Friday, November 09, 2012

What's in a Name?

So I've been thinking a bit about the characters in my comic. I'm sure most of you have noticed that I've rarely used their names. There are a few reasons for that. First, as I try to conserve space with word balloons, they can fall to the wayside. Second, I don't talk like that, using a person's name in the middle of a conversation with them. Sure, maybe to get their attention at the beginning or if there are multiple speakers, then I might talk like that, but not usually.

And then there's the reason that you've probably guessed: some of them don't have names, at least not "officially".

What makes it official? I guess using it in a comic. I can't say why it is that I don't want to pin them down. I'm sure I had a reason. And some of the characters were created to be in the background, and yet somehow got elevated in status (i.e., they were reused).

I believe two regular characters have complete names, and then there's a partial: Mike Keegan, Ken Wayne, and Michele, whose name has only one "l" in its spelling for the simple reason that the first time it was mentioned, I literally could not fit the second "l".

(By the way, that landmark event happened one day after another landmark event -- when the main characters ceased to be albinos. No seriously, I used color in the comic, just not skin tone, but that yard had so much color to it that I had to do something. But also note that Mike is wearing a plain white T-shirt in the pool. That fair Irish skin!)

In my mind, Michele's last name was something like Roberts or Robertson, for no particular reason, except that I looked up their heraldry a few years ago for a possible comic (I think it had something to do with pool towels or beer steins or something), but that never went anywhere. "Richards" was another possibility, and while it might sound Fantastic, since Michele's first name is actually Mary, it'd be as if I wanted to channel a Mary Tyler Moore character. (Not my intent. Although I did allude to Marlo Thomas once.)

As for the rest of the math department: I've informally referred to them as "Annette" (or "Annie") and "Barbara", but haven't gotten around to saying it. Then again, there's another member of the math department that I've been wanting to add just for a one-shot gag. No name and no image yet. Short shrift, you might say. Oh, and still off the record, Annie's the blonde.

The rest of the minor characters have first names or no names, with the exception of the sub, Quinn Jonas. His name isn't a pun, or a reference to the Jonas Brothers (which I thought about). It's more of an allusion to a sci-fi character for a plot thread I started and then dumped early because it wasn't going where I wanted it to go. But he's a good foil, like the young science teacher, but he's a sub, so he's only there when I need him. And out subbing elsewhere when I was out subbing elsewhere.

So, my dear readers who have stayed here thus far, (no comma in that clause), should I mention their names? Should I give them names? Make a Bio page on the Archives site? What to do?

TL/DR: No names? Wassup wit dat?

1 comment:

GregT said...

I would think it's up to you... that said, I'll toss in my two cents. It might be an idea to have a little Bio area for the ones who are regulars and already have names. But I don't think you necessarily need to create or assign names to the background ones who don't have them yet. There's something to be said for the "anonymous everyman" that might connect to a reader. Plus maybe there's the chance that a good idea will come up later for a name, like Quinn's plot thread?

Speaking of, I totally got the reference the first time I saw the name. Well played.