I’m going through some old public posts from my Patreon that never got shared here and cross-posting in an attempt to get back into blogging, like
As a teen I got $20 a month for doing chores and watching my sister. I wasn’t allowed to get a job but I did babysit and find ways to scam more money by making jewellery. Even though I didn’t have much spending money, I eventually got a subscription to Batman. Of all the various imaginary worlds, Batman was one I could picture myself in easily, thanks to all the movies and cartoons. Until that subscription the world of comics weren’t something I knew. To get a comic book that wasn’t Archie you had to drive to the town with a mall (and then choose from the paltry offerings at the little mall bookstore). For things like Batman and the X-Men, I only knew the cartoons. And, unlike the various Batman cartoons, the X-Men show was, well.
So, when I say I loved the X-Men as a kid, you need to understand which X-Men. It was not the cool ones. I didn’t see one of their comic books until maaaaaaybe 2000-it was something with Marrow in it and I definitely picked it up at the mall. For all that I loved Batman, it was the X-Men that I made an OC for. I’ve shared some things about her before, but not the original comics I made, out of embarrassment I guess. Well, I think after 20+ years the statute of limitations on embarrassment in old work is up.
I’m actually kind of impressed, looking at my old sketchbooks, and the pages of the comic that did survive (there were multiple coloured pages that just don’t exist any more) at my innate ability to understand how to put together a minicomic, from pencilling to inking on a separate sheet (with a pen nib!) on the light table in the productions classroom, laying in the text and gradients in Photoshop (which I used on those old candy coloured iMacs). I’d seen less than a dozen comic books at this point and it was well before you could look up resources easily online.
Somewhere as a teen I learned that light could be a particle and a beam and decided to drop that onto a character I’d go on to refine for two decades, until she was basically a thought experiment. But, in the late ‘90s, Nova was an alienated teen who found herself hunted for her abilities to create life-like holograms and killing lasers. When I drew her it was in a sci-fi situation because at the time, I didn’t know that making a character for an existing property and putting them in a fic was a thing.
Even so, when I played out the stories in my mind as a nightly habit to deal with insomnia, Nova worked with the X-Men. Like not knowing what fanfic was, I didn’t know liking girls was an option, so the romantic offers she rebuffed were from Gambit or Wolverine. Girl was too busy for either man’s charms or Xavier’s bureaucracy, she was too busy evading the shadowy government forces because her abilities made her an ideal assassin.
For all of her overpowered skills, even as a teen I knew the best heroes were ones with flaws. Thanks to the way her body processed and used light, Nova’s eyes were super sensitive and one eventually required an eyepatch-which she could see through, just in different wavelengths. Take that, other OCs with violet coloured eyes, my OC’s powers slowly damage her and the thing that makes her special eventually alienate her from normality.
That’s the form, more or less, that Nova was in until I saw Suicide Squad in theatres a couple of years ago. I pretty much immediately wanted to drop her into that world and even posted about it on Patreon once or twice. She was still the same basic character at first, the blacked-out lens of her glasses, same overall look and motivations. But I kept picking at the idea, reshaping it to fit the world and the way I create characters now.
I’d always wanted to find a fandom and I did, with Dungeons & Dragons, but this character has been with me for so long I wanted to do something with her. Since I have an AO3 (that currently has a Batman drabble and a couple fics about a lucha libre show) I figure I might as well give her an end and finally write her into the worlds I imagined her in.
Even with all the other things I have to get done weighing heavy, it’s nice to have something purely indulgent, like a gift to teen me.