Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance do you normally work on AST?

When I first started AST, my goal was to keep a six-week pad at all times to allow for emergencies, such as real-life interruptions, technical problems, shopping for needed parts, etc. Most of the time all of those things have conspired to keep me from the six-week pad. I usually average about three weeks in the queue at any given time. Of course, there have been Sunday nights when I've been frantically producing strips scheduled to appear the next morning.

Do you draw storyboards ahead of time?

I don't storyboard. Since my sets are already built ahead of time, I just write the scripts for each panel and place the figures. Usually I have enough dead space in any given panel to rearrange the speech bubbles in a logical way. Occasionally I'll reshoot a panel that I can't make work, or will have a different character say a line, but usually I get it right the first time.

How long does it take you to produce a comic?

It entirely depends upon how much production work - meaning special effects - I need to do. I typically avoid special effects strips, because sometimes they take a really long time. I can shoot a week's worth of comics in about fifteen minutes if I already have the sets built. Producing a single strip takes me ten to fifteen minutes, depending upon how much dialogue I need to place. A couple hours on a weekend usually is plenty for me to get a whole week of strips done. Of course, that stretches out to an entire day if I'm producing three or four weeks at a time (because I've run out in the queue). Special effects strips can sometimes take three to four times as long to produce, depending upon the amount and nature of the effects.

What do you use for your special effects?

You're going to laugh at this. I mostly use Microsoft Paint. That's right - the stupid piece of free software that's been on every PC forever. I'm a big believer in doing things on the cheap because like most writers, I'm perpetually broke. The airbrush tool has become a great friend of mine. If I need to do other effects - from blurring objects in motion to creating Silence's spectacular teleporting power to layering objects over a different background, I use an old copy of Broderbund Print Shop.

What kind of camera do you use?

Um ... it's digital, right? It's some kind of Hewlett Packard that's about five or six years old which I inherited when we bought a much nicer camera for family use (it's pink - I feel very manly carrying it around).

How long did it take for you to come up with the basic construct of AST?

Oh, I always wanted to do superhero comics until I finally came to the painful realization that I can't draw. At all. I set the idea aside for a long time and was actually toying with writing a fiction novel about a group of crazy superheroes when I ran across the brilliant webcomics LegoStar Galactica and Irregular Webcomic. Here were a couple of guys taking pictures of LEGO characters and making some screamingly funny stuff. I thought to myself, I can do that. I spent a couple weeks in the end of April 2006 building set pieces, creating the characters, and producing the first batch of strips, and May 1, 2006 the first AST strip hit the web. And the rest, as they say, is history. It probably took me about a year to really finalize the look and format of the strip to look like it does today, with numbering, dating, and copyright info included as part of the graphical file.

What storyline in the strip are you most proud of?

I think my favorite was the Alien Abduction part from beginning to end. It ran for about six months beginning with Slick's abduction and accidental face-melting, lots of shenanigans with the aliens who kidnapped him (blatantly ripped off from the crew of the Enterprise), and more fun with the robotic duplicate the aliens sent down to replace him (which is a nod to The Last Starfighter).

Which character do you think most mirrors you?

That's a tough question. I think all the members of the S-Team reflect aspects of my personality: Sandstorm's tenacity, Science Guy's nerdiness, Slick's sheer goofiness, Stretch's sense of humor, Smokescreen's unparalleled snacking ability, Stonewall's moodiness, Silence's temper, and Shellshock's ability to break things with his head. Well, maybe not that last one. Oh, and when I turn into a horse, it makes women around me swoon too. That's where I got the idea for Stallion.

What is your Lego budget?

Well, usually it's approximately nil. You know, I can't really say "sorry, kids, you don't get to eat this month because Daddy needs to buy the Death Star!" more than two or three times.

About how big is your collection?

I have a big grocery tote box lined with a bedsheet full of loose pieces. I also have probably fifty Star Wars sets that are built and in storage at the moment (although I did raid them for character parts before I put them away). They'll come back when I finish my basement - I estimate that'll be done sometime before I turn fifty.

Can I buy an Adventures of the S-Team comic book?

Not yet, but I'm intending to publish some collections of the strips in 2009. Have I mentioned the store yet? I'd be remiss if I didn't at least plug it once.

Will Slick ever get his face back?

I honestly don't know. I haven't planned on it - I've kind of gotten used to his vacant skull face - but you never know what Science Guy is cooking up in that lab of his. I'd like to have the aliens come back and I'm sure they'd do their best to muck it up all over again.

How can I be a feature character on the comic?

I accept cash, PayPal, and all major credit cards. I usually hold a contest once or twice a year. The prize is invariably some sort of appearance in the strip. Those are usually announced on the AST Special Features blog, which I'll pimp right here by saying if the AST was a DVD, the blog would be the director's commentary.

What inspired you to start this comic?

I think it was some bad peppers.

Since you do not receive financial compensation for making the strip, what would you say ultimately drives you to make and stay dedicated to this comic?

I think it's my love for the genre more than anything else. Between superheroes, comics, and LEGO, I've got three of my favorite things all mixed together. I'd do this for myself even if nobody else read it. And for the first few months of the S-Team, I pretty much WAS doing it for myself according to my hit tracker.

Would you say that the soul of AST is that they are made of LEGO elements? Would the comic have the same feel and soul to you if it were drawn?

Without the LEGO format, AST is just another webcomic. Doing it this way makes it more unique and special. Since LEGO figures are extremely limited in their movements and - unless you change heads - expressionless, much of the characterization and humor has to come from dialogue and poses. My background in theater helps with utilizing what poses I can for the sake of humor, and I really feel that I've given each of these characters uniqueness despite being basically alike in construction.

Do you foresee an end to the AST story at this point?

No, I can always think of some new story. If I need a break from the S-Teamers themselves, I switch to the Legion of T, or stick in an interlude like the occasional Cross Circuits robot panel show.

Prior to AST, were you a LEGO enthusiast?

Yes. I've had LEGO sets around me as long as I can remember.

Is there anything else you'd like for people to know about you or AST?

You can find out more about me and my other non-LEGO projects on my website at Otherwise I just want to thank everyone who reads AST and comments on the blog and refers it to their friends.

Got a question I haven't answered yet? Email it to me!

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