Gisele Lagace -a request

The teenage years. Friendships, crushes, growth... and hating. Lots of hating.

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Gisele Lagace -a request

Postby Trollroot on Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:29 am

Could we please have a bit more differentiation in the male physiques?

I realize that the comic is primarily about the girls and their affairs, both internal and external. And that the males primarily seem to have a totty function.
I think it would still be better though, if there were a little bit of difference in their looks.

First, it is hard to identify with a high school where every male has the same body. Size and shape varies so wildly at that age, and is such an important status-adjuster in the male pack hierarchies.

And second, sometimes the lack of distinction makes it hard to follow what is happening. I constantly have to remind myself that Marshall does not really look like that, when people around him responds to him as though his looks were very different from the other males.

And if Brock had a tatoo or something, we wouldn't have to guess about wether he is thinking about his own chest.

There are a lot of ways of giving the male physiques distinction, while leaving the omega physiques out of it. Just think about the range of sports from marathons to weightlifting, and the different kinds of bodies that are good at them.
Height ivaries widely at that age. And, body ornaments such as tatoos, or scars, and teenage problems can make it easier to tell them apart.
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Postby Gisele Lagace on Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:44 am

I'll try and do better with future strips. However, it's very hard at this point to change the look of the main characters. But I will try to make them more recognizable as time goes by. Same for future cast characters.
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Postby TCampbell on Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:48 am

Gisele was working on this before you said anything. I don't know if you've noticed yet, but Stan already looks broader than Jack with longer arms (teenagers are in a constant state of development). But there are a few reasons why you shouldn't expect all this stuff immediately...

1) Firstly, y'know, we can't do it all at once, or people are going to ask "what the hell happened? Steroids?" And we've intro'd all the characters we're going to intro for a long while.

2) Marshall really does "look feminine;" that's been established all over the place. Lots of girls prefer that. Lots of guys notice that girls prefer that. In the Marshall vs. Rich scene, Marshall was able to intimidate Rich because he easily handled a task with which Rich was struggling. When I started weight training it was explained to me that I could concentrate on looks (Rich) or strength (Marshall). Rich knew he couldn't handle this guy easily.

3) The height thing could be applied to the ladies, too, but it is sometimes difficult to vary height so much in a comic strip, where the close-ups often benefit from characters being able to look one another in the eye. There's a panel near the end of this story which would just fall apart if Stan and Jack didn't approach the same height when seated.

Think of the successful strips from the last fifty years-- Peanuts, Doonesbury, Garfield, Dilbert, Zits, Calvin and Hobbes-- there's almost no variation unless the characters are very different ages or human v. non-human. The default is to use one height for "human kid," one for "human adult" and possibly another for "animal," and I don't think that's because Schulz and Trudeau and Watterson were lazy. The big exception is Pogo, conceived before the end of the big Sundays. And note that when two characters of different heights interact it's generally in a mid-to-long shot, which would limit the emotional power of the facial expressions, which I think is one of the strip's better tools.

Having a character who's especially short or tall would be an interesting challenge from a storytelling perspective, and it's one that we might pursue, but it would be a challenge, and not one that I'd like to immediately multiply by twelve.

But the tattoo's not a bad idea, and don't be surprised if you see it edited into the archives at some point. I wish I'd thought of that one in the scripting phase.

And in general, we do notice stuff like this. And obsess over it. Oh, how we obsess. Like the reaction to Monday's; I was all "agh, do I need to write a scene about dress code monitors in the next story? Can I squeeze that into THE PLAN???" Knowing how self-critical Gis is, I think you can rest assured that guy body types will be on our minds for a long time now.
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