This week, I’ve been having trouble finding motivation. I’ve been on break from school for the last couple weeks, and the burn out I was experiencing during the Summer Term apparently hasn’t subsided yet. I’m also running thin on topics to talk about… so maybe I’ll just draw pictures and talk about them. Or maybe I’ll talk about characters I’ve drawn, and then draw them. Yes, I think I’ll do that.
Since an early age, I have loved to draw. Drawing allows for an expression of the imagination that is more easily accessible to writing for me, in some ways. If I want, I can just doodle a random character, or whatever; I don’t need a context foe that character’s existence or current activity. The character can just be standing there in a void, with a blank expression on his or her face. To write something requires more thought and/or inspiration, and just writing a character description with no context or story would feel weird to me. Also, when I was younger, I didn’t have the robust vocabulary I have now. Anyway, I remember making “books,” which consisted of several pieces of notebook paper, folded together and stapled at the middle. I think I’d fill these up occasionally, but a lot of them probably ended up with a lot of blank pages.
Some time in Grade School, when I was reading Archie Sonic all the time, I came up with some kangaroo character, named Paul (because I asked my brother what a good kangaroo name would be, and he said that), heavily inspired by the Dunkaroos kangaroo. I drew some pictures of Paul with a joey he rescued from some cyberpunk animal villains, including some rabbit with metal jaws, like the James Bond villain.
At some point, he got injured, and was given cybernetic parts, while the joey character looked on.
I imagined Paul participating in Sonic the Hedgehog stories, too, and also singing New Order songs (because Bizarre Love Triangle became my favorite song around the time I came up with him). He’s survived in some shape or form up until now, existing in my “Back in the Day” storyline with Scarlet, as some drunk, disgraced fencer.
I don’t think any other characters from back then have survived.
In my Sophomore year of High School, I started really hanging out with my current group of friends. Some of them liked to draw little comic strips during class; generally, they were completely random and absurd, which was hilarious to us. I decided to try making comics, too, and my first two characters were named Alex and Joel, after two of my friends (but were nothing like them).
Alex was a squirtel-looking thing, and Joel was like an anthropomorphic onion or something, with a bulge on top that kept on getting destroyed, thus killing him. The last one of these I drew, I introduced a hooded, shadowy character with glowing eyes that represented myself, and he killed them both. That character became Torea, the Dark Elf.
The first Dark Elf comic was originally gonna be a one-off, and was titled “The Dark Elf vs The Drunken Dwarf,” or something. He just immediately stabbed the dwarf, and the comic ended, I think. The Dark Elf had a black sword that emanated with black energy or something, and he growled (which I wrote as “errrr” instead of “grrrr,” which I realized made him seem confused.)
Obviously, he was very easy to draw. At some point, his hood came off, and he was a pale-skinned elf with white hair or something, but then I put the hood back on and dropped the “Dark Elf” part altogether, so he’s just a demon or something. “Torea” was a name a friend came up with (and later, the same friend made a “tarea/homework” joke. You came up with the name, dude!) Torea used to kill and rape other characters all the time, because I liked to draw the horrified/pained expressions on his victims’ faces, and my friends thought it was funny/ridiculous. Since growing up, I’ve come to recognize rape as a pretty terrible and all too real thing, and not something to joke about. As a result, I don’t really draw him much anymore, because I don’t know what to do with him. I suppose I could just draw him cheerfully being a horrible person, as I often did in the past, but eh.
The next of my permanent cast (more or less) is “Lady Snake,” an assassin sent to kill Torea. Instead, he professes his love for her (and his desire to bang her), and she is so confused about it that they just end up together, apparently. Also, she is literally just a pink, talking snake, making their relationship really weird.
A lot of friends have said that she is their favorite character, because she suffers a lot of embarrassment and exasperation at the hands of her “husband.” Also, she has a tendency to make sarcastic observations while still trying to maintain a kind mother persona (even though she started as an assassin). The two have married and divorced twice, and remain divorced now. She, like pretty much everyone else, is terrified of him.
After Lady Snake, I introduced a fox character, who represented myself.
At first, I drew him wearing a night cap for some reason, and then I gave him a backwards hat. Then, he changed sex. Then, he switched back, but the female version remained a character named “Tammy,” who had pupil-and-irisless eyes, for some reason.
Then she looked normal and wore a hoody and a t-shirt, and they started “dating.” It was weird that the male me was dating the female me, so I tried to distance the two characters and myself, naming the male me “Telegraph” (after my screen name on a message board) and setting him up as a separate character (but everyone who read the comics back then remembered that Telegraph and Tammy were the male and female me… heh….) At some point, I just decided that they looked too similar, did away with Tammy, and brought in Bre the cat. Around then, I also changed Telegraph’s name to “Todd,” in an attempt to completely separate him from myself. Over the years, I tried to make him sound smart and cynical (like Daria), but I didn’t feel like that was working, so he just became a straight man of sorts. Currently, he plays the foil in most of my blog entries, heh.
Early on, I introduced a dragoness named “Linda,” who was the reason that Lady Snake and Torea got a divorce (Linda had human female anatomy, and Lady Snake didn’t, after all).
Linda also had pupil-and-irisless eyes for the first several years of her existence, for some reason… dunno what my deal was. She didn’t have much of a personality; I just liked drawing her cleavage. Eventually, I decided I wanted Lady Snake and Torea to get back together, so Torea divorced Linda. She hung around for a little bit, but then disappeared for a while. I brought her back for a little bit to be stalked by Torea (because he could no longer get at Lady Snake), and she now had pupils and irises. Pretty much now, she’s really anxious all the time, and kind of a bimbo.
Then, I drew a “kangaroo chick” named “Lara,” who was home schooled, and thus very naïve and sweet. She wore a zipped up hoody, and had a bunch of piercings in her eyebrows and ears.
Pretty much, she was exposed to a lot of horribleness by the other characters but remained the same… until a slime creature gave her a hug. Evidently, that was the last straw, and she became this ill-tempered, snappy character, who wore a black tube top with the jolly roger symbol on it, and wore black lipstick and eyeliner.
In most of her more recent appearances, she’s been a lot more even-tempered and cool (and often-times a badass who shoots antagonists with a gun), but she has been more or less replaced by a bunny character named “Esther,” who has all the same piercings, but wears a black t-shirt with the anarchy symbol instead (and who I’ve portrayed as super nice, for some reason. Not naïve, however, and she can be just as snappy as Lara was, when provoked.)
I think my next character was Spike the Lizard, who was gonna replace Todd, for whatever reason. However, I decided his design was way too 80s bad-butt, so I brought Todd back, and made Spike really stupid.
For example, at one point, he got shot in the head, and talked about being “dead,” even though he was still up and walking around. Anyway, there were probably a few characters in between, but I’m just gonna talk about his brother Jay right now.
Jay is based on all the cynical, anarchistic, douchey people in the punk rock scene (or just on the internet); his purpose is more or less to make some ridiculous statement or argument based in rebellion against the establishment, or to judge someone as being a poseur. He is also the lead singer in some crappy band that Lara (or Esther?) and Spike are also in. He was dating Lara, but then broke up with her because she had a real job and was thus a “poseur.”
There was also this punk squirrel character that showed up before Jay, whose name I don’t recall. His role was to represent the rowdy, immature punk, who just wants to be able to do whatever he feels like. I wanted to base him on a real life person I’ve known for several years, but I don’t think it would work. So he was in the comic for a little bit, but then disappeared for a while (and to be honest, it’s been several years since I’ve drawn a proper “72nd and a 3rd,” with an ongoing storyline, so technically, he’s still gone).
“Bre” the cat (named after Seattle singer/songwriter Bre Loughlin) started off as a really quiet character, who Todd confided in (and who offered snarky comments every once in a while).
As my real life relationship became more real to me, I became more confident in developing Bre’s relationship with Todd. Then, however, my relationship ended horribly, so I mostly just vaguely hint at something there if I draw them together. Also, she’s a waitress, and she has a little brother named Milo (named after Descendents frontman Milo Aukerman). They both live with her mom still, and she’s responsible for him. Milo is a curious, intelligent kid, who’s prone to acting without common sense. Pretty much, he’s kinda become my avatar whenever I draw scenes from my past, because initially when I drew my story about Basic, it was gonna be him. I think.
Whenever Bre came around, Tammy came back as a police officer, completely removed from Todd (they don’t even know each other in that “new” continuation). I try to portray her as super sweet, unless something really pisses her off; then she gets badass. Her very first comic back, she got shot to death by the villain, but then came back inexplicably and killed him, later on.
“Detective Sniff” is a rat who started as a weird one-off character who went around smelling everyone, flagrantly and shamelessly invading their personal space.
His very next appearance, he was a serious character, who didn’t sniff anyone at all and got a wardrobe change. His role was to get bewildered and frustrated by the way everyone around him was acting. He also had the hots for Tammy, who initially rejected him, but then later on… vagueness.
There’s also a crazy cyborg character named Johnny, who survived the abandonment of my first attempt at a book series, a la Scarlet. Carries around a big hammer with a rifle attached to it (a “gun mallet,” an idea one of my friends came up with). Can be controlled with the right programming, which he hates.
Also with Paul and Scarlet in the “Back in the Day” storyline, there was an idiot guardsman named Doran (who I’m thinking should maybe just be obfuscating stupidity, and really be Scarlet’s handler, if I ever revisit this story). He was the main character in the book I deleted; he was neither stupid nor obfuscating stupidity in that. His adoptive father, Leo, is another fox character, though I dunno if I’m gonna keep using him.
There’s a bunch of other characters that I’ve put in little strips, but these are the important ones that have actually been in 72nd and a 3rd. Aside from maybe Frank. And Dry Bones. And Janette. And Ricky. And AYSR.
And Steve Beaver. And STOS.
STOS is correct.