[Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of some of my favorite webcomics creator interviews that previously ran on WizardUniverse.com and were a part of the site’s archives that are no longer hosted there. Kit Roebuck’s Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life isn’t only one of my favorite webcomics of all time. It’s also one of my favorite comics. As a lover of Kerouac, Beat literature, and sci-fi, this comic snagged me from the moment I read it for its craftsmanship, technically innovative format, and its simplicity. This interview was originally posted on September 7, 2007.]
If Jack Kerouac had been manufactured in the future as a metal robot, his classic hipster novel On the Road might have resembled Kit Roebuck’s webcomic opus Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. The planet-by-planet voyage now spans a half-decade since the webcomic launched in 2003. While he has since taken several sabbaticals during the run, Roebuck shrugs off those who complain that he doesn’t maintain a weekly release schedule. The pseudonym-toting Georgian behind George and Ben—two unemployed robots in search of their purpose in the solar system—has a day job.
Thankfully, I was able to reach Roebuck after hours to casually slide in a few questions about when new chapters might be on their way. (Roebuck winked my way that a new episode could be on its way by the time this interview gets posted, so click over to Nine Planets posthaste and see if he made good.) The artist, who dabbles in painting in addition to his comics work, was obliged—though adamant that he is not a comic professional—to converse about his intentions and aspirations for his webcomic. He told me about his brother’s role in putting his site together and his love for the infinite canvas of webcomics, which far too few creators take advantage of. Over the course of the late afternoon chat, I got to step behind the perspective of a webcomicker who unabashedly is not in his craft for the money, and relishes everything that that entails.
BRIAN WARMOTH: I liked the description you used of Nine Planets when you referred to it as a sandcastle you find along the seashore. For the purposes of Cursory Conversation, I wanted to get a feel for what you’ve been building there from time to time and how it’s coming along, since new strips do pop up sometimes. When do you think new episodes might be appearing?
ROEBUCK: I think it’s just going to be whenever I get back to it. The reason I haven’t ever said this is on hiatus is because I’m not really on hiatus. I just haven’t done it in six months.
I’m assuming with the whole “nine planets” concept you have an endpoint you’d eventually like to hit. Is there a goal at the end of the road for the story?
ROEBUCK: Oh yeah. It may change, but it’s going to go out to Pluto. We’ll be following the nine-planet structure from before these smaller-planets-rearrangement things started to happen.
It’s a unique part of making a story as a webcomic that you can change it as people are reading it.
ROEBUCK: [Laughs] Yeah, and because of the flow I can change my mind.