This is a comic with 2 major leads and 3 major supporting characters. One of those is a man.
Why is that? Because those are the characters I had the most fun writing. That’s pretty much it.
But the demographics of the strip are inherently political. They shouldn’t be, but recent events demonstrate that we do not live in post-racial, post-sexist, utopia. If you are reading this comic from one of the infinitesimal fractions of the world where equality is a real thing… That’s kind of awesome. I honestly never expected to have that much reach.
For everyone else. This isn’t intended to be a political statement. I’m not qualified to be making anything like that, anyway. This is not Strong Female Protagonist. I wish it was, but I don’t have a political statement to make, and trying to force one into the story would just turn it into something double plus ungood.
The story’s leads are a diverse crowd. The tread they have in common is that they are outsiders who aren’t defined by their “diversity.” There’s nothing wrong with being defined by an identity. This isn’t a long form statement on How to live a life. I didn’t plan that common thread. Their backgrounds largely came from an early draft that was more gag-a-day. They were rooted in setting up tropes and then subverting them for a punchline. Some of that survives.
These identities, or ethnicities, persist because I like these characters. I’ve gotten to know them, and I want to see if they develop in interesting ways.
I don’t mean to be defensive, or to give myself an out. If I do something horrid with these characters, I should be called on it. When I realized I’d made a mostly woman cast, I had a long think about what that meant to the story and how I intended to portray them. I decided that the most “progressive” thing I could do is forget about their gender identity and make them the same way I’d make any other character.
I’d have done that, anyway. Sometimes that identity, or some aspect related to it will be relevant to the story, or the character relationships. But for the most part, these are just people. Flawed people in a world that’s not quite right. And that’s political statement I am willing to own outright. These are people. Not paragons of identity or stereotypes of the same.