Q: What is Spelling the Vacuum?
A: Spelling the Vacuum is a webcomic created by me, Elliott Hoffman, as an excuse, basically, to not do homework.
Q: And it's about a vacuum?
Q: Named Spelling?
Q: What's with the weird name?
A: Well, you see, in seventh grade, I was taking a spelling test in Ms. Petree's Language Arts class. It was quite boring, and, being a witty little twelve-year-old, I decided to doodle a comic in the margins of the test. I called it The Adventures of Spelling the Vacuum because--and here's the punchline, folks--I thought spelling sucked. Wasn't I wacky?
A: Stick to the questions.
Q: You've been doing Spelling the Vacuum since you were twelve?
A: Yep, ever since. There was one year--my sophomore year of high school, I believe--when I didn't do it, but every other year consisted of me filling spiral notebooks with Spelling's zany antics.
Q: So how old are you now?
A: I'm nineteen; I'm a sophomore in college.
Q: You've been doing this comic for seven years?
A: Well, six, if you take out my sabbatical in tenth grade.
Q: So basically you're just scanning the old comics, fixing them up in Photoshop, and posting them here, right?
A: Wrong. The early comics are crap, the later comics are far too perverted for the Internet, and it'd be a pain in the ass to scan all of them. I'm restarting the series, loosely following the stories of the old ones, and charging them with a bit more humor/talent/plot.
Q: Do you have a loyal fanbase?
A: Yes. I think. This used to list only one person, but now I get IMs and emails yelling at me to put more names here, so I'll just say this: yes. I have a fanbase. It's not huge, but I think I'll keep it.
Q: How have you managed to gather your meager audience?
A: Basically, I shamelessly spammed the 8-Bit Theater forums and got really lucky when someone bothered to pay attention to me. Her benevolent email gave me a burst of confidence and I developed a small presence at various ezboards. More and more people clicked on my beautiful banner and now I get a modest amount of hits every day. It's not very hard to get a few people to read your comic if it doesn't suck. And I'm told mine doesn't.
Q: Why do you swear so much?
A: I like to swear. I'm only nineteen; I haven't mentally matured yet.
Q: Why is Stooge called Stooge?
A: Stooge is based on one of my bestest friends in the whole world, Andy Curl. The name Stooge is derived from his last name...kind of. You know, one of the Three Stooges was named Curly, and his last name is Curl, so he's a Stooge, and.. meh. You get the idea.
Q: Why is The Jew called The Jew?
A: She's Jewish.
Q: Is she based on someone you know?
Q: Are all of them based on someone you know?
A: No--only the humans. Although some might argue that the Fairy of Good Grammar is based on me. But he's not! I swear!
Q: Will you base a human character on me?
A: If I want to base a character on somebody, I ask them. Sorry.
Q: Why is the site called room931.com? Why not something like spellingthevacuum.com?
A: Well, room931.com was originally created as a pointless website for my roommate and I to post news about our lives so we wouldn't have to call our parents every day. Room 931 is where we live, you see. Then one day I was bored, so I decided to make the first issue of Spelling the Vacuum and post it. Then I was still bored and made issue two. Then issues three, four, and five. And then I decided hey, why not give this its own site? And thus was the Spelling website born.
Q: Are you going to eventually change it?
A: Probably. Like, maybe when I move out of this dorm, or something. But spellingthevacuum.com seems kind of long to me. Maybe when the time comes I'll have a contest to see who can come up with the best new domain name. But that's at the very least a year away.
Q: A year away? So you're planning to do this for a while, then?
A: Yeah, I hope so. I tend to not do things for a long time very well, but I think if I was going to suddenly slack on this, I'd have done it by now. So I'm relatively confident.
Q: Are you really going to make t-shirts?
A: Yep. Eventually. Enough people have expressed interest in them that I'm gonna do it. So, yeah, w00t, or something.
Q: Why do some of the old issues have "To Be Continued" on them?
A: I added "To Be Continued" to the issues when I didn't think I'd be doing a new comic three times a week. I figured, you know, one issue a week would warrant a "To Be Continued" disclaimer. Then I realized A) That's kind of geeky and B) I make issues often enough that people don't need to be reassured.
Q: Why are they called "issues" and not "episodes?"
A: Because I'm stupid. Oops.
Q: Do you know where the story's headed?
A: Loosely. At the time of this writing, I know where chapters three, four, and five are going, but after that, the Errant One storyline is over, and I have no idea what happens then.
Q: Is there an ending in sight?
A: Not that I'm currently aware of. When the comic finally ends, as it eventually must, it will be as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.
Q: What happens if the comic becomes wildly popular?
A: Define wildly.
Q: You know, like, thousands and thousands of visitors a day, or something.
A: If it comes to that, I'll probably start trying to make money off of it somehow. The t-shirts are only going to exist because people have asked for them--I don't have a Paypal thing or anything like that because I know people have better uses for their money right now. Besides, I only get like 200 hits a day.
Q: I want to give you money anyway.
A: Uh... tight. Email me and we'll talk.
Q: Can I talk to you sometime?
A: Yes. My screenname on AIM is GrammarNazi2005.
Q: Was that last question fabricated as a desperate attempt to get people to IM you?
A: ...Yes. Email me, too. Please?