What's a SHORT version of the deal with the story vs. the comic?
The short version (the long version can be found here) is that I made up these characters and their story about three years ago and have been developing it ever since. The comic is an "alternate universe" version of the canon story. In the canon, Taylor's the happy gay boy and Courtney's the misguided straight one. The comic was born of the question, "Hey, what if COURTNEY met Andrew in second grade and TAYLOR met Elizabeth?" I've only been playing around with this alternate universe for about six months, so I don't know it nearly as well. Sometimes the idea of Courtney being a well-adjusted gay boy really weirds me out, as he's so freakin' neurotic in the canon it's not even funny. He's just as insane, though. And don't even get me started on the idea that Taylor didn't know from the age of seven that he was gay.
Where is this all going?
Hell if I know. It has almost nothing to do with the original story. I have some vague ideas. Don't worry; there will be seduction. *eg*
When is this comic set?
Well, because I'm technically supposed to have spawned Courtney along with my now ex-boyfriend, the story is set about sixteen years from now (2020-ish).
Where is it set?
It's set in lovely Fairfax, Virginia and the surrounding areas, so expect some jokes about Taylor's last name and the town the school's in being one and the same. Fairfax is in Northern Virginia, quite near Washington, DC, and thus its inhabitants suffer from the general delusion that they're NOT part of the south, and prove it by being unfriendly, fast-paced, and devoid of any accent that can't be described as "northern". Northern Virginia and the rest of the state are very different entities. "Different planets," one of my friends elaborates.
Is it a real place and a real high school?
Quite. As the poster in strip 17 proclaimed, the characters attend Robinson HS (High School). The name of the school is actually James W. Robinson Secondary School (as it houses grades 7-12), but the high school has a separate theatre. This is my alma mater. I, unlike so many others, actually miss my high school, as I had a grand time there. I only went to high school there, though. FYI, Robinson is the biggest school in the state, and has something like 4000-5000 students.
Does it have much of a dress code?
It sure as hell didn't when I went there. I remember people dressed far worse than Andrew or Courtney. I think the only real requirement was no nakedness. That and no hats. That WAS 1994-1998, though. Then again, now that sexual orientation is on the list of "things for which a student cannot be discriminated against", I'll bet Andrew WOULD be getting away with that shirt.
Do the characters live in Fairfax, then?
You'd think so, wouldn't you? Some of them do, I'm sure, but I've only picked out places for Taylor, Courtney, and Andrew to live. They're all actually in Clifton, which is quite, quite south of Robinson and takes a good forty minutes to get to from the school, assuming traffic doesn't suck ass the way it normally does in the general vicinity of DC. This is to explain why Taylor has horses living in his backyard, because people in Clifton actually DO sometimes have horses living in their backyards. We're talking money, grand houses, and quite rural. Not always, admittedly, but that's the general impression I got. And since this is my version of the world, that's what it is. The power! THE ABSOLUTE POWER!!!
Why do you make up so many characters?
Because this is the result of three friggin' years of development, okay? Only Taylor, Courtney, and to some extent Andrew experience any real change from their canon story versions, so all the other characters I had fit nicely into this world. The only person I made up expressly for the comic is Riley, or the Dumb Straight Guy(tm). Believe it or not, I've left some of the other characters from the story out. I'm introducing them all as slowly as I can.
Are any of the characters based on real people?
Some people would probably expect me to say, "All of them!" but alas, this is not true. Only five characters are based on real people, or at least, on people I personally know. And they are: Anna, Christian, Jessica/Misa, Kaio, and Jamie. Anna, yes, is based on me, but a rather caricatured version. Christian diverged some from his inspiration and got renamed. Jessica/Misa is based on Jess. Kaio IS like that in real life. It's scary. And my friend Jamie drooled so much over my drawings of Andrew that I had to add her to the story just for fun.
Why is Anna married to Christian if she's a lesbian?
Because he looks like a girl. =p
Seriously, because she's technically bisexual, even if she's more lesbian. She's probably around a 5 on the trusty Kinsey scale – but there's still that bit of liking for the boys. Christian caught her fancy and held it.
How did you name your characters?
I like names. Therefore I rant! Both Courtney Vaughn and Taylor Fairfax got named by the method of, "Close eyes. Open baby name book. Point. Name character what you’re pointing at." Andrew was named from our conviction that Andrew is a naturally gay name, much like James and Christopher. (What? They are!) Amanda comes from the fact that when I was a wee thing in middle school, EVERY story I wrote had an Amanda somewhere in it, and I resurrected that for this. Anna, Kaio, Misa, and Jamie are all named after their real-life counterparts. Christian I named after the lead in Moulin Rouge, after changing his name from Carter. I like the name Elizabeth. Teri was named by my friend Becky (see below for more about Teri). Ransom got the name Courtenay because I wanted a girl named Courtney to counterpoint the guy, only I changed the spelling so as not to confuse myself; I forget where the hell Ransom came from. Rife (Tom's last name) was the last name of one of my bosses, and I just like it. Riley is named after the Riley from Buffy; I'm not sure why. Belz (Andrea and Roxie's last name) was the last name of a girl we hated in elementary school (strangely, she got really sweet in high school). I didn't name Morgan; Jess did. I lifted Drabenstott (Mark's last name) from one of my professors, which turned out to be hilarious because she's snarky JUST like him. I have no idea about any of the others. I suspect my ass had something to do with naming them, though.
What about the teachers?
Herr Meister isn't actually based on any real German teacher I had; I took German in college and thus was taught by grad students. The name, however, comes from the fact that our German book liked to make dialogues centered around one Peter Meister. It used to crack us all up, especially the way the tapes pronounced his name. In Germany, one answers the phone with one's name; one time, when I called a classmate for an assignment, he answered with a cheerful, "Peter Meister!" and thus made the first two minutes of our assignment consist of mad giggling. So the German teacher HAD to be named Peter Meister. Mr. McKanton is a merged name based on two teachers Jess had that she hated, one for English and one for Ethics. I actually liked all my English teachers, so I went to her for a last name. Ms. Gallagher got that name because I think she's hot, and I named her after a girl I thought was hot way back when (although her last name wasn't Gallagher, it was close!). Ms. Cover is sort of named after my high school guidance counselor, but not exactly.
So what ABOUT Teri?
Teri was created during a roleplay session Jess and I had with our friend Becky. Courtney and Taylor were new creations, and we wanted to play with them, and told Becky to "make up a lesbian". She did, christened her Teri, and made her rather strident. She also happened to wearing a beret then. Ergo, so does Teri. Becky's also blonde, so Teri has to be as well.
What's the deal with Elizabeth looking like the Elizabeth from Lean on Me?
Complete accident? Honestly, the only thing I consciously ripped off from the lovely and talented Jade Gordon were the braids over the ears thing. I had no idea the character I was pulling that hairstyle from was both a redhead and named Elizabeth as well. At least the characters aren't particularly similar otherwise. My Elizabeth is a born girl, for one thing, and from what I can tell, more evil.
Where did Morgan and her show come from?
Fanfiction, believe it or not. I'll never tell for which show, though. Strangely (also as explained here), the comic Morgan is also from an alternate universe. The first incarnation of fanfiction Morgan was a girl who was sassy, abrasive, violent, and rather somber (and yet, not a Mary Sue). The alternate version had her as an extremely perky (but still violent) chica obsessed with coffee and possessing of her own show, because she was just so darn perky. Morgan's habit of wearing Chinese-style shirts is left over from her dating a Chinese boy in the fanfiction.
What about Micah and Mark?
Micah used to be a character from the series I fanficced Morgan into, and is now wearing his "Original Character" face and name. Admittedly, Micah is absolutely nothing like the character now, so I'm not worried about getting sued. Mark I made up solely for the alternate universe, so this is his very first time appearing in anything.
What does that German say behind Herr Meister's hand in strip 25?
All lifted from my German homework (names modified slightly), the statements translate as follows: "I have a collection of souls in little bottles." "On Wednesdays I lie together in bed with my friend Andrew." "Teri is not as good as I am at hiding bodies." "I am an alien, and I am looking for my imaginary friend."
Wait, you actually turned that all in?
Yep. That whole incident with Herr Meister is lifted from something VERY similar happening to me, when my German TA Anne came up to me and asked if I knew "that word mean[t] souls". I nodded cheerfully. All she did was look at me strangely, but still, it amused the hell out of me. I was famous in the German department here at my university, mostly for the Satan stories, which also exist. *eg* Be on the lookout for lots of crazy German, and know that it is all directly lifted from homework assignments I subjected the real German department to.
What WAS that reference in strip 19?
Why, it's to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, of course! And if you still don't understand, read the book. It's wonderful! ^_^
What IS that picture behind Ransom's head in strip 6?
That's a picture drawn by Jess, artist of Fruit Flies, depicting two characters from a fantasy story of mine, and is quite, QUITE explicit. Her head is conveniently placed indeed. If you REALLY want to see the whole thing, let one of us know (and that you're 18 ^_^;).
What are those necklaces Teri is wearing? What about Courtney's earrings?
Teri first has the female sign, then a ying-yang on her necklace, if anyone REALLY cares. Courtney has double-pierced ears, and wears something that resembles fangs in both ears. They're easy to draw, okay? He also has the upper cartilage of his left (yes, left) ear pierced with a hoop. Why left? Because in the story, he was "straight", remember? And I'd already drawn story Courtney that way, so =p!
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