First, I just want you to know that I guarantee that "Bubble it out" and "Let me love you over to the edge" will become common phrases in the Gownley household from here on out!
Also, I found your whole second paragraph really resonant. A friend of mine is starting a long term project and has started to notice people seemingly accidentally setting themselves up as obstacles. My only advice was "Get used to it."
But the opposite can be true as well. Unexpected support, or those strange little "coincidences" that allow huge breakthroughs to occur.
Which brings us back to your question...
I remember the moment of Amelia's creation vividly. It was in my basement apartment just outside of Harrisburg. Karen lived in a basement apartment as well, on the other side of the Susquehanna River, but she was over visiting. My art desk was in a corner of the living room, and Karen was sitting on my crappy $300 Boscov's (a local dept. store) couch.
I had signed on with Caliber to produce Shades of Gray, and was working on what I knew would be the last issue. I was just fed up, and disgusted, and sick and tired of cross hatching. (If you go back and look at mid nineties small press comics, it's hilarious how many people were trying to draw like Gerhard without, y'know, knowing how to draw. "If I just cross hatch enough, that will fix everything!") Without giving it a moment's thought, I took the page I was working on, flipped it over, and drew this little girl. She looked almost exactly like she would look in the first published issue.
I held it up and said; "Hey Karen, what do you think of her"
"Yeah. Maybe I should do something with her."
Karen says she remembers me saying something about the girl looking like a troublemaker, but I don't remember that part.
I DO remember saying; "What should we call her?" We both thought about it for about ten seconds or so, and then said simultaneously… "Amelia."
I know nothing about Amelia Earhart other than what everyone knows. I had a very minor acquaintance from years ago named Amelia Something, but no one who would inspire me to pick that name.
Honestly? I just think it was her name, y'know?
Of course, Karen and I know each other pretty well. About a month or so ago we were taking a walk with the kids, and we weren't talking or anything, just out enjoying the local nature trail in silence. About 20 minutes into the walk, apropos of NOTHING, Karen goes; "Which one did they almost leave off?" And I said; "Man Sized Wreath."
Not "Hey Jimmy, which song did R.E.M. almost leave off their 2008 album "Accelerate"? Just "Which one did they almost leave off?"
Karen? anything to add?
Ok, Now I get to ask YOU one… Pretty much since I began being interested in comics, people have been spouting doom and gloom about the future of the medium, but for every disaster, it seems something good or at least new comes out of it. What do you think are the tone or two MOST POSITIVE aspects of the current comics environment for a young cartoonist?