Howard Tayler is the writer, illustrator, and entrepreneur behind the popular comic strip “Schlock Mercenary.” The website schlockmercenary.com delivers over 250,000 page-views per day, and boasts some 35,000 to 40,000 daily readers.
He launched the comic within weeks of teaching himself to draw in the late spring of 2000, and has never missed a daily update in the seven years he has been online. Though the comic features a science-fiction setting and military themes, Howard has never served in the military, and has never been to the moon. He draws on a decade of experience in the software industry, where he managed a $100 million/year product line for Novell, as well as five years as an independent record producer in the mid 1990’s.
Howard holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Brigham Young University (1993), along with several obsolete technical certifications. He is an Eagle Scout, and a practicing Latter-Day Saint (Mormon). He has been married since August of 1993, and lives in Orem, Utah with his wife Sandra and their four children.
Since 1996 Howard has been a featured speaker at technical conferences, computer expos, literary conventions, and comic-book and pop-culture events, and has presented to audiences on three continents and more cities than he cares to try and count. It was mid-1999 when he stopped collecting post-cards. Since leaving Novell in 2004 he has focused primarily on science-fiction conventions and pop-culture expos (WorldCon and San Diego Comic-Con being the most prominent among these), but still gets called in to do the occasional tech expo keynote address. Apparently cartooning on the internet is not as far removed from the software industry as Howard imagines.
Howard can speak authoritatively on numerous subjects. Favorite topics include:
- The Science of Humor
- The Free-Content Small Enterprise Business Model
- Win-Win: Getting Away with Guerrilla Marketing
- Writing Character-driven Fiction
- Writing Science Fiction using Actual Science
He can also participate in panel discussions with other experts, and excels at the fine art of moderating a panel discussion such that everyone participates, has fun, and stays on topic.
His solo presentations can include powerpoint slides, and are always full of audience participation and humor you won’t feel dirty laughing at. He can tailor his seminars for practically any demographic, and has emerged from more than one lions’ den with his skin intact and the lions laughing.