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November 15, 2011

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Looking Back: Nailed! Part 2

November 23, 2011

Making the “Nailed!” strips was kind of weird. I found myself actually trying to cast it like it was a real show. At the time, the only ongoing cast members were Aubrey, PeeJee, Davan, Jason, Jhim, Kim, Monette and Claire. Kharisma had shown up the previous month but I didn't see Jason working with her. Likewise with Monette – I couldn't imagine the cast tolerating her nonsense for a full show run after she'd quit Aubrey's porn shoot. That meant I needed new characters.

When S*P first went live, I was in a production of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode in Boston. That's where I'd met Josh (basis for Jason) and Claire (basis for, obviously, Choo-Choo Bear Claire). The day the comic launched I'd emailed two hundred people I knew – friends, old co-workers, actors from shows I'd been in. A comment I made in the email was, jokingly, that some people I knew might turn up in the strip. That night, when I went to rehearsal, some of my fell Eight cast members informed me they'd be more than happy to appear in the comic. For “Nailed!” I contacted three of them: T-Bob, Darrick, and Jennifer.

Once it became obvious “Nailed!” was going to be a long-haul storyline, I decided to use it to advance various plotlines or fill needs I thought the comic had. One such storyline involved Monette moving to Texas (briefly). This storyline got moved up because of an opening created by a surprise cameo in J. Grant's comic, Flem. I also thought it would allow me to offer Aubrey and PeeJee a more eager friend who actively wanted to partake in their schemes, almost like a little brother. That was supposed to be T-Bob. My hopes for Jennifer was that she'd be a stronger foil for Davan. I wanted her to evolve into a character just as jaded and smart-assed as he is, but turning it all on Davan and making him deal with the shit he shovelled at other people. That didn't work out, either, as explained in this 2009 blog post.

I also tried to build up Davan having a slight crush on Claire and maybe having completely ruined his chances. One of the aspects of Davan's character I'd originally planned on was, despite acting like an aloof jerk, he actually developed crushes on women very easily (exceptions being Aubrey, who was like family, and PeeJee, whom he'd already gotten over a crush). This was slightly hinted at in a pre-show exchange between Claire and Davan but basically dropped. Partly because the “real” Claire was a friend of mine and I didn't have a crush on her. I was already quickly divorcing the Davan from who I was but it seemed awkward. I decided to instead send Davan's affections to two other future cast members but neither appeared (more on that later in a later post).

Most of the final strips of “Nailed” were drawn right after I had two wisdom teeth yanked and I was on Vicodin. I don't have any particular memories of working on them beyond eating a lot of Jell-O and mouth bleeding. I do, however, have a particularly horrifying memory involving the design of Claire's Satan costume. I was at work, still doing data entry in Medicaid billing for an ambulance company, and just absent-mindedly doodling. I knew I wanted Claire's costume to be barely there, partly for the fun of a religious-themed show crossing over into burlesque and partly because drawing half-dressed women is fun.

As I'm drawing her in costume, my manager, Jan – who was a sweet, loving woman who was probably a wee bit more conservative, came over to ask me a question. As she started, her eyes trailed down to my drawing pad featuring an almost-naked woman in devil horns. She paused, blushed, and whispered, “I'll come back when you're not busy.”

She never looked at me quite the same.

Tomorrow's post: reactions to “Nailed!” and reader reactions in general. -R.

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