Back in 2001 and 2002, I had the job from Hell. No, wait, Hell wouldn’t have the job - too evil. Front line phone firewall for a DSL ISP, dealing with people who have trouble spelling the dot in an URL. It was bad. Very bad. It got to the point where I’d either find an outlet for the anger and frustration dealing with the people calling or develop software to send a boot to the head over IP. I chose the outlet and created what was meant to be a text-based comic. (Read: A series of short chapters of an on-going serialized story based on the tropes of superhero comic books.)
Prior to starting Subject 13, I was playing with the idea of a superhero setting where the hero IDs continue through generations while the person behind the mask changed. Naturally, I then went and started a series based on the specific character who doesn’t have a hero ID. Go fig. However, the point of Subject 13 was to redirect frustration. If I couldn’t smack the callers around (and I caught myself at least once checking the address of a caller to see how difficult it’d be to go and deliver the needed boot to the head), then I’d do it through metaphor and symbolism. The main character, Natasha Teresa “Nasty” Giuliano, became my avatar, letting me hit and swear at work while still keeping my job and remaining out of jail.
The original setting of the story is New York City. Why? Because almost every superhero is based either in New York City or a fictitious version* of it. NYC is a large city, easy for one person to be overlooked, even if she has superpowers. It gave Nasty some semblance of anonymity as she developed. Ideal, really.
Oh, and already there’s part of her personality developed. Her nickname basically describes her. It’s not a name she’d choose to call herself; it’s one that was imposed by classmates. Short-tempered, quick to lash out. Perfect for allowing the author to hit callers without getting in trouble.
The job from Hell has since ended. Best day of my life, really. This reduced the need to boot people in the head a great degree.** This let Nasty develop beyond her core concept, as will be seen in later issues.
Starting in the New Year, read issues of Subject 13 weekly.
* Metropolis is technically a fictional Toronto, but has been a replacement New York.
** There are still people who need one, just not from me.