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.
Calico meanwhile was based on my friend Jon, hence she’s charismatic, good-looking, popular, and incredibly high-strung. Also notice how I couldn’t be troubled to settle on a format for the comic. On the one hand that’s an advantage of having it be a webcomic, but still.
And then the chapter ended very abruptly with a weird joke, because I don’t even know.
As you’ll see, I also went kind of crazy with bonus stuff early on, because I’d been making comics for a few months beforehand and was just trying stuff out.