AN INTERVIEW WITH HOMESTAR
RUNNER CREATORS, THE CHAPMAN BROTHERS (FROM 2001)
NOTE: This is a fun little email
interview I did with Matt and Mike Chapman who created Homestar
Runner back in early 2001. I've left it in it's original
format, typos and all, from the creators. It's nice to see that
Homestar is still going strong after all these years.
retroCRUSH sure knows how to pick a winner!
If you've been reading this site for any amount of time, you
know I've made it no secret that I think Homestar Runner is one
of the coolest and funniest sites on the net. Forget that it's
a Flash cartoon, HSR is as wild, crazy, and originally
entertaining as any animation out there, in ANY form of
media. So I was naturally thrilled when the creators of this
fine work of art, Mike and Matt Chapman let me pick their
brains about what makes HSR tick, and some of the behind the
scenes magic that goes in to making this great toon.
Though the site first appeared in Jan 2000, when was
Homestar runner actually created?
Homestar was created in the summer of 1996. that was when the 'Homestar
runner enters the strongest man in the world contest' was made.
he didn't see much playing time until late 1999.
What was the inspiration for Strong Bad? You a big Mexican
mil mascaras and mr. wrestling 2 were some of my favorites
growing up, but mainly he is inspired by the 'tag team
wrestling' arcade/nintendo game.
Where the hell did you find that CBS Rotating SPECIAL logo
Mike: we searched and searched and searched on the internet. we
never were able to find a video clip or image of the visuals.
we had to do that from memory, but we did find the sound. i
think it was from some old news intro or something before it
was used for specials.
Homestar Runner seems so innocent and perfectly original,
but what are some of your influences?
Mike: old sierra computer games (king's quest, space quest,
etc.), video games in general, elementary school,
mudhoney, bad special effects, you can't do that on
television, bad wrestlers (s.d. "special delivery" jones,
rene goulet, tony garea, salvatore bellomo)
Matt: Bloom County, 3rd Grade, NES, Peanuts comics, Brian
Matt does some amazing voice work. Has he ever considered
doing it for non HSR animation?
Thanks, man. I have been trying to do additional voice work on
the side. I did voices for
Preschool Protocops and some voices for webtoons and radio
commercials for this pizza chain from our home town. If things
with Homestar never amount to anything, maybe I can fall back
Mike: he's done voices for some other web cartoons. one called
'pre-school protocops' and the voices for the characters on
What was the influence for the
Everybody theme song? It almost reminds me of something
Shonen Knife would have done.
Mike: we had the music done and were going to leave it at that,
but as i was listening to it, i started singing the 'everybody,
everybody' part. so we recorded it and sped up our voices.
Matt: With both that and the
Homestar Runner theme song I was thinking of the english-language
version of the Gamera theme song. You know, "Gamera is really
neat, Gamera is turtle meat" and all that. Japanese kids are
Your songs are actually pretty damn catchy. It's hard to
believe it's just the two of you doing it. Ever get musical
Mike: not too much. other than the frampton and fatboy slim
songs that are on there. oh, and the 'poot slap' song from the
luau. that was from a booty rap band we were in called 3-dee.
and missy does the words for marzipan's songs.
Matt: I've got a friend doing some mandolin and ocarina tracks
for an upcoming toon.
Did Homestar runner ever exist on paper first, or was he a
pure Flash creation?
Mike: paper first, 'homestar runner enters the strongest man in
the world contest.' but, he didn't really come into his own
until he got a voice and such. originally he was just nice and
innocent, now he's pretty much just stupid.
Matt: Check out the
museum. He was even on
super nintendo before he was in flash.
Bod, an early Homestar Runner influence
Pop culture plays a pretty strong role in your comics. What
are some of your favorite things of yesteryear?
Matt: the Apple IIe, making terrible text games in BASIC,
Bod, You Can't Do That On Television
Mike: obviously outdated video games are a big influence.
school lunches. there is one particular episode of the 3
stooges (uncivil warriors) and the old batman show(the
joker goes to school) that we memorized about 10 years ago
and to this day quote them.
Seems that HSR is just ripe for TV...been approached by
Mike: we met with cartoon network a year and a half ago. the
site was only a couple months old and i think we only had 2
toons. they were nice but said no thanks. since then, the site
and the characters have developed so much. it might be worth
another shot. we are working on outputting some of the cartoons
to video and at that point we might put together a little
package to send to networks and such.
Who ties HSR's shoes?
Matt: Shhhh! He'll hear you.
Mike: homestar's shoes have no laces, but if they did he would
be able to tie them i'm sure.
Is there a limit you would sell out HSR? Would you go the
action figure, happy meal toy route?
Mike: action figures would be great. or figurines. like smurfs.
lots of them in different poses. breakfast cereal is the
Matt: I wouldn't call making action figures of your characters
selling out. I thought that was the sign that you'd made it.
What if a studio called tomorrow and offered a flat fee to
do a HSR movie with little or no input from you and
dramatically changed the vision. Would you go through with
it? How much WOULD you be willing to compromise?
Mike: thats a tough one. it all depends on how much money. if
it made it so we never had to work again, then obviously we'd
do it. its not as if homestar is all we've got. we can make up
other funny stuff too.
Have you ever thought of teaming HSR up with Davey and
Goliath? Who would
be your ideal HSR crossover?
Mike: there was a british cartoon called
'bod' that they used to play on nickelodeon in the early
80's. it had a
great little theme song and was slightly creepy.
Matt: I would love to have the whole gang appear in one of the
classic Rudolph stop-motion Christmas specials. The one with
the New Year Baby and the Abominable Snowman. And Strong Sad is
a perfect match to hang out with Charlie Brown.
Ever had a HSR idea that you scrapped after saying, "What
the hell were we thinking?"
Matt: Yeah, most of 'em. That's how they get funny, though.
Mike: of course. we have lots of half-baked ideas in various
stages. some might get revamped, others will wither and die. a
lot of things in the "what the hell were we thinking" category
are in the museum.
How good is the merchandise sales going? I saw a girl with
a HSR baby T at a wrestling show. It's sure great that you
have no advertising on the site.
Matt: Ask our dad. He'll write you up a giant report on it.
Mike: we sell a few shirts a day. not enough to live off of or
anything, but enough to justify making more shirts. we're
working on felt pennants and temporary tattoos right now. we
might make a small run of marzipan shirts for the ladies and
maybe a pom pom shirt.
Any plans to add a cartoon in the bottom right rear film
"Kick The Can"? It frustrates me that's the only one that
doesn't have a toon in it!
Matt: Shhhh! He'll hear you.
Mike: that was just an accident. i'll put one on there just for
HSR is a perfect realization of what Flash can be on the
web. What flash sites impress the hell out of you?
Mike: i don't really look at a whole lot of other sites, but
from what i've seen...the gorillaz site is pretty awesome.
Matt: I'm really terrible with keeping up with
what's out there. We don't want to be flash guys, that's just
the easiest way to do Homestar. But
nosepilot is pretty
much amazing. And James Hutchison's work on
Protocops is damn near
broadcast quality. Oh, and that
Mario Twins thing is
hilarious. I swear I watch it once a day at least.
Any non HSR related projects you're working on?
Mike: working in the art dept. of a movie (all the real girls)
that my friend David is making. also finishing up that