It may be very presumptive to expect anyone besides me to pay this much attention to the progression of the comic, but I wonder if anyone’s noticed that folks like Suzie and Frank don’t do things like say “ya” for “you” nearly as much as they did in Episode 1?

It’s strange how that’s evolved– even though I still hear their accents in my head, I don’t feel nearly as much need to try to represent it on the page. Meanwhile the phonetic torch has been unspokenly (well, spokenly) passed to those like Brett, Lacey, and the Oklahoma gang.

The subject of conveying accents in print is something I think every writer has to wrestle with sooner or later. Some ignore it entirely. Some, like George Bernard Shaw or Zane Grey, go absolutely hog wild with the concept to the point you have to sit there and translate what certain characters are supposed to be saying. Sussing out a Shaw play was sometimes worse than figuring out Shakespeare, especially when he’d get into the “lower class” speech.

“Yew jus’ come agen me en ow’ll besh yer roody fice, yew stahk-oop pice ah tresh, see if oi dun’t!”

That’s not an exact quote, but it isn’t that far off.

Grey, meanwhile, loved to try to transliterate his Texan drawls, but how much he did so also seems to depend which story you’re reading. Crack open the right one and you’ll get enough utterances of “Wal, shore!” to make your head spin.

For my own tastes, I always felt like there was a point trying to represent people talkin’ funny would start getting in the way of the story, so even in the case of Muriel and company I try not to get so far afield as to make things incomprehensible. For that matter, here’s the thing about accents: no one believes they have one. You’re fine, it’s everyone else who talks weird. Because of that, any writer dealing in spelling out accents is making a certain call on a baseline “normal” way to talk, and when I consider that people are reading this comic in places like Australia and Poland, that gets strange to contemplate in a hurry.

So why have I kept on doing it? Well… the plain fact is it’s fun to do, and at this point I’ve just made my baseline a certain fictional place, the one occupied by the central heroes of the stories I’m paying homage to, rather than the wild and wooly character parts of the supporting cast. I especially like going nuts with the “infomercial voice-over”, which is probably more in the style of Disney’s Frontierland than any realistic mode of speech that ever was.

And besides, if I really got to be a stickler for things, my mind would bring up that most people in Texas don’t talk like cowboys anymore. Then where would I be?

Wouldn’t I rather just keep on keepin’ on in this Weird New West of my concoction?

Wal, pardners?

Shore I would.