AboutJody Houser is a writer, a geek, a webcomic-making person, and an Angeleno.
I threw my name in the hat for this project back when it was first announced and am excited to see how quickly it’s progressed. The next step will be the Kickstarter to fund it, which I’ll be pimping out as soon as it goes live. We’re not really supposed to start work until the money’s been raised, but I’ve already started poking away at my script. When I’m not working on one of several other projects, that is…
Renae just announced on her Twitter that Womanthology will be published by IDW Publishing! This is Exciting news for all the contributors! It’s going to be a fantastic book!
Brickgirl & Oscar was linked on Whedonesque.com due to the current strip. While most people seemed to dig it, a small number think it’s horribly mean. Quoteth one critic, “It’s even worse that its creator is so proud of it as to post it on the internet.”
Unfortunately, Whedonesque.com has a closed membership. While I’m eligible to request a membership because a work of mine is being discussed, I haven’t heard anything back as of yet, so I figured that for now, I would write up a response here and link it to the comic’s News page:
Brickgirl & Oscar isn’t meant to be taken very seriously (at least at this point.) But since some readers have raised an issue that I feel somewhat strongly about, I’ll give a serious answer.
Yes, Oscar the Brick can be quite mean. Like all good characters, he has his flaws. And, like all good characters, both he and Alice will grow and change over the course of the comic. It’s easy to look at a character who is cruel and take it as a sign that the writer herself approves of such behavior, but as someone who was bullied herself as a child (due to her shape and size and appearance), there’s no way I would write a comic that was no more than a long-running insultfest at a poorly drawn little girl. And if I did, I would probably refrain from referencing Joss Whedon, as that is just a little too close to the type of thing he’s working against in the real world.
It isn’t a coincidence that Oscar quotes Cordelia (Graduation Day Part 2) in the last panel of this week’s strip. Much like Cordelia from BtVS and Angel, Oscar can’t be judged as a person (or brick) based only on his behavior in the first couple of episodes. Unlike Cordelia, however, Oscar is unlikely to fall in love with Broody McBrood or give birth to a glowing Gina Torres.
Plus, I thought the tagline “A webcomic about unlikely friends” indicated that Alice and Oscar might eventually become, you know, unlikely friends.
(And yes, there was a terrible typo in the comic. I woke up at 5:30 AM, upset by a rather Alanis-like use of the word “ironic,” rewrote the third panel, uploaded it while still mostly asleep, and didn’t look at it at all later in the day. In my defense, my regular copy editor didn’t catch it either. I’d fire him, but he’s my dad and he works for free.)
So Brickgirl & Oscar has its first pop culture reference today, in the form of a Joss Whedon themed strip. Purely by coincidence (and it really is… I wrote this strip about two months ago), this Friday is Joss’ birthday. And the only reason I know that is because the Browncoats, the legion of fans devoted to Firefly and Serenity have organized a little event called Can’t Stop The Serenity, which consists of charity screenings of Serenity across the USA and the world to raise money for Equality Now, Joss’ favorite charity.
I’ve never been one to really get involved very deeply in any particular fandom. Most likely it’s because most of my experience with hardcore fans has come from attending anime conventions. So to me, fandom equals pasty people not really dressed in tiny scraps of fur and spandex and underaged fangirls making voice actors very uncomfortable by demanding kisses/gropes/marriage proposals/impregnation.
But fans like the Browncoats give me hope. Because just as celebrities can use their place in the public spotlight to further the causes they believe in, groups of fans can do amazing things when they turn their devotion towards real world issues.
For more information on Can’t Stop The Serenity, including a list of screening locations, visit the official website. And to see Joss Whedon’s very moving speech at an Equality Now even in May, click here.
My webcomic, Brickgirl & Oscar, is now being hosted on its own domain, brickgirlandoscar.com! Brand new site design as well. Though I have worked with CSS before, this is the first time I did a fairly complex stylesheet from scratch. Big pain in the ass, especially the footers. But I’m very happy with the end result. I wanted a site that would flow well with the comic itself, and I think I got it.
Writing Project Status
Brickgirl & Oscar: Plugging along well. Four strips posted, ten completed, and I don’t even know how many more scripted. Readership is still fairly low, but then again, I haven’t done a lot of promotion. I have gotten a very positive response from readers thus far. I considered increasing to two new strips a week, but going to hold off on that for now, as I don’t want to neglect all my other projects…
Chimera (TV pilot spec): First draft done, working on revisions.
Goodbye Dolly (Feature spec adaptation): First draft done. It’s craptastic, but it’s done.
Untitled Stage Play Project: Minimal progress since I started about 18 months ago, but stuff is still a brewin’ in the ole noggin.
Other writing news: Spoke with Baker’s Plays about Goodbye Dolly (the stage play version) which they’ve had for 19 months now. Seems that last year, they replaced the entire editorial staff, and the consideration for publication process had to be restarted for everything. My play has been cleared by at least one reader, though, and I should hear something back by late summer.
Had a bit of an incident with a literary manager about a month ago, but unfortunatly, it was not really legit.
Starting next Wednesday, I’ll be working as a content writer for a search engine optimization firm. It’s not creative, persay, but it is writing. More important, it isn’t taking photos of faucets in a dingy warehouse with no windows in downtown LA where the temperature has been hitting 90 degrees in the afternoons even with two AC units running.
Other Creative Stuff
I will be performing with an as of yet unnamed, possibly all-female improv group in coming months. I’ve always loved improv, but never considered myself to be exceptional at it. Better learn fast… we’re looking at six rehearsals before the first performance.
The Brickgirl & Oscar website is officially open for business. It’s a bit bare bones at the moment but updates are forthcoming. Still investigating automation tools for posting the strips.
For those not in the know, Brickgirl & Oscar is a web comic based on a couple of silly comic strips I drew in high school, about ten years ago (and now I feel old.) I finally decided not to let my lack of skills in the drawing department keep me from pursuing this project. Hopefully, that will be a Good Thing.
I’m finally getting off my duff and working to revive the comic strip I did in high school, Brickgirl & Oscar, as a webcomic. Here is some promo art (and I use the term “art” loosely.) Hey, I never said I could draw.
As a writer, I find that I have to try out every form I come across at least once. Thus, I have just finished my first comic strip script and sent it to an artist friend who kindly agreed to collaborate on this little project.
The script was an interesting project because it felt more like directing than writing. The script ended up having no dialogue (somewhat unintentionally), so the writing was really based on what shots would best tell the story and how to make everything flow smoothly within the set format (eight rows of three panels each.) It was actually a lot of fun. It reminded me of working with some of the more rigid poetry forms (especially sonnets) but with much less angst.
All in all, this is definitely something I would like to do again. I’d love to resurrect the comic strip I did in high school as a web comic, but that’s something I would probably have to draw myself, and coming up with a character design that is simple enough for me to draw consistently is fairly hard (I actually did a couple of years ago, but of course promptly lost my sketches.) Luckily, one of the characters is a brick, which even I of the limited artistic skills can draw.