Hiya, my name is Seth and I’m going to be discussing 4’s a crowd and its goals and what made me do it and the like, and I imagine it might be interesting to some of you, but really it’s interesting to me so I’m going to do it, ’cause a lot of my goals will be sort of unapparent in the production.
Let’s start with Hey, Seth. Why’d you make this comic, anyway?
I decided to make a comic after seeing how successful Gunnerkrigg Court was on Patreon. While a beautiful comic of epic proportions, the beginning of the comic had art that I thought was something of a level I could achieve, and before then, I had looked at a lot of webcomics coming and going, but I could only really associate myself with the lowest quality. I thought I wouldn’t be satisfied if I couldn’t reach a certain bar of excellence. I’m still not wonderful, and goodness knows that Gunnerkrigg is so polished now that my association with its style is nonexistent and I wouldn’t really want to be stood next to the author and compared, but the point is, I suppose, that he inspired me a bit by starting out unpolished.
Why this story concept?
I thought I’d do a gag-a-day at first, but I’m not terribly funny. You’ll find that my attempts at humor in the comic up until now (page 60) have been a little flat. You might have gotten a giggle or two out of them, maybe, but it’s not my artistic flourish. At first, I didn’t know what sort of story I’d do. Would it be NC-17? Would it be family-accessible? I started with the idea of the latter, but now all the links to my other art is all over the page and all up on patreon, so I defaulted back to being adult-oriented. When I thought about the story, I kind of brainstormed it with some friends. I threw out a vague concept of an idea that might be fun to write about, and they helped me decide on a story and where to go with it. Honestly, most of the scenes I came up with are much farther along in the story, and I’m sort of just building toward them. I’m not a really gifted storyteller, either, but there’s something about drawing other people’s stories that is less inspiring to me, so it has to be mine. I love collaborating–if I had another artist drawing with me and also brainstorming the story, that would work, but usually people don’t fall into those categories, so for now I’m on my own.
How’d you figure out the characters?
I wanted representation in the comic really badly. I had an old character that I had in a small apocalypse roleplay. The concept of that roleplay was that everyone had an ‘ironic weakness’ that didn’t match their apocalyptic form. Vritra was fat and had diabetes as her ironic weakness. I liked her, I thought she was cute, but I hadn’t drawn or played with her much since then–especially since my ability to draw different body types was pretty much nonexistent and still suffers from inconsistency. Vritra doesn’t look big in some pictures, and her shape is virtually the same as anyone who is thin, but just bigger. I’m trying to work on that. As someone who is overweight but healthy, I have a lot of irritation with fat shaming and I’d like to be a small cog working to normalize different body types if I can. I really wanted to have scenes where Vritra was picked on and defended herself–and I might sometime, but it’s hard for me to write that into the story with such grandiose things. All in all, V’s a cutie pie, and people who share her body type should get to feel like cutie pies, too. Or sexy divas, or badasses, or whatever they want, really.
Teresa is based on one of my friends, but again, I wanted representation. Unfortunately, in our racist modern society, a lot less mingling happens than I’d like and my friends, alas, do not have many black women. In the world I created, where races are a bit less intense and paid attention to, Teresa doesn’t have a lot of cultural association with any regular race, because it would be dumb of me to try to write something I had no experience with, I guess.. but I wanted girls and boys alike to be able to look and say “hey, that looks like someone I could be”, even if I can’t represent them perfectly. But aside from that base notion, she’s based on a friend of mine who is closest to me. This friend is probably the most awesome person on earth. She’s the kind of girl that can make any situation better. Miller isn’t going to be exactly like that–I think that if I were to write Megan as Megan, she’d be a bit unbelievable in how awesome she is.
Dannren is supposed to be more.. latino? Hispanic? in color, at least. Again, races aren’t really represented culturally. He’s also my token boy, I guess. He’s based off another friend of mine who is a bit more charismatic and cute and I’ll admit that he’s got the least thought put into him; something about Pestilence being a difficult horseman to get into, but he’s got a lot more development now that I’ve done his chapter that I’ll go into.
Ashley’s gender fluid and honestly one of my favorites. They’re not based on anyone–like Vritra, they’re all mine. Again, color wise, they are supposed to be more Asian. I suppose in a lot of ways, representation is my main goal. The story can be told with any character I choose to tell it with. Everyone could be one color or the other. I will admit that lighter skin tones are easier to color, since the color is white. But, Ashley’s got a lot of great selling points, and they are a very important informant and calming influence. While Vritra, Dannren, and Miller all are driving forces, Ashley is more a lubricant for difficult situations. They are accepting and kind and understanding; it comes with being an outcast. While every character has their own struggles to deal with being Godbloods, Ashley is unique in that they are a Dustborn.
I’m going to call it a night, but I’ll probably write another one of these sometime with more things.