Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G
sinetimore

A Stress Puppy Primer

A comment I just received from misled_legend  reminded me that a lot of people here on LJ aren't familiar with Stress Puppy.  So, in an attempt at an overdue introduction, here's a quick overview of the series.

The main characters:

Rafferty Daniels.  A dog, specifically a golden retriever.  Raff is a middle manager at International Transglobal, or ITG for short (I have implied the series takes place in Chicago, but haven't explicitly stated it).  Raff is sort of the voice of reason, and as such, he is usually the one acting as a mediator between different people, different departments, different levels of management, whatever.  Raff is an expert at keeping things steady and at subtle manipulations when the situation calls for it.  He's mostly a live and let live guy, and is primarily interested in keeping the peace.  Because he is the pointman for conflict, when others are at loggerheads, he swings between defeatism (it hasn't appeared yet, but the honor bar in his office is stocked with Pepto Bismol, Maalox, and the like instead of booze) and fatalism (in one strip, when a porn actress was hired to give the employees a pep talk, Raff tested if he could hang himself by his tie from the sprinkler pipes in his office.  The tie tore instead).  He's an avid reader and an Episcopalian.  He's also an anglophile (has tea and scones at the local coffee shop, he mostly watches BBC America at home, imports Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars, will occassionally use British slang, etc.).  He's also a Harry Potter nut.  Raff's Palm Pilot has a program that triagulates the positions of people in ITG based on their cell phone signals and displays them on a map.  The map is voice activated -- to start it, he says, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" and taps the Palm Pilot with the stylus, then closes it by saying "Mischief managed" and tapping it again.  He and his two nephews have their own wizard rock band called "The Hogwarts Hall Monitors", and one of their CD's is called, "One Wand To Rule The All."

Holly Faraday.  A red fox.  Raff may be the star, but Holly gets the best lines.  Holly is Raff's work buddy -- they are friends who mutually respect each other, but nothing more (I didn't want their friendship to be based on romantic longing, I wanted it to be genuine).  She is also his frequent partner in crime when reason can't solve the conflict.  I created Holly to be a genuinely empowered woman, and the reason she is a fox is I wanted her to epitomize the whole "clever as a fox" thing.  Holly is a propellerhead and the CTO at ITG.  She has a 168 IQ.  As such, she is a science nut and computer guru (and she knows what strong coffee really is).  A big supporter of Open Source and Linux, she's even contributed to different builds and programs in Intercal.  Raff and Holly share a similar starting point for their views, but they diverge quite radically -- Raff looks for reason and compromise.  Holly is an unrepentant anarchist.  She was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, and her rebelious streak got her in no end of trouble (she mentions she had trouble saying "superior" after "mother").  She is single and also sexually active, but she's not desperate or a slut about it.  If she decides to go to bed with some guy, it's because she wants to, not to bargain for affection, and she's picky about who she chooses.  She is an avid reader, anime nut, and a Ringer (Lord Of The Rings nut) who has an Eye Of Sauron night light, and she and Raff will frequently needle each other about the fandoms they participate in.  She is jealous of Raff's Marauder's Map and is working on her own, but she's "having trouble with the Eye Of Sauron interface".  Holly also derives most of her income outside of ITG.  She has an astonishing array of side businesses, such as selling the doughnuts left over from meetings as day-olds to other departments or an album of nothing but gas noises (#4,228 on Amazon).  When asked why she still works at ITG, she says, "Beer money."  There are ways to buy Holly off, the most frequent tactic involving Rice Krispie Treats.  If she balks, Raff has a stash made with Fruity Pebbles, as well.  That usually does it.

Justin Kale.  A horse.  Justin is the head of HR.  Justin means well, but he's relatively young (he's only thirty).  He tends to focus more on how things should be and new approaches.  He doesn't much care for the old ways and standards.  Raff sort of gets along with him and sort of doesn't, when Justin lets his focus and certainty get in the way (Justin is a horse because I liked the thought of the character permanently looking down his nose at the world).  He and Holly clash quite frequently -- each of them represents something the other truly doesn't like, and they will screw with each other if the opportunity presents itself.

Damocles Oliver Mintner.  A penguin.  Those he is chummy with call him "Dom" for short.  Dom is the CEO.  He and Raff are work friends.  He trusts Raff's observations and judgement and will push through certain things that need to be done.

Raquel.  A raccoon.  Dom's secretary.  She is a one-stop shop for information about what is going on at ITG.  She knows all.  Raff will frequently talk to her for inside information, and she keeps an eye out for things he might need to know.

Clayton Davidson.  A sea gull.  An administrative assistant, Clay is literally a sea gull manager (a manager that flies in, shits all over everything, then flies away, leaving others to clean up the mess).  Clay is a shifty opportunist.  Everyone knows it, and he doesn't understand why he's not moving any higher up the corporate ladder.  Any time he appears, he has some crazy scheme meant to make him look good or solidify his power base of kiss-ups and underlings.  Raff is his frequent nemesis.

Running gags:

Furries don't like the strip.  When I first started working on the strip, I did a bunch of test strips to get feedback.  All the feedback (comic readers, non-comic readers, office types, etc.) was positive except for one group -- the furries.  Six of the seven test readers HATED the strip (the other thought it was just okay).  Apparently, my strip violates a whole slew of unwritten rules about what a furry comic strip is supposed to be like.  For example, according to them, Holly is supposed to be a stand-in for the stereotypical blonde -- oversexed, undersmart, and good for only one thing (the very first comment I got from the furries, in fact, was "Holly's breasts should be bigger").  I didn't want to change the strip, and I turned the negative reaction into a running gag.

Paris Hilton.

Harry Potter vs. Lord Of The Rings.

Bad stand-up.  Every once in a while, Holly will grab a microphone and just start telling bad jokes ("I wanted to be born again, but mom said, 'No.'").

MythBusters.  Holly's office is designated on the building map as M5.  She also has a lexan shield and a Redman suit.  The characters will occassionally say, "Well, THERE'S your problem!" and other such trappings.

Hmm...I think that's the nuts and bolts of things.....
Tags: art, comics, stress puppy
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