Here are some of the first sketches I did back when I began developing the idea for Gill.
In these early incarnations, I kept putting a big number eight on his shirt for some reason. I think it might be a holdover from my own childhood. I’ve never followed sports, yet I always seemed to receive some article of clothing with a football teams logo, or players number on it when I was a kid.
We moved to Colorado when I was 10, and someone gave me a big orange winter jacket with the Denver Broncos logo on it. Other kids used to compliment it and ask me who my favorite player was. I learned pretty quickly that “I don’t watch sports” was the wrong answer to that question. To most people it was pretty much the same thing as saying, “I’m gay.” After some trial and error, I discovered that “John Elway” was a universally acceptable answer, so I learned to say that and change the subject as quickly as possible … before the conversation turned to the outcome of actual games, or statistics, or something.
This is the point where I started to like the way Gill looked and when I started writing the strips. There’s an early version of Shandra up there too. Except for the hair, she didn’t change too much from the early drawings I did of her. Strangely I had a firmer grasp of her as a character than I did of Gill at first.