Today marks the fourth anniversary of the day I created my Evil Squirrel alter ego over on my longtime internet home, and the day I consider to be the birthday of my most popular character. ES debuted on the message board by offering to babysit Annie and Lizbit while their mother Ms. Camaro was away attending an audition for the game show Jeopardy! Evil’s first post was:
Me and my buddies would be happy to do some dogsitting for Ms. Camaro so she can go to the audition. We’ll have a grand old time…. BWAHAHAHA!!!!
To which Annie replied:
You, Mr. Evil, are a badbadbad squirrel! Go put some more duct tape in your nest and sit on it, sticky side up.
Now, don’t be bothering us any more, because I will be very busy teaching Important Stuff to my mom.
ES was created to pester Annie, who always seemed to be vexed by the “evil squirrels” hanging around her backyard. The interesting thing about this alter ego (We call them “Merry Men” on the board) is that it was never intended to have anything to do with my artwork, and I never dreamed he would soon inspire his very own character who would be the leader of a whole pack of digital critters that would keep me occupied for years to come.
So how did Evil Squirrel the message board Merry Man end up becoming Evil Squirrel the message board cartoon? Well, I was getting antsy to show off my newly acquired artistic skills to my friends, but didn’t intend to unveil the portraits I had been secretly drawing until our board’s own anniversary on November 23rd. And springing off of the very first circumstance that led to ES’s creation, I decided to attempt to make a comic portraying ES and Annie, with the troublemaking squirrel stealing her World Almanac.
And my warning from the other day is even more relevant here. These comics panels were the VERY FIRST thing I even tried to draw from scratch in Paint. My mouse control left a lot to be desired still without pre-drawn lines to guide me. They look very primitive…
Though very raw in nature, you can see that ES was drawn in his current form. I took my recurring little grey squirrel from the portrait series and gave him a slight makeover, never realizing at the time I was designing my flagship character.
It’s also worth noting that ES got a hand by another forum member who created the “NSAS” alter ego (National Squirrel Appreciation Society) shortly after I registered Evil Squirrel, who would often come to ES’ defense. NSAS’s often served as ES’s “attorney”, and his coming to the squirrel’s rescue in the comic paid tribute to that persona. Without NSAS, there would have been no comic. Without that comic, who knows if I would have developed the character at all, which allowed me to further use him to create humorous artwork in which he starred….
Where ES appears on the syndicated version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
The above picture was pulled out of the alphabet series I did for the forum on August 7, 2008. You may remember I used a picture from this series in a previous post. Unfortunately, several of the projects I created during the summer of 2008 were lost when Geocities was shuttered and I never bothered to collect what I had over there since I stupidly thought I had already archived most of it elsewhere.
And to solidify ES’s place in message board art history, there was this:
On July 20, 2008, this became my very first computer drawn avatar. While I was still about 9 months away from using my avatar spot as a way to bring ES to life on the board by drawing a series of relevant avatars (I’m up to 369 and counting since that day), it indelibly identified me as ES’s creator and the mad genius behind the wacky artwork that was being posted as (and starred) Evil Squirrel. And yes, if you’re wondering, that’s me at the computer. Before ES came to dominate my artwork, I always considered myself as a raccoon…
Storylines and gags have come and gone over the years, but little has really changed about Evil Squirrel since his humble beginnings… whether you consider those beginnings as a supporting character in a blotchy old JPG portrait, or as a awkwardly rendered central character in a mouse-drawn comic. He still looks the same, he still acts the same, and he’s still a part of me I can only express through a mishmash of pixelated artwork.
Happy birthday Evil Squirrel! Thanks for this joy you have brought into my dull life, and may I be able to help you celebrate many more….