Schlock Mercenary Wiki

Howard V. Tayler (born February 29, 1968 in Florida)[1] is the award-winning creator of the hugely successful[2] webcomic Schlock Mercenary. He worked as a volunteer missionary for the LDS Church, then graduated from Brigham Young University.[1] Using his degree in Musical composition|music composition, he started an independent record label.

While working at Novell, Tayler began online publication of Schlock Mercenary. He quit his job at Novell several years later in order to work on the webcomic full time.[3] Schlock Mercenary has been nominated multiple times and won the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards in two different categories. The webcomic has also been nominated twice for a Hugo Award.

Tayler spends time regularly during the week drawing at a local comic book and gaming store,[3] as well as producing a weekly writing tips podcast with fellow authors Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells.[4]

Other things he does is review movies, which he began to do since 2010. His rating system is called, "Threshold of Awesome". These ratings are for reviews of films genres he likes such as action, fantasy, science fictions, hero films, and so forth.[5]

Early life[]

Tayler was born in Florida. In 1985 he moved to Utah (where he still resides) to attend Brigham Young University. After studying there for two years, he volunteered to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) before returning to BYU to finish a Bachelor's degree in Music Composition.[1]


Tayler co-founded an independent record label called Sanctus Records,[1] which was aimed primarily at an LDS market. Tayler also worked for Novell as a project manager,[6] where he co-authored a guide to administering GroupWise.[1]

In 2000, he began publishing his webcomic, Schlock Mercenary. Four years later, Tayler left his job as product line manager at Novell in order to work full time on the webcomic.[1] By 2009, he was able to make enough from the sales of the compilation books and other merchandise to make ends meet and reduce his weekly workload from 80–100 hours down to 40-50.[3] He would later partner with others, including wife Sandra Taylor for editing, and Travis Watson, would take over coloring by 2010.[7]

He has been a guest of honor at many genre conventions, including Balticon, CONduit, LepreCon, and Life, the Universe, & Everything. His wife, Sandra, is also a published author.[3]

In July 2020, Howard concluded his daily Webcomic run, marking 20 years continuous publishing.[8] Due to health, he has since taken a sabbatical from working rigorously and working on smaller projects.[9]


In March 2000, Tayler coauthored with Ross Phillips and Tay Kratzer the guidebook Administering GroupWise 5.5, written to assist system administrators in managing Novell's GroupWise.

Tayler's most well-known work is his webcomic, Schlock Mercenary, a comedic webcomic which follows the tribulations of a star-travelling mercenary company in a satiric, mildly dystopian 31st-century space opera setting. The story primarily centers on Captain Kaff Tagon and his mercenary crew, Tagon's Toughs. Members of the crew include resident mad scientist and munitions commander Kevyn Andreyasn, the titular carbosilicate amorph Sergeant Schlock, artificial-intelligence-turned-robot-god Petey, and the wry Artificial intelligence and former boyband, Adjutant Ennesby.

Many plotlines revolve around the jobs Tagon and his crew have accepted. Other times, the crew is swept up in a galaxy- or universe-spanning conflict. Since its debut on June 12, 2000 the comic has updated daily, begun to support its author,[6] and been nominated for two Hugo Awards.[10][11]

Since February 10, 2008, Tayler has produced a weekly writing tips podcast with best-selling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson and horror author Dan Wells.[4] The 15-minute podcast has featured a number of notable guests including Steve Jackson, Phil Foglio, Brandon Mull, Tracy Hickman, and Patrick Rothfuss.[4]

Along with best-selling fantasy author Tracy Hickman and his son, Curtis, he illustrated and published XDM X-Treme Dungeon Mastery, a guide for gamemasters who want to focus more on the fun aspects of roleplaying games rather than the mechanics of counting everything.[12]

List of publications[]

  • Administering GroupWise 5.5 (with Ross Phillips and Tay Kratzer), ISBN 0-07-212329-X, March 20, 2000, McGraw-Hill
  • Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management, ISBN 0-9779074-2-2, May 19, 2006, The Tayler Corporation
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Blackness Between, ISBN 0-9779074-3-0, Nov. 15, 2006, The Tayler Corporation
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Tub of Happiness, ISBN 0-9779074-0-6, Dec. 8, 2007, The Tayler Corporation
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars, ISBN 0-9779074-1-4, Oct. 9, 2008, The Tayler Corporation
  • Strohl Munitions Activity and Coloring Book, no ISBN, Jan. 1, 2009, The Tayler Corporation
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance, ISBN 0-9779074-4-9, June 1, 2009, The Tayler Corporation
  • XDM X-Treme Dungeon Mastery (illustrations, written by Tracy Hickman and Curtis), ISBN 0-9779074-6-5, July 20, 2009, The Tayler Corporation
  • Schlock Mercenary: Resident Mad Scientist, ISBN 0-9779074-7-3, July 2010, Hypernode Press


Tayler won the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards Best Cameo Award in 2001, and was also nominated for Best Comic, Best Writing, Best Other Character, and Best Science-Fiction Comic the same year.[13] He won WCCA Outstanding Science Fiction Comic in 2004,[14] and was nominated for the same award in 2005[15] and 2007.[16]

He was nominated for a Hugo Award (Best Graphic Story) for Schlock Mercenary in 2009 and 2010.[10][11]


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