Once again, Powers provokes thoughts in his comments to today’s new strip:

Two things:

1) I like the original one better. And partly that’s because of 2):

2) Mark is FAR more likely to have made this comment than Sam. At least as far as the original characters were concerned.

Powers &8^]

First, a quick note about the punchline: Obviously, I think both are funny, which is why I included the original in the news post.  I make no secret of the fact that I like to talk about the process behind creating the strip because I think that some readers might enjoy reading about the fairly organic, seat-of-the-pants way that Dave and I craft the strip.

Now, for the second point.  I’ve made no secret here that many of the characters in the strip were not created by me.  The Towne Pub comic is based on a long running story that a bunch of my friends and I wrote together online while students at RIT.  Here’s a quick list off the top of my head:

  • Dave Grabert – Marc Trebarg
  • Matt Dolins – Savage, Dude
  • Matt “Powers” Wilson – Nate, Sam
  • Sue Meredith – Cap’n Hooter
  • Kim St. Jacques – Taruga

When I first started the strip I tried to make very clear that I would always attribute creation of these characters to their original authors, but I would make them my own within the universe of the strip.  I understand that sometimes the characters will do or say things that they would not have if written by the original authors.  I can’t help that.  For me, the main characters of this strip are Phinn, Trebarg, and Savage.  The duality of their natures (being heroic adventurers in alternate dimensions while being clownish buffoons within the Pub itself) is what interests me, and what I want to write about.  The rest of the characters in the Pub are supporting cast members meant to be homages, but never exact copies, of the original creations.

And this most recent strip is an extreme case: Sam exists solely as a foil off of which to bounce the punchline (it is, after all, a gag strip).  It can’t really be said that her line is out of character, because in the strip she really hasn’t been developed as a character.  I get that the original Sam was brash and crass.  She also wasn’t (as far as I recall) a dimension hopping, sword wielding, genetically engineered samurai warrior (and licensed Fidotron pilot).  What can I say?  Liberties were taken.

I do recognize that there is a dearth of female characters in Pub, though, and those that are there are meant to be strong women, but I don’t want them to be strong by acting like men; (e.g. brutish, arrogant, and rude).  Well, except maybe Taruga, who I expect would be lighting her farts right next to Trebarg.

Damn!  Missed opportunity!  I could have had Phinn mention “the light show!”

But I digress.   I think that there is more to being a strong female character than drinking, burping, and farting along with the guys.  The last thing in the world that I want to do is upset anyone by using their creations in a way that makes them unhappy, uncomfortable, or disappointed.  But, at the same time, I can’t promise to climb inside the minds of other people and write these characters as they would have.  It’s an impossible goal.  I also recognize that it can be upsetting to see your characters misused so if anyone feels that way, please talk to me about it and we can discuss how to handle it within the confines of the strip.

All that being said, I think this strip can be fixed!  Maybe?!  We’ll see…


Discussion (6) ¬

  1. Powers

    I didn’t want to give the impression of misuse, not at all. My post was meant to be informative, not critical. It might have been funnier with Quonifer the Great, maybe. I don’t know; I’m not the humor expert here. =)

    And I know the caveats you’ve placed on the characterizations; that’s why I added that second sentence (fragment).

  2. Powers

    And on second thought, Sam probably *wouldn’t* have passed up the chance to tell these guys they were being crass, while Nate was in the back thinking ‘who is she to talk?’

  3. phinn

    Ha! Well, I think the strip can be fixed to make us both happy. I need to talk to Dave about it…

  4. phinn

    Dave talked me off the ledge. We’re going to leave it as is for now.

  5. Powers

    I am pleased; I don’t want you changing stuff just for me. =) I should have thought more before posting anyway. In retrospect, I think original-Sam’s reaction would not really have been far from what’s depicted here, although perhaps leaning more toward pity than actual disgust. But it’s honestly hard to be sure at this late date…

  6. phinn

    No no, not at all. I want people who see their characters in the strip to be happy. I do want to get it right. But, sometimes I just need a straight man (or woman) to let the other guys play off of.

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