- Helvetica is all about embracing the “bad girl” - my answer to all the those loveable roguish male heroes. Mean, narcissistic and hilarious with just enough of a glimmer of kindness to redeem her and goofiness to make her relatable. She’s easy to write, in a lot of ways she’s me exaggerated by several degrees - she’s definitely a female power fantasy.
- She’s my rejection of female beauty in american media - she’s ungraceful, aggressively feminine, old, skinny and male-proportioned (and can be interpreted as MtF or gender fluid), yet she’s presented as self-loving, confident and sexual.
- She’s been close to and fond of lots of people over the years but not romantically, by choice and preference. H&J’s narrative will not confront this as a negative thing.
- If I draw her off model I often leave it, over the years I’ve gotten over the urge to make her look pleasing in every panel.
- She never, ever wears pants.
- John is the sidekick. He is not Helvetica’s equal, although he is initially presented that way. It’s tempting to see him as our main character - we know where he’s from, what he thinks and what he feels feels about everything while Helvetica remains fairly mysterious. But his role is to be Sherlock’s Watson, to bring us into Helvetica’s world.
- He’s my rejection of male beauty in american media - he’s short, curvy, wide-eyed, young (but not in a gangly, stubbly, coming-of-age way), sweetly mannered and dressed in revealing outfits. He’s prudish and viriginal, but still consistently framed as an object of desire.
- He’s a kid. I think the mustache throws people off but he’s only 22-23 yo. He’s also kind of sheltered (his cross, his one room classroom education are clues). It’s important to keep in mind because that informs his naiveté.
- That said he can be fucking wily and is not above faking dumb blonde to mess with people.
- When in doubt, think Tom Selleck as Magnum, PI. Works every time.
- Caslon is the straight man - that is, she is always the sanest person in the room. Everyone in H&J is over the top except her, she’s sort of me winking and rolling my eyes at the audience. One of her first lines is essentially “Are PIs even a real thing?”.
- She tends to be more herself around men, for better or worse, because she doesn’t care what they think of her and she’s more accustomed to male environments.
- Caslon crushes hard and easily and goofily. She’s definitely a romantic at heart, despite her sarcastic front.
- When someone actually earns her trust she’s loyal to them to the end.
- She is, of course, the Lestrade to Helvetica and John’s Sherlock and Watson.
Helvetica is a very important character to me and I didn’t know why until you described her as a female power fantasy. Thank you so much for writing her.