While researching for the interview, I tried to get a handle on Jason through his bio in the back of As You Were, but those of you who own it know he just HAD to be the funny one and only talk about Gilmore Girls. Read on to see this Aussie drungo live to regret it.
Interview by Ion for Silver Sprocket
Who are you? (please phrase your answer in the form of a tirade)
How dare you ask me who I am? I am Jason Oberbichler! I cannot believe that you don’t know who I am! This is preposterous! I live in Melbourne in Australia! I have a semi-daily autobiographical comic at Why Am I The Way I Am? that is really awesome and you should know about it. Everyone should know it! I’m 25. You should know that too. The unprofessionalism exhibited here today… My god! (This is what you meant my phrasing the answer in the form of a tirade, right?)
How did you get pulled into the big As You Were milkshake?
I used to spend way too much time on Mitch Clem’s (or “Clemmers,” as I like to call him) forum and, in hopes of gaining the love and approval of my fellow forum goers, I would post a lot of drawings and comix I did, and I suppose ol’ Clemmers took a liking to them. Joe Briggs, who did a lot of writing for the later NN2S comix, also hailed from the forum, so I think Clemsy is really into looking after his people if he believes they have what it takes and that they deserve it. Anyway, so yeah, he asked me to take part in the first issue, but I wasn’t really drawing a lot at that time and didn’t have any real inspiration, so I ended up giving it a miss. But shortly after, I started doing comix every day, really getting into the swing of things, and I was invited to take part in the second issue, and then the third, and I got stuff in both of them, and hopefully I’ll be invited to the next, and the one after that, and so on. They’re great collections from a wide range of very talented people and I’m pretty glad to be a part of it!
Your comic in As You Were was a beautiful bummer and unlike a lot of your other work. What was its genesis?
OK, so the story behind the comic is that I had actually met a girl from America on Clemmers’ forum. We started talking every day and we ended up both really liking each other. Now, I had been planning on going to America for years and the initial idea was to do the touristy thing of just going to the great big cities you see in movies and shit. Like Los Angeles, New York, etc. But this girl was living in a small town in Georgia, and as time went by and I got to know her and like her more and more, the plan started to change. It went from “OK, LA, New York, and some time in Georgia,” to “forget about LA; I’ll just do New York and Georgia,” and then finally it was “I’ll probably just spend all of my time in Georgia.” So I spent about a month there, we fall in love, I go back home, we decide she should come live here and we should get married because of visas and all that happens, and we end up not being exactly perfect for each other and she falls out of love with me. She didn’t want to tell me for a while, which in hindsight, is really understandable. She didn’t want to hurt my feelings. She’s in a new country, far away from her family and friends. I was one of the very few people in Melbourne she knew and got along with. She was scared and didn’t know what to do. It must’ve really, really sucked for her. She ended up getting a huge crush on this guy who worked down the street from where she did and she decided she wanted to try for something better than the loveless, shitty relationship we had, and the comic is my attempt at remembering the exact conversation we had when she brought it up. The “you and me game” thing was an actual thing we did all the time when we were together. You send the other person a picture of two dogs snuggling or something and you’re like “this is you and me.”
What do you do in your non-artsy life?
I’m currently unemployed and looking for work. I mostly just hang out and stuff. My girlfriend broke up with me very recently so lately I’ve just been kinda sad all the time. OH WELL. WHAT YOU GONNA DO?
Do you think artist community/chances of success/organization changed for the better in the Tumblr age of instant access to fans’ eyeballs?
Yeah totes. You can put something online and, in seconds, people from the other side of the world can take a look. That’s amazing. And with stuff like Tumblr, it’s fucking free. Even if you can’t afford to have the Internet at home, you can still go to a cafe or library or something and use theirs. You can take a picture of something you’ve done with your phone pretty much anywhere and put it up for people to see instantly. That, in my opinion, is definitely a change for the better. Of course, there’s that idea that with greater accessibility it becomes more difficult to stand out and you have to wade through a sea of mediocrity to get to something good, but if someone’s talented and doing good work, people will share it, so I think that’s kinda bullshit. The Internet isn’t this massive book where you have to flip through all these pages of some high school kid’s illustrations portfolio, and then some girl’s “artsy” photos of herself, and then a bunch of other terrible shit before you find something you like. The Internet has hyperlinks. The Internet has ways of getting the things you like to you quickly. When it comes to making money, I have no idea. It’s probably easier to make a modest living doing art. Getting stinkin’ rich is probably a bit more difficult. I don’t really know.
If the Internet was on fire and you could only choose five things to save and remain in circulation, do you think you would be able to choose before you burned along with all the ones and zeros?
Yeah, man. I’d save whatever I have online and then just sit back and reap the rewards of being “the only game in town.” I’m not sure if I properly understood this question.
You live in Australia, which means we can make a “As You WERE-LDWIDE” joke now. Wait…I’m sure I was going somewhere with this….OH! Are you an Australian citizen? Did you move there from elsewhere? Why?
I am an Australian citizen. I was born in Adelaide, which is in South Australia, and then my mum fell in love with this dude from Melbourne, and so we moved to Melbourne, which is in Victoria. South Australia and Victoria are states, much like how California and Texas are states. We have states too! The more you know…
If money/time allocation/responsibility were suddenly of no consequence, what would you do?
I would draw comix and hang out, which is basically what I’m doing now, but hopefully in this hypothetical scenario I’d be able to buy all of the nice things I want and go traveling and eat out more and stuff.
If you were to make a short playlist for fans to jam out to while reading your comics, what would be on it?
“Potential Suicide” by the Wipers on repeat.
Now that you’re done reading this interview, 1) click on the Wipers link above, 2) take a look at Oberbichler’s art here, and 3) get your paws on our As You Were punk-comics.