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Electric Wonderland "The Influencer" Talkback

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Peter Paltridge

Ay Carumba
Staff member

I came up with the initial idea for this story awhile ago, inspired by this article: http://jezebel.com/my-niece-is-a-teenage-instagram-celebrity-1658994561

I'm glad I took so long to get around to creating it, though. When that article was written, barely anybody knew or understood what was going on here, and there was not a word for it. "Influencer" is just perfect because normally, it isn't apparent why these people are popular at all. The word makes it sound like it's some kind of mystic phenomenon, hammered home in this story by a guy in a turban calling Sierra the "Chosen One."

The new draft also dovetailed in with a problem I've noticed lately: every single person with a video series on Youtube now has a tag at the end begging you to follow them on social media. But does anyone actually do it? Those messages are so common that nobody pays attention to them anymore. Why even bother putting them in at this point? If you like them, you'll follow them -- if you don't, you won't. Begging changes nothing.

And now that I think about it, the painter and the vandal should have been working on the same wall. Darn!

Now..a different subject. After an absence of over two years, you might be wondering where Princess Pi is. The truth is...she's getting remodeled.

As you know, the series started out as a random, anything-goes-type deal. The problem was, I gradually lost interest in that kind of thing and the comic shifted toward my natural element, satire....and the problem with THAT is, Pi is a vaguely defined character who wasn't built to handle stories of any substance. She was made to be whatever I needed her to be for the purpose of the story. If I try anything else with her, it doesn't work so well.

I don't really want to completely throw Pi away, though. It's a good character design and a good name, and I don't want to waste it. So the series is going through a massive retooling job. Here are the problems I'm trying to fix:
  • Pi will no longer be the solitary ruler of her kingdom (which will no longer be called "Piscataway"). Putting that much burden on her limited the places I could take her.
  • Pi will have friends and family, and a supporting cast. This is mainly what's making things take so long. Coming up with new characters you want to use for years isn't instantaneous, unless you want to do it wrong.
  • Pi won't be indestructible anymore. It won't be necessary because she'll have a bodyguard. I won't say more than that, except to say that this is the best new character I've come up with so far.
  • Pi could have a different personality...or she might not; it hasn't been determined yet.
  • There will be a few more Pi stories in the old format, to transition into the new format. The seeds for this have already been planted. Pi's "living relative" mentioned in her last story is the beginning of that storyline.
  • No worries about the "old" Pi stories going offline. I don't do that sort of thing.


Well-Known Member
May I ask whether or not the controversy of some of JonTron's post-Election Tweets had anything to do with part 2 not appearing yet?

Peter Paltridge

Ay Carumba
Staff member
May I ask whether or not the controversy of some of JonTron's post-Election Tweets had anything to do with part 2 not appearing yet?
He only shows up in that one panel. It's not here because I've been working on the art for the new BANG issue over the last few weeks. It's almost done, so I'll be getting back to this story soon.

Peter Paltridge

Ay Carumba
Staff member
There is only a day's worth of work to do on BANG before it's completed, and then I'll be able to get back to the site. Unfortunately I do not have a complete day to do a day's work, so it'll be spread out among several days.

Also, ick. I don't think we'll be seeing "Jon-Trawn" in EW for a while, if ever again.

Peter Paltridge

Ay Carumba
Staff member
Platypus Comix's summer of new material begins with the long-overdue conclusion to The Influencer!

Originally the scene of Trawn trying to pitch the paper to Sierra was just one page, but then for pacing reasons I had to add an extra page to it. That additional page took forever to write -- months. It resulted in the funniest page of the story (I think), but usually I can't afford that much extra time.

Also, this once had a different ending. We lost a great scene between Aerynn and Sierra that was originally written for an earlier draft when she was more of a brat. Because Sierra had revealed herself to be somewhat nice (somewhat), she no longer deserved this reality check:
"You see all those older people in the Seniorscraper? You know why I'm envious of that generation?"
"Because you're crazy? I mean, I don't mean to offend you, but you must be."
"No, because in a way, their existence made more of a mark than ours will."
"Think about this. Somebody in that skyscraper wrote a book. A real, physical book, that was published in the real, physical world. People might not remember the book now. It might not be read very often. The remaining copies of it might be gathering dust in antique shops and attics, but the point is, it's THERE. It's proof that HE was there, that he LIVED! That person made a difference....a permanent difference. A difference you can't delete."
"When more things started moving to digital, in the process they became more disposable. A diary lasts hundreds of years, Sierra. When people started writing in blogs instead....well, who knows how many blogs have vanished without a trace! Anything that only exists digitally is doomed for deletion. No matter how popular you are right now.....there will eventually be NO TRACE of anything you ever created or did here. It's inevitable."
*Aerynn walks away leaving Sierra alone, Sierra wails*


Oh, I like that speech, and wish it made it into the comic. Not even the Internet Archive is immune. Last year they had an archived version of Infoseek's directory, but a month or so ago Disney changed their Robots.txt file, forcing the Internet Archive to erase everything.

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