Episode 34: Do Toy with My Affections with Erika Moen

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Erika Moen has been drawing comics since she was a teenager, and found online success with DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary while working full-time jobs. Fortunately, she was laid off, and moved into new chapters of her life, which included an appearance on the Web reality show Strip Search (from Penny Arcade) and the launch this year of Oh Joy Sex Toy, a regularly appearing comic that reviews and recommends adult paraphernalia. We talk about her career and how the Oh Joy project has consumed all of her time and some of her husband's. (This episode contains frank discussions of sex toys and sexuality, a few obscenities, and is marked explicit on iTunes.)

On Twitter, find Erika at @ErikaMoen and her comic at @OhJoySexToy.

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Show Notes

Erika remembers The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, which is out of print, but used copies are available. Her first "adult" comic, past Archie and the gang, was Bone, which is an extensive series of interrelated stories by Jeff Smith.

Erika likes Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto, reads PvP by Scott R. Kurtz every day, follows the adventures of Family Man by Dylan Meconis, and enjoys Cardigan Weather by Amy T. Falcone. (Dylan also collaborates with Kurtz on PvP.) Kurtz and Penny Arcade co-produce The Trenches.

When Erika launches a Kickstarter, she is determined to not offer tons of tchotchkes. In Episode 25, Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak discuss how they tried to limit the quantity of physical rewards, but still misjudged. And Matt Bors described, in Episode 29, how much effort it was to get all the stuff out the door for his successful Kickstarter.

DAR ran its course and finished up in late 2009 with what Erika calls the most self-revelatory installment of the series. She released two books that comprise the entire run. After DAR, she worked on Bucko with Jeff Parker, which is now available as a book, too. Oh Joy Sex Toy occupies all of her time currently.

One reason Erika wanted on Strip Search was to meet impresario Robert Khoo, who is widely considered to be a business genius. He approached the two fellows behind the Penny Arcade comic, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, to build their strip into what's become an empire of conventions, a charity, Web reality TV shows, and a gaming news site, among other things. Erika drew a strip about being eliminated from the show and meeting Khoo.

Erika is part of a loose collective of comic artists called Periscope Studio, in which everyone does their own thing, but also can turn into a colonial organism for projects. Max Temkin discussed in Episode 27 how he forms a new company for every project he engages in, as it always involves a different group of people.

Sarah Mirk is coming out with a book, Sex from Scratch, that looks at the baroqueness of relationships. She and the previously mentioned Matt Bors (both of whom, also live in Portland know Erika) worked together on an excerpt for Symbolia magazine.