April was a weird month for me. I had a lot going on, and to top it all off I decided to blog every day for the whole month. I tried to keep up with my personal projects, but I unfortunately wasn’t able to keep up my weekly commitment to my online comic, Pajama Man. As sad as I was not to have weekly Piper instalments, she was always there in the back of my head, commenting silly things and getting up to crazy antics that I jotted down on a comic to-do list.
Since today marks the day of Pajama Man’s triumphant return to tumblr after several weeks of being missing, I thought I’d share with you the origin story of the comic, and how I finally committed to the idea instead of letting it fester inside my head like Brain Crack.
I’ve talked before about how I don’t really like the person I was when I was in high school, but there are memories I have that I cherish and parts of me that shine in those memories that I love and hopefully keep around today. The person I was when I was with my close friends was funny, smart, and childishly goofy; quick with a smile and ready to take a joke almost too far. I had a lot of inside jokes with my high school friends, most notably with one of my best friends to this day, Alex. We had jokes about everything from pinball-walking to hobbtine purple pepper people eaters (in orange hats). My idea for Pajama Man came from one such inside joke with Alex that came about after a long night of cramming for chemistry.
I have this thing, you see, in that I like blankets. I have a small collection of throw blankets that are constantly strewn about the house (much to my poor mother’s chagrin). My first of this collection was a fleece blanket decorated in many colours that I often draped around my shoulders like a cape. I had my blanket draped in this fashion the morning after our study session when Alex noted that I looked like a superhero.
“I am a superhero,” I told her “I’m Pajama Man”
This of course brought on the conversation of ‘you’re not a man so how can you be Pajama Man’ and then ‘-it’s ironic -no it isn’t’.
Since that day I thought that the idea of a female ‘Pajama Man’ superhero would make a fantastic parody comic. One that kind of pokes fun at the genre while still showing my ever-growing fanaticism for it. I only had one problem – I couldn’t draw.
I attempted a few times over the following years to get Pajama Man into some form or another. I tried a short story, thought about a video, but I kept coming back to a comic. Through my years working at a Front Desk with not much to do, I practised drawing and realized that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was. Inspired by webcomics like Ctrl+Alt+Del, XKCD, and Cape and Cowl (which is sadly offline and unfindable to the point where I’m beginning to think I made it up), and motivated by Ze Frank not to let my ideas become Brain Crack I decided “Hey, I can actually do this”. So I did.
Pajama Man went through a lot of changes. My first draft of the character looked a lot like me (or how I imagined myself), with hair in braids and sharp sarcasm. I slowly developed the character into what Piper turned out to be; 30% silly and optimistic 60% wacky antics 10% oblivious to everything else going on around her. Her inspiration was part Ethan from Ctrl+Alt+Del, part Maureen Johnson.
In the original incarnation of the comic Pajama Man had a sidekick named Sheep Girl, inspired and designed around Alex. Sheep Girl was the technician, who wore the sheep pajamas that Piper is seen wearing in the first comic. Sheep Girl evolved into Lewis, Piper’s roommate. He’s sarcastic, and the king of deadpan. Lewis accepts Piper’s craziness in a way that shows he’s been through a lot with her. Just like Alex did with me.
Insomniac was the only character who hasn’t changed much. He was designed by my brother, though I tweaked some things here and there. He hasn’t been in the comic a whole lot yet, so I don’t want to reveal too much, but I’m really excited for you guys to get to know this character. I’ve always had a thing for villains.
You can find Pajama Man’s latest instalment here. New updates every Tuesday.
Man, it’s good to be back!