It all started with killer robots.
Ben and I have been kicking around various cartoon-ish ideas for a while. For my wedding, Ben did a drawing of said killer robots planning the festivities, as my now-wife looks on in dismay.
We discussed a number of killer-robot-related ideas, including a few scripts (if anyone wants an animated series pitch, you know where to find us), but animating is, well, tough, and expensive. So Ben suggested we just write a comic. Just some words and pictures. Minimum viable product, as it were.
But Ben’s up in the Bay Area and I’m in Los Angeles, and with our various gigs it was tough to make much progress. So we finally agreed to rent a house for a few days in Cambria, which is more or less halfway between us.
Turns out we’re often more productive when we’re apart rather than together (too many years of being independent consultants?). This goes double when the beach is a block away and there are lots of Archer episodes and animated movies to watch (“Everything is Awesome” was totally robbed of that Oscar), and a bottle of mezcal sitting around.
Mostly we sat around watching TV, but we did have a couple of breakthroughs . One was Ben suggesting we should do a cartoon with anthropomorphized animals instead of trying to make something with people or robots. We started riffing on characters, but got stuck on the main relationships. We knew the protagonists would be a CEO and his second-in-command, but got stuck on what kind of animal would be a CEO. A shark? No, that’s more of a VC thing. A lion? Too easy. A gila monster? Too strange.
Then, walking on the beach, Ben saw a seagull, and said “That’s it! Because the CEO flies out to sea for weeks at a time, then flies back in and craps all over everything! Seagull-style management.” Plus seagulls are kleptoparasites, a word I’ve always wanted to use in something. Now you know why Mitch is a seagull.
So the final question became: What did the company do? We thought about how maybe the company just kept doing different things (making a widget-of-the-week or whatever), and we cycled through some downright silly ideas (which may yet appear in future strips). Then Ben, from the depths of frozen insomnia in a Midwestern hotel room, nailed it: It should be a company that delivers crap.
Because that’s pretty much what the Internet has become, if you think about it: A way of getting s**t delivered to you.
And FertilizeMe was born.