The Note Show

Howie Noel talks Tara Normal Comics, Paranormal Friendships, Kicktarters and Anxiety

Episode Summary

Howie Noeldechen is a friend of the show and is here this week to talk about his book Float, what it's like to run a kickstarter during lockdown and covid 19, his complete webcomic Tara Normal and so much more.

Episode Notes

Episode Notes Coming Soon!

Episode Transcription

Howie Noel

Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Note Show - deep-diving into the lives and minds of guests across the whole spectrum of the arts, exploring the big why behind what makes them tick, and having a few laughs along the way. Now here's your host, Joshua Note.

Joshua Note: [00:00:22] Hey folks. Welcome back. This is a special episode of the show. I love doing these. We're just enjoying doing the show so much and we're getting so much positive feedback from you guys. Thank you so much for all the support and the people sharing the show and it's been really amazing. A few things happened this week.

My article came out that I mentioned, I was talking with Mike Beddoes on the last episode about it briefly. I wrote an article for Bipolar UK. And, it came out, it's on the site. It's called "My journey with mania". And it's some bits from my life as well as a, a little bit about a recent episode of many of that I had due to a clerical error with my medication.

And I think it's really important, and a lot of people have been texting me and saying they learned from it and learning what mania is, learning that they have known people that have gone through it who probably don't know that they actually have bipolar disorder or a mood disorder of some kind. And other people have got back to me and said, yeah, I've been through that and I know that I have bipolar disorder. I know that I have mania or a different mood disorder, but I had been through it and the response has been amazing. So thank you so much. 

This week, this weekend, I should say. We have a really great, great guest for you. He's someone I've interviewed a few times before, and I love interviewing him. He's really a wonderful guy.

Howie Noel, we actually joke about his name at the beginning of the show. I call him Howie Noel, and I always have, and I've always called him Howie Noeldechen, but we'll get into that in the show. So Howie Noel, he is a comic book creator, artist, concept artists that I've worked with personally and a is a really, really talented guy, does all kinds of crazy interesting stuff. And he's written this particular book Float, which is really wonderful, and it's about his journey with anxiety and I really appreciate it. It's really a brilliant thing. And Howie's just great. We had a great chat, so thank you to him for coming on the show.

I will say there is some clicking in the background of this episode, which you will notice. And what it is is, Howie will mention that he is, he suffers from anxiety as do I. And we both talk about that in the show and clinical anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and he's a sort of nervously web browsing a little bit while he does the interview, which is something that is, is totally acceptable.

It's fine, it happens, and I really understand where he's coming from. So he wanted to apologize and he wanted me to apologize for him. If it annoys anybody in the show, it's something that we do. I was playing with the headphones a little bit. Um, and, uh, just sort of opening and closing the case. It happens and Howie has nothing to apologize for.

Luckily, it was a really great interview. I really enjoyed, and I learned a lot and I think that you will learn a lot from him. We talk about paranormal things, Taranormal things. We talk about his comics, we talk about his graphic novel, kickstarters, loads of stuff. So please dig in. Get into this, it's quite a long interview.

I really appreciate everyone listening. The Note Show is: Lily Barkhorder, producer, Aaron Dowd, producer, Paroma Chakrabarti is our editor. My assistant is Dina O'Brien, and our artwork has done as always by Lorraine Graphics. And we really do appreciate just the, the massive love we're getting from people at the moment.

Everyone's doing a lot of really positive stuff for us and with us and sharing us so. Please keep it up. We're @thenoteshowpod on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That's @thenoteshowpod, p-o-d, and please do interact with us and give us some likes. Give us some listens. Give us some shares would you because I really appreciate it.

We all do and we put a lot of effort into the show, so it means a lot that you guys have been being so supportive. Without further ado, let me introduce you to my very good friend, Howie Noel. 

I'm here today with Howie Noeldechen. Or Howie Noel. Sometimes 

Howie Noel: [00:04:13] Mostly Howie Noel, yeah. Yeah. Just go with Howie Noel. Because nobody, I don't use the full name because it's impossible for people to spell. Yeah. We just do Howie Noel. It's easy. 

Joshua Note: [00:04:24] Howie Noel. Wait, can I, can I ask what kind of name is that actually? I've never heard it. 

Howie Noel: [00:04:29] German. 

Joshua Note: [00:04:29] German. Okay. 

Howie Noel: [00:04:32] Noeldechen 

Joshua Note: [00:04:33] Noeldechen, it's a lovely, interesting name, but we'll go with Howie Noel, and I've always called you Howie Noel to my friends.

Howie Noel: [00:04:41] There you go. Whatever. You know, it doesn't matter. It's whatever people are comfortable with. It's just getting them off Noeldechen.

Joshua Note: [00:04:48] It's the same guy that we're getting to at the end of the day, isn't it? That's the, yeah. 

Howie Noel: [00:04:53] Wow. I think Howie Noel is much nicer than Howie Noeldechen. 

Joshua Note: [00:04:56] Yeah. Noeldechen sounds kind of rock and roll. I don't know. 

Howie Noel: [00:05:01] Yeah, that doesn't rock and roll doesn't mean nicer. How he knows more professional and... 

Joshua Note: [00:05:05] Well, I'm here today as... We were going to leave all that in. Cause I'm here with Howie Noel, my good friend, one of my, one of my really old friends, Howie is, just a real pleasure to have you. Howie Noel. It's a real pleasure to be interviewing you again today. This is, I believe is this our third interview that we've done?

Howie Noel: [00:05:23] I think so. I believe so. Yeah. 

Joshua Note: [00:05:25] It's not available as sadly anymore cause they, we lost them in the, in the years that I was not doing creative arts and creative work and was sort of in the wilderness. Yeah. Unfortunately we, they're on a laptop, which I don't have the password to, which is a shame.

Howie Noel: [00:05:40] We'll have to makeup for it. 

Joshua Note: [00:05:42] We'll have to make up for it. Yeah. Yeah. That's the attitude. I love that. That's what we'll do a great interview today cause I'm looking forward to this one, but I believe we've talked in the past about your, your, just to fill in our listeners, we've, we've talked about Howie's artwork and stuff that we're going to be covering today.

And we've also done one, which we'll probably do in a future episode, which is Howie's interest...Cause I liked covering that last time, cause it's something that I, I'm so not involved with, but I like it is in the paranormal, which is a very interesting topic to talk about. And I know we definitely talked about that in the past and I would love to do another episode.

Howie I'm already inviting you back. 

Howie Noel: [00:06:14] Oh wow, great. 

Joshua Note: [00:06:16] Yeah. But so we'll have to do one on that at some point. So Howie, first question. Everyone gets asked this, and it's one I'm interested in from you, especially: what are you reading, listening to, playing and or watching during the lockdown. 

Howie Noel: [00:06:30] I've been watching The Clone Wars.

Joshua Note: [00:06:33] Oh, love it. Love it. 

Howie Noel: [00:06:34] Yeah. And new new episodes are on there and I've been watching. We, we binged Tiger King, along with the rest of the world.

Joshua Note: [00:06:43] 37 million people 

Howie Noel: [00:06:45] I got to watch the Witcher, which I fell in love with. I love the Witcher with Henry Cavill on Netflix. 

Joshua Note: [00:06:51] Yeah, I'm a big fan of the game. Have you played the game?

Howie Noel: [00:06:54] I just got the game. Looking forward to playing it in next, during this month. I just got it so I, you know. You load it up to your, the Xbox and whatever, and it looks like a giant game. So I'm going to spend my next few months just taking my time with it and playing that because I'm about to finish my next book, so then I'll have a little downtime.

Joshua Note: [00:07:17] Yeah, yeah. That's a great, that's good. No, absolutely. 

Howie Noel: [00:07:20] I like to do a game in between, you know, stories. So I don't play a lot of games because if I play, I like to play, you know? And I don't. You know, I'll play a little things here and there, but it can be, I don't want it to, I want to get work done and then, you know, maybe have a little fun.

Joshua Note: [00:07:34] That's really interesting that you play a game in between stories. That's, that's, that's just what you said then. It's really interesting cause we're going to talk a little bit about your process with your writing during the episode and I find that your work really, really cool and really interesting.

You know, I do, I'm a big fan of Howie, everyone knows that I has been a fan for, probably a good seven, eight years now, I think. 

Howie Noel: [00:07:59] Probably. Yeah. Probably. 

Joshua Note: [00:08:01] Getting close to a decade. I know it flies by, doesn't it? So, but it's been, it's been a wonderful journey watching you create such amazing stuff. Really enjoyed it.

And I'm looking forward to getting some more stuff in the mail at some point soon, which we'll get to. So firstly, Howie for listeners at home, specifically when it comes to being an artist and a comic book creator. Tell us about what your job, usually entails, as in not during this particular time. 

Howie Noel: [00:08:30] Well, yeah, at a non-pandemic I write, I write, I write and draw my stories that I like. I have put out since 2000, and really 2003, is when I first printed up my first comic, Mr Scootles. 

Joshua Note: [00:08:46] Mr Scootles. 

Howie Noel: [00:08:47] I've been going since then and just, I like doing my stories. I like doing my personal books. And printing them myself. I really enjoy that process. I, I'm in control of everything and the world is coming to around to how I like to operate and with crowdfunding and just people being more open to discovering. independent stories. You know, through either web comics or something. It's something that I'm able to do. You know, my stories are very personal to me. I don't just create, I just don't create things that are throw away or gimmicky to try to get, you know, a deal. I'm not into that. I spend, like I spend over a decade on each story and these characters are always with me, so it's very, very personal. And over my years I realized that's not how others feel. These aren't, they aren't like super personal to them. They aren't a big deal. A lot of people just create these things to be thrown away as jokes, and that's not what I'm about. So I really try to, yeah. I try to search out readers that are likeminded and will hold onto it. And luckily, you know, I find that.

Joshua Note: [00:09:59] Yeah, you've done a good job. 

Howie Noel: [00:10:00] Yeah. Thank you. Every day I get messages about my character, Taranormal. Every day. 

Joshua Note: [00:10:05] Nice. That's awesome. 

Howie Noel: [00:10:06] People have gotten tattoos right about, you know, and, and that you can't give up on something like that, you know? And I don't quit and I just keep at it.

And at the end of the day, there'll be a body of work that hopefully people will continue to discover. I just want it. I would just want, you know as many people as possible to see my stories and I hope that it connects with them and it's weird. It's weird, like some people in the business will be surprised, they're shocked that somebody would connect with my stuff.

Oh, it's very odd. Yeah. I had a guy who does books. You know, had a lot of money and he said, I gave my book to my daughter and she loved it. And I'm like, well, she should. That's good. I mean, why is it a shock when, you know, it's weird. They feel very uncomfortable that people will be passionate about my stories.

And I'm like, Oh, I don't know why I had a, I had a lit agent that said she, they present books. I guess they literally had a table spread of the books for like a Hollywood rep to come look at. And they were like, and surprisingly, they were drawn to yours. I'm like, what. And that's when I knew it was a bad representation.

Joshua Note: [00:11:08] Terrible. Oh my God. 

Howie Noel: [00:11:10] It's probably the worst thing you can hear. They were surprised they went to me and I'm like, well, it's people from Hollywood have been interested for a long time. It's about getting the right thing. I mean, these things don't just happen overnight. You know? It took, it took a decade to get Deadpool made, and Deadpool is Marvel comics, and now look at Deadpool.

Joshua Note: [00:11:29] It's amazing. 

Howie Noel: [00:11:30] And it's not my number one. Yeah, I would love a movie or something like that, but my number one thing is the story, telling it my way and having control. And you're not going to have control in those situations. You know, it's, it's, I think people think that it's just overnight success or something like that.

And I mean, if you look at Game of Thrones. He, he, he didn't, he didn't get that success until he was in his sixties.

Joshua Note: [00:11:52] Yeah. I mean, I was looking at those books 20 years ago, right. I think it's 1990's yeah.

Howie Noel: [00:11:58] Huge following, massive following, and that still wasn't considered like mainstream, shockingly. And he talks about it. He's very humble. George R. R. Martin, and very humble about the experience. And he's, you know, and it's just, there's a lot of pressure you can put on yourself as a creative. And I'm just as a person and I, I'm just now coming around to the fact that it's about the work I put into it.

Other people's judgment don't matter because now everybody's a reviewer. When I first started, only certain people reviewed comics, they were actual reviewers, you know? But now everybody I, I'm sad. I see written, I see books treated as if it's a Yelp review for food. I didn't like these fries. And that's not what a book is.

Joshua Note: [00:12:44] No.

Howie Noel: [00:12:44] But you know...

Joshua Note: [00:12:45] That's crazy when you say it like that.

Howie Noel: [00:12:46] What are you going to do? Yeah, you Google it and it just shows up and you're like, you know, I'm a real person. Right? Like I'm not a massive corporation. Like it's weird. It's like they're tearing down and it's just, that makes me sad because that's not how it started, but that's like the new landscape. So you just, cause I used to look at reviews for constructive things. I actually did.

Joshua Note: [00:13:06] Try and change.

Howie Noel: [00:13:08] Yeah. Somebody is just out there to, I don't know, take out their own childhood anger on you. You can't learn from it. And I thought that would move, but you see that with movie reviews where people just will tear into a movie, and I'm like, you didn't enjoy anything? It'd be something. But you know, it's all about what I'm trying to do during this time is learn perspective. I've got time to actually think, you know, it's, it's dangerous for me to be in my head too long, like with those kinds of thoughts. But I have learned that, slowly coming around, you know, and almost, I'm a slow learner with this, that it's about the work.

That's the joy in it. Drawing is fun for me. I love drawing. Yeah. Making it. You made the story. You made something. Most people won't ever finish something. He did it. And it's a risk every time you do something like that, it hurts. You know? You know? Because everybody's criticism is so public. 

Joshua Note: [00:14:00] Yeah, I mean, look, I'm, I'm working on a book and it's been, I was asking you about working together on some concepts for my book six months ago, I think now, and I still haven't got to the point where I can do that.

I'm still working on the book, people, it's difficult to finish things. And one of the things that I love about you is that you're a closer, you actually get stuff done. And I really respect and admire that about you actually. 

Howie Noel: [00:14:23] Oh, thank you. I beat myself up on the way too, that's the thing, you know, I feel like I haven't done enough.

Yeah. Oh, it's bad. Like I, I've been talking to a friend about this because she's very similar to me. It's that drive that for perfectionism, right. If people would see how much effort I put into the line work, and most people don't even think about line work on art. They don't know. It just doesn't, you know.

Joshua Note: [00:14:49] It doesn't register.

Howie Noel: [00:14:49] That's, I'm so obsessed with, I've always been that way since I was little, very obsessed and just getting the line work right. Making sure it was perfect. Like not understanding. I just recently discovered, when you look at the line work on an animated cell, you know, the early... it's not perfect lines.

Joshua Note: [00:15:07] Really?

Howie Noel: [00:15:07] They're a little bit jagged. It's just when they're shrunk down. Yeah, and it's like when you're a kid, you just see perfection. So that's what I was built on obsessively obtaining, and now I find myself, I'm a little freer, now that's freed me up, you know? And it's just weird stuff like that that's on this journey to be like, let's, maybe we can do something a little more relaxed, maybe, because I like to change styles with each job. Yeah. And a lot of, you know, that's, I've been told that's not, that's not a common thing. It's the medium of comics. 

Joshua Note: [00:15:35] I think that that's true. I am sorry, with my limited view on comic book artists, the ones that I followed, they often have, you know, they can, a certain way of doing things and they stick to it and you definitely, in things like Float, you challenge your own creative... just for anyone listening, we're going to get onto it. But Float is a book that Howie wrote, which was, I don't know, is it appropriate to call it experimental, Howie  when it comes to the artwork? 

Howie Noel: [00:16:00] Oh, I think so. That book is the first book that ever got me positive reactions from professionals in the comic book field. The first thing that they gave me credit for. And that's after, you know, over a decade of doing stuff, they recognize that, you know, and, and it's so personal to my memoir about, uh, dealing with, uh, generalized anxiety disorder and depression. The main thing to focus on in that book is the anxiety, but they're coupled.

You know, you get one in the other. It just takes you a while, but the journey is, because I think anxiety, the work, it's more accessible, especially now. Everybody's got it now. 

Joshua Note: [00:16:39] Oh yeah. I mean, I have it. It's, I, I, when I, I actually just wrote an article, sorry, I keep plugging this, but I wrote an article that came out last week.

It will be when, it's just a few days ago, and it was about my bipolar disorder. And the thing that happened with me was I went to a psychiatrist. And they said, and he was right about one thing, he was wrong. He said, you've not got bipolar disorder when I was about 23 and I do, and I was, had to be diagnosed when I was 30 but he said, but you definitely have generalized anxiety disorder.

And I learned all about it. And he said, you score so high for anxiety. So when I met Howie, one of the interesting things for anyone listening was that he was very open about his anxiety and the journey he's been on, and he's someone that's willing to talk about it. And then when he did Float, it became this huge expression of all that stuff.

And it's done in such a creative, crazily different, interesting, novel way that you really challenged and broke down some borders, I think with that book, you know, I think you did a lot. 

Yeah. Thank you. And it is my most broadly appealing thing I've done. I think because it was so personal, and I think because it's meant, it was written, I purposely wrote it in a way for everyone to be able to read it, not just if you have it.

So people that have anxiety can enjoy it. People that don't, can enjoy it. People that have met somebody with it and wondered why did they act that way? That's who it's written for. It's written for everyone that has ever come across that monster known as anxiety and a lot of these books... Well, I'll tell you one thing I haven't found...I, I've, I've met a lot of great people and great friends, but I, I haven't found what I feel is a community that embraced me as far as professional art. I never felt like in the group, you know. No. And I know that I always felt like the odd one out. So I wanted this book to appeal to people like that. You know, if you're alone, I feel very alone.

And I think that's expressed in the book. My loneliness, I feel it all the time. I feel not acknowledged. Uh, and I put that in there, you know, but not in a "woe is me" way. Here it is. Here's the story. I, you know, it's, it's truthful. I was, I saw one, a reader review "too truthful", made her uncomfortable. She still loved it. She still loved it. 

She still loved it, but I can Howie, I'm just gonna jump in and say, so I, to reference the fact that I'm now, like I said, I've just written this article, Bipolar UK and I'm blogging for them now and in future. You actually inspired me quite a lot. That's something that you should know, I think. I's probably appropriate. Yeah. So yeah, what you're actually saying the same thing is that I, you know, felt like the odd one out and I felt like I need to share my story. And I was always impressed by the fact that you, both open about anxiety in your own life and online, but also that you did Float and did all this stuff. And I, and I, I just really admired that. And so, you know, I, I've written a story and someone actually got back to me and said almost the exact same thing. And I just got a bit choked up when he said that, cause someone said, wow, that really hit a nerve with me because it sounds just like what I go through when I have a manic episode.

And I was like, that's good. And now when you're telling me this, I'm thinking, well, you know what? That's because Howie definitely inspired me with his work to write really openly and to, to just be truthful and it's a hell of an accomplishment. So congratulations on all that work. Definitely. 

Howie Noel: [00:20:09] Thank you. Right from the beginning of the project, I got a message from a reader and they said that just from me beginning to talk about it, he recognized what I was saying and he went and saw a doctor and got help. He realized that he had anxiety the whole time. Yeah. And that's one thing that sets that project above all the others, is that it truly helps someone. It truly can save a life in a way, because you do not know what it is when you have it. You do not, still today, still today, my wife will be like, why are you acting like that? And I'm like, well, you know, why do you? Because it's just so foreign if you don't have it, because the thought process when anxiety takes hold, is not normal. So I'll have like, when something traumatic happens or something, I'll have to go and ask friends, tell them my thoughts on it and it'll sound crazy and then my friend will go, that's crazy. Okay. 

Joshua Note: [00:21:06] We've had conversations both ways. Both ways. We've had conversations like that in the past. You know, we, we shared, we shared thoughts since... I remember you telling me personal things I wouldn't repeat, but you know, you see saying, I thought this was going on and now I know that it's not. And I have definitely said the same thing to you. I've said things like, you know, I'm really paranoid about something and it's, and you're, you'll be like, it's okay. Calm down. You know... 

Howie Noel: [00:21:30] Nobody's, you're not, you're not in somebody's head as much as you think you are. Anxiety causes you to think that everybody's always out to get ya. Now sometimes they are. Of course, there are many people that are dramatic and they're negative. They're doing nothing but obsessing over ruining somebody.

They don't matter. They don't matter. They're not the majority of people. And you know, and that's just, you feel really deeply. You feel more than others when you have, you know, a mental health problem with mental illness. You just feel deeply and you care a lot, you know? And that comes through my work.

Like I can see it now, not only with Float, but Float's about, you know, the subject matter. But in all my work, I can, you can hopefully see that it matters a great deal to me. But it's affected, it's affected me being able to tell certain things. So I have to force through freedom. And the way to get that freedom that I seek is art.

I feel free, you know, even though it's still a challenge, of course, everything's a challenge, but it's a fun challenge to me. You know? Drawing's fun. It's the one point, or I can have some fun. Now, unless, of course deadlines don't make that as much fun. But you know, but, it's where I can have an escape. And that's what I enjoy about it. 

Joshua Note: [00:22:53] Wow. I think that's, I think that's a really powerful stance, sentiment, and it definitely shines through in your work. It comes through completely. It comes through in everything. We'll, we'll talk more about other work, your main work, surely. What I was going to say Howie, to jump back to my questions. We went off on one on mental health, because I love talking to you about mental health and we have a, we have a psychotherapist actually that comes on this show, and I'd love it if you have any questions that we could cover in that or if we one day could do a three way conversation or something about your book. That would be really, really interesting to have your perspective on anxiety because obviously a lot of Scott's clients and people are people with anxiety problems.

So what I was going to say was your, your job we've described, but to get back to the questions, what's changed? How has it changed during the lockdown? What are you doing now? 

Howie Noel: [00:23:43] Well, I lost a lot of things, you know, as far as work. So the focus is changing about just trying to focus on what I have instead of what I lost.

Because it's, with what they're saying, the news is so unclear and so full of doom that, I mean, in addition to comics and writing, I mean, I do a lot of freelance. I mainly do freelance illustration and also caricatures, you know, live caricature parties for corporations and birthday parties and stuff, and then commissions.

Now, fortunately, a lot of people have stepped up and they've ordered commissions. I mean, it's been, I've been really lucky with that and I'm very appreciative of that. I, for the foreseeable future, have lost all of my live caricature events. People are going to, how are they going to do it? Are you going to have gatherings before we have the testing?

And before, you know, if we have that five minute testing, that's great. But how are you going to do it? So that, that didn't hit me until like a couple of weeks in. I was, I think in denial and it's just, that's wiped out a huge portion of what I did. And there's character artists all across the world. How, what's going to happen, you know?

Well, they have to draw people in the masks. You're going to have a birthday party where everybody has masks on and you're going to have me draw you in masks, you know, and I'm going to come there. I mean, it's just, it sucks and it hurts. And I hope. Yeah. Honestly, despite what the news that I just hope it goes away.

I mean, I want that world back. I enjoy drawing people. I enjoy being able to do the events, you know? And there's just a lot of doom and gloom out there. So that's one thing that I was hit with. And I was also hit with live events. I do like care conventions. Yeah, a lot of conventions.

Joshua Note: [00:25:24] You're a big convention guy, right? That's right. Yeah. Big convention guy. 

Howie Noel: [00:25:28] Yeah, and they're all, it's all about community and meeting up with people and sharing your art in person so they can discover you because it's so hard to get your voice out. I mean, it's so hard because on social, you know, social media, luckily I have a following on Facebook. 

Joshua Note: [00:25:44] You have a hell of a following comparatively to me. 

Howie Noel: [00:25:48] People can find me on Facebook, but like you put me on Instagram, it's like a drop, you know, in the ocean, like a rain drop. 

Joshua Note: [00:25:57] I found the same for me. It's difficult. 

Howie Noel: [00:25:59] Yeah. And what I do isn't made for necessarily Instagram. I'm about something you can be involved in.

And you know, and it's not just a picture here or there, I think it's not my, I'm not, it's not my food. It's not modeling pictures. I'm not, I can't do that, you know, so I don't adjust well. What I do adjust well is if you're all in and learning a story and becoming involved in something and you know, and seeing process and stuff. It just gets lost in translation on different apps. It's weird. 

Joshua Note: [00:26:31] It's different. It's definitely a different social community that gathers around different types of thing, different apps and stuff. I think also there's something recently, just to divert, is that you, you noticed that people were stealing your artwork on Instagram, is that right?

Howie Noel: [00:26:48] Yeah. I think that's, I've noticed there's a lot more bootlegging on Instagram and just outright not caring and Instagram's own rules do not care. So you can jump through hurdles. If somebody impersonates you, you have to really jump through a hurdle to even deal with that.

You have to really jump through a hurdle if somebody is using your art. Are you kidding me? They don't care if somebody's, you know, it's just insane and you don't feel protected on like other things you don't feel, and I don't know what it is, but yeah, I just, I'll get a message from a guy and he'll be like, this is my next album cover. I'm like, what? What are you talking about? 

I have never heard that in my life. Somebody just going, this will be my next album cover. What? I had to explain to her. Well, this is my drawing of already a trademarked entity, you know, because the only thing I felt comfortable with on Instagram is posting fan art basically.

But still, fan art is copyrighted by me and you have to pay for permission to use that. But also, if I draw a Slimer, you'd actually have to get permission from Sony. 

Joshua Note: [00:27:49] You're right.

Howie Noel: [00:27:50] People have no comprehension of how, well a lot of people, I have no comprehension about how that, I guess, works because they're so used to just taking, if you see an image on Google, you just take it and it just gets tiring.

I've dealt with a lot of copyright and trademark. And it just Instagram really, you know, I ended up getting bootlegged like a bootleg shirt and it was on several sites and then people would send it to me and you know, that doesn't feel good. 

Joshua Note: [00:28:16] It feels awful I imagine. 

Howie Noel: [00:28:18] Yeah. And these guys, I can get them taken down.

Luckily they would listen to me, but one tried to shame me. If you didn't want it stolen, then you shouldn't have shared it. That's what someone said to me. 

Joshua Note: [00:28:28] God damn it. 

Howie Noel: [00:28:29] So I took a break from Instagram and I mean, if I didn't want it stolen, why did you erase my name? That's another thing they'll do. Cause people say to watermark, but I mean, how about I just don't share it next time.

Joshua Note: [00:28:41] Don't. Yeah. I think you'd, you focus on the things that you're good, the platforms that you are known for and you'll get it. 

Howie Noel: [00:28:46] I took a break from it. I'm back there now. So if you go on there, it's @howienoel.

Joshua Note: [00:28:52] @howienoel

Howie Noel: [00:28:52] Yeah. And I'll post. But man, it's a, it's a bummer for somebody like me. It just. You know, it's, that's a draining thing, unfortunately. You know, but I realized during the pandemic, I don't need to put myself through this. So that is one thing I'm getting away from what will feel bad. But why make yourself feel bad when we're already all being forced to feel bad? You know?

And lots of people are really hurting. So what I've learned is don't. Don't let yourself be put through this stuff. You know, go escape into something that feels good and I don't have to, I don't have to feel bad, but that's the thing I'm learning. You don't have to feel bad. You don't have to be around people that make you feel bad.

But I think that's a big positive. You don't have to be around people that don't like you, don't respect you and don't treat you well. And I learned that big time, you know? And that's, that's a great lesson to pass on to people. 

Joshua Note: [00:29:46] Yeah, I think so. Well, it's a lesson that I'm going to, my listeners will appreciate, I think. I do. I certainly do. Howie, I got to ask you another question now, and it's a big one. It's a big one, Howie. 

Howie Noel: [00:29:57] All right, let's do this. Let's have fun. 

Joshua Note: [00:29:58] Let's have some fun. Why should people read comics? 

Howie Noel: [00:30:03] It's a good question. Well, I think they should. Well, first of all, as an American. It's an American art form, right?

It's very important to us because a lot of stuff we get from everybody else, but it's like an American art form that has transcended. It combines the written word and art and pictures, you know, together to make a unique storytelling medium. You can't replicate that anywhere. Movies try, they can't, movies and when the superhero movies that are really, really good, well that's because they're adhering closely to the comics and the shots you can do. The storytelling. your mind, you become  the camera if you read my comics, you are part of the storytelling I'm involving with you and especially on Float.

Google noticed how much I was playing with them as far as making them look at things, drawing them into things because I was very experimental and showing what I can do with sequential art that a lot of comics, honestly, in the mainstream, they don't have time to do that. And I don't think they were trained to, but I can lead your eye across the page and I can lead you where to go and you won't realize it's happening.

And I can, you know, and that's part of the fun of it. And I really do that on Float more so, and I think people should read that because it is, it's a great escapism. I think it's stories that you can't get anywhere else. Yeah, and I choose that medium to tell these things because that's the medium that they belong in. That's the only way to capture this thing.

Joshua Note: [00:31:38] Inherently you mean? 

Howie Noel: [00:31:39] Yeah. I can have really detailed figures across an abstract background, and it fits because of the medium. You know, and I grew up, I grew up, I didn't know that some people thought comics that were throw away, a throwaway culture. I didn't know that. I held them up as esteemed.

It's what I, it was my fine art growing up. I didn't know all this stuff as a kid. I just knew what I liked. I loved Mad magazine. I love Mort Drucker who recently passed away. I love Dick Locher who did Dick Tracy and Jim Davis who does Garfield. They were my, my masters that I looked up to as far as art and I, I held them up. I looked up to them. I still do. 

Joshua Note: [00:32:21] You're a big Dick Tracy fan, aren't you.? 

Howie Noel: [00:32:24] Yes. Huge, huge. Dick Tracy fan. 

Joshua Note: [00:32:25] I was just going to say, Howie, sorry to interrupt. Happy birthday for your recent birthday. Yeah. Yeah. It's a shame that I can't see you on it. I would love to have hung out with you, but Happy Birthday and I noticed that you had a Dick Tracy cake, didn't you?

Howie Noel: [00:32:39] Yeah. My wife made a Dick Tracy fedora cake. 

Joshua Note: [00:32:43] Big shout out to Shelley for being a wonderful wife. 

Howie Noel: [00:32:46] Yeah, she helps me put my books together. She does all the press work and helps edit, and I always show her things, I need that other opinion, because who knows what's going on, you know, in my little head.

Joshua Note: [00:33:00] Well, this is the thing Howie, while we're talking about comics, if I can ask what, what are your favorite comics that you've read and, and have any particular ones that you want to talk about changed your life. Cause you mentioned Mad magazine, you mentioned Garfield, you mentioned Dick Tracy. I'm thinking more in the line of say, a graphic novel of any, any of those that you can think of that have really impacted you.

Howie Noel: [00:33:20] Yeah. Maus by Art Spiegelman.

Joshua Note: [00:33:23] Oh yeah. Wonderful. 

Howie Noel: [00:33:25] Todd McFarlane Spawn, with Greg Capullo on art. Greg Capullo, I believe the best working comic artist right now professionally with the big two. And I loved them.

I actually fortunately got to meet him. He is so incredibly nice and real that he came up to me at this show I was doing and the show was bad. The show, there was nobody there at the show. He came up to me out of  nowhere to say, Hey, Hey man, just wanted to say hello again and shook my hand and I'm like, that meant so much to me, like I was saying about that acknowledgement and I was like, who cares what people who don't like me think now? Here's this guy's my artistic hero, and he's took the time to, he remembered me, you know, and I'm like, that shows you what kind of guy he is and how real he is, and just on top of it, he's ridiculously talented. And our, our styles are what people label as cartoony. But I don't know why people are negative about that.

There's a hangup about cartoony and you're in comics. The thing's called a comic book. 

Joshua Note: [00:34:26] Yeah. 

Howie Noel: [00:34:27] I've been labeled too cartoony my whole life. They didn't hit me with it on Float. 

Joshua Note: [00:34:31] No, of course not. No, no. Float is different. But I want to say that there's a, a word that I used once to you and I didn't think you liked it and it was delightful. And the thing is, I meant it in a really positive way. 

Howie Noel: [00:34:44] Oh I like delightful. 

Joshua Note: [00:34:46] Oh, good. Maybe you did like it. Maybe I'm imagining. I probably, you know what? I probably imagine that you didn't like it. I probably thought that it probably just read into your words without thinking, but I remember that, saying to my mom, I, because I'm having my lockdown with my mom.

I mentioned her every, every show so far. Cause I'm in her house at the moment. And I remember saying to her, I found this guy and I'm going to invest in his Kickstarter. I'm going to not invest, what's the word? You know, just donate, support, the word support, to his Kickstarter. He's such a good guy, but by supporting in someone's Kickstarter, you're investing in that talent is basically what I'm trying to say.

You're, you're saying, I really think that this is a guy who's going somewhere and he's doing something awesome, and I remember thinking, you were definitely a guy that stuck out to me because of the way that you did your drawings and the way that, the thing that you're saying people describe as cartoony in a, for some reason, bad way, yeah, it's crazy. It's crazy. I saw that and I was like, no, this is really interesting. And the, the influence that you had, which is my next question, but I'm going to bring it in in a slightly different way cause I'm going to ask you who inspired your work. We're just talking about some people who have done that, but the, the, the thing that I, I wanted to bring in is, is also who inspired your work when it comes to charicatures because that's something that, that flies through all of your, your, your main output.

Howie Noel: [00:36:10] Well my first, since I was born, my, my inspiration, my mother was an artist and is an artist. Yeah, continually. You don't stop. She'll, she'll come after me for a Freudian slip there. So my mother is the first influence I owe. My mother and father always supported me drawing. So you can't, when you have that support from the ground up, and then teachers, every art, art teacher, all the teachers were very supportive of me.

Very supportive in school and my friends were supportive of me getting me through school. Everybody always liked my drawing, and that helps so much because what you do is you notice in the, in the, once you get outside in the real world, that stops, all that, that love and support.

Joshua Note: [00:36:56] Hey, but you have people like me. People like me, we come along. We exist. 

Howie Noel: [00:37:02] Yes. You get new people that continue to support. Yes. You will also run into people that, I have been threatened with physical violence over how I draw. 

Joshua Note: [00:37:11] Oh my gosh. 

Howie Noel: [00:37:12] A guy said I should get a smack down. 

Joshua Note: [00:37:14] Oh my gosh. 

Howie Noel: [00:37:15] This is what I ran into when I first started my web comic, so I don't, I don't know. I run into some weird people, I don't know, and then, and then everybody else will be like, I don't understand. He's always been nice to me and I'm like, okay, well, he's not, he's not a nice person. He's not a nice person. 

Joshua Note: [00:37:37] You can't say that to someone and be a nice person. 

Howie Noel: [00:37:40] No, no, no, no, no. Over art? It's hilarious. But I like it, you know? It's weird. Uh, I guess that's the divisiveness that can happen when you're doing something. And I think that's a good thing because I think, I mean, that's a passionate response.

Joshua Note: [00:37:56] I suppose. Any response. It says a lot about what you mentioned earlier made me laugh, which was childhood anger because it's obviously some problem that the guy has, but there's also probably some jealousy there, I would say. 

Howie Noel: [00:38:11] Something wrong with them. I don't know what it is, but I, you know, like, like you said, guess what? The good outweighs all of that. I mean, the good outweighs any of that and it's about not letting those people ruin your perspective of what to focus on. What you should focus on is what you said, good people keep finding them. Yeah. 

Joshua Note: [00:38:33] Oh, I love your work, Howie. You know, I love your work. I've been a fan of yours, like I said at the beginning, for a, for a good, you know, most part of a decade now, the biggest part of a decade. And it's crazy, but it's wonderful. 

Howie Noel: [00:38:45] It's crazy to think about.

Joshua Note: [00:38:46] We've worked together on different projects. We've worked together on concept art, we've worked together and we've, I've supported your comics and I'm going to continue to support your Kickstarters because because I, I just think they're wonderful and we're going to talk about the Kickstarters very shortly. What I want to jump into Howie, with you is now, can you tell us, we're going to talk about Tara Normal. It's your big thing. And for someone who is completely new to the comic, what do they need to know before they pick it up? Like I, for instance, what's it about? 

Howie Noel: [00:39:17] Well, Tara Normal is about a paranormal investigator who also has supernatural powers. So Tara was born with a set of unique abilities.

So, I'm a big fan of the paranormal genre from Ghostbusters to Exorcist. Everything in between. I watch all The Conjuring, you know, the Warrens. I read their books. I have a lot of friends that are on all the shows, fortunate, best friends with Jason Hawes as the founder of TAPS. I ask him questions all the time.

I know Grant from Ghost Hunters. I, you know, I got lucky to call like Steve, Dave, Tango, all of them really close friends, Amy and Adam and Chip Coffey. So, and just so many people getting to know everybody. They're really, really cool. I love that field. I'm really passionate about it. I love the people that I've met in it.

I met some of my best friends ever in life through it. They've become family to me, and I love everything about it. Just so fascinating to me. The entire history and what's cool is I'm always learning. What people don't get is there's an innate skepticism, which is important. So I think I just, it's fun to, it's fun for me to wonder about, what else is out there? And I love all the stuff from, from ghosts to cryptozoology to, and, and the cool thing is, like I said, I'm always learning. It's not like I know everything. It's always, I'm always, wow. I love, that's why I love going to their conventions. I love going to paranormal conventions because number one, they get my art.

That's where I belong. They don't go, oh what is that? I go to some shows and they're like, what is that? I don't get it, but yeah, but they go at the paranormal shows, they get me and I told them, I'm sorry, I don't know what that says about you, but you get me. So I feel like a belonging, that sense of community I was talking about.

I feel it there. And I feel like, oh, I belong. I feel acceptance, you know? And it's just fun. And cause I'm already always been in love with horror movies and scary movies and stuff like that. And usually people at these shows are into it too, of course, there's a blend over and it's just fun. Like if I describe Tara Normal, they get it like that.

They get it from the name of course and it interests them and that's exciting. But then I can also bring Float there and they love that too. 

Joshua Note: [00:41:35] Oh, could you really? That's amazing. 

Howie Noel: [00:41:39] Yeah, and that's what I love about the paranormal field. I eat up all those stories and I try to share them all the time on my Tara Normal Facebook page.

If you go under Tara Normal activity, you'll find Tara's Facebook page and I'll, I'll share stories I find there and also art from the books and stuff like that. I, I have spent the last over 10 years because Tara Normal first appeared as a web comic in April 2009. That's when I first published it at

Joshua Note: [00:42:05] Wow.

Howie Noel: [00:42:06] I have spent longer than that beforehand, researching and I'd go on ghost hunts and things. I've been lucky enough to go on ghost hunts with the stars of Ghost Nation and Ghost Hunters and all these people, all these people who are the tops of their field. And people everywhere and been able to watch them and observe how they do it.

Joshua Note: [00:42:27] And all of this goes into Tara? 

Howie Noel: [00:42:29] Yeah. It goes into Tara, just with a twist of the comic book. I've read so many, I'll, I'll say, I don't know. There weren't many books about like just ghosts before Tara Normal. I do Tara Normal, there's a ghost book every month. There just is. That's just the way it is. That's the way it happens, right. What I do notice is, they don't have the research and they don't actually, they just use the name ghost. 

Joshua Note: [00:42:53] Well, we, I don't know. We can't say the actual name out loud on the podcast, I don't think, but there was a real copycat wasn't there?

Howie Noel: [00:43:00] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I won't go into that. That also was not researched, but that was more research based on literally what I did, so that was research there. All our research came from a spec script, which they saw brought to them specifically. 

Joshua Note: [00:43:16] Terrible, terrible, terrible. I remember that. Yeah. 

Howie Noel: [00:43:22] Oh yeah. Yeah. And that, that's the kind of thing when I talk to people about like not giving up, I wanted to give up so badly. I mean, because I care so much and it wasn't... See, I think what they do, what they get a lot of is just, so pitches, some people are just okay making pitches and they're just, here's another pitch. I've never been a guy like that with like another pitch. I have ideas, but I got, like I said, I spent 10 years, over 10 years on each of these ideas. That's how much they mean to me.

So when I'm fully committing, it's going to be my life. It's my life work. I, I really care passionately. And what I saw with that experience was, these are people that don't care the same way. These are people that just look for a buck and they don't care what they take from you. And they did. They took, but you know what? It sucked because it's not me and it's not real, but it was crazy to turn page by page and see my spec script, everything laid out the same. 

Joshua Note: [00:44:18] That's just crazy. 

Howie Noel: [00:44:21] Yeah. Where you talked to, I talked to several copyright lawyers, several. And they said 88% of people that come to us with copyright infringement, you know, everybody thinks they're getting ripped off, it's just the way. He said 88% of them are crazy. Like not true. Yeah. You're in that other percentage. 

Joshua Note: [00:44:41] Yeah. You're in the 12%.

Howie Noel: [00:44:44] Right. And that's comforting. And it also sucks because, and you start to see these things all the time. I can't tell you how many times because the name, they've tried to do Tara Normal. I mean, they just try and it's nonstop. Somebody started a Tara Normal podcast. 

Joshua Note: [00:44:59] I was going to say. Yep. 

Howie Noel: [00:45:03] That's a future thing of mine. And you looked online and you see that, that's my name and you can, you just take it. They just want to take, well you can't. You know? And fortunately companies like Apple will back you up so and, and they just feel, so I don't think that way. I want to be pretty far from what others do. While I'm influenced with Ghostbusters. I'm not going to call it, you know, I'm not going to call it that, yeah, Ghost Chasers. Yeah. Ghost Hunters the show would come after me too. Here's the thing, I think about it every day, what they did to me. Every day and the effect of it, because my dream, I, one of my dreams was, not a dream, but like I wanted that recognition.

Like I talk about it, I'm always seeking this recognition and it's about realizing you already have it. Okay. And when I did Float and once it was so successful on Kickstarter, I was like, well, show this to, cause people were saying you should take that to a publisher then even though it's already published.

Right? And it's already had the successes and I, so I sent it out to literary agents and one said, well, why do you want to do this? You already did it. I'm like, yeah, you guys have always said, being published by one of your companies is the goal because I want more people to see it so it can help more people.

And he was like, you've already done it. And what you made is more than nowadays with these companies are going to offer. 

Joshua Note: [00:46:21] Is that right? 

Howie Noel: [00:46:22] That's craziness. I think just because that's not the perception and I mean, what I, mostly, what I made was went into the book and when you know, into creation of things, that's what I use the Kickstarter for to get to other people.

You build up. You know the books that means you can order more books and then blah, blah, blah. 

Joshua Note: [00:46:39] Well, you know, let's talk about the big thing that you're doing, which is that you recently just did that. You recently ran a Kickstarter, which I contributed to. So let's talk about that one. 

Howie Noel: [00:46:49] That was Tara Normal, the complete web comic collection.

So Tara Normal, the ongoing series that I'm working on is a graphic novel series, and it's a certain timeline where it's more darker, more serious. There's still like fun to be had. It's a lot of fun still, but it's, you know, there'll be maggots coming out of the ghouls mouth and blood and people get ripped in half in a fun way, you know, like, like a, like an eighties horror movie.

It's still fun. Not, not like the torture kind of horror movies. So these, these kind of like a harken back to Lost Boys. That's that kind of horror that I go with for Tara Normal. So that's a more serious thing. The web comic as revealed in the book is an alternate timeline. So I've been doing a lot of research.

My paranormal research led me to all of this where there's alternate timelines happening and I'm able to, between these two series show true paranormal beliefs. Like ancient aliens and stuff like that all in there and they all coincide. So that was the most exciting thing because I always had these two going.

Joshua Note: [00:47:52] That's really exciting. 

Howie Noel: [00:47:53] Yeah. Now I can bridge them together and they're connected and they overlapped. So that was really exciting for me because I need, I needed to be in a nice bow in my brain. So what we have is now I can explain it easier because people go, which one do I start with? If you start with a web comic, it's on its own. The web comic can lead into the other one.

They also connect. So either one is good and now I can properly explain it and it's more fun. It was fun to go back and finish the web comic of course, because what has happened? Yeah. When I started, it was 2009 and it was a weekly web comic and then around, was it 2011 or 2012 I took a break on the website to announce I was doing my Tara Normal novel.

Because I had a pitch. It was a pitch that I did, the pitch that was ripped off. It was, it was, it was before it got ripped off. So the pitch was made and it was going to be a graphic novel for young adults with Tara. It's her first case. And I was like, you know, I always wanted to do a novel, a written prose, and I, because I always liked those tie in novels for movies like Indiana Jones, you know, and the Batman,  especially the Batman.

Joshua Note: [00:49:01] They got a bad rap. I actually love them. I think they're really good. 

Howie Noel: [00:49:05] That Batman 89 one is an amazing book. So I wanted to write my own and I had never done it before and no joke, the day I finished is when I got a picture from a friend of this ripoff book coming into his store location cause he's a receiving manager and I couldn't, my heart hurt so much. 

Joshua Note: [00:49:26] I'm so sorry, Howie. 

Howie Noel: [00:49:28] Yeah, so they tried and to see how the depths that they'll go to try to threaten you, they threatened me through a friend. They threatened me. So then you have to get a lawyer and you threaten back and they were so silent that it damns them in their silence. So I mean, you can only go so far when I own a trademark.

So, I mean, you have to protect yourself. And I tell everybody every time copyright your stuff. It can't stop them from taking it, but you have your precedent. And if you truly believe in something and you're using it in business, go ahead and get the trademark. So you have it while you're using in business and you've got to protect it and you got to do stuff.

Now it's uncomfortable, but you gotta protect it to show you want it because these people are just. They don't care, like companies. They don't care. I was watching a Disney documentary. Have you seen this? The Imagineering. 

Joshua Note: [00:50:14] Oh yeah. Wonderful. You know me, I've got Pixar tattoos down my arms. You know, I'm going to see it. I loved it. Yeah. 

Howie Noel: [00:50:23] How they talk about the corporate way versus how it was when the corporate culture took over. 

Joshua Note: [00:50:28] Okay. 

Howie Noel: [00:50:29] It hurt them and they could tell it and all the artists there knew it. Because they were, during that dark time, they were thinking about more corporate and then that's when they start doing the theme restaurants and stuff instead of the rides that would make children happy and stuff like that. I start, I noticed that who was going after me was that kind of thinker that I don't relate to. In the end, I'm still going, in the end, Tara Normal, still the real Tara Normal still keeps going. Yeah, I noticed they don't and I noticed they don't care as much, so just remember that if you feel ripped off, if you feel hurt, you know, it's like anything. If you feel hurt, don't give up and you're, that's how you win. 

Joshua Note: [00:51:10] Yeah. That's brilliant advice. 

Howie Noel: [00:51:12] I would love to give up. 

Joshua Note: [00:51:14] Please don't ever. 

Howie Noel: [00:51:17] It's just enticing because, but then I'd feel bad.

Joshua Note: [00:51:21] Everyone would feel bad. All your friends, we, none of us want to see that. None of us do. 

Howie Noel: [00:51:25] Nobody lets me give up. You guys are too living and supportive. Yeah. Too much love and support there. 

Joshua Note: [00:51:32] No, that's right. Well, we all were, all of us. We all love you and we just want you to keep going, man. It's, and we, and we love that you do.

And that's what I was going to say how, one of the next thing that I was going to ask, when it came to this Kickstarter, I, how has the lockdown affected the process of your rewards and the, you know, the process of getting things out to people. 

Howie Noel: [00:51:52] Oh yeah. I'm in, I'm in New Jersey, so it's hugely affected me. It impacted me to a point where, I was dealing this back in, nobody knows this. I was dealing with this back in January and I was letting people know, hey, I didn't want to mention the word. It's just, you know, I didn't want to mention the virus's name at that time. It's uncomfortable. You know that. Yeah.

You don't want it attached to your thing, you know? Now it's gotten a little bit normal. I didn't want that to be thought of when you're going to get an update from me about my book. 

Joshua Note: [00:52:22] No. 

Howie Noel: [00:52:23] But we had a lot of delays. They're printed overseas. We're impacted by it. We're directly impacted by it, but I've received them. My printer. My printer is PrintNinja. So spectacular. 

Joshua Note: [00:52:36] Shout out to PrintNinja.

Howie Noel: [00:52:37] So spectacular during this, if you're making a book, if you're doing any kind of printing, I can't recommend them enough. Constantly updating me through it. Constantly open and honest, constantly keeping me updated. Even when they couldn't, there's nothing they can do about it.

It's a global pandemic and, and you know, I was open with everybody giving you updates along the way. Hey, look. 

Joshua Note: [00:52:59] Absolutely, absolutely. I thought it was really open and honest. 

Howie Noel: [00:53:01] We're on a big lockdown here at, New Jersey's number two right below New York, and the numbers keep growing and they're going to try to open the parks this weekend, which is crazy to me.

I don't understand how you're reopening the parks of all things. Why not a business for people. You know, I mean, just me. I don't know anything about it though. What do I know? 

Joshua Note: [00:53:20] Well, you know, as much as many of the experts, probably.

Howie Noel: [00:53:25] This is hugely impacted my ability because I was supposed to be mailing these out I think February or March. I took longer to try and make, the book was perfect. I kept finding errors as you do. You know when it's a 200 page book, we got it all sorted and we were hoping to start mailing out in March I believe my first update was, but you can't go to, I can't go to the post office here.

I mean, when I went there, one of my last trips to the post office, I had to mail some stuff, the clerk, he wiped his nose and then handed me my receipt. 

Joshua Note: [00:53:54] Oh, no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh gosh, no. Oh, no. Terrible. 

Howie Noel: [00:53:58] How do you think this thing spreads? 

Joshua Note: [00:53:59] Yeah, that's unbelievable. 

Howie Noel: [00:54:01] I couldn't believe it. This is when it first got announced and I was already, I was already taking it very seriously.

Joshua Note: [00:54:06] I remember, well we all did. You and a few friends as well as mutual friends. We all suddenly took it very seriously and it locked down, happened in England and we locked down a week and a half before the announcement of the lockdown actually, my family, and... 

Howie Noel: [00:54:23] We were locked down here before you guys.

Joshua Note: [00:54:26] Oh yeah. How do you think New Jersey's handling it though? 

Howie Noel: [00:54:29] I think they're doing the best we can. We have a lot of, a lot of people from New York, a lot of us work in New York. I was in New York the whole time. So the thing is, you don't know if you've had it. Everybody, they've made it this big scary thing, you know?

Cause it is scary, but it's also like you might have already had it. One, one rep in New Jersey thinks he already had it like really months ago. Yeah. I think they might've had it before and yeah, it's just about how your body responds to it, and that's why I've seen a lot of social distancing. People are really good when they're at the grocery store.

Everybody's got a mask on. It's just, it's totally affected life. But what I wanted to do is I got to mail these books out to people. I've got them. It's been the two weeks. I waited two weeks. I mean, I'm just saying just out of my own paranoia before opening up, so I feel that coming up in a week or two, I'll start shipping them out.

Joshua Note: [00:55:22] I'm still looking forward to getting mine. 

Howie Noel: [00:55:23] Yeah, you're a little later. Cause I have to go face to face with people to mail yours. 

Joshua Note: [00:55:27] Yeah, you can mail mine whenever.

Howie Noel: [00:55:29] You're going to be, you're going to be towards June. Yeah. 

Joshua Note: [00:55:32] That's fine. I look forward to June. 

Howie Noel: [00:55:35] I was like, I can't, I can't drop yours in the shoot without cause, the other ones I can go after hours. I just, you know, like hopefully people don't come in on top of me. 

Joshua Note: [00:55:45] Damn living in England, it's, it's always been a burden. Only kidding. 

No, I gotta say on, while we're talking about, the comic, one of the things I wanted to talk about briefly, we have to give a shout out to my alter ego, don't we?

Howie Noel: [00:55:58] Oh yes. My, my, I have an alter ego in Howie's comics called Charlton and like charlatan. And so when you, it's so interesting for me to see someone with my likeness and his take on this whole life of their own cause they, he had a whole life and just existed from the first cell that I saw him in. I was like, this is a really interesting thing that Howie's done, but you were doing it with my likeness.

What inspired you to actually make the character? What drove you with that character. And tell us a little bit about the character, actually if that's all right, Howie. 

Yeah, what happens with my Kickstarters is often I will have a cool reward. It's a very unique reward, and because I do caricatures and focus on likenesses, the character will actually look like you.

A lot of comics, the guys aren't, they're not the guys and girls that do it aren't, you know, specifically training in caricature so that you know you're not going to get it. Mine, it's going to look like you. You'll be like, that's me in the book. 

Joshua Note: [00:56:55] No, it is me. I was so impressed by the book. I remember getting in touch with you very quickly I think after supporting your Kickstarter and saying, can I interview you? Yeah, because, because I just, I was such a fan. I was a fan from minute one and, and it was really cool. It's a really great reward and people have taken, other people taking off on that as well, haven't they? 

Howie Noel: [00:57:14] Oh yeah. I wasn't the first to do it or anything. I just saw that I do focus on likenesses and I can do it. So it's a reward. I can do it. I didn't invent it, but I just knew, man, I can really nail a likeness and it'll look like you. And with some, sometimes you get a cameo or sometimes you'll get a starring role and you've got a starring role. So that was the big one.

You were the person to get it. So I made sure that the main villain in the book, and you still carry on past that. Your look changes. Spoiler. It'll be an interesting thing. 

Joshua Note: [00:57:47] Oh wow. Wow. Wow. Do I get fatter? That's what happened in real life. 

Howie Noel: [00:57:53] Something, something. Uh, cause because the next book's all about being weird and super paranormal. So we do something weird with you. 

Joshua Note: [00:58:00] Oh, well, you know, I'm a weird guy. 

Howie Noel: [00:58:04] You have a unique twist, but you have a, you have in your main books, which carries the, you know, the season of evil storyline is, that's all you and it's fun that... What the character was inspired by is a kind of a Criss Angel kind of twist on what if, what if Criss Angel instead of, cause he's an entertainer, but what if he said, I can really raise the dead, but what if he could do it? What if the tricks to me were real and I wanted a, I wanted a character that has abilities like Tara does. That does have, he's, even though he's a play on a charlatan, he actually has real powers. And I thought that was an interesting dichotomy that he does have these powers, but his goal with them is to become famous and his goal is to use them for fame. She wants to help people. 


Joshua Note: [00:58:53] Like someone with a podcast named after them. 

Howie Noel: [00:58:55] Yes. Self promotion. What happened in the first book is Tara Normal basically blew up the team of ghost soldiers. They ghost hunt at this, the most haunted place in, in the, in America. And they were used to doing shows where they'd rig evidence and get away with it.

But once Tara Normal showed up on the scene and showed that the stuff's real and paranormal, without a doubt, it's scientifically real, their rating started dropping because, I mean, here's somebody saying, showing the real deal, and these guys could never produce stuff like that. So their producers sent them to the worst place in the world where you should never film a show. And it was all basically a trap to get Tara there. The enticement is Tara is going to be the star of the show now, and she's not going to be, I mean, obviously, so ghost soldiers are looking for a new star and their new star is someone with powers and they have a necromancer and he can raise the dead.

So he raises spirits at first and he can raise spirits to attack Tara and put her in bad situations. And because she keeps embarrassed him, his main power is to, he's corrupted and he wants to raise an army of ghost soldiers. That's where we're leaving off and it puts Tara in a very bad situation, and the climax is in the next book where Charlton is looking to up his powers and in a place that you can't come back for him.

And it's going to be very bad for everybody on planet earth. But that's good for the book. 

Joshua Note: [01:00:22] That's good for the book. That's awesome. That's wonderful. Thank you so much for taking us through that. I really loved that. It's just fabulous. And, uh, and it's, it's been an honor actually, to be a part of all this stuff.

It's really wonderful and it really, really make... I feel lucky and privileged and, love, love your work, love your stories. We're coming towards the end, but I will say, when writing your comics, one of the things that you, you just described all this stuff and you describe it so, what's the word? You describe it so, not easily, it's just very, it flows the way that you think about your world, the way that you think about these characters. You know the, the, I'm taking Criss Angel and I'm wondering if, what if he was real, but he was into self promotion in a different way and, and this great thinking that you have. So tell us a little bit, Oh no, it's wonderful, Howie.

But tell us a little bit about that. That process, like how do you go about creating the world and story? When you sit down and you first get into a new section of the book, for instance, what goes through your process? 

Howie Noel: [01:01:27] The stories come to me as if they're like movies. So it's a lot of imagination. So important to keep your imagination going. It's a big part of me like I've, I've never given up on what my imagination can do. So I'll always have these stories in my head as if when I was playing with toys or something as a kid and playing pretend and they're just in my head and I want to get these stories out and share them with people, and I want other people to be able to see what I'm seeing.

I have different twists and turns that come up, and then I choose which way we should go with the story because I take a lot of notes now, so I don't forget things as I've gotten older, so my phone. It's a good thing, right? 

Joshua Note: [01:02:10] It's good. I like being older, Howie. I think we're good at being older than we were probably. I don't know you, I didn't know you in your youth, but I wasn't very good at being young. 

Howie Noel: [01:02:19] I'm slowly becoming better. I mean, I think you can see the self therapy going on. Hopefully everybody listening can see that I'm trying. I want to be a better person. Always. 

Joshua Note: [01:02:28] I think you're always, you're always, you're a good, very good person in my books and I think that you're always improving yourself.

And I think that it's something that I aspire to do the same thing. I'm always trying to be better. And I think it's just the way to be, isn't it really? If you're, if you're self aware enough to know that you're not perfect, which some people sadly aren't. As we both... 

Howie Noel: [01:02:49] I've noticed a lot of narcissists like to be in the creative field.

Joshua Note: [01:02:52] No, absolutely. Too many. Too many, lots of people. Howie, that old thing, isn't it? Let's work on something together. You know that one? That line, that kills me. Oh yeah. I tell, I tell them an idea for my book. We should work on it together, and I'm like, well, it's my book, it's like, it's written.

I just, I'm just writing it, you know? I just want to carry on. I just want to do my thing. I was just telling you because I thought you might like the story and now you're moving into my life. You know?

Howie Noel: [01:03:23] Yeah. I don't know. It's weird. I had a guy I don't talk to anymore, that while I did Float, you know, and how personal it was to me, and he said, ah, well let me do this short story, and you just use your Float, Float style. I'm like, what? Like it's just something I can use for your thing. I'm like, that was the most meaningful project I've ever done personally and it, where it wiped me out afterwards and it took a while to get over cause you're basically doing intense therapy, art therapy and then sharing it with people. You know? That's why I don't, I don't allow that book on Comixology. I don't allow those, you know, like digital. I've never put it on Amazon. Yeah, because I just felt like it'll either happen with University Press or something like that. Cause I would want, I would want students of psychology and doctors and stuff.

I prefer a press like that, than just, I'm going to put it on Amazon. I don't really need, it's so personal, you know, you can buy it from my store because that way I feel I'm controlling it. I see. 

Joshua Note: [01:04:27] That's important to you, isn't it?

Howie Noel: [01:04:28] Yeah. Yeah. And everybody, I knew the people with Kickstarter, I was very fortunate that it, it's my most popular thing on there, but it was also, those people were so passionate too, so it's not like it, it, it did connect with a lot of people, but it didn't lose what's special and I can control that. But then you want to tell me just to, oh, I'll use my Float style for your short story. 

Joshua Note: [01:04:49] Like it's a throw away style. 

Howie Noel: [01:04:52] Like it's just something I can, and that, that tells me a lot about that person. It tells me a lot about how people think, and that's what I don't want to be.

Yeah. I don't want to be involved with that. A client can come to me anytime, you know, for a style. Like I do a lot of the New York times kind of cartoons for clients, you know, and I know exactly what they want. Still my art style, but I know exactly what they want. That's awesome. We're doing something for you to help you, but if you're telling me with comics, which I take very personally, I'm just going to use my Float style. That was such a, I was like grossed out. I was like, I can't do this. 

Joshua Note: [01:05:24] No, I really understand where you're coming from. 

Howie Noel: [01:05:26] You think I'm a gimmick. 

Joshua Note: [01:05:28] Yeah, and that's the last thing you are, the last thing, but I can understand with what you described today, the reactions you've had with some people  especially with Tara Normal, I can understand why you feel people see you that way. And unfortunately some people see people and they take advantage and they want to use people and why I think people seeing your work and thinking it's really good, like in the case of Float, or in the case of Tara, depending on the person and going, I just want Howie to work on my project.

I've worked with you in the past. I've never told you to emulate your style from Tara Normal or from Float ever, I don't believe. 

Howie Noel: [01:06:04] Which would be like fine, like the Tara Normal style I can see being a normal, you know, it was weird. It was like specifically wanted to use Float. 

Joshua Note: [01:06:11] And Float is particularly emotional and, and particularly close to you. That's what you're saying. Sorry, I get it. 

Howie Noel: [01:06:17] Yeah, you can at any time come and say, I want to talk about Tara Normal, or like. But it bugs me that, it bugged me with this comic thing cause it was, Float's so personal, you know, but at the same time, Float was made to be, to show what I can do. It is to show you all my different art styles. But when you say Float style, I'm like, but that's all my art styles in one book. 

There's so many different, yeah. I'm not going, you know, it was weird to me, but like you come to me and that's the point of my thing. Like clients are supposed to say, I like your style. I like that. 

Joshua Note: [01:06:49] I suppose so. I suppose so. I mean, but I don't think I've ever specifically asked for a specific style. I think I've just let you do your thing. 

Howie Noel: [01:06:57] Well, that's always easy and that's wonderful. 

Joshua Note: [01:06:59] I hope that that's what, that's what I've always wanted to do, which is to trust you with the ability to do your thing. What I was going to say here is, it was interesting, I'm thinking about this question, Howie.

I'm looking at it and I'm thinking about it and I'm thinking, I was going to ask you what do you want people to take away from Tara Normal, but my question's now going to be, what do you want people to take away from it Float? What's the emotion you want to engender in people when it comes to having, when they finish that book, what's the reaction that you're hoping for?

Howie Noel: [01:07:31] I want them to, if when you finished Float, my hope is that you have empathy. That you feel empathetic to the situation, that you connect to me and you, you maybe see a little bit of what you've gone through in it. That it speaks to you. If you've had it. If not, if you've never had it, I hope it makes you understand what I go through, what we go through as people that deal with it. I want you to go on a journey. What I wanted it to be was, I wanted to paint anxiety as adventurous, it's mysterious. I didn't want it to be purely negative, like I dive into the negativity, but I wanted to show like a representation of this is a story that's going to take you places, entertain you, but also show you real pain.

Like The Wall. I wanted it to be like The Wall. I wanted what I feel when I listened to The Wall or watch the movie. I wanted people to feel that. But with my story, I wanted, because that's about heartbreak and anxiety and mental illness and depression, and you know, many, many, many things and schizophrenia. I wanted to represent that, and I wanted it to feel real. So I wanted you to know a real story, but he goes to the island, he goes to this island where he's convinced that he's been told that, that he's going to get special treatment. I wanted it to be magical and mysterious, and there's some sexiness in it, but you still have that real pain because nothing's what it seems with anxiety.

Nothing is what it seems, and that's what I want the book. I want you to be on this mystery, you know, this journey and I just want to, I want you to feel like you know me a lot more after that. 

Joshua Note: [01:09:05] I love that. I think that's a wonderful answer Howie, that's unbelievable. And I think that's so true. And I think all the things from that, the parts of Float that I've seen, I don't, I'm, this is the thing I'm really looking forward to actually going through Float myself on this journey.

I've only seen parts of it. And it's still been one of those mind blowing things when it came to the artwork for me. And I just love, love that you did that project and that you gave that answer because that's the answer that, I mean, I don't know if you realize how powerful what you just said is. 

Howie Noel: [01:09:40] I don't realize much. 

Joshua Note: [01:09:43] No, you do. You're very, you're very empathetic person and it helps people like me. Not only have you inspired me to write about, it's, it's really helped me when it comes to writing about bipolar disorder and I'm hoping I'm doing the same thing. And the answer you just gave is very close to what I hope. It's just very well put together what you said. I love that. I hope that people read my articles and my blogging for Bipolar UK and go hey, I know someone who's like that, or hey, I've been through that. And that's what you've done with Float. And anxiety is a very serious issue. It can change people's lives. You've had it, and I've had it to the point that we have had life changing moments affected by it and whole sections of our lives affected by it. So you'll find for a good cause by doing it and you're expressing it with your artwork, which is the most powerful thing I think a human being can possibly do, quite frankly. And I think being, actually putting themselves out there and sharing mental illness with the world and mental wellbeing at the same time, sharing, sharing, being an advocate for mental health basically is, is a really powerful thing. So thank you from everyone that gets a lot from your work. And thank you from me personally for being a warrior and actually sharing something like that with the world. It means a lot, Howie. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:01] Oh, thank you.

Joshua Note: [01:11:02] Absolutely. And so my final question today, what's next for Tara Normal and Howie Noel. Noel. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:10] Whatever you want, Noel, or Noel, it's all good. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:13] Noel's delightful. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:15] I think it reminds you of Christmas, so it should make you happy. I just realized I was clicking my mouse a bit. I hope that didn't ruin your podcast.

Joshua Note: [01:11:23] It's alright. I actually wondered what it was the whole time. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:26] Oh, no. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:27] It's totally fine. It's totally fine. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:30] I've ruined the show. Well, everybody's going to comment and hate me. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:33] No, everyone, everyone will forgive it. You know what? It gives a little bit of rhythm to the, to the podcast, that's all I can say. 

Howie Noel: [01:11:40] Really bad. I'm sorry. Yell at me. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:41] It was a little metronome.

Howie Noel: [01:11:43] I was doing artist stuff, so I'm apologizing. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:46] That's all right. I know how you work. You always gotta be working.

Howie Noel: [01:11:50] Yeah, you would have heard scribbling too. Now I feel really embarrassed, but I hope I didn't ruin this podcast. I hope everybody enjoys it. 

Joshua Note: [01:11:57] Everyone's going to love it. We're going to have a great time. It's going to be great. I'm sure everyone enjoyed as much as I did. So, like once again Howie, what is next for Tara Normal? 

Howie Noel: [01:12:06] Well, I'm going to continue clicking my mouse, I guess all day. That's not a euphemism. 

Joshua Note: [01:12:13] Don't be rude. 

Howie Noel: [01:12:16] No euphemism people, I'm working. Yes, and I'm going to, I would just continue working. 

We've got Tara Normal book 3 I want to finish. That's why I'm just trying to get this done in May, because the thing with the pandemic is crazy that I don't know what the future holds, so I want to get this done as quickly as possible because I'm scared, like honestly, I'm scared of what the future holds.

I usually am, but now I, you know, if you wake up and read the news, you don't know. So I want to get this out so people can see it. I just want to say that I did this and then maybe relax a bit, but I'm always taking caricature orders at my website, I'm continuing to do that. I've been fortunate enough, and if anybody wants to order one, we were also doing digital, so if you're overseas, I can send you digital copies, you know, and you can go print them and you get a high res copy of that. For anybody in the States, I'm doing prints and they're, they're being made by Costco, which is amazing. Amazing printing, very fine glossy prints, and they do all the shipping. Yeah, they do all the shipping, and I don't have to do it. Uh, so that's what I've been doing. You get a high quality print, and I've been doing a lot of digital art, and if you want to wait and you can, you know, I can mail it after all this craziness.

Yeah. And my main thing this month is now that we're in May, it's finished this book, I've got probably 15 pages to color and letter, and then, it is. It is. It is, but I think I can, if I get a page a day, which is my goal, we'd be halfway done. We'd be done halfway through the month and then the rest can be setting it up and stuff and I just want to be able to tell this story and share it and we just, we just launched on It's a cool new site.

Yeah, that's the thing I can, I can name drop also that Spinwhiz Comics is really cool. You can read the comic, you can read Tara Normal issues 1 through 4 for free on there. 

Joshua Note: [01:14:09] Oh wow, everyone, get over to Spinwhiz. 

Howie Noel: [01:14:12] Yeah. If you want to buy the PDF, you can also after reading, but I just, I wanted to mainly give entertainment to people and I've also put my book, Mr Scootles, my first graphic novel is on for free to read along with the Tara Normal web comic.

So that's over 200 pages of the Tara Normal web comics. Scootles is about 200 pages and also Tara Normal, including Charlton is also on my website. So if you go to or we've got, I'm getting near 500 pages of free comic book content for you guys to read.

Joshua Note: [01:14:50] People should get on with that. Everyone, get over there because honestly, I can tell you it's a great read. Every part of the Tara Normal series that I've read is, is really fantastic, and it's, it's really, Howie, you're a kick ass guy and it's wonderful and it's been great working with you. It's been great knowing you and supporting you.

And I look forward to many more interactions in the future, and I look forward to many more, many more interviews. We'll do some, we'll do some paranormal ones. 

Howie Noel: [01:15:21] Thank you. Add a thing in the beginning about how I'm playing with my mouse and working. So if anybody has any complaints.

Joshua Note: [01:15:30] It's okay. Look, don't worry too much about that. Sorry everybody, Howie was, Howie was working.

Howie Noel: [01:15:35] He was working but Howie's got, he's got issues. 

Joshua Note: [01:15:39] So have I, but one of my issues is certainly not my friendship with you. It's a really great thing. So Howie, thank you so much for being a guest on The Note Show today.

Howie Noel: [01:15:49] Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thanks for listening guys, and I hope you check out the comics and everybody stay safe, okay. 

Joshua Note: [01:15:55] Thanks guys. 

Intro: [01:15:58] This has been The Note Show with Joshua Note. Head on over to to discover more. Send us your questions, share the show with a friend and tune in every Wednesday for another episode. Until next time.