Monday, January 23, 2006

The story
(or, "since when do you draw these strips?")

The year I moved to Kansas City, Missouri, a study sponsored by Axe ranked the U.S.'s Best and Worst Cities for Dating.

And out of 80 metropolitan cities, Kansas City placed, well, 80th.

I don't know if the rest of the country cared about it, but the radio stations in KC promptly ate it up and talked about it for weeks. Then singles around the city quickly decided to blame their lack of luck in the dating game on the result above.

(Now, I think that fact may have something to do with the problem: people here are always too busy complaining about our singlehood to approach anyone at the table full of singles next to us, who are probably doing the same thing. But I digress.)

Meanwhile, I was finding myself (well, more like losing myself) around bars in KC, hanging out with friends, with a beer in my hand, and a pen and notepad of some kind in my pocket. More often than not, that pen and notepad came out some time during the night so I could either start doodling (yes, I'm one of those people) or write something funny that someone said.

And after a while, I learned I had collected a number of good doodles and quotes. Eventually I wanted to gather them all together in one place, under one format.

And so the idea of a comic strip was born.

The characters
(or, "who is K, and more importantly: can I have her number?")

The friends with whom I've shared the first strips didn't have much of a problem figuring out who the character of B is inspired by. Since I've always been there in all the original scenarios, it made a little bit of sense to include myself in the strip. Plus, it was easier. And even though you'll find B in most strips, it seemed a little too self-indulgent (and dangerous) to make him the lead character of every cartoon. So K was there to help me out.

I hope I don't disappoint the male readers who, attracted by some of her loosest moments, hope to score a night out with K. Even though there are one or more of my closest female friends who will identify themselves as the inspiration for the character (if they haven't introduced themselves as her by now), K is actually a blend of a few people I know.

At this point, the strip has revolved around K and B, but you can count on more characters coming in soon (friends and bartenders: pay attention, one of them might be inspired by you).

The setting
(or, "wait, is it a strip about Kansas City or not?")

Even more recently, I was listening to a high school friend as she lamented about how hard it was to find someone to date in our hometown. "Our hometown" being Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city that's probably perceived worldwide as a paradise of young, fun-loving, attractive people who divide their time between the beach and the nightclubs. And even though we eventually agreed that Rio is still a great place for singles, we also acknowledged that there are problems finding a good person to date anywhere in the world, from London to Kansas City. And it was that conversation that made me believe that even people who never made it anywhere close to the Midwest will be able to either relate, laugh, or at least chuckle politely at some of these scenarios.

Today, I live in Chicago, where -- while it features a much larger number of bars (and 40,000+ more single women than men) -- I'll still overhear (and, yes, sometimes participate in) stories of dating woes, drunken nights and bad decisions (also, it ranked in the bottom half of that study I mentioned in the first paragraph). And so I decided to keep drawing more strips. The characters may change a little (a spin-off is in the works), and the references to places around good ol' KC will stop. Even without my usual muses, I'm sure there'll be much more K to come.

The comments
(or, "how can I be part of this?")

I'm big fan of movie trivia, and of dvd commentaries, and of the creative process. So if I'm in an explaining mood, I might as well go a little deeper as far as the backstory of some of the strips (especially since there has been a lot of asking about which of these scenes actually happened in real life).

Plus, there's something great about getting feedback from people. Especially if someone loves/hates/can relate to/was there at the birth of a particular strip.

So I'm including a comments link with every single strip. It's where I'll put a little bit of extra info about some strips, but it's also the place to go if you have something to share about what any of them. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and would love even more to respond to them. Comments are moderated, so I can keep spam and a-holes out of my page. So if you don't plan to spam or tell me that I should learn to draw before turning bar talk into cartoons, drop me a line in one of those places and you'll make me a happier person. Might also make this a better strip.

I hope you enjoy reading K City as much as I have been enjoying making it.