This is the comic where I decided to introduce a new character by the name of Swallowtail. Like all my characters aside from Tim, Holter’ya and Magnus’ya (who existed before the comic began), she started off as a one-shot, unnamed character, who I took a liking to after the fact and decided to bring back for some more action. In Swallowtail’s case, she first appeared in an earlier and quite terrrible comic, and my main reason for bringing her back was because I wanted a female character for the comic and I liked her weird hair.

I had no way of knowing when I drew this comic that she really was going to turn everything upside down.

At the time, I was looking back at some of the female characters I had created in the past (in short stories and a few novels I had written in high school), and I realised I had developed a habit of writing really one-dimensional love-interest types, who really had no reason for existing other than to be paired off with the male characters. This insight came just as I was being exposed to modern feminism by a few friends I had met on the internet, and I was also introduced to the all-knowing blogosphere, which provided a further window into different ideologies to which I had previously been largely ignorant. Intrigued, but not yet convinced, I decided that I could perhaps tackle my problem of writing terrible female characters by creating one who represented these new viewpoints, if for no other reason than to have a character who wasn’t just a mirror of my own beliefs.

Fast forward to today, and it turns out that my plan failed, because Swallowtail is very much a mirror of my own beliefs (aside from her paganism and a few other details, of course). In fact, she has become much more of a writer’s surrogate than the actual character of Tim, who is, at this stage at least, mostly just satire of myself and a lot of the things that I used to believe in. It has been a rather strange learning process, for me: carefully approaching viewpoints by applying them to a fictional character, only to realise that, when viewed through this lens, they actually make a lot of sense, and so gradually absorbing them into my own web of beliefs. It probably seems rather obvious in hindsight, but sometimes it is the weirdest things that can open your eyes.

Yeah, I know, I know… I spend five minutes empathizing with a woman (and a fictional one, at that), and suddenly I think feminism is a good idea? That’s pretty shocking, right?