Name game

With the Christmas strips winding down on, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the Mall Elves. When I came up with the character of Bo (here’s the heartwarming “Birth of Bo” story) the first thing I thought of was making him a Christmas elf in some sort of shopping situation. It would obviously fit into his skill set of being short. (And, yes, there was probably some inspiration in David Sedaris’s experiences as an elf at Macy’s. Not familiar? Click here.)

And I wanted him to have some co-workers. One of the first gags was about their names not being elfish names like “Jingles.” But what names to give them? Well, I have a bunch of friends with normal but cool names – Gavin, Ian, Nigel and Omri (OK, the last one is out of the ordinary) – why not use them? And not just their names, but their faces as well? So I added their features onto my standard elf oval-shaped head a la Mr Potato Head. (You can see them all here. From left to right – Nigel, Gavin. Omri and Ian.) The boys loved it.

My plan was to do the Mall Elf thing every holiday season. The first year was just random mall/elf/kids/shopping gags with no real theme. The second was about a mall day care (rerunning right now). In the third all the elves and Santa got sick so Bo had to be Santa. For the last year of the strip I did an elf strike (with elf strike breakers and everything) told as a version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” That’s four years. I’m not sure how much longer I could have done it without it becoming tedious (if it hadn’t already).

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2 Responses to “Name game”

  1. Akenta Says:

    Being short is a skill set? I might need to update my resume :-)

    I don’t think you would have had to worry about it being tedious. I’m loving the reruns and am still sad the strip ended.

  2. KOVALESKI Says:

    With lay-offs looming around every corner, anything one can add to a resume is a plus.

    And thanks for the kind words about my strip.

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