I’m Famous! 109 and Hollywood Bums

I'm Famous! 109
I’m Famous! 109, the Wolf Pack’s triumphant return

This was a fun one, as it finally brings back the much beloved Wolf Pack. Well, I don’t know if he’s really all that beloved, but it’s another character for us to pick on. I wrote him out way back at number 48, and was missing him.

Why’d I write him out to begin with? I don’t know. I thought it would be interesting/funny. And I think we did make some funny jokes about how forgettable the character is and how self centered the Lone Wolf is.

A few words about this imagery. It is actually a Google street view of world famous Sunset Blvd. Not a particularly nice part of it, but not the worst either. I really enjoy manipulating these photos and combining them with drawings. I don’t think a lot of people are doing it based on what I see and how people react to it. It’s quite striking really.

And the Wolf Pack’s clothing and pose is based on an actual bum in Hollywood. It’s those kind of authentic details that make the comics great! I think.

Speaking of…Did you know in 2005 LA became the homeless capital of the United States? Other places even started dumping their homeless there. It still is the capitol, with the 2011 census estimating there are 51,000 homeless people in the county on any given night. There’s a 50 block neighborhood known as Skid Row where you can find well over 6,000 homeless anytime.

Another fun fact, San Francisco is often considered number two, or even number one since it has the highest ratio of homeless to total population (LA has a population 3.6 times the size of SF, and more homeless, but a lower ratio).

So I’m surrounded by homelessness. Very sad, and noticeable when visiting either of these cities. Though the place I’ve really experienced homeless people on a daily basis was Berkeley while I was going to college. I lived near world famous People’s Park and encountered them just outside my door.

In high school I took part in a community service program where I got to really learn about homelessness, called the Urban Plunge. This was a weekend where I helped out at a food kitchen, slept on the floor in a homeless shelter, met with the people in charge of the problem in San Jose’s city counsel, spoke with police who deal with it everyday, went to a homeless camp under a freeway, entered abandoned homes where squatters stay, met with a church group that tries to help with the homeless and more.

So it was a busy, eye opening weekend that I often think back on…though I don’t usually talk about it. Homelessness is a real problem that doesn’t get enough attention, and isn’t nearly as prevalent in many other major countries. These people are homeless for a wide variety of reasons (out of a job, addict, mentally retarded, lack of education, poor upbringing, bad luck, etc.) and it is very hard for them to get out of that situation. It’s difficult to get a job or anything like that when you don’t have an address, phone, email or any real way to be contacted.

So that’s something to think about and help give you some perspective when you’re thinking about how much your life sucks. It could be a lot worse. I know I talk about being poor, but I’m certainly not poor in comparison. I’m more barely getting by, lower middle class poor. And it’s been rough lately with my job situation getting worse and looking for new work in a dead economy.

Stressful times. But not when I’m drawing. A nice thing about drawing a comic; it’s a world you have total control over.

Now let’s talk sidekicks. Even in straight forward hero comics sidekicks are a bit of a joke, and Alex and I certainly tend to treat them as such. It’s just a very weird, unreal concept to think of these willingly subservient people happily dedicating themselves to aiding someone else in fighting crime and willingly accepting their status as a lesser beings.

It’s just silly. At times in life I’ve thought of friends as sidekicks (including Alex) but more as a funny joke, and a role that always seemed short lived. I think that’s why readers can’t really take them seriously. Basically we’ve got Lightning Lad (who we originally killed), Wolf Pack (who originally didn’t speak) and maybe you could count Guerrilla (who was a big anthropomorphic ape, since comics love to have apes for no reason (there’s a rich history of this, and even a pretty good book on the subject)).

So we don’t take our sidekicks too seriously. Though I think you’ll find there’s a lot more to this new Lightning Lad and the role he’ll play.

The original idea for the Wolf Pack was that he’d be constantly disrespected and not allowed to speak until one day just letting loose about how much he hates the Lone Wolf, and possibly connecting with Black Snow (who was supposed to be a former Lone Wolf sidekick as well). Then we actually planned to give him one line in issue 7, pointing out to the Lone Wolf that he had just let the Jester get away after a chance meeting at a video rental store (see why we decided to start the series over?).

But the Wolf Pack of I’m Famous! has always spoke, and we made him into a bizarre simpleton. I was skeptical at first (it was Alex’s idea), but I think he’s really funny in his own weird way. Get ready to see him featured in the next few comics I wrote.

You might wonder how the Wolf Pack will be portrayed in Two Drink Minimum? The honest answer, I don’t know. I don’t even know if he’s in it. I assume he will be, the Lone Wolf is going to be (as we’ve already had characters talking about him, and he’s a significant plot point). We’ll see when the Lone Wolf’s scenes get written, I guess.

But for now enjoy this silly, simple minded, highly damaged, buffoonish sidekick and his antics. Oh, and think about that last panel. It’s another hint at something we’ve been hinting at for awhile now, for people paying close attention and perceptive to clues.

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