Well, I’m back. I mean, you don’t know I’ve been away, but in between blog posts, I went to New York for New York Comic Con and now I’m home and very happy to be so! Comic conventions are pretty awesome for reader interaction (thanks to those handful of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong readers who dropped by the First Second booth to say hi!), but they are exhausting to attend. Especially NYCC, which is a scary busy convention. Look at this madness!
Yeah, not cool. Altho I did have a very good time, and had an upcoming comic project announced, which was awesome! You can read about that project here. It’s got zombieeees! (Except they’re not really zombies, they’re … uh, something else. Can’t say. Clown’ll eat me.)
Anyway! I am home, and today I’m going to talk about Holly. That’s her up on that page there, on the right. She’s the one who’s “Gonna be maaaad about this,” as Charlie said a few pages back. I like Holly a lot. Previously I blogged about how I don’t like stories that rely on lazy stereotypes (nerds = good! jocks = bad!), and I include the Bitchy Cheerleader stereotype in that statement. When I first read the NCPGW manuscript, I knew Holly would present a unique challenge because ultimately she is not a main character, and unlike Nate and Charlie, wouldn’t have as much time to develop over the course of the comic. Since I didn’t have the time to *write* Holly into a fully developed 3D character in which we understood her motivations for treating Charlie the way she does, I decided that I would draw her in a way that undermined the Bitchy Cheerleader stereotype: I wanted her to look like a straight up badass.
I really like the outfits/uniforms I designed for the cheerleaders. Holly and the cheerleaders were my favorite thing to draw in this comic, I absolutely loved them. I love the aggressive ‘X’ design on the front of their uniforms, and that they’re dressed all in black, like a squad of ninjas. I wanted Holly to have something especially aggressive to make her stand out as the leader of this ninja cheerleader squad: so I gave her the giant ponytail, which made me think a little of a Roman Centurion helmet. I had this crazy idea that the ponytail was like Holly’s warrior hair. That every morning she’d wake up and literally dress for battle, put her hair up and go out and fight to get exactly what she wanted. She’s a little like Nate in some respects: they’re not particularly likable people, but they get what they want at the end of the day, by hook or crook. And I respect both of them for that.
I also wanted to indicate Holly’s bad-ass-ness by drawing her acting and reacting in a particular way: she wasn’t going to lose her cool. She wasn’t going to rant and rave or do any naggy, bitchy stereotype-y things that writers have had cheerleader characters do since time immemorial. She was going to be in control. After all, everything and everyone around Holly is completely inconsequential, and won’t prevent her from getting exactly what she wants. Because she’s Holly, dammit, and she rules the world. (At the high school level, that is.)
I can’t pick a favorite character in NCPGW (that would be like picking a favorite child and I cannot!), but Holly’s up there. I wish she had a larger role in the comic, because she was so much fun to draw and write.