Category Archives: how to name characters

Cameron Johnson Shakespeare, new Mice character

New Mice character, CJ Shakespeare. Art by Roger Mason

Recently been laid up with the flu, or a rather watered-down version of it anyway, so i got on with some design for the new Mice graphic novel, working title Crash and Burn. These are initial sketches for Cameron Johnson Shakespeare, a mixed race SE Asian/caucasian woman.

I was listening to radio 4 news, and just took words out of the air for her name. CJ Shakespeare it is! This kind of sketchbook stuff can be done in an armchair wrapped in a blanket, as opposed to drawing the actual pages which I rather do at a desk and drawing board.

A short article about naming the characters in The Mice

Diana attempts to rescue Rowling from the soup vat in The Mice: The Factory Menace

The two lead humans are called Mulligatawny and Diana. Subsequent characters I have tried to name after obvious contemporary celebrities, although with mixed success (problems with readers making the link.) Diana is named after Princess Diana, Harry after Harry Potter (or Prince Harry). I have considered a ‘Becks’—David Beckham, or the beer?—and one of the children is named after Paris Hilton. The most overt reference to date is to Barack Obama as readers of Culture Shock will know. Unfortunately, if someone asks me what ‘Mulligatawny’ has to do with any of this I cannot say, as the name came to me while I was staring at a spreadsheet of soup cans heading to Tesco. He was previously called Fob… The woman called ‘Scooter’ also bucks the trend, but I could not resist it, and ‘Bailey’ is another name for a woman which I like and may use one day.

Cota extracts a badly-burned Barack out of an alien human-carrier. From The Mice: Culture Shock

As for the aliens, I am extremely proud of the simplicity of ‘Cota’ and I like also the ‘Black Chargehand’  although the latter has not been printed in the book so readers are unaware and probably wondering what his name is. A nod to Judge Dredd is that we never see his eyes, although this was making him too expressionless and so they are creeping in.

Roger Mason 2013


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