The stretchy Photoshop effect to indicate time travel is pretty cool, actually, but it makes the strips annoying to scroll through in the archives. I’m sorry.
That’s my husband Andrew pushing Dave off the swing in the first panel. I should say it’s a kid version of Andrew, but people keep telling me Andrew looks like a kid version of himself already.
Comics keep you young.
Teenage Dave’s T-shirt indicates that he goes to Two Willows High School. I’ve mentioned this before, but Two Willows is my default Midwestern fictional setting. I used it in “North of Space,”
my old high-school strip, too. The gym coach has a real “Bloom County” look to him. My high school had a coach who looked a lot like that, but doesn’t every high school?
The two younger versions of Dave have transparent glasses. This may not seem like a big deal now, but the transparency of Dave’s glasses ended up becoming a plot point much later in the
strip. At the time, however, I hadn’t really worked that part out, and I drew the younger Daves with visible eyes because it made him look younger. Later I did come up with an explanation for why
Dave developed opaque lenses, because I’m anal that way, but I decided it was too angsty so I never used it.
This was one of the first strips I wrote for this storyline. Dave looks wonderfully dorky in the third panel.
In the foreground of the first panel you can see Andrew with a bad teenage mustache. I draw Andrew into the strip a lot.
And there’s another portrait of Andrew in the first panel. He modeled for this one.
A lot of this strip was drawn at one of Jason Shiga’s legendary art nights in Oakland, and most of the guys in the locker room are
cartoonists who were hanging out there. In the second panel we have Shiga and Matt Holdaway. In the third panel, left to right, are
Eric Nebel, Thien Pham, and Trevor Alixopulos. I totally couldn’t figure out that was supposed to be Alixopulos until a minute ago
when I looked up Eric online and happened across a photo of the two of them together. That’s actually a good likeness of Thien.
Most of these people live in Portland now. It’s really sad.
I think all the characters have the initials of guys I had crushes on in the past.
I managed to include 33 and 42, two of my favorite numbers, into the locker numbers in the background.
I tried to stick to T-shirts I remembered from my 1990s high-school days. Dave is wearing an Odyssey of the Mind shirt. Like many
Midwestern nerds, Andrew and I were both in OM as kids. Andrew continues to lord it over me that he won a Renatra Fusca medal for
his spectacular answers in Spontaneous.
Most of the characters in the first panel are from webcomics of the time. The girl in the extreme foreground is Colette from Vera
Brosgol’s Return to Sender. You can also see two characters from Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference, which eventually became a
print comic and won a ton of awards.
Majel Mappelthorpe was mentioned in a previous storyline as the girl Dave had a crush on in high school. Her name doesn’t have
any particular meaning. I just thought it sounded like the name of someone you’d have known in high school. And yes, she is smoking
clove cigarettes at school, because she is a Rebel.
New Cooley is another place name I used to use a lot. It’s typically the next town over from Two Willows.
Zeno’s Cafe was going to be a location in my long-on-hiatus comic Smithson, which I was just about to launch around this time. The
original idea was that it was a coffeehouse that kept discounting its old muffins by half, always approaching but never quite reaching
free. I never got around to setting a scene in Smithson at Zeno’s (it got replaced by the Parthenon Diner), much less explaining the
whole muffin thing, so here’s the cafe’s big moment in the spotlight.
Dave’s friend Todd is based on high-school photos of my ex-boyfriend Kevin, who was also the model for Eric, the GM in Dave’s
gaming group. I like his Nosferatu shirt. Justin was the name of a guy I knew in high school who was into Magic: The Gathering.
I know the lettering in the third panel is ridiculously cramped, but it’s not like I could cut a phrase like “Grand Magus of Shoggoth.”