Hello, webcomic fans! We’ve got a real treat for everyone! We sat down recently and had a chat with a very special guest artist, Andy Hunter, the creator of the hit webcomic, “Delve”!


Depths: Andy, first off, thanks for taking some time to talk to us!

Andy: A pleasure. I’m honored to be spotlighted beside “The Depths”, and looking forward to what aquatic adventures you guys have in store for us next.

Depths: Thank you! And we’re excited to see what Bree is going to “Delve” into next. *laughs*

Andy: Ah, I get it!

Depths: So, what in the world possessed you to do “Delve”? It’s quite possibly one of the most unique webcomics we’ve come across. It’s probably the nudity, there’s so much of it, yet there’s really not that much of a sexual angle, is there?

Andy: Not quite. I first began drawing “Delve” during my lunch breaks while I was working at a video game company. I had always had this dream in the back of my mind that I would have my own comic someday, and I figured, “How hard could it be?”

Depths: Hah! And then the truth came out…

Andy: Yep, because my grasp of comic design was rather horrible at first. Some of the earliest episodes of “Delve” have absolutely terrible layout with panels flowing into each other in bizarre directions and dialogue just kind of landing wherever it fit on the page. Looking back, I have no idea how anyone made sense of it at the time, though, to be fair, I probably only had like three readers at best.

Depths: Of course, that all changed pretty quickly. Was it the boobs that did it?

Andy: Part of my job at the video game company was to paint over other artists’ work that was deemed too sexual by the ESRB.

Depths: Oh, that’s the, um, video games rating board, right?

Andy:  Right. These are the guys that approve our games for release in order to be sold in major retail outlets. I hated this part of my job, but I was rather good at it, and soon all such “touchup” work was sent my way from the various departments. I had entered the video game industry, dreaming of the day when I’d be the one painting those sexy elf girls with the ridiculously over-sized weapons and ridiculously under-sized armor… instead, I was the guy painting over some other artist’s work. Suffice to say, I wasn’t very happy with this particular turn in my career path.

Depths: We’re not fans of most censorship, to be clear, so we definitely laud you especially for thumbing your nose back at the system. In fact, Paola, our head writer, wrote her college thesis on comic censorship, and it left a pretty bad taste in her mouth.

Andy:  There was a lot of pent-up artistic frustration, for sure, and I suppose Delve was my outlet for all of it. It was nice to be able to draw whatever I wanted and not be threatened with punitive fines for showing the least bit of cleavage.

Depths: And yet, sex seems to be off the table, pretty much.

Andy:  Yeah, as far as sexual content in the comic, I’ve always envisioned Delve taking place in the silly fantasy world of my teenage Dungeons and Dragons games. It was a world filled with lurid imagery and titillating content, but lacking any real idea of what sex was actually like. I grew up in a very puritanical household that drove me straight into the waiting arms of those evil role-playing games that the preacher man warned us about, wherein I found a welcoming family of fellow outcasts. Though not a single black-robed, candlelit devil-worshiping ceremony, oddly enough.

Depths: Whoa, you dodged a bullet. *chuckles*

Andy:  And I have nothing against sexual content in comics. In fact, there are a couple of instances of it throughout the course of Delve’s story. It’s just that I never really intended for Delve to be about that. I think I was just surprised when I graduated from pen and paper games into the computer gaming industry, only to find the same old Puritanical values waiting for me there. I guess Delve is my response to that.

Depths: Speaking of, you’ve probably gotten a lot of new readers lately that are discovering Delve after, what, 10 years now, right?

Andy: 10 years since this past June.

Depths: So, give the newcomer to the comic a brief history, but no spoilers!

Andy: Sure thing! Delve is the story of a sexy elven rogue named Bree Starval who has entered the great underground dungeon known as “The Delve” in search of her friend, Princess Sephni, who was kidnapped by monsters. She then proceeds to wind up in all sorts of perilous situations as she makes her way down through the levels of the dungeon, meeting all manner of monster, beast, and annoying magical weapons as she goes.

From a narrative standpoint, at least in the beginning, it’s a story about a young woman who is forced to reconsider her notions of what is truly “monstrous” in her world. Over time, however, it becomes an exploration of what it means to find what you thought you wanted, only to discover that it’s all become horribly twisted somewhere along the way.

So… it’s kinda autobiographical in that regard. *laughs*

Depths: Do you have a favorite part, or a least favorite part you enjoyed creating for “Delve”?

Andy:  That’s a great question! I suppose the easiest answer is my least favorite moment, which I think was about the time Teal first met Phawkes. I was going through a rather stressful period in real life at that time, and the comic’s art was suffering terribly. I was a few bad days away from just giving up on the whole project entirely, and, looking back at the work I was producing, I can’t help but cringe. I’ve often considered going back and redrawing some of those episodes, but, even if I had the time to do it, I think it would be kinda disingenuous to cover it up like that. I’d like for anyone reading my comic with the idea of making their own comic to see me at my worst as well as my best.

If you look at something I’ve done and think to yourself, “Why is this guy so popular? His art sucks!” then maybe I can inspire you to show me how it’s really done, and then we all get more comics to read, so…

Depths: It’s win-win.

Andy: Exactly. As far as my favorite moment from Delve, I think I’d have to say that it would be the scene of Teal alone in the darkness, because I know, all too well, what that feels like. I’ve tried to be pretty up front about my struggle with depression and my history of suicidal thoughts, but it’s really difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t been down that hole what it feels like at the bottom. It really is like everything has gone black, and you can’t feel anything but hurt. All your connections are severed. There’s no love, no light, nothing. It’s impossible to remember what hope even feels like, and you want nothing more than for it all just to… end. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to stare back into the darkness and whisper, “Maybe… but not today.”

Depths: We’re very close to a few chemically-depressed people and we keep in touch with them every day, even if it’s just to share a joke, or a meme, or just some way to let them know, “Hey, we care about you. We want you to stick around.” Oh, that goes for you too, Andy. You don’t escape being our friend either. *laughs*

Andy:  *laughs* I don’t know… I really don’t want to make it sound like I’m telling people to just tough it out. I’m not any stronger than anybody else when I’m down that hole, and I honestly couldn’t tell you why I took my finger off the trigger and my friend didn’t. It wasn’t some surge of hope or inspiration, and no flaming angel appeared to stay my hand, I just didn’t apply that last bit of pressure.

I don’t know why I’m still alive, and people who loved life far more than I ever did are not. If anyone out there is in that place now, I just encourage you to talk about it.

Depths: Hell, yes. Just talking is all it takes to get people in your corner. No one can help you if they don’t hear you.

Andy:  Scare people if you have to, but let them know how you feel and get help. I used to think I wasn’t “suicidal” because I hadn’t actually killed myself yet, so why tell anyone? I mean, what harm is there in just thinking about killing yourself… all the time? And there were times I joked about it, but no one seemed to notice, and that just reinforced the notion that I should keep quiet and deal with it myself.

That’s a terrible, terrible idea.

If you don’t think the people in your life can handle it, give them a chance. If they still can’t handle it, then find someone else to tell… and someone else… and someone else. There are billions of people out there, and I guarantee you most of them would go out of their way to help you, if they knew you needed help.

Oh, and the faceless voices in your head telling you it’s never going to get any better. They aren’t you. They are the living embodiment of purest evil, and they all deserve to have a ’78 Thunderbird with a quart-a-week oil leak driven through their bellies.

I really enjoyed drawing that scene too.

Depths: We were a little sick of the people telling others, “It gets better.” What we really should be telling those people is, “Whether it gets better or not, we’re here for you and will see you through. You’re not alone.” If only more people would just do that…it’s not that difficult.

Sorry, we got a bit dark there, moving on! *laughs* From what we’ve seen, “Delve” is a lot like those old D&D adventures we all grew up with. There’s an objective, a goal, and multiple campaigns that need to be finished to get to it. That’s sort of what we love about “Delve”, is that it reminds us of a time where we could go into our heads, pull out our Texas Instruments calculators, and actually plan and execute what was going to happen, how it would happen, who was doing it, and so on. That’s been the best part about “Delve” too, although nothing has really been calculated for poor Bree from the get-go! She’s just suddenly there, her friends are gone, and we’re left wondering if maybe this whole webcomic, everything, is all just one huge campaign she’s playing in her head. Speaking of, any really cool D&D stories of your own to share? You mentioned playing earlier as a kid.

Andy:  You know, my crowning achievement in all of my days of playing D&D was in a campaign run by a friend who had a policy of enforcing the encumbrance rules when it came to how much treasure we could carry. He also had a habit of giving the final boss of every dungeon way too much treasure, so he could enjoy our pain when we were forced to decide what to take and what to leave behind.

This was also during the time when mages were forced to “memorize” their spells, and could only recover or change spells during a suitable rest period…and this Dungeon Master made getting any sleep in a dungeon a very challenging endeavor.

My mage soldiered on through the entire adventure, until, at last, the great tentacled beast at the heart of the dungeon wheezed its final breath, and I revealed that one, perfect spell that I had been holding back the whole time.

Depths: Oh God. *laughs*

Andy:  As the party approached the enormous pile of gold and magic items, I could see the wicked gleam in the DM’s eyes. I pulled out my Player’s handbook and frowned as I flipped through the pages, wondering aloud, “How much weight can Tenser’s Floating Disk carry again?”

Depths: *laughs harder* Uh-oh.

Andy: Yeah, the DM wasn’t smiling anymore after that.

Depths: They get really riled up if you try to side-step. It’s like you’ve committed a mortal sin, and that’s the problem with some DMs out there. They’re stuck on this power trip and God help you if you make them angry, or confuse the hell out of them, or go gallivanting off in some other direction they didn’t plan for. Funniest DM moment for Paul, our co-writer, came when he was so angry over losing a particularly important weapon to a volcano, that he asked the DM if he could swear at his god. Two dice-rolls later, and he was creating a brand new character.

Andy: *laughs*

Depths: Anyway, any future plans for “Delve”?

Andy:  I want to finish it, if such a thing can ever really be finished. I’m a discovery writer, so although I have a general idea of where the story is going, my characters tend to surprise me along the way and take the story in their own directions.

Two of my favorite characters in Delve, Yeena, the gnoll bard; and Prancy, the feline thespian, made their debut as lazy, throwaway jokes on my part but have taken on lives of their own and demanded a seat at the table, so to speak. I’ve come to love them both, and they’ve led me into some pretty fun story arcs.

Depths: We can relate to this completely. When we started “The Depths”, it was just going to be Leilani and David globetrotting around the world together and solving mysterious and having epic Indiana-Jones adventures. But when Kalea and Malana entered the picture, and we realized the readers were going crazy for them, we realized, “Hey, it just can’t be one heroine anymore.” Of course, we’re still just starting out, but you can see how our story direction changed, similar to how yours did. All our girls deserved a seat too. So we gave it them. And the story hasn’t been the same since.

Andy: The story changes as you go, no question, no matter what story you want to do, or how long it goes.

Depths: 10 years is quite amazing. How do you explain the massive following and longevity all this time?

Andy: Well, to hear some people tell it… boobs.

Depths: Naturally. *chuckles*

Andy:  Honestly, that’s about as good a reason as any justification I can give. I mean, I hope people like the story, and, truth be told, there are plenty of much better drawn comics out there, so there must be something more to it than just an unseemly amount of naked skin. I’m actually kinda baffled by the tremendous response readers have shown to the comic.

People just seem to like Delve, and that makes me happy. I know it’s not for everybody, and if some people take one glance at it and dismiss it as “porn”, that’s cool too. I know it can be extremely fetishy at times, and there is some really ugly subtext in parts, but those parts are there for a reason, because I want people to think about what it means when some truly monstrous things worm their way into our silly little fantasies, but the moment a reader feels “preached to” while reading my comic, I feel like I’ve failed in my duty as an entertainer.

I trust my readers to find what they need to find in my comic, and if that’s just a nice pair of elven breasts to brighten up their day, then I’ve done my part to make people happy.

Depths: You have chosen…wisely.



Andy: Thank you.

Depths: Do you have any advice for webcomic artists that wish to achieve the success you’ve had so far?

Andy: Firstly, never set an official update schedule for your comic. Just don’t.

Depths: Testify!

Andy:  Seriously, publish that comic page when it’s done. Of course, it’s good to have a schedule in your head or marked out on your calendar, but never promise everyone that you’re going to post on a certain day every time. If you’re anything like me, it’s just going to make you feel terrible when you miss a deadline. And you will miss deadlines.

Depths: People see missing deadlines as taboo in the printed comic industry and jobs get lost, so you can bet, though we might not be in the same class as, say, Marvel, DC, Image, and so on, there’s a lot of people counting on all of us artists and writers to make that similar impression on them. What we should aim for, above all else, is consistency.

Andy:  True, and sometimes trying to force yourself to make those deadlines often leads to half-assed work and burnout. There are a lot of dead webcomics out there because people let themselves get crushed under the idea that they weren’t good enough, just because they couldn’t make their self-imposed deadlines.

Trust me, no one in this game is getting paid enough to let a comic sap all the joy out of their lives. Believe me, if a job don’t come with a dental plan, it has no right to give you any deadlines.

Depths: Exactly.

Andy: Secondly, create what you love… or you won’t be creating it for long. Don’t waste your time trying to guess what will be popular. If you don’t enjoy creating it, your apathy will show through your work. I speak from experience in this regard.

That being said, don’t go out of your way to be unlikable, and certainly take into account any feedback you get about things people enjoy in your work. If you want to earn an audience, treat that audience with respect and learn from them. Just don’t let the tastes of the crowd lead you into doing the kind of work you hate doing.

Depths: As we’ve said over and over, gang, if you’re going to create, you do it for yourself first.

Andy: Yep, you are your story’s biggest fan… or, if you’re not, you should be. If you’re not having fun creating your comic, change it into something you like, or scrap it and do something else… something you’ll do a much better job at, because you’ll actually care about the finished product.

And, I just want to add this one because it makes a lot of sense too, take care of yourself first. I know it’s easy to ignore proper diet and exercise when you’re young and to sit for hours on end, hunched over a sketchbook or drawing tablet, but it will catch up to you eventually. I know a lot of young people will ignore this advice the same way I did when I was their age, but the sooner you make the commitment to actually taking care of yourself at least as well as you’d take care of that fancy Cintiq tablet, the sooner you’ll realize how much good health is really worth.

And, if you’re really serious about making a go of it with a webcomic, you really need to check out the ComicLab podcast, if you haven’t already. Those guys are real pros and among the first trailblazers of this medium. I learn new things from them all the time!

Depths: Andy, before we let you go, do you want to continue doing other comic projects? Looking for anything to do?

Andy:  I don’t really know what I’ll do after “Delve” is over, assuming Teal will actually let me quit this time! I might do another comic, or maybe have a go at video games or visual novels.

Right now, I’m still trying to finish up my epic fantasy novel series, “The Songreaver’s Tale”, another one of my “how hard could it be?” experiments that is now deep into the writing of the 8th book. I’ve got another novella, sitting around waiting for a final editing pass, about a young naga apothecary who finds herself shanghaied by a crew of satyrs who needed a new doctor for their airship expedition to a fabled lost city in the jungle. I think that will be my first all-anthro story, and I’m looking forward to seeing how people like it.

Depths:  Yay, anthros!

Andy: Oh, and in my copious free time, I compose electronic music! I think there’s probably something wrong with me…

Depths: Not at all. Keep doing what you’re doing, it sounds like a lot to keep busy with. Andy, thanks again for the time and the chat. It was a lot of fun!

Andy:  Thank you too so much for listening to me ramble, and for saying such great things about “Delve”.

Depths:  We want to add for readers that “Delve” is definitely worth checking out, whether you’re an old-time D&D fan, or you’re just looking for…um…

Andy:  Boobs.

Depths: *laughs* Yeah. The story holds together really well so far, as Bree finds herself dumped unceremoniously from one adventure to the next, meeting friends, foes, and a bit of enlightenment along the way that perhaps gives her a few life lessons as well. While the art may put off some who desire a bit more details, there is no question the femininity is there – along with a lot of heart and soul in the characters. It’s almost like each one of them is seeking an escape in some way, and that’s one of the really great things about the slogan, “One Dungeon, One Elf, Even Odds.”

And odds are great that you’re going to love it.

Thanks again, Andy!

Andy: My pleasure!

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