Robert’s hiccups are a lot like his sense of humor, which is random, quirky, and continues throughout the day. He is full of little quips here and there and says things when you least expect him to. That is until you hang around him for a long time because that’s when the real fun starts!
His friends describe him as dependable, clever, thoughtful, detailed, easy-going and patient. Those are not the words he would use to describe himself. He would rather point out all his flaws and tell you that the world is terrible. But he has gotten tired of everyone telling him that he is full of horse manure.
When Robert has spare time and is not drawing his comics, you can find him playing D&D, illustrating for RPGs, working out, biking around Seattle, searching through the clearance section at Half-Price Books, or even deejaying at the local spooky club. He has been deejaying since 1996 and has spun at clubs and radio stations around the US and once even in Europe! He mainly enjoys hearing new EBM and techno but has an eclectic taste in music including goth, industrial, drum & bass, classical, classic rock, rap, and hip hop. He would be hard pressed to tell you his favorite band but will end up mentioning Pink Floyd followed closely by whatever band he has just uncovered during his expeditions for music on the internet.
The question most strangers ask him is, “How long have you been growing those dreads?” Recently he has been telling them 8 years, but he cannot be certain. Besides having the cleanest white-guy dreads people have ever seen, he has an impressive list of other accomplishments. He is an Eagle Scout with the Bronze Palm and a member of The Order of the Arrow. He studied kung fu and competed in several tournaments. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Illustration.
It was in college that he started drawing comics. He recalls, “There was this terribly drawn and stupid comic in the daily school newspaper that was going to end at the close of the semester. I think the guy was graduating or something. But there was going to be a slot open for another strip. I thought to myself, ‘I can do better than that guy!’ So I drew up some strips about an alien going to college, submitted it, and got the job. I actually think I was the only one that applied because the paper already had another strip about some aliens and the editor didn’t want any redundancies. I assured him that mine was going to be different and he reluctantly hired me.” The strip was called Schwartz.
It was also in college where Robert discovered the Goth scene. He was close enough to Chicago and old enough to go to clubs so he went as often as he could. He felt he finally found a group of people that would accept him for who he was. For the next couple of years, he amassed a large collection of music and fully immersed himself in the subculture. He had the opportunity to DJ at the college radio station and had a weekly specialty show called The Graveyard Shift. He did all of this and still achieved a 3.65 GPA.
After graduating, he spent three months backpacking around Europe. The trip was eye-opening and taught him a lot about himself. After glimpsing bits of the Old World, he knew he had to choose a special place for his new home. New Orleans became his home for the next six and a half years where he continued to DJ, make tons of friends, and break a lot of hearts. He missed drawing his comic strips in college and decided to do an autobiographical strip about a gothic DJ and his friends. Writhe and Shine became a major success for him. He was recognized for this comic whenever he went across the country for conventions and club nights and Writhe and Shine amassed a large following. Unfortunately, the strip was anything but punctual. Many things kept him from getting work finished on his strips and his two self-published comic books. Good career opportunities were rare and he had to work three part-time jobs just to get by. The harsh southern summers and incredible humidity drove him to seek a more suitable climate.
In the early summer of 2005, Robert moved to Seattle. It was just three months before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Having missed that disaster, he decided that he would never complain about being unlucky ever again. He tried to continue drawing and writing Writhe and Shine but knew that his heart was just not in it. The landscape and dynamic of the city the strip was based on was now completely foreign to him. Everything had changed. He decided to stop working on the comic when he reached his 250th strip — conveniently at the height of a romantic storyline.
The next several years could best be described as the Dark Ages for Robert and his comics. He believed his artistic talents were being wasted on a fruitless venture and decided to attempt to use his Illustration degree for the reason he went to college in the first place. He drew a number pieces for the Seattle-based role-playing game Unhallowed Metropolis, but had no success with other companies or games. Plus a couple of his friends in the industry kept telling him horror stories about being screwed over in different ways as well as not being paid on time or even at all!
During this time Robert had started working on another comic strip called Doomies. He went as far as to purchase doomies.com, but never did anything with the site. Almost everything seemed pointless to him, and he eventually let the name go figuring that he would never do anything with it. He almost let writheandshine.com go as well seeing as it was just costing him money and all the fans he had gained were disenchanted or just forgot about him. But for some reason he kept the name even though he took the site down. Toward the end of 2010, Robert decided to pick up the pen again and continue work on Doomies. He completed several strips and began posting them on his blog. However, when he went to go purchase doomies.com again, he found that it had been taken by another webcomic. That got him down yet again. It would not be until a year later when he changed the name of the strip to Overcast with a chance of DOOM! and started posting the strips on a regular basis. To help boost his readership, he decided to repost his old Writhe and Shine strips again on their own website.
Now we can just hope that he keeps it up.
Currently, Robert is living with his cat Mao and hoping that some day soon he can make a living off of his comics and other artwork.