The stories behind the stories

Sword & Sarcasm

“Tell me, my demonic friend… would you like the chance to eviscerate dozens — no, hundreds — of weakling humans?” — Duke Benedict

“Sword & Sarcasm”

Medieval fantasy fun with a cartoon edge!
Published by Faraway Press • April 25, 2011
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Chuck Fiala

Lettered by John Jackson Miller

Colored by Chuck Fiala

Cover by Chuck Fiala

Edited by John Jackson Miller

In the first decade of the 2000s, webcomics were making serious inroads into the industry — and artist Chuck Fiala and I decided to try our own hand with one. Sword & Sarcasm launched in March 2008 with twice-a-week strips.

The strip followed Herbert, a half-minotaur/half-cow who’s a mercenary with heart. He also has a curse, forcing him to serve the most annoying person in the world, Duke Benedict. Herbert and Benedict traveled a fantasy world meeting conniving aristocrats, calculating werewolves, smart-aleck ducks, and, eventually, the slinky cat-girl sorceress, Casmerelda.

The strip had readers in the thousands, but I was working on many other projects simultaneously, and eventually Chuck and I cut back to one strip a week. With limited time, it wasn’t really possible to participate in the webcomic community, which is essential for financial success. The last episode, #166, ran on August 8, 2010, and we collected the entire series — a completed storyline — into a digital graphic novel for DriveThruComics.

“They always said I would go to Hell one day, but I thought it would be warmer…” — Duke Benedict

I had met Chuck Fiala through Comics Buyer’s Guide. I’d known of his comics work in the 1980s; he was a regular attendee of the annual CBG picnic, which is where I first suggested a collaboration.

One of the more fun things for me was the map of the characters’ world, which grew and developed as the webcomic went on. It’s in the collected editon.