I am not Rick Dodge. We have very little in common if the truth were to be told.

Where we are similar (outside of our look since his look is based on mine. But prettied up a bit.) is that we’re both good at insults. Rick Dodge revels inĀ it and has built a successful business around that fact. I tend to hide it, only trotting the insults out with friends or when I slip up. For example; One day at work I kept bumping into somebody with the furniture we were moving and finally he got tired of it and looked up at me and said; “If that happens one more time you and me are going to step outside and have words.” Which caused me to laugh and say; “What are the words going to be? ‘Please don’t hurt me Steve.’?

That was mean and it just slipped out. I try to keep that guy… let’s call him Rick Dodge for convenience sake, under wraps. While I might tell a joke or two at someone’s expense I try to make sure they’re light-hearted and meaningless. But Dodge goes for the throat. Knowing I was good at insults I was asked to play Simon Cowell in an American Idol spoof called Armageddon Idol and I was very reluctant to agree. I didn’t feel right insulting people who were just trying to do their best. Finally, I agreed to do it under the condition that I be allowed to write the insults first so as to not have them specifically relate to the singers. One of the jokes/insults gave me Rick Dodge.

I thought it would be funny if a performance was so reviled by Simon Cowell that he was rendered speechless but still had the ability to draw out his disdain. The first picture was of me (since I wasn’t about to die my blonde hair or shave off my sideburns to play the part), standing, scowling and waving while one hand rests on a lever of some sort. The next picture was of one of the famous singers who will one day appear in the strip (and whose identity I would like to keep secret), standing with his hands behind his back and a rope around his neck.

He looks sad.

Back to me, and a drawing of me pulling on that lever. The next was of the famous singer, a trap door and a hangman’s galley. Then a picture of a funeral. Then me in the bushes at that funeral pointing and laughing. And finally me as Calvin, urinating on the dead singer’s grave.

A simple, tasteful joke.

It went over rather well and since I’d spent a lot of effort on getting the character to look right I decided I wanted to do more with him. But I couldn’t decide on the setting. Couldn’t decide on the supporting cast. Didn’t even have a name.

I have no idea why his name became Rick Dodge. It just was one day. And it fit, and he became a seperate character. Not a part of me given voice, but someone else’s voice entirely.

Because I am not Rick Dodge. But I’m no longer sure if that’s a good thing.

Steve Swanson