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Swimsuit Issue 2011

PeeJee and Bian: Unfamiliar

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At this point I should probably point out the swimsuit issues are not canon. Just throwin' it out there.

When I first toyed with adding Bian into the comic, I knew I'd get complaints. She is connected to the cast but just how won't be revealed for... a good while (I'd originally put a time frame here, but I realized that could screw me later so YOINK!) . I should point out I did answer a few common concerns about her at the end of her introduction storyline but the most common response I get to that is, "I don't read anything but the comic" or "I know you're lying - you're going to wreck Davan and Vanessa I just know it." Although, to be honest, paranoia about Davan and Vanessa's continuing happiness was leading to random bursts of reader insanity before Bian entered the strip. Still, I stand by it - the only clue I'll give is that Bian will not be romantically linked to any character who'd appeared in S*P before she did.

I'll be honest, I can understand the frustration around her. She just sorta popped up out of nowhere with no explanation. That's frustrating. Most people just seem confused but roll with it. A few people (very few, thankfully) have played the "we're your readers you OWE us an explanation" card (which I counter with the "I don't even owe you a comic so go try that bullshit on someone else" card. I have a lot of those cards). But the complaint that shocked me the most - and I want to emphasize this is not a common complaint but I've received it more than once - is about Bian's ethnicity. For a couple of readers, the fact she's half black was really upsetting. For another reader, the fact she's half-white was very upsetting. One reader was "concerned" that I might be giving the comic over to "urban influences." My response to that was, "The comic's always taken place in cities." I knew what he meant and was struggling to say ("No, I mean... y'know, urban people." "Yeah, I've been pretty urban myself - since I was about five." "NO.") but it was kind of hilarious watching someone trying so hard not to sound racist and... well, failing miserably.

But y'know what's weird? When Kim first appeared I got a very blunt complaint about her that made no bones about the fact that this reader didn't want a black character around. But Sanderson? Cab? Nothin'. Hettie? Nope. No one cared. The only other "that character's not white" complaint I got was about Gaspar and that was only when he showed up in Something*Positive.

A friend once asked me if I ever got any complaints about the comic that weren't insane. My only reply was, "Probably."
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