T-Shirts and Leading Ladies

As part of my cartoon pitch that’s coming up soon (now slated for early August), my agent has emphasized the importance of developing merchandise to show the execs the value of my cartoon as a brand. So we’ve made T shirts. I made the drawings and color seps. He picked shirt colors that would make the art really pop and had one of his contacts print them up.

We’ll reserve enough shirts to make the presentation and hand to the execs as freebies. The rest will be made available to all of you here on the website. Perhaps I’ll stick ‘em in the T-shirts tab instead of spreadshirt for a while. Perhaps I’ll stick ‘em on Etsy. I haven’t decided yet.

I don’t have the T shirts yet, nor do I know what my agent chose as far as brand name, fiber content, sizes or quantities, but if this run goes well, I’ll have more made with different colored shirts and new images of the rest of the cast. I’ll let you know as soon as the shirts become available. I’ll put ‘em up for sale right here on the website.

We’ve got Captain Syd with his really ridiculous gun that shoots mustard, pie and silverwear. We’ve got helmsman Francine DuLaney in full Kung Fu mode, since you can’t fly a spaceship without a pilot who can hold her own. We’ve got the villains represented with an example Plangron giving his war cry. Two group shots sum up the lot, one stoic yet intimidating, the other in full badass mode with weapons pointed every which way.

It’s really exciting to see the presentation come together so well.

As far as the pitch goes, we have a really mixed crowd coming to look at my work. I’ve been told that a number of the execs are women, so we’re emphasizing the female character, Francine. She flies the ship, she’s probably a size 14 or 16, she’s an adept martial artist and has an intuitive knack for piloting vehicles. She’s not necessarily a gearhead, but she can figure out controls with just a few minutes trial and error.

Francine’s a big girl but she doesn’t mind being big. She loves her curves and likes to laugh. She isn’t libidinous, but as the story goes on her feelings for one of the guys will become apparent. I haven’t decided how far I’ll go with Francine’s pursuit of this particularly standoffish and shy character, but she’ll have to wear him down. It’ll be great. I’m not going to make a point about her size and body-shape politics. I do think that big women have a bad rap in our culture, but I think that’s turning around. I think there’s a difference between having a big body and simply being fat. Francine is the former.

One of the b-list characters has an episode all to herself. She saves the day with her knowledge of chemistry. Again, I’ve presented a quick-thinking, smart female who doesn’t cower under pressure of alien attacks and certain death and wait for a man to come scrape her off the tiles.

The other female lead is Estelle, whom I modeled after a good friend I knew in Oakland. Estelle’s a totally crass, perverse, foul-mouthed, hilarious punk chick scrapper but she has a heart of gold, just like my friend. None of the women characters in my title are barbie dolls. I’m not opposed to throwing such a character into the mix just to see what happens. I’m not a PC fellow and I’m not trying to force an element of feminism into my title. I’m simply drawing from life, and most of the women I know are simply not ditzy weaklings.

So, in case it sounds like I’m pitching female characters just to grease up the Executivas, I’m not. I’ve had these characters in my head for a long time before I even knew I was gonna pitch a cartoon series. The primary reason we’re pitching the lady characters is to let the whole room know that this show isn’t just for boys. I know a lot of women and girls who like sci fi and adventure cartoons. Not every girl loves rainbows and ponies. And I just didn’t want to write a story that involved only guy characaters. As with my book, there was really no target audience, and as a result, both guys and girls of all ages like the book equally. I get emails from guys and dads as well as girls and moms saying they like the book. So, I’m hoping the same appeal holds for my cartoon. I’m hoping I won’t have to play up any character based on gender, or feel any pressure to favor a character just because she’s a woman. But since we have a rare opportunity to meet with a mixed group of execs, we’re certainly not gonna downplay the fact that this cartoon will have plenty of ladies who can bring it.

Anyway. That’s why we didn’t feature Syd’s right hand man, Wronky, as the second solo-character shirt. A guy may have made all this stuff up, but gals need not feel excluded.

Thanks everybody!