to the Fart Party:
An Interview with Julia Wertz
A little over a month ago an invitation showed up in
my Flickr inbox to check out the photostream of someone
going by the name Fartparty.org. The invite almost found
its way into the trash, but luckily a shrewd stroke of marketing
genius garnered this “fart party” at least a
gander. Lets be frank here, farts and party together at
last? I’m there.
out that the party, as it were, is the concoction of San
Francisco based comix artist, biker, and beer and cheese
junkie, Julia Wertz. Her comix are not only chock full of
gut busting scenarios, but actually serve as a de facto
autobiographical journal chronicling the absurdities, annoyances,
and genuine experiences from Julia’s life.
blunt and crass, Julia’s voice is a mixture of sharp
wit and an astute observation. After checking out her work
I found myself utterly addicted, and decided to do the only
thing a self-serving writer could do -- hit her up for an
interview. Conducted between hangovers, Julia was kind enough
to answer some questions and literally pulled no punches.
Parents, consider this a warning, as this interview does
without further ado, I give you Julia Wertz.
Anima: So, Fart Party. Everyone loves farts and
parties are always fun. What made you decide to put the
Wertz: One night (well, every night) Oliver couldn’t
stop farting and I suggested we throw a party and fill the
balloons with farts. When we want everyone to go home, wed
pop the balloons. I never planned for it to be the name
of my comics, but the next morning I had to decide a website
name and I just went with that because I couldn’t
come up with anything else. If you Google fart party, some
pretty hilarious porn comes up.
What made you decide to become an artist, and what
lead to the birth of Fart Party Comix?
I never really wanted to be an artist and I still don’t
really consider myself one. I showed only a marginal interest
in drawing in high school and after that, stopped making
any attempt at it for years. I discovered comics (besides
the customary Calvin & Hobbes adoration) a
few years ago and I still have a lot to learn about them.
I started making stick figure comics as just a fun, less
traditional way to keep a diary. I started making Fart
Party Comix in September 2005 and put the site up in
name does make me feel bad for my poor mother who has to
say it every time she answers the ‘so what is your
daughter doing these days?’ question.
Who are the major influences on your work/style?
Sam Henderson, Johnny Ryan, Liz Prince, Jeffrey Brown, Bill
Watterson, Peter Bagge, Nicholas Gurewitch, Tom Gauld and
Simone Lia, Derek Kirk Kim, Matt Groening, Alec LongstrethIm
sure I’m leaving out tons of people who I’ve
totally ripped off. And the most fabulous should be famous
cartoonist/artist I know, Laura Park.
Like many others, I found the Fart Party through
flickr. Has social networking through sites like MySpace
and flickr helped out your readership?
Yes, very much. Since The Fart Party is still very
new and has no official readership yet (I printed my first
minis for APE 06 on April 8th) MySpace and flickr have been
a great way to force people to read my comics and meet other
artists. I have more cyber friends than I do real friends.
I’m a total nerd like that.
Do us a favor and give our readers an overview of your cast
of characters appearing in Fart Party Comix.
There’s Julia (me) who likes bikes, beer,
cheese, caves, comics, and bears. Oliver (my boyfriend)
who likes bikes, beer, cheese, snow, video games and goats.
Josh (my older brother) who likes bikes, beer, cheese, the
beach, books, and monkeys. Cheryl (my mother) who is constantly
trying to get her kids to stop muckin’ around with
all those things and figure out what they want to do with
Has anyone had an issue with their representation
in comic form?
Sort of. Oliver thinks I make him too mean and he’s
probably right. I tend to cut off the comic right after
a mean/sarcastic remark and purposefully exclude the real,
mushy ending to the story.
he’s mean or sarcastic, it’s always in jest,
but I kinda sorta forget to explain that because mushy stuff
is for jerks.
I know you took some flack on flickr for your ‘Reading
the Newspaper’ strip, any thoughts on that?
I just think if you’re going to pick a religion
to follow, you should do as much research into its origins
as possible. And if you do that, you should discover what
an illogical load of crap it is. Taking flack for that strip
was fun though. I want more flack! Flack all over the place!
Has criticism had any influence on your work at all?
The aesthetic criticism I’ve received about
my inability to draw I’ve kept & tucked way for
when I have time to focus on my drawing skills. I have received
a lot of criticism in regards to the immature content and
my excessive swearing, but that’s not very helpful
because all I’m trying to do is represent who I am
RIGHT NOW and I am immature and swear excessively.
not going to change my sense of humor because someone got
their granny panties all in a bunch. I really could use
some legit, constructive criticism, so if anyone reading
this has some, please contact me.
You've shared a number of personal experiences throughout
the course of the strip ranging from childhood discoveries,
inappropriate dinner conversations, and intimate details
regarding your sex life. Is anything too personal, or off
limits, for you?
I’m not allowed to draw Oliver’s wiener because
he said so. And don’t expect to see twat shots anytime
Got it, no twat shots. Okay, so speaking
of embarrassing childhood experiences, your first swear
really hits home with me. My first swear was pretty similar,
some family members were visiting and a curse-laden argument
erupted. Later that evening I ended up shouting out "fuck
everybody!!!" at the top of my lungs at a Chuck E.
Cheese birthday party while atop one of those helicopter
rides. Needless to say, my mother wasn't pleased. How often
do you find that a lot of your readers relate to your experiences?
Yes. I get a lot of ‘that’s so me!’
and ‘we’re just like that!’ which I think
is great because I’m trying to capture the banal and
mundane experiences we all have but tend to forget. I do
have future comics planned that are more exclusive, but
I have to wait until A) I learn how to draw and B) everyone
I love has disowned me or is dead.
Your work often contains verbose discussions between
characters which are punctuated by aptly timed punch lines,
however occasionally you speak volumes without using very
much dialogue at all. Do you have a preference either way?
I prefer the least amount of dialogue possible
because too much distracts from the story. And I’m
a lazy bastard and I hate long hand writing.
It seems as though whenever you choose to use color things
tend to get a
little violent. Is this intentional or just coincidence?
It’s intentional. I don’t know anything about
color yet, so I shy away from it, but I like the blood and
guts to stand out so I color them. I do, however, know that
red and green are opposites so I tend to overuse those two
colors and the violent comics look like some kind of weird
Christmas murder scene.
There is a laundry list of obsessions running throughout
your comix. Let's run through some of them. First of all,
cheese -- an addiction I share with you, but would you mind
shedding some light on this for our readers?
Do I really need to? Cheese is fucking delicious,
that’s all. I don’t trust people who don’t
like cheese. (illustration at right by Laura
What is your favorite cheese and to what lengths
would you go to obtain some?
I’d kill a man for cheese. With my bare hands.
Is there any cheese you would kick out of bed?
Cheap cheese. American cheese. Dick cheese.
Bikes -- how many bikes do you have and what kind
I have two road bikes. One is a white beater bike
that I use for riding around the city, named Bikey. The
other is a fancy red Specialized Dolce named Dr. Luv n Brite
that I only use for longer bike rides. I had a bike that
got stolen and I cried all night.
Do you prefer one over the other? If so, does the other
I prefer Dr. Luv N Brite only because he’s faster
and more efficient, but I have a special fondness for Bikey
because we’ve been through a lot together. I imagine
Bikey doesn’t like being left outside at night while
the Dr. gets to stay inside. I only have room in my studio
for one bike. I live in a wee hobbit hole.
Video games -- we've seen references to Tetris
and Nintendo, so what games
are you into?
Funny you’d ask because I actually hate most video
games and I hate when people want me to watch them play,
as if I could give two damp shits. But I do like playing
old Super Nintendo games like Super Mario, Tetris, Donkey
Kong, and Mario Kart. But I only get to play them when I
go home for Christmas & Thanksgiving. Oliver likes those
fancy, newfangled internet video games but I have absolutely
no attention span for them. He gets mad because I refer
to all video games unit things as Nintendo, but I can’t
break the habit.
TV -- you enjoy reading trashy magazines at Borders and
renting trashy TV shows on DVD, what shows are you completely
hooked on? Ok, i know this is a loaded question because
you seem partial to Lost.
"Partial" may be a little off-base...secretly
addicted might be more accurate.
Funny again, because I don’t even watch TV. I don’t
even own a television, that part of my comics is borrowed
from Oliver’s old apartment where there was a TV but
we only watched movies on it because I work nights. I do,
however, like renting shows on DVD. And by shows, I mean
Lost. That show is so fucking awful but I can’t
stop watching it. I do love Arrested Development
though. That show is so good it makes me have to pee a little.
Booze -- obviously beer is a mainstay. Do you consider yourself
a connoisseur or will any beer do the trick?
If I’m going sit around & drink some
BEER, it would have to be Hefeweizen, preferably Franziskaner.
Unless I’m broke, in which case, I’ll just drink
Comix - what titles do you read regularly?
Excluding books & people listed above, I regularly follow
the web comics Perry Bible Fellowship, The Atrox, Patches,
Exploding Dog, Onion and Potato, Toothpaste for Dinner and
American Elf. There are
others I like but I don’t know too much about web
comics (even though The Fart Party is considered one) and
frankly, I think most web comics are crap.
really uneducated about alternative comics, and comics in
general. I’m just at the beginning of the learning
process so Ill probably look back on my answer in a few
years and shit a brick about it. I hate most newspaper strips,
but I do enjoy Brevity and Bizzaro. And, I’ll admit
it, Mutts is disgustingly adorable.
Aside from Bicycle Love, what else have you put out in the
Nothing really. Bicycle Love was my first collaborative
mini that I put out the same time as I did The Fart Party
#1 and #2, all which I printed up at Kinko’s the day
before APE. It was my first printing attempt and I fucked
it up proper.
You've got the Fart Party #1 mini available now.
How can fans go about picking that up and what will they
find inside when they do?
Email me for
mailing instructions. I have some minis available at Pins
& Needles, Comix Experience and Dogeared Books in San
Francisco. If you want your local comic book shop to carry
The Fart Party, tell them, and if they don’t laugh
at you, let me know.
Also, you've got a scars themed mini planned for this summer.
Tell us a little about what is in store for us there?
During my second grade year, I went to the emergency room
five times for pretty hilarious accidents. I missed a lot
of school, ate a lot of ice cream and read a lot of books.
It was the best year of my life.
We missed you at APE this year, largely because
we were lame and unable to attend. Are there any other 'Cons
you attend regularly?
Not yet. APE this year was my first Con. I really want to
attend Mocca in New York this June so I can throw my comics
at people and run, but I can’t afford the plane ticket.
High school hand jobs just don’t pay as well as they
there you have it folks, I’d like to thank Julia for
being kind enough to sit down and chat with us. Make sure
you check out her work at http://www.fartparty.org/
and if you’re partial to the flickr persuasion, make
sure to check out her photostream.
For an exclusive Fart Party Comix strip by Julia done just
for Fanboy Planet, click