Penny Dreadful: An Unsatisfying and Awkward Q&A With Gabe and Tycho

One of PAX Prime's biggest disappointments turned out to be its two biggest stars.

It had the ingredients for a great Q&A session. Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (Gabe and Tycho) were to be interviewed by one of their closest associates, Robert Khoo. It meant that the masterminds behind one of the most succesful comic-strips turned international business models could actually be more comfortable and candid as opposed to being interviewed by some relative stranger.

However, it unfortunately turned into something unsatisfying and awkward.

On Your Marks...

It started off well. Khoo asked those difficult questions that someone not as in cahoots with Holkins and Krahulik could ask. For example, it gave an opportunity for them to talk about why Greenhouse, an online sales platform that attempted to compete with Steam, failed, and why it was a misstep to have even tried.

But most intriguing was the question asked about how the financial success of Penny Arcade had, if at all, changed their lives. The polar responses from the duo gave a unique insight into the mindsets and working dynamic of the pair.

And from these questions, it seemed it would start as it meant to go on.

Get Awkward...

Unfortunately, Khoo's closeness opened the way for questions that were maybe too personal and inappropriate for such a session.

Never meet your heroes, or have Robert Khoo interview them.

Asking about how Holkins and Krahulik would have responded to sexually charged fandom if they had not met their respective partners, was a clear faux pas as both tried to skirt around answers that they clearly didn't want to give, despite Khoo's insistence. The pair looked visually awkward on stage and it didn't exactly make for great viewing.

Furthermore, Khoo's deliberate provoking into unearthing some of the tensions in their working relationship was more than a little cringe worthy, offering little by the way of piercing the PR and hype veils that punters had hoped for. If anything, it put up further barriers up in trying to catch a glimpse of their real personalities. 


Thankfully, the playful, if not at times scathing, banter between the three ensured things picked up a little. But it only peaked as far as descending into a tirade of anecdotes, reminiscence, and idle prattle. What's more, this went on for so long that there wasn't even time for the audience to ask any questions of the superstars.

There was the odd flit of interest; Holkins, when asked about role models, stated that, "when you do not see yourself represented, you must represent yourself;" and a closing analysis of just how close they were to selling Penny Arcade, and why they decided not to take the multi-million offer.

But otherwise, the hour was overall uncomfortable and bland. It's a shame, because to try to get a less exalted portrait of Penny Arcade's creators was something many had savoured with great curiosity.

Never meet your heroes, or have Robert Khoo interview them.

Published Sep. 2nd 2013
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