What’s in a Name?on February 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Coming up with the name of a comic strip isn’t necessarily an easy process. You want your title to be something different than what’s already out there, and you also want it to be memorable. But most importantly, you want to make sure that you pick a name that will allow your strip to grow and change.
I’ve made the mistake of limiting the growth of my comic strip in the past with Crunchy. Crunchy originally followed the adventures of a pet turtle of the same name. As the strip went on, however, Crunchy the Turtle was featured less and less. Soon the strip started to focus more on the neighborhood kids and Crunchy the Turtle went from the strip’s star character to a recurring character. After I ended Crunchy I made a mental note that the title of my future comic strip series would leave them more open for evolution.
Shortly after Crunchy ended I came up with the concept for Suburban Fairy Tales. I had originally thought that Fairy Tale High School would be a good name, but then I thought… what if I don’t want them to be in high school anymore? What if in ten years I wanted my characters to go to college or even beyond? As a comic strip writer, you never know where your mind will be in five, ten, or twenty years from now. Suburban Fairy Tales sums up the concept that my strip is about Fairy tales characters living in a suburban community. There’s plenty of room for growth and change in that title.
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is a great example of what a comic strip title should be. I know he hated the name and Lil’ Folks would have definitely been better, but the point I’m trying to make is that the name Peanuts didn’t handcuff the strip to its original premise and characters. If Schulz had titled his comic strip The Adventures of Charlie Brown, Shermy, and Patty he would have been forced to use those three characters for the next 50 years. But Shermy and Patty eventually disappeared from the strip and the Peanuts of the 1950s is a completely different strip from Peanuts of the 1990s. Peanuts was allowed to grow and evolve because the name didn’t hold it back.
So when coming up with the name of a comic strip, keeping your title open is advice you may want to consider. Because what you’re writing about when you’re 15 isn’t necessarily the same thing you want to be writing about when you’re 30.