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Purplegoldfish writes...

Hi Greg,

erm, I don't know if you noticed, but I created a bit of a stir in the comment room recently about the design of Constance, and I would appreciate if I could have some of your input in the matter. It might put this annoying demon in my mind to rest.

I'm just wondering, if at any time in the design process for Coco you made the connection between her being a heavy set female that resembles an animal that is unfortunately used as a negative metaphor for large women.

I actually like Coco's design, and her personality especially. What I don't like is that she's the only full figured female we've seen and she just happens to resemble a pig.

I admit I'm a bit jaded and cynical when it comes to this stuff. Chalk that up to having to endure a lot of verbal abuse growing up. I'm just really curious if you personally made that connection while designing the character. I'm really interested to see what you have to say about it.

Greg responds...

One of the main reasons that the original Coco became Broadway (i.e. why we took a female heavy-set gargoyle and made her male) was because we were afraid of the politically correct blow-back that we thought would come by depicting her that way. It's a double standard, but it's true. You can do a heavy set guy who likes to eat. But you can't do it with a gal without risking repercussions.. Ultimately though, that's cowardice. And not that I think the series is poorer for it, because I love Broadway, but ANY series is poorer for that kind of cowardice. When you fold to that, you wind up with the same types (not bad types, but the same ones) over and over.

Having gotten over that specific brand of cowardice (though I'm sure I'm still subject to other examples of the same kind of thing), I decided to create this new Constance/Coco. Being part of the London Clan meant she should be based on a heraldic animal. And the boar was one I hadn't used yet. So let's hit it HEAD ON. She's a heavy-set female gargoyle -- and she even has a pig-snout.

So go for it. Tell me she's nothing but a bad and inappropriate joke. I dare you. (I don't mean "you", Purplegoldfish, but a more generic "you" that's out there.) If I do my job well, then there's no concern. She's strong and multi-faceted, and her size is just an aspect of who she is, not the whole story. If all anyone can see is the girth and the snout then either I've failed... or that "anyone" has failed to look beyond the surface, which is one of the MAJOR themes of the entire series.

Generally, the response to Coco has been fairly positive, so I'm feeling pretty good about the job I did. Even you seem to like her, and your reservations are based on surface qualities and old prejudices and memories that I was openly defying on purpose. I can live with that. (Since ultimately I have no choice.)

Plus, I just really like Coco's design. I think David Hedgecock did a GREAT job on her. Instantly, I forgot about any agenda and just thought she was a great looking character. Which is how it should be.

Response recorded on September 25, 2009