autobiographical comics.
F Chords ran from July 29, 2008 to December 5 of the same year, ending along with its first story arc. Its main characters—Ash and Wade, two Austin-area studio musicians who also play in an unknown local band named "Soft Operation"—have gone on to make cameo appearances in both Starslip and chainsawsuit.
In May 2011, F Chords was relaunched as a daily comic. Its setting has been relocated to Los Angeles, and follows Ash and Wade's continued efforts to popularize their band.
On September 26, 2012, Straub launched Broodhollow, a series set in a 1930s American town of the same name. It involves "all manner of ghost" and is somewhat based on Straub's own superstitions and fears of the paranormal. The series opens with Zane, a door-to-door salesperson for Encyclopedia Atlantica, traveling to Broodhollow after being notified that a distant relative had died months earlier. Broodhollow is a sister town of Ichor Falls.
In December 2006, Straub was named co-writer and co-producer on PvP: The Series, a series of animated shorts featuring the PvP characters.
Also in 2006 Straub launched the Halfpixel site, as a location for a variety of creative projects. The Time Friends series has proved popular with fans, with many making their own strips which are displayed on the site via a "creative framework" named Web You.0.
On Feb. 22, 2007, episode of Kurtz's PVP Livecast podcast, Straub announced his plans to relocate from Los Angeles to Dallas, Texas, to join Kurtz as office and creative partners.
Straub also hosted, along with David Malki, the podcast "Tweet Me Harder."
In 2007, to coincide with his move to Dallas, Straub repurposed the Halfpixel site to serve as a hub for his and Kurtz's joint creative projects. Halfpixel later expanded to include webcartoonists Brad Guigar and Dave Kellett of the comics Evil Inc. and Sheldon, respectively.
Candle Cove hoax
Straub is notable for the Candle Cove meme. It features people reminiscing about a children's show called Candle Cove. Although it seems to be normal, they gradually recall disturbing aspects of the program and a bizarre final episode, before discovering that Candle Cove was merely half an hour of TV static which the children believed was a program. Many people carry on the joke by either posting details about the show or uploading videos to YouTube of static and claiming that they can see an episode of Candle Cove, with some users of YouTube even recreating the final episode, where the characters just scream randomly for nearly a minute.
- "Blank Label Comics is Formed". Editor & Publisher. 2005-05-31. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Three Cartoonists Leave Blank Label Comics to Form New Halfpixel". Halfpixel. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Kris Straub (2005-05-24). "Starslip – Tuesday, May 24, 2005". Retrieved 2008-02-08.[dead link]
- Kris Straub (2005-11-16). "Starslip – Wednesday, November 16, 2005". Retrieved 2008-02-08.[dead link]
- Kris Straub. "Starslip – New Readers Guide". Retrieved 2008-02-08.[dead link]
- Kris Straub (2007-11-06). "Starslip – Tuesday, November 6, 2007". Retrieved 2008-02-08.[dead link]
- Kris Straub (2007-06-11). "Starslip – Monday, June 11, 2007". Retrieved 2008-02-08.[dead link]
- "Webcartoonists’ Choice Awards 2006 Online Ceremony". Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards 2007 nominations". Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- TalkShoe - Audio
- TalkShoe - Audio
- Drawn.ca review of How To Make Webcomics
- Straub's personal hub site
- Nightlight Press, Straub's self-publishing site
- Checkerboard Nightmare
- F Chords
- Ichor Falls
- Tweet Me Harder
- Kris Straub at the Internet Movie Database