Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Hi, Hi Hu, who are you?
This entry was supposed to announce a new Copper Road, but I haven't thought of an idea that I like and I'm willing to draw yet. (Soon!) So instead I'll talk about this Hiram dude!
Copper Road has evolved to be more a general riff on things that tickle my fancy than something entirely character-driven, like Precocious. This is good, because I can tell jokes I can't get away with in Precocious. This is bad, because it requires me to pay attention to the world and be somewhat active in it so I can get inspired. (Or is that also good, since I really should be doing that stuff anyway?) Point is, the characters have to be a bit less defined and more flexible. We don't really go into the depths of the supporting cast because that's not the point of the comic. But sometimes I want to go there anyway!
In brainstorming for Copper Road, I got to a big thing I've avoided up to this point: What exactly does Hiram do for a living? He must make enough to support his family, as Shii Ann doesn't seem to work full time. He tends to dress very casual, but that may just be his off-duty self. He's proven to have some flexible hours and the potential to set his own schedule. What does this man DO?
The default idea that's been in my head the longest is that he owns/manages a liquor store. I liked that it's an unconventional approach, but I know my audience can bristle when I talk of anything that could be seen as not being kid-friendly. It's fun to joke about, but that job probably won't stick.
What that job CAN do, however, is be adapted to something more tasteful: He runs a specialty market! It has organic produce, fancy foodstuffs and, yes, a nice selection of alcoholic beverages. Such a job could also tie in nicely with Shii Ann's cooking/baking enthusiasm. She could even work part time at the place if she wants to! There's also a potential Bud sighting, but that would conflict with Bud's claim to have never seen Hiram before when they met in Party Crashers. I guess that's a strike against this idea. (You can explain it as Bud doing the "pretend no one outside my world exists" thing, but I'm pretty sure Bud would give respect to his fancy food supplier.)
There's also the potential to make Hi an absent-minded professor at the university - purely to milk a "Doctor Hu" joke from it. The idea of him being a trusted source of education would be both silly and sad. I wonder what his discipline is? This would also give him a connection with Soren, although I doubt Soren would be thrilled with that.
Making Hi a general office manager guy isn't an option. At best he'd be another Michael Scott from The Office. At worst, he'd be covering the same territory Gene Et covers - and Gene does it better! Hi is a hard worker, so boring him in a corporate office is a waste.
It was suggested to me that he could run a movie theater, and that idea would have potential, but I've made a movie comic already and it doesn't mesh well with Hi being a theater man.
So right now the market idea is in the lead, but I won't commit to it until I'm sure it's the correct path. Nothing is canon until it makes it into the comic. Who knows what I'll have decided on by the time I show Hi at work?