Jin became one of my favorite characters to write during the course of the strip. Not because I liked him as a person, but because of how he bounced off others. Too confident with Mud, too tentative with Rick, aggressive with Charles.

Why did I have his marriage start and end off page? Two reasons: This story was about Dodge, the only thing that should be in is stuff that relates to Dodge (in general) and a long storyline revolving around Jin getting married to the wrong girl and how it slowly devolved into barely a roommate situation wouldn’t play into the themes I was working with. As contrast? Possibly.

But Rick is the contrast. He works against himself. The likelihood of Rick learning by observing someone else’s mistakes is pretty much nil.

Over the years I hinted that he’d married the wrong girl, that he wanted kids and she didn’t, that she liked Rick a bit too much, that he didn’t want her around his family, that she was never around when he was working and how she was hardly something he talked about. Not that I made it a point but I wanted people to see it when it all came together.

With that in mind; why was Jin different based on who he was talking with? Because of respect.
He likes Charles fine, thinks Charles is good at his job, appreciates Charles’ opinions, but Charles works for him. Charles’ success in the strip is based on a promotion from someone else (Rick Dodge). He didn’t build his site, Charles was given his site and a giant boost. Charles doesn’t have Rick’s musical talent, didn’t build a platform like Rick did, and is therefore (in Jin’s mind) not worth much respect.

He likes Mud a lot. Respects Mud a lot. But Mud is too easygoing to fight with, to be in opposition to, and at Jin’s core is a fighter. He won’t let anyone tell him what to do and he refuses to be pushed around or to live his life by fitting into other people’s life. Instead Jin treats Mud as a good friend and acts as he would around any other friend.

Now, I said Jin is a fighter who won’t let anyone push him around but you have to be indignant about that because what about Rick? Rick would lead him around without any complaints from Jin. What’s the difference?

He respects Dodge too much. He knows Dodge is what Dodge denies. He sought out Rick because of that. Fought to work with him. He respects Dodge’s opinions. Even when he disagrees Jin respects the thought process. So when Rick would mock him he would believe there was truth in that mockery and get down on himself.

Rick mocks everyone, he couldn’t have stopped himself even if he had seen the damage he was doing. But also the mockery Rick specializes in is the between friends type of mockery. To establish equality and comfort between people. He’s not trying to use it to make people lesser, he’s trying to use it as education and to make friends. It’s not malicious.

But because Jin respects Rick on a near absolute level it was hard for him to get past the mockery and grow as a person. Charles changed that because while the tactics were similar, the person delivering the mockery was different, and in opposition to that mockery Jin began to grow into the full man he was intended to be.

He’d have gotten there sooner if he’d stood up to his parents directly instead of avoiding them when he dropped out of college. Or if he’d stood up to Rick like Rick was practically begging him to do.

But with two years of a guardian angel mocking him day and night Jin finally got his feet under him and became the best version of himself. And in doing so became a person who would be of interest to a girl like Geri.

Though cutting off the mullet helped.

Basically; he stopped sucking and his hair was no longer stupid.
Thus; good things happened.

Thanks for reading,

Steve