Interview: Matt Melvin | Cyanide & Happiness

We spoke to Matt Melvin and talked about his passion for art, comedy and his thoughts on video games.

By RON, Posted 22 Dec 2013

Recently we interviewed Matt Melvin, a distinguished artist who is well known for his sketches and comic strips. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, then you’ve been living under a rock. His work is very popular within numerous internet subcultures and can be seen on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.  Not only is he humorous, but his comics also notoriously emphasize everyday occurrences. Melvin brought ‘Cyanide & Happiness’ to life and continues to be a great contributor for Explosm. Let’s not delay any further and see what Matt Melvin had to say about his passion for art, comedy and his thoughts on video games.

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Ron: First of all, thank you for taking part in the interview. We honestly don’t know much about the Matt Melvin behind the comics and web presence. Tell us a little about yourself.

Matt Melvin: I'm just this guy, you know? Really, though, I'm a 29-year-old dude living in Southern California. I know 29 isn't that old, but it feels way old. I used to be able to say I'm a 20-something making comics from his apartment. Come next year, that won't be true at all. Maybe I just really value my immaturity? I mean, I do make butt jokes on the internet for a living.

I also enjoy sci-fi, playing guitar, playing with Legos, videogames and bad movies.

Ron: You are part of Explosm and one of the co-authors of Cyanide and Happiness. How did you first meet the other guys involved with this web comic?

Matt Melvin: I used to run a site called StickSuicide a long time ago. We were all interested in making stick figure death movies around the time we were in middle/high school. Really mature, I know. Rob, Dave and I eventually came to run the site together. Kris was a regular on our forum, sometimes posting the silly stick figure comics he was making. We joined in immediately. Not long after we shut SS down, the four of us started Explosm, which eventually transformed into what it is now: the home of Cyanide & Happiness.

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Ron: Cyanide and Happiness has some really dark tones to it at times. Where do you draw the line to what’s acceptable and what’s not?

Matt Melvin: It's all about the joke. Any topic is fair game as long as the joke is worth it. If you're doing something shocking for no more than the sake of being shocking, you're doing it wrong.

Ron: Where does your inspiration come from when brainstorming ideas for the comic?

Matt Melvin: Everywhere. More often than not it comes from conversations, but we never balk at an opportunity when inspiration hits. I write down everything, even if I don't think it's a solid idea in the moment.

Ron: Besides comics, you are also publishing weekly animated shorts. Why nothing related to video games?

Matt Melvin: We've actually got some ideas revolving around videogames, though I'm not sure they'll make it in any time soon. We have a LOT of ideas written down, but we can only make so many shorts at a time!

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Ron: According to your Facebook page stats, your most followed fans are 18-24 years old. You obviously know the fact that active gamers around the world are also of this age group. Will you take this into consideration when starting a brand new project?

Matt Melvin: Yeah, our demographics actually line up pretty closely to the gamer crowd! Most are teenage to early 20s, majority are male, but that's definitely not everyone at all. That said, I don't take demographics into consideration much at all when pursuing something creative, whether it be C&H or a new project. First and foremost, when I make something, I'm doing it because it's something I enjoy and something I want to see come to fruition. I am my target audience. When you make stuff you generally enjoy yourself, rather than trying to pander and barter with a ephemeral idea of what you think other people will like, it becomes a very honest and pure pursuit. That usually results in something that you yourself can be proud of and enjoy making, but also something other people can enjoy as well.

Ron: Was any of your material ever approved by game developers? What types of games would fit your work best?

Matt Melvin: We've never really talked to any developers about making a serious game, but it's definitely something I'm sure we'd love to approach at some point. A can see a C&H style sidescroller working pretty well. As long as our absurd sense of humor is in there, it would be pretty fun.

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Ron: Do you play video games in your free time? If so what are you playing? What is your favorite kind/genre to play?

Matt Melvin: I'm not much of a console gamer, but I bought a PS3 for the sole purpose of playing The Last of Us, which was absolutely phenomenal. I'm primarily a PC guy, though. Aside from the usual stuff like Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed, I've played a lot of MMOs. Started with WoW, like many others. I was really into SWtoR when it started, but boy did that go downhill fast. I'm currently playing Rift, but also looking forward to Wildstar. Any devs out there wanna hook a brother up with beta access?

Ron: On your website, you’ve shared an interesting post saying Computer games don’t affect kids. Do you support the idea that video games aren’t making us violent?

Matt Melvin: Of course they don't. Blaming videogames for your shitty kids is a scapegoat. Wanna know why your kids are shitty? Shitty parenting. Leaving your kid in front of the TV all day is bad parenting. But to then blame those videogames for your kid's behavior? That's just delusional. Violent videogames do help desensitize people to violence, but so does EVERYTHING EVER. Have you ever watched the news? That's 10 times more horrific than any videogame I've ever played.

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Ron: Is it overwhelming to have this much popularity around the world?

Matt Melvin: I think I'm accustomed to it. It can definitely be overwhelming, but then I just remind myself that I'm in an extremely lucky position, making a living doing something I love. Not only that, but I'm in a position where I can help shape people's opinions and ideals on subjects I care about. It's very fitting, but I just made a comic about how women are treated in the realm a gaming culture. It's definitely not representative of gaming culture as a whole, but I still see this all the time and it drives me nuts. The whole "fake geek girl" thing is especially confusing to me. Now that nerds are much more accepted in popular culture, you have a very vocal minority of nerds bashing attractive women who also show an interest in videogames. Our geeky interests are finally being accepted! Just shut your mouth and enjoy it! "But I'm not being ostracized anymore! If they won't do it, I'll just do it to myself!"

And to those who think I'm White Knighting, you're absolutely right. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm touting my personal ideals in hopes that it will get me laid.

Ron: What are some current projects you’re working on?

Matt Melvin: Well, working on Cyanide & Happiness, especially with the show in full swing, is taking up the vast majority of my time. But I have a few things on the backburner I'm really looking forward to, though. There's one in particular that I've been working on and off of for well over a year now. Just trying to find the time and balance to do it alongside C&H.

Matt Melvin,Interview,Cyanide & Happiness,Explosm,Comic Strips,Sketches,Humor,Comedy,Drawings,Photo

Ron: Is there anything you’re hiding under your sleeves to surprise your fans at NoobFeed?

Matt Melvin: Sleeves? But I'm not wearing a shirt. Or pants. Or any clothes for that matter.

A big thanks to Matt for taking the time to talk with us! We look forward to hearing about your upcoming projects and wish you continued success! Keep up with Matt Melvin on, give him a like on Facebook and follow him on Twitter!

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
Twitter | +SarwarRon

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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