Question for webcomic makers

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Postby Walky on Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:43 pm

Okay, Packy and Josh both spilt, so I guess I will too. My naming schemes aren't quite as... um, planned, though.

David Walkerton: David's my first name (durr) and I got Walkerton by picking a name out of the phonebook at random. I got "Walker," but I knew a guy named Jeff Walker, so I added "ton" to the end. Possibly subconsciously influenced by the nearby town Walkerton, Indiana...

Joyce Brown: I have no idea. I knew a girl named Joy that might have had something to do with it, but probably not much. I think I chose Brown because most of my character's last initials were so far back in the alphabet.

Danny Wilcox: Again, my initials...

Joe Rosenthal: I forget where "Joe" came from, but the character was originally based on my childhood Jewish friend Dave Ressman. Rosenthal is the last name of one of my online friends.

Sal Walters: I don't want to talk about it. /:)

Mike Warner: Name of a friend from fifth grade. Real cheerful fellow.

Billie: Back in the day, I wrote these little text stories about Walkerton, and Walky would always have these Maxwell-Smart-ish conversations with Big Boss. In one of them Walky rambled on about one of his childhood friends Billie and kept going on and on about how she had a boy's name. Years later, I stuck her in a cameo in ROOMIES!. Whoops.

Mary: Mary means "perfect."

Howard: Sounds dorky.

Ruth: I just have a thing for weird old-fashioned names like Ruth, Sally, Daisy, and Mary. (Though Mary isn't as weird as I thought it was. It's the most popular girls name in America, oddly enough. Damn 2000 census.) One name I really like but haven't used is "Annie," since eventually when I get married and have kids, I want to have names that I haven't used on characters to give my children. I mean, dude, I can't have a little Mary running around...

Jason Chesterfield: "Chesterfield" sounds British. And I think someone from high school gave Jason his name.

Sarah: I know five zillion Sarahs, including my own sister. I figgered I'd have to use the name eventually, so I gave it to this black girl so no one would think it was them.

Dina Sarazu: Figure it out.

The Cheese: In high school French class, I thought it was hilarious to go around saying "Je suis Le Fromage."

Monkey Master: Alliteration, man.

The Head Alien: It's a title, it's his name, and it's not Dexter, dammit.

Bart O'Ryan: Named after people I don't like.

Alex/Darkpower451: Named after an early Internet friend named Alex. He came up with the alias for the character.

Squad 48: Mandi -- Cute-sounding name. Marcie -- She looks like Peanuts' Marcie. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. Tootsie -- She's barefoot. Guns -- She carries around two pistols, and there's this huge building in Jackson, MI that just says GUNS on the side of it that I always thought was hilarious. Grace -- She looks deft.

Squad 37: Hooper and all his pals are named and based off online Transformer fans I know.

John and Martha Walters: Sal's Supergirl, man.

*How* do I come up with names? A lot of the random ones like parent names and characters like Carl and Dana and Ron and Carly are just names I come up with on the fly. You know, names I haven't "used yet." I don't claim to layer my names with much subtext, though sometimes you can retcon some in later. (For example, Sal could be either "Sally" which is almost "Sarah" which means "Princess," or "Salvador" which means "Savior," so she's "Savior Princess." More on THAT later...)

Just find a name that sounds good. If the character is someone you like, give them a name you like. If you don't like them, give them an awful name. Name them after people if you want, but don't get too personal or you'll get restraining orders.

Something I'd suggest these days is to find something distinctive. Sometimes I wish all my characters had wacky weird names like "Ceilidh" or "Helene" because those are more distinctive and less vanilla and common like "Dave," or "Jason," or "Mike." It's one reason I switched to calling David Walkerton "Walkerton" or "Walky," and it's why Steve Walkerton is "Beef." And it's what I try to do with new characters as I make them up. (Also, name dictionaries are fun!)

Remember, people are more likely to remember "Torg" and "Riff" than the popular names from the census this decade.

'Course, a quirky name is nothing without a quirky personality, but that's a whole 'nother rant...
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Postby Klaus Petersen on Tue Sep 10, 2002 12:52 am

Josh Phillips wrote:Page: Taken from the musician Martin Page.

Eek! My apologies for comparing his voice to Hanne Boel's - no chance it could be fair. I'm listening to 'In My Room' right now, and think about the Bradleys. Things to be revealed . . . :o

Gunderson: Fargo.

Ah, Fargo, one of my favorites. A plot so absurd it could only come from real life. The Coen brothers. Sheriff Marge. Her last name - and it's spelling - tells me she wasn't born on Iceland.

Every other name was probably just chosen at random.

. . . by your subconscious self. No matter what elaborate explanations you come up with, we are not going to believe in art-by-accident. :)
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Postby Savant_Guarde on Tue Sep 10, 2002 2:45 am

I love making up characters and naming them, but actually for my comic all of the characters are directly based on real pople and named appropriatley :)
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Postby dDave on Tue Sep 10, 2002 7:53 am


Names are a really important aspect of creating characters for me, and I give it a lot of thought. In general, I either create a name based solely on how it *sounds*, or I try to find a name that has a meaning that is resonant with the character.

Habibi - the main character of Pander. This is a Arabic word meaning something on the order of "lover/friend/beloved" which I thought was appropriate for a webcam girl. However, she has the *masculine* form of the word as a name because I was trying to indicate that her parents had travelled around and thought themselves enlightened world travellers when in fact they didn't have a clue. That fact also help indicates that her parents are emotionally estranged from Habibi.

deCess - I came up with this just by rolling syllables around. It has a gritty sound appropriate for the character.

Jun - This character was thought to be male, but was subsequently shown to be female. I needed a Japanese name that would handle the ambiguity. Her real name is Junko (a female name), but when she came to the states people called her Jun (after the western name June) which happens to be a Japanese male name.

(the) Gri - Shortened from the word "griot", which is a sort of African storyteller.

Seizan - A guy I met in Japan had this name and I liked it.

Raj - I have liked the sound of this name for years.

Mihail - I wanted a name suggesting a second generation immigrant. Mihail is a corruption of the Russian Mikail.

The Other One - the other webcomic I am currently in the middle of preparing has even more fun with names. The three main characters have names that directly affect the plot, and I can't give them here (yet). Supporting cast also have names with meaning.

Adara - "Virgin" in Arabic.
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Postby packy on Tue Sep 10, 2002 8:52 am

Sanna wrote:
packy wrote:the one that completely throws me is how she turned Kevin into Levi.

drop the n, and shift the K one step further in the alphabet. K --> L, Levi.

Well, duh. Now it makes complete sense.

Sanna wrote:An html-ish question for people who run Keen-updated comics:
HOW do you get those nifty little one-month calendar things to show up on individual pages?? I've scoured the ***tags*** tutorial, and cannot find the proper code....

Keen probably has a tool for doing just that. I've been working on something in PHP to make calendars easy, you can look at the work in progress here:

I'm planning on OpenSourcing it once I'm done, so feel free to steal it...
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Postby Josh Phillips on Tue Sep 10, 2002 10:19 am

Klaus Petersen wrote:
Josh Phillips wrote:
Every other name was probably just chosen at random.

. . . by your subconscious self. No matter what elaborate explanations you come up with, we are not going to believe in art-by-accident. :)

Um... you have any examples in mind? :-)

Sanna wrote:But why hasn't Joe died yet?

You're assuming Joe Page is the *first* one.


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Postby RJ Shep on Tue Sep 10, 2002 10:43 am

Sanna wrote:
Joseph: This one's actually random, but according to the J. Michael Straczynski school of main character naming, Joe's initials had to be J.P.

But why hasn't Joe died yet? Oh, no, sorry, that would be 'why hasn't he gone off and become the ambassador to the former enemies yet?' And why hasn't his replacement gone to Zha'hadum?

*L* Sorry. That is the greatest series ever. I miss seeing it.

I missed B5 entirely. Do I understand correctly that the rule is the main character must have the same initials as the creator?

If so, I followed that when I named my son :)
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Postby Walky on Tue Sep 10, 2002 10:53 am

The last initial must have been really hard.
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Postby Quattro on Tue Sep 10, 2002 11:07 am

Well, for my comic Heroes, that's usually up in the air. Mostly I come up with a character name and then paste an ability to that name, sometimes vise verson. Either way since I'm dealing with super heroes I need appropriate names and more often than not they're usually thought up on the spot as I need them, which would explain how I got characters like GopherBoy and Captain Trekker.

The current names I'm most proud of in my comic Heroes are Smash-Up for the big hulking brute, Shutterbug for the stealth photographer, and Kapa Cino for the hero who works in the coffee bar. VeryMary was pretty much my friend's email addy so that one was easy.

For short stories and other ideas I'm working on, I always rack my brain sooo much to ensure the right name for the character. I don't really do the phone book search much, but I do have a dictonary of name which I use as a reference and then later change the name slightly. I mean, I got the name Andri for a character because I though Andrea was to blah. I was also obsessed with the name Charlotte for a while as well.

In the end, whether its intentional or not, the names for certain characters always have a feeling as if they were always ment to have that name. My opinion of course.

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Postby mykroft on Tue Sep 10, 2002 11:11 am


When it comes to Sluggy, I happened to mention it to one of my favourite authors in a thread on Freefall, next thing I know, he's doing signings with Pete and including major sluggy references in his books (Bun-Bun would so like his Bun-Bun, so would Riff).
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