This is something that I’m circling in the story lately and I figured I should address it directly, namely;

Just how famous is Rick Dodge in his world?

When I started work on the strip he was always intended to be moderately famous, a rock star recluse with one hit album and a well-known website wherein he criticizes other musicians but as the story grew I came to realize something fundamental to how the world works and how Rick Dodge would fit into it:

Rick Dodge would be one of the most famous men alive in his world.

That’s a helluva statement, I realize that, and since I’m the creator of the world and the writer of the strip (forget the artist, he doesn’t matter) I could just SAY he’s the most famous man on his world and that would be true for my creation. But I don’t want to do that, just say it and make it so, I wanted to justify that position.

Take Kurt Cobain after the success of Nevermind, hugely famous, the voice of a generation (which irritates me for two reasons: One-I’m a member of that generation and don’t like his music and don’t feel it speaks for me. Two-All the cute girls in my high school who adopted the grunge look for grade eleven and twelve. Yeah. Baggy. Shapeless. Awesome.) and imagine he did what Rick did and pulled the plug without satiating the demand for Nirvana.

The audience would be thirsty.

Imagine that Kurt then took to writing incendiary criticisms of other musicians in a nationally syndicated newspaper column. And imagine that Kurt did it with style, wit, and humor. While simultaneously getting into public spats with fans of other musicians, and other musicians, every single day.

Kurt would have dominated the news cycle. A slow news day, see who Kurt is slagging, write an article about it and watch the attention roll in.

Pretty famous.

Then imagine Kurt went too far and got a famous musician (like maybe Michael Bolton) so riled up that said famous musician hunted him down and shot him ten times.

Imagine if instead of dying he hung on in a coma for six months as news crews kept vigil. The trial of Michael Bolton. The acquittal of Michael Bolton. Michael Bolton going free.

Kurt then comes out of the coma and resumes his job as critic with a few stunts (making a talk show circuit, critiquing 100 albums in 100 hours straight) to get his profile back up.

He’d be beyond pretty famous by that point.

A few months down the road Kurt is hired to replace Simon Cowell on the second season of American Idol and sets up a huge stunt to give the middle finger to a sponsor and ends up dying by electrocution. On live television.

Back in a coma.

A concert is set up to celebrate Kurt’s death. A concert at which Kurt appears and scares off all the acts that were there to join in the celebration. A riot ensues.

A month or so later news gets out that Kurt is dating Britney Spears, whose career he ruined via his harsh criticism. But she’s only a year or so removed from being the biggest popstar on the planet. They go out on a very public date. At the end of which he dies.

Again.

For the third time in public.

A while later they break up. He goes out on some other dates. Then they get back together and word leaks out that he’s helping Britney with a new album.

Imagine that the first single isn’t just a smash hit but also an incredibly good song.

That sounds like Kurt Cobain would be the most famous man on earth, right?

Rick Dodge would be even more famous. The added element of the wonder kids. The added element of the business oriented pushy mother. The added element of being tall and good looking. The smile and twitch of his eyebrows. The added element of the ubiquitous media of the modern era. The added element of having a hugely successful music website. The added element of speaking four languages and insulting the music of those speakers (Spanish, English, Korean, Hebrew).

He’d be Michael Jordon, Michael Jackson, and Muhammad Ali. All in one.

In a fragmented entertainment world everyone, worldwide, would have knowledge of, and an opinion on Rick Dodge.

Now, I wish I could show him as that famous in the strip, but basically it’s set up as a family sitcom with a tight focus on how Rick interacts with that family and sometimes I think I don’t do a good enough job of pulling back and showing you just how famous Rick Dodge would actually be.

In fairness to me, the writer, part of that is the fault of the artist (that lazy bastard) who is not a big fan of doing crowd scenes.

Luckily, there are many, many, many crowd scenes coming up in the next few months which I am very much looking forward to writing (sample of script; two panels, many, many angry faces yelling at Rick). My artist is not looking forward to them but I just tell him to shut up and get back in his cage (artists only understand mistreatment. They’re used to it. Prefer it in fact).

Hope that illuminates what’s been happening in the strip lately. I’ve been a little worried that people might have been a little confused and have taken for granted that they have been spending time reading the adventures of a major league celebrity instead of just a cranky critic with some hot chicks and some crazy toddlers.

Thanks for reading,

Steve