Enter: The Obligatory Female Character
Original Release Date: July 10, 2006
I have mixed feelings about Renee's debut today. How obvious is it that she was more or less my dream girl brought to life on paper? Strong woman, takes no guff, likes video games. Not too terribly long after this, I started listening to the Webcomics Weekly podcast, and on one episode, Kris Straub talked about how he was out of his element writing for female characters and saw a lot of other webcomic creators struggling with the same thing, and how they frequently resorted to the "she's a gamer" trope. That's exactly what Renee started as, and you'll see soon enough that the gaming habit is only brought up, briefly, a couple more times in the rest of the series. It was (and probably still is) a pretty common trope of female characters in webcomics. There isn't anything wrong with that, necessarily; I just felt pressured/like I owed it to her(?) to make her unique and tough and not just an embodiment of my ideal woman.
I felt really foolish about Renee for a long time. I honestly don't know how well she's written or if my female readers relate to her at all. My approach was never to "write for a female," but simply to write her as another human being. I'm sure I took some qualities from my female friends, as well. It was really important to me to keep her real, to not oversexualize her or otherwise just use her as eye candy. She's in the mix with the guys at all times.
I like this kid in the background. He seems really amused by Mike and Renee's exchange. The interjecting sound effects from the Berzerk machine are accurate in both timing and how irritating they would probably be during this exchange. I seem to have figured out Mike's physique, as well.