Sometimes, I really think melodrama needs more mellow.

I gotta fill this space and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about both where the comic is going and where the comic has been. Truth be told, we’re largely on track for stuff we wrote in the story bible way, way back in 2013. So yeah, at your indulgence, I kinda wanted to ramble a little about where all these characters came from.

Lou was the first character that appeared in my head, and is frighteningly unchanged from what I imagined that night when my eyes snapped open at 1 AM and I feverishly started writing the elevator pitch for the strip. She’s probably the closest I let the strip get to a self-insert character, what with her and I sharing a lot of the same insecurities (though for reasons just galaxies apart). Yes, we have favorites, and yes, she is mine.

Dana came next, and was nearly as completely realized as Lou. She’s slid a little, but not much. Mostly we’ve softened her, mostly because we didn’t want to end up with two Jennifers on the ship. She started off much meaner, but shifted to just being cold. I’ve always thought of myself as an optimist who finds the world endlessly disappointing, and Dana is kinda that feeling pushed to a further extreme, with a big heaping side dose of denial. (And if there’s one thing I could fill an library with, it’s unending tirades about denial.)

Geoff, admittedly, has always been something of an undefined variable. Honestly, his origin was extremely mechanical. We needed someone new to the ship to introduce the world to the reader. A lot of his personality and backstory was born out of my own creative frustrations, though we’ve only actually dwelled on that side of him very little so far. He’s that chunk of me that’s endlessly irritated at never feeling like I measure up as a creator. He shifted a ton, though names, genders, occupations, at one point he had pretty severe depression (gee, I wonder why I wanted to explore that), the list goes on.

Speaking of, boy, did I not know what to do with Oliver. Oliver was actually really boring and safe until Shadlyn got her hands on my notes and gave me a much-needed kick in the ass. He started as just The Doctor On The Ship, but got busted down to med school dropout because Smart Doctor Guy was a bit too much of a sci-fi staple. His boisterous personality came really out of his backstory as someone on the run from the mob. I wanted someone who would stand in contrast to the crushing mundanity of the Vagabond Starlight universe, someone who fancied himself a dashing rogue in a world where none exist, or even could exist. That, and I just really love writing horrendously over-wrought dialogue.

Jennifer’s a little weirder. Like Geoff, her story took a lot of revisions to get to where we wanted it, and even now I’ll admit there’s still a few things in flux. Jennifer, in short, is all my anger. She’s the anger I push inward at myself, and the anger I fling out into the world. I had actually intended her to be kind of a one-note jokey character, thinking it would be really funny to have her serve as an angry straight man to the crew’s lunacy. The more I wrote her and the more Shadlyn and I found the source of all her rage, however, the more I found myself trying to steer her towards something more nuanced and genuine. I want to fucking strangle her some times, but in a lot of ways I think I feel for her the most.

And then there’s Lucas. Man, I dunno, don’t look at me. Honestly? He’s one-hundred-per-fucking-cent Shadlyn’s fault. The original one-line bio I gave him was something like “burned out hippie sex fiend who flies the ship, because someone has to.” That dude has completely transmogrified (and you can totally see it happen in real time over the course of Book 1) into this like weird… enlightened trickster god? Like, I’d intended for him to be the skeevy guy, because creepos can be funny. But a combination of Shadlyn’s direction and my dialogue completely reworked him into this sort of zen master that is just looking for a good time, knows how to get it, and really likes to (largely harmlessly) mess with people along the way. Lucas is Shadlyn’s favorite, and the less I think about this, the better off I am.

And then there’s Chloe and Harry (and to a lesser extent Kazuo and the Cat), but I think that’s more than enough self-indulgence for one day.