We won’t see Alex again for some period, so this is an opportune time to review my intentions behind him. With that said, this is NOT an “In Memoriam,” so rest assured he’s not dead. Spare me the hate mail.
“Pervin’ it since 2009”
When I was in high school, and several years afterword (the dumbass age,) every girl I knew that had a complete self-involved assclown for a boyfriend was named Alex. The name for me is stigmatized. Is EVERY Alex an assclown? Obviously not. If you’re reading this and are named Alex, I don’t consider you an assclown. I consider you very cool and encourage you to keep reading. I’ll also throw the name “Seth” in there for good measure. Every Seth I’ve ever employed when in management was completely worthless, rude, and socially nuclear. So if you can gather what I mean from this, the concept is on par with anyone who ever said “Oh I’m never dating a “Justin” again because of such and such.” Or I’m never friending another “Kimberly.” Silly? Maybe. But this is why his name is Alex.
Hmm.. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed fanservice in the comments yet… =P
I had cut some strips that elaborated on his state of origin, but he hails from Illinois. He comes from a family that’s of means (not ultra rich, but well off.) This was originally something he touted. How he’s Mr. Big City in a town of moderate size. I do intend to delve into his character more in the distant future, so it’s something I’ll save. What Alex was attending school for was not art. It’s something that will be of importance later. Art was more his side-interest. In the beginning, many readers associated Alex as my own self insertion into the strip. If that were true, that would be some self loathing of epic proportions. I hate his character. If his drawing came to life I would smash it on the table. All too often, because the creators of visual media are artists themselves, they portray their creative characters in an overly cheery, docile, inquisitive light. The gentle dreamer. I really wanted to break from this. There is actually a tremendous amount of ego involved in art. If you ever feel inclined to get into a pissing match for pissing sake, find an artist. Pick a subject, watch ‘em go. Ever read an artist’s blog/twitter when they’re talking about social issues? The government? Religion? Yeah… wow. You ended up taken aback about how extremist they were on a certain matter? Alex encompasses that.
Alex is also narcissistic (like many of the characters still are at this point.) Alex is a loaner to some degree. Alex is highly opinionated. Alex has spent much of his life learning from, consulting with, and mutually agreeing with, people that already share his world view. Alex is not wrong, and will spend hours of his own time researching counter arguments to any evidence you have that he IS wrong. He will do said research ..preemptively. He’s ready in waiting for the chance to put some “close-minded, backwards hillbilly” in their place. The hot word right now is “millennials” right? For our current young adults? I call them Generation Omega, since by the time I’m 60, they will bring about the fall of mankind. If they don’t, their kids sure will. It’s not the fact they’re atheist or religious. Conservative… liberal… whatever. What side of the argument anyone’s on isn’t the core of the issue. What Alex epitomizes is the new “Screw the last billiondy years of human interaction, belief system, moral compass, what-have-you… I know the truth. I learned it all by myself. I’ve got it all figured out right here. BEHOLD MY WISDOM”
We’ve all been like this. It’s the bullheaded, self enlightened part of life. It’s a bridge we all get to. Just less people are seeming to get off anymore. This is a topic I could easily get REALLY into talking about, but then I’d be on my soapbox. And referring back to what I said about creative folk, right? Ha.
Importance to Social Decay:
“If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.” -Paraphrased from whoever.
Very true. But the flip side of that quote is another quote:
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” -A Plumber
Learn from history history’s mistakes. But learn history’s successes too. What has worked? What brought us to this point? The old guard DOES NOT ALWAYS offend if he’s safely gotten us thus far. What Alex doesn’t get, is not everything needs to be broken, then subsequently refashioned. Alex is susceptible to treating people as such ‘things’ as well. I wanted to make a point with his character early on, which may have led readers into think my own mindset was aligned with his. That was the following:
Rest assured I don’t agree with every character. On either side of the aisle. What I want is for multiple voices to be represented. There are plenty of Alexs out there in the world. There are plenty of Quinns and Ellies as well. These characters can’t always agree with me. They can’t parrot out every thought in my head about MY personal views on life. Have you ever read a comic and said to yourself “Ok, yeah… this is totally the artist cramming his viewpoint down my throat.” Me too. It drives me nuts. It’s the most off-putting thing in comics. Anyone read a comic where one character is advocating other characters to vote for certain candidates in elections? 2008 anyone??? Me too. Get off it already. Just draw your friggin cartoon.
Media is inherently liberal. This comic is not. Nor is it the opposite. It only IS what these characters make it to be. Some are extreme, some aren’t. That’s life. This is my life hurled through a blender and rendered into pixels. While it’s MY life, I am only ONE person involved in it. I can’t listen to my own voice all the time. There are plenty of other voices I listen to daily that don’t agree with me, so my comic won’t always either. Nor you. It’s my way of making it as genuine as I can. Shotgun Shuffle is about many things, some real, some absurd. But the underlying guiding force is the breakdown of social interaction. Right now it’s among peers. The climax is on a more grandiose scale.
There were a lot of folks that identified with Alex initially. Liked his character and so on. But then I made him out to be a creepy perv. That was the intention. He’s an opportunist that puts up a fake front. He has some entitlement in his DNA. Why stay with Quinn when Ellie’s better? Or assumedly so. He’s not about trophy wives or girlfriends alone. He’s about trophy people in his life. Everything is an extension of himself. If you were in his life, you’re a mere platform to something better. Quinn dumped his ass when she starting seeing herself in him.
When I described him as a loaner, it’s more to a mental degree. He’ll call someone close-minded, but won’t open his own to other views. He’s socially awkward, but he won’t avoid the social scene. He’s special. He’s gifted. He has something to offer others he thinks they desire or need. Whether they know it or not. He’s never learned to be ‘critically’ introspective. Which is imperative to normal human function. He’ll think about what he’s doing. Yes. Certainly. But only about how great it is. After all, he’s got it all figured out. And will surround himself with those that think likewise.
Is he redeemable? I got asked that several times. Would I redeem him, and when. I’ve learned my fair share of hard lessons in life. I’ve lost friendships I never wanted to. Some I was responsible for, some I was not. I’ve gone down in flames trying to salvage relationships in the past. And to be honest, if you haven’t learned it yet, I’m telling you now: Not everyone in life can be redeemed.
Some people don’t truly forgive others.
Some people like to hold grudges.
Some never get over their own narcissism.
Some repeat their own mistakes over and over to a degree of sheer insanity.
Some never stop listening to themselves. And THAT, is the real killer. I’ve given you two decent quotes. Now I’ll give you the worst one ever uttered: “Do whatever makes you happy.” That single quote is the root driving force of all bad advice. You want someone to leave misery and shattered lives in their wake for their own shallow satisfaction? Tell them that. Give someone complete moral indiscretion? Tell them that. When Alex learns the personal ruin he reaps from that mentality, maybe. Maybe I’ll redeem him.
*Puts away soapbox that wasn’t supposed to be used.*
On a lighter, more artistic note.. there wasn’t much concern on my part over his appearance. Some who gets up and goes “Whatever.” But to him, ‘whatever’ looks good. And so does his facial hair.
I made sure when his glasses were off, his eyes weren’t beady/squinty. I wore glasses as a child, and I hated seeing that when I watched cartoons. Like people who wore glasses were a race of souless molemen. Ridiculous. That and the whole “I can’t see without my glasses.” Come on with that already. Blergh. Alex is a composite character from people I’ve met, but his red hair and general color scheme do reflect someone specific (not of any importance though.) The following are some transitions of Alex as I nailed down his appearance.