Spotlight: Magnolia Porter

I've known Magnolia Porter for years and was thrilled to hear that she had contacted us about writing an arc for PvP. "I don't know if you guys accept guest strips, but I had an idea about Cole's daughter coming home from school," she said. So we started talking and we loved her outline. Plus, it's just exciting to work with other writers in collaboration on PvP. The strip has grown and flourished since Dylan Meconis came on as a staff writer, so the idea of working with another writer to develop my characters isn't as new or scary as it maybe once was.

The subject of Cole and his family is a tricky. You see, when I created PvP, I didn't expect it to turn into anything important. I didn't expect it to last. Cole Richards started out as a caricature of a friend and co-worker named Richard Stockton. I gave Richard's first name to Cole as his last, and in the early days of the strip I named Cole's family after Richard's: his wife, Donna, Dylan and Lindsay, his kids. It was just for fun.

The problem is that the strip did go somewhere, it did last, and I distanced from any connection between Cole the cartoon and Richard the person because when you are trying to develop a character the last thing you want to do is offend your close friends. What if I decided to take Cole and Donna in a direction that might make the real world Richard and Donna think I view them in the same way? It felt limiting and problematic. So the comic characters of Donna, Dylan, and Lindsay just kind of just never got mentioned again.

Of course, since then, we've all gotten older. I've become a better writer and cartoonist, and Richard and Donna (who is an author herself) understand and love the idea of these characters doing things they never would and still having that cool inside-baseball connection to them. When I asked Donna, "What if I wanted them to get divorced one day?" her response was "That would be hilarious! Make Donna demand all Cole's WoW gold in the divorce."

It's time to bring Cole's family back into the strip. Finding a way to do that without portraying Cole as some deadbeat dad, simply because his creator didn't know how to properly handle the concept of Cole's family, seems unfair (and super meta). Fortunately, Magnolia felt the same way and that's exactly what she pitched us. The timing of her reaching out couldn't have been more fortuitous.

Magnolia and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to who Lindsay is and what we want her relationship with her father to be. It's been a blast working with Magnolia, and I owe her a big "thank you" for giving me the push to creatively explore this corner of PvP continuity. I would never have done it if she hadn't insisted we could pull it off. PvP will be richer because of Magnolia's contribution, which is just a wonderful thing.

When she's not busy making me look like an awesome cartoonist, Magnolia is busy creating her own comics and writing her own stories. Her ongoing comic, Monster Pulse, about a group of kids who have parts of their body come to life as monster companions is delicious. And her visual novel Rose of Winter is worth picking up on Steam. She also has a Patreon where you can support all her works directly!

If you like what's going on in PvP right now, be sure to check out Magnolia's other works. Our story with Lindsay & Cole continues this week and next. We really hope you enjoy it.