Suichi is a ridiculously heavy sleeper who does not conform to normal notions about when sleep should take place. And he really did have like two or three alarm clocks at one point, back when he cared about waking up on time.
One of the ways my art evolved over time was that I started doing underdrawings in blue pencil, since you can remove those by messing with channels in Photoshop. This was before that, and I spent a bunch of extra time digitally erasing unnecessary lines.
At the time I was also friends with a guy who went by A-sama (from “Aaron”), who was kind enough to put together software to handle posting the comic and such. This was before stuff like WordPress existed (it was 2002 after all) and webcomic stuff was still pretty primitive by today’s standards, so in hindsight it was kind of kludgey in some ways, but still. It was also a variant of the software he made for Nekobox, a webcomic by another artist we knew at the time. It didn’t have a comment system per se, but a “rant” system where a set of people whose accounts were hard-coded, so my friends and I would post about stuff and everyone else had to comment by emailing me. I made a couple attempts at having a forum though.
2002. I was in community college, which seems like a long time ago now. I don’t really think of myself as an artist so much as a writer who sometimes doodles, but even by my standards the earliest Neko Machi art is pretty cringeworthy, and I improved a whole lot over the course of doing lots of comics. In college my comics were looking back to high school, and then out of college my comics started looking back to college, not that my experiences with any of those were all that interesting or even typical.
Kitty (the one with the goggles) is based on me, Sylvia (the sleeping one) is based on my friend Suichi, and Arlene (the teacher) was based on my sister’s pet cat (who she still has, though Arlene is freaked out by strangers and usually hides when I’m visiting). I made Arlene into a teacher fond of delivering brain twisters. I used to work as a security guard for a company where one of the main managers was a woman named Arlene, and one of my coworkers saw my site and thought I was making fun of her (not that he’d have objected if I was), but it was just about the cat, who I quite liked despite her being so neurotic.
I have kind of an idiosyncratic way of going about creating things. I start with some kind of kernel of an idea, and I have to really get in there and try stuff out to fully discover what it is I’m really trying to do. I mention this because Neko Machi is in some ways that kind of flailing around extended over the course of a decade or so and (including myself) no less than three artists. I hit on the idea of doing a comic about a bunch of catgirls loosely based on me and my friends, and somehow or other it became a thing and got a small following. At a certain point between tendonitis and a more mental burnout, I stopped doing it, and then when C. Ellis told me she was looking for someone to work with on a webcomic we ended up collaborating for a while until her real paying work started to take up too much of her time. It was weird, it meandered a lot, and it took a long time for me to figure out what I really wanted to express with it. But it was also something really fun that I did with friends and shared with even more friends.
A while ago I hit on the idea of starting to post new stuff to the Neko Machi site, both to have an outlet for other stuff and to keep our accomplishments with it on the internet. Then the WordPress/ComicPress install I had kind of died on me. I was never a big fan of ComicPress, but at the time it was pretty much the best option. On the other hand for whatever reason it popped into my head that I could start reposting the comic a chapter at a time in normal WordPress posts, so this is me getting the site up and running again. The plan is to go through the whole history of Neko Machi a chapter at a time. I’ll get into doing other things with this site over time, but right now that’s going to be the main focus of it. So, here I am doing a new WordPress install. I really couldn’t say how many of these things I’ve done over the years. There are other blogging platforms, but it’s the path of least resistance at this point, especially if I’m not using a wonky, kludgey theme for it.
Anyway, if you’re reading this now, chances are you’ve been reading for a long time already, so thank you.