Some Words About Bad Language

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Originally, I had planned to talk about coloring Zip and Li’l Bit Funnies in this post, but today’s comic had a gag in the second panel that I wanted to point out and mention a few words about. We all know what creek Zip’s Shadow is about to refer to, right?

I’ve had a discussion with my good friend, Mike Lynch, a couple of times about having to work within certain restrictions. In his case, he’s a gag cartoonist and it’s important for him to come up with jokes that work for specific markets. It probably makes things harder, but I enjoy having restrictions or guidelines in place when I’m working on something. In my case, the challenge of finding ways to creatively work around those guidelines is inspiring to me. This is a good thing because that’s how Li’l Bit’s character developed.

When I write Zip and Li’l Bit I don’t write it for a young audience. I try to come up with things that I think are funny, or things that I’m interested in, but obviously, it’s a comic about two little kids running around their house so it needs to relate to those characters and probably wouldn’t be appropriate to have them running around dropping the F-bomb and swearing all the time, although that is how a lot of kids talk. I did think it would be funny though, to disguise it and have the kids cussing from time to time, so the first little scene I ever created with the two of them had Li’l Bit (who I’d envisioned as a normal speaking person) whispering to Zip and the reader having to figure out she was swearing at him by seeing Zip’s shocked reaction. At that point, I really had no idea of what the personalities of the characters would be, but I liked the way they interacted with Li’l Bit whispering, so I went with it.

That original gag, by the way, eventually found its way into The Upside-Down Me. You can check it out here on Page 35.

Of course, this isn’t to say that every word out of Li’l Bit’s mouth sounds like something a sailor would say… but it could. ;)