In 2008, Josué Pereira decided to delve into the world of webcomics with his creation Nerf NOW!!. The early Nerf NOW!! focused on Team Fortress 2 & Starcraft II, and it was very light on dialogue and variety in content.
7 years later, and Jo Pereira's gaming webcomic is going strong. He's evolved gender-bent TF2 characters into truly original creations in their own right, and while he still covers modern heavy hitters like DotA 2 he also takes the time to do short arcs or one shots on whatever subject may interest him for the day. TechRaptor asked Jo Pereira some questions about his adventures in the world of gaming webcomics and he was kind enough to answer.
TechRaptor: What made you decide to try your hand at jumping into the world of webcomics with Nerf NOW!! in 2008?
Jo Pereira: I always wanted to work with comics when I was a kid, when I watched the YouTube video "Ignus Solus" I decided to just do it.
TR: What's your process for making a comic from start to finish?
J: Pick a game I like and try to create a funny situation with it. Tragedy is the basis of much humor for example. There isn't much method to be honest, it's very chaotic.
[caption id="attachment_27923" align="alignright" width="217"] These panels excerpted from an early Nerf NOW!! comic show the trademark absence of dialogue.[/caption]
TR: Nerf NOW!! didn't have very much dialogue in the early days. Was the distinct lack of written words an artistic choice, and what made you decide to incorporate more dialogue as the comic went on?
J: People keep saying they didn't get the joke. I like the silent strips but there is a limit of how much I can do without words.
TR: Your comic started out focusing on Team Fortress 2, but you've since expanded into other games including a lot of Starcraft II and DotA 2. What determines which games you make a comic about?
J: Popularity and my personal enjoyment of the game. If I don't enjoy (and play) the game it's hard for me to write about it.
TR: You just recently launched a Patreon for Nerf NOW!!, and you're receiving a healthy amount of support from your readership. Did you expect that your Patreon campaign would be so successful?
J: I had no idea of how successful it could be and part of me was afraid it would flop so I put the "Engie" tier as low as possible because I really wanted her back. I heartfully thank all my readers for the support.
TR: Do you think you'll be making comics for a long time, or do you have dreams of doing something else for a career?
J: I don't really see me doing anything else. Maybe another game? I like what I do, though updating 5 days a week can be a bit tiring since I do it all by myself.
TR: What's it like being a gamer in Brazil? I've heard stories from Brazilian friends about how expensive electronics and games are there. Is it still that bad today, or has it gotten better?
J: Go back in time 30 years and you have more or less how is Brazil right now. Gamers exist, but they are few and it is seen as a "kiddy" pastime. The prices are between abusive and highway robbery, which is why I'm a PC gamer. Computers are relatively cheaper and you can buy games on Steam.
TR: As a Brazilian yourself, how do you feel about the perception of Brazilians online such as the chat spam of "BR?BR?BR?" and "HUEHUEHUE". Do you feel it's a harmless joke or something worse? Does it bother you at all?
J: A Brazilian gamer in the internet needs to have a thick skin and a sense of humor otherwise you will not have much fun. I personally don't mind, though I need to say we don't laugh like that. The "br" "br" thing is partly true though, it used to be a easy way to find other Brazilians in a online game.
[caption id="attachment_27916" align="alignleft" width="300"] The main characters of Nerf NOW!! Clockwise from top left: Jane, Jo's In-Comic Avatar, Aleksandrina, Morgan, Angie, and Ann-Marie.[/caption]
TR: For most of Nerf NOW!!'s run, your characters didn't have proper names. In Christmas 2013, you took four of your gender-bent TF2 characters and gave them names (Aleksandrina, Jane, Morgan, and Anne-Marie). You've spent the last year developing them as characters with their own distinct personalities. What made you decide to focus more on original characters in this way?
J: I decided to have characters with distinct personalities because this makes for better jokes and interactions. Angie was basically my mouthpiece and while she was fun, she had little depth.
TR: A handful of early comics had a humanoid avatar representing you, but for the most part your author avatar has been a purple tentacle. Why did you make that particular choice for an avatar?
J: People used to think I was Angie.... a hot red-head girl. I got a bit tired of explaining I was not, indeed, a woman so I create a clearly non-human avatar. A robot or a monkey were the other options.
TR: Are you a fan of any other webcomics? Have you thought about doing a collaboration or crossover ever?
J: I read many, many others. Sinfest, Oglaf, Blaster Nation and Beeserker to name a few. Crossovers are hard though given schedule constraints. Sometimes I do (and receive) guest strips but those are rare given time constraints.
TR: Do you like to watch gaming videos on YouTube or Twitch? Do you have any favorite content producers in the online video world?
J: I watch (listen, really) to Sing Sing and Jimquistion videos while drawing, I also like Leo's videos from Kotaku.
TR: What would you say is your favorite game of all time?
J: Tough choice. I'd go with TF2 because it survived the test of time and I still play it today. However, I have a special place in my heart for Homeworld.
TR: Aside from TF2 and DotA 2, what else are you playing at the moment?
J: Deus Ex: Air Vent Exploration
TR: What do your friends and family think of your career as a webcomic creator and the success you've had?
J: I guess nobody expected me to survive doing it for too long, not even myself.
TechRaptor would like to thank Jo Pereira for taking the time to answer our questions about Nerf NOW!! and his experience in the world of webcomics.
Are you a fan of Nerf NOW!!? What other gaming webcomics do you read? Let us know in the comments below!