#93 Lord Birthday
Chad Murphy is the genius behind Lord Birthday.
He wasn't always out as Lord Birthday- in fact, he decided to start as an anonymous creator and kept up that goal even when he saw that his own sister was a fan and regularly sharing his posts. One of my favorite parts of this episode is the story of Chad having to tell his sister that he was Lord Birthday.
Just a few years after starting Lord Birthday, Chad's little project has over 180,000 followers (!!!!) and a book in the pipeline. It could be easy to dismiss this as blind luck, but talking with Chad meant I got to learn all the behind-the-scenes story. Chad started out wanting to write fiction, and struggled along in that pursuit for years before a lucky trip to an art show convinced him it might be a good idea to try something new and see what happened.
For anyone who has ever want to take a big leap, anyone who has laughed so hard they cried when reading the brilliance of Lord Birthday, and for anyone who has a dream of telling stories in a way that doesn't match up with the way things have always been done, I give you Lord Birthday. I promise you'll be smiling ear to ear after this episode, just like I was when we recorded it.
Discussed in Episode 93 with Chad Murphy
“It’s kind of a detective story.” On where Lord Birthday came from.
Has been writing in secret for a decade, short stories. But they never quite worked. There was technical proficiency but no true voice.
“I had a pretty clear sense that it was going to work.” On having the idea of Lord Birthday coalesce.
“There wasn’t much of a strategy at the beginning.” On the early comics.
He doesn’t laugh at his own comics, but when they’re working there is a sense of satisfaction.
His wife is his first reader and editor.
“There’s a lot of cycling through material.” On the sometimes slow process of making each comic.
“For some reason I’m designed to make this sort of thing.” On finally realizing he was made to be Lord Birthday.
“I’m always just thrilled that anybody cares.” On his Instagram account exploding.
He was pretty sure it would work with a specific kind of audience but had no idea how large this audience might be.
“I haven’t had many other hobbies.” On the time it takes to make the comics.
Big realization that he has some skills that might not have been the skills he thought he had. He expected to be a serious fiction author. Turns out he’s good at absurd comics.
“It’s a process of learning where your voice is.” On finding the right medium for you.
We’re at a point where creative outlets are exploding and consumption is changing. Traditional roles of the artist and writer are no longer the only roles available. It’s up to us as artists to figure out new venues.
Virginia Heffernan, Magic & Loss
“I’m only trying to make stuff that feels kind of alive.” On how absurd his comics can get.
Work falls between genres, somewhat. It’s not pure absurdity. Has to have some grounding in truth. Pays a lot of attention to the rhythm of the words and their layout in the panel.
Lord Birthday as the 21st Century William Blake.
Translating the web comic into a book brings up the question of genre and classification.