What I Learned From Purvous


Click to embiggen!

He’s easily one of the most popular characters in the comic, but along with Rose, he’s also one that gave me the most headache.

The first thing you should know about Purvous is that he is a real guy. Well, not quite. Purvous is based almost entirely on a bagger named Ervin that I worked with when I was Bookkeeper and Customer Service Manager at my own Food “Baron”. Almost every single one of Purvous’s lines in the main comic are taken from things Ervin has actually said. The refurbished comic you see above is an exchange I directly witnessed, and yes, he even said “AH WANNA MAKE A BABY.”

As a writer, you’re often tempted to take people you know in real life and put them directly into your work. This is almost never a good idea. You’ll either want to do things with that character that might create a conflict with the actual person, or like me, you may fall into the trap of presenting a character without the proper fictional context. You know the character because you’ve practically lifted him out of real life, but your readers don’t quite get the same connection. They don’t get the disclaimer.

You had to be there.
This is a comic I pulled out of the archive a while back. On its own it’s needlessly offensive. The cliche “you had to be there” certainly rings true here.

With Purvous, things were complicated not only by the typical factors but also by the fact that, let’s face it, he’s mentally challenged. That’s a concept most writers are uncomfortable with, and for good reason. You don’t want to seem like you’re making fun of retarded people for cheap laughs. In TG’s case, it’s Purvous getting the laugh on everyone around him. He may say crazy things that make you laugh, but nobody’s making fun of him. And the readers have really responded to him.

Still I worried about making the wrong impression every time I wrote Purvous into a strip, and certainly that’s what some who came to the site looking for something to pick at have taken away. But TG is a reality-based comic, and people like Purvous are part of reality. They make life a little less drab and boring.

Ervin himself is an amazing guy, and working with him was a blast. He is a completely unfiltered individual, and he knows how awesome he is. I think I did a not-entirely-horrible job representing elements of him here, and the dedicated Purvous fans would seem to agree.

But ultimately, Purvous isn’t really my character. He’s Ervin’s, and I was just borrowing him.

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 12:00 am in Blog. Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment.

39 Responses

  1. Pink Freud says:

    …It’s just a flesh wound…I’ve had worse

    • Will it work properly if it’s put back?

      • Boomer says:

        flesh wound or not, i think it’ll be just for show if put back.

        • Pink Freud says:

          Sadly, There used to be a guy I knew on the convention circuit who made the most disgusting movies, (Documentaries, really) about the freak crowd. He called himself Joe Christ, if that gives you any hints as to his nature. One of his films was an extended set of interviews about a man who deliberately castrated himself. In the interview, he said he had done everything with it that he possibly could, so he decided he no longer needed it. And yes, we were treated to a vivid closeup of where it once was.

        • Bill M. says:

          Boomer, you apparently missed the story of John Wayne Bobbitt after the cut. Surgically reattached, then went on to make two pornos to prove that it was back in fully working condition.

      • Max Savage says:

        An erection is caused by a large amount of blood flowing into the penis’ cavernous tissue, in response to a stimulus recieved from the brain: if a penis were to be cut off and properly re-attached in time, the blood vessels would heal and allow erections to occur normally. The biggest problem afterwards would be psychological trauma. I can’t imagine a guy having his dick cut off and just take it in stride.

  2. Pink Freud says:

    FIRST, Bitches!

  3. RotSman says:

    Is he missing a finger?

  4. Minty says:

    WHACHOO COOKIN MAN?

  5. Stalker says:

    “AH WANNA MAKE A BABY.” he became one of my favorites with that phrase

  6. Ben says:

    This is another stellar Purvous strip

  7. Sara E. says:

    I love Purvous so hard.

  8. Anony says:

    Is the woman supposed to be anyone in particular?

    I think that she kind of looks like one of the new girls for The Idle State.

  9. Crestlinger says:

    Well he’s got balls at least, takes a lot to stand up to a head deli chef armed and have that conversation.

  10. codyblues says:

    I’ve really been enjoying these insights and behind the scenes comics.

    Can’t beleive how hard I laughed at this comic. You portrayed this conversion very nicely here, simple yet hi-lar-e-ous

  11. Brasca1 says:

    Is Tracy based on a real person and if so then I’m working for the wrong grocery chain.

    • chumash99 says:

      Any chain is the wrong chain, if I’m working for it. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem anymore. Walgreens Rules! ;)

  12. Jim says:

    (oh christ!) — Don’t know if anyone caught it or not, but;
    Tuesday (7/12/11) there was an article in my newsfeeds about a woman that DID that (shades-of-Bobbitt) to her ex-hubby! ….

    Invited him to dinner, drugged him, cut it off and stuck it
    in the BLENDER, turning it to “puree”!

    Girls, please note – this is NOT how to make a “smoothee”!

  13. Isis says:

    I for one am really glad that Purvous was created. Although he had a minor role, he added a touch of crazy awesome that made the comic that much funnier. It was cool to see him featured in another comic too. All hail the might of Purvous! Hail I say!

  14. Greenwood Goat says:

    Sally: Really? Then I guess I’ll just have to raze the whole thing flat (strokes bacon slicer) and then salt the ground! (slams pot of Food Baron brand table salt onto the counter)

    Purvous: (very long pause) ………You don’ wan’ me with your daughter?

    A while later…

    Purvous: (looks down in anguish at his severed genitalia) My man things! Why you do that? They get trod on! NO!

    (Blown through the air by the winds of the Second Circle of Hell, Erwin Schrödinger * lands on them heavily. Purvous sobs.)

    Queen Hippolyta: (wiping her knife) Hush, little man. You’re better off without them.

    Camilla: They were never any good to you anyway.

    Euridice: Anyway, be welcome to your Fool’s Paradise!

    (They are gathered at a vantage point on the inner wall of the Circle of Limbo, looking out over the Circle of the Lustful and the rest of the Infernal Pit. Euridice and Lucretia resume combing Purvous’s hair and cooing over him like a pet. To one side, Hippocrates toys with a scalpel in frustration.)

    Hippocrates: I still think you should have left that to the professionals!

    Queen Penthesilea: Ha. You men are too squeamish for such things!

    Queen Hippolyta: And I’m sure I’ve castrated a good many more men than you have!

    (The Amazons laugh. Hippocrates turns to walk away along the precipice.)

    Hippocrates: Hail, fellow.

    Dr. Homophobe McMilfhunter: (blown past on the winds of the Second Circle) Greetings!

    (Hippocrates passes Virgil and Homer, who are deep in debate.)

    Virgil: It has the physical shape of a man, but that means nothing. It talks, but so may certain exotic birds. There is no proof that this entity is actually human.

    Homer: I cannot disagree with you there. So by what measure would you perceive this Purvous as a man?

    Julia, daughter of Caesar: I’ll tell you what I perceive him as. A relief. (she approaches Puvous) Know you what happens here to a woman who dies in childbirth, as I did? (she exposes her heavy, milk-filled breasts)

    Purvous: (eyes wide as soup plates) Mine?! (reaches out with both hands) Gimme!

    (Julia sits down with the other women and enfolds Purvous in her robes as he begins groping and nursing.)

    Arne: (blowing past) Purvous?! Hey, you lucky dog!

    Queen Hippolyta: Loose!

    (A volley of Amazon arrows turn Arne into a human pincushion. Cue cheering, whooping, embracing and high-fiving from the women, polite applause from the men.)

    * Erwin Schrödinger, as well as being a great theoretical physicist, was also something of a ladies man and sexual athlete, and often used to think up and manipulate equations during sex in order to delay his climax. Apparently, he came up with his famous wave equation in this manner, during a amorous tryst in the Austrian Tyrol.

    By the way, in case anyone was wondering, Sally (if I’ve read her name badge correctly) is not involved in Purvous’s death in this scenario. I see him taking a nap in the store’s dumpster and ending up, undetected, in landfill.

  15. Tripp says:

    Food *cough* Lion *Cough* Ack… Sorry… Food Baron I mean…

  16. larry says:

    that explains it. I had thought he was either a psychiatric or a mentally handicapped person, but wasn’t too sure. Glad to see that someone at least is including someone like that as a part of a”normal” life. Normal in the sense of treading ground.

  17. Anrasi says:

    Purvous was even better as the head of an evil conglomerate.

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