I knew, before I started on the comic, that I wanted most of the main cast to be women. I was on (and still am, to a certain extent) a strong feminist-ish streak. I don’t know that I’d call myself a true feminist because I don’t like labels, and honestly, I think there’s more implied when someone is referred to as a “feminist,” but there you have it. I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Revolutionary Girl Utena, and I don’t think I even had a favorite musical until I fell in love with the Wicked soundtrack…

When I set out to create my central protagonist, I wanted to put little bits of all my favorite characters — Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Tenjou Utena, and Elphaba — into the character. She’s tough, headstrong, and determined. She’s naive sometimes, but she has a plan (even a bad plan) and she’s sticking to it. Her design is also very strongly influenced by two priestly characters I played, one Serenity character (whose name escapes me at the moment), and my D&D cleric Elric Darme.

In early designs for the character, I couldn’t decide who or what I wanted to use as the primary basis of the character. My main thing was “strong female character,” and I didn’t really have a plan. I knew I wanted to make the character young at first, so she could grow with the comic, but also intelligent enough to stand on her own, merely inexperienced, and this seeking a mentor in the world. For a long time, she was a cleric, like Elric, until I decided I wanted her to be a bit more badass, like the four characters I chose for her influences — two amazons and two witches. :D

Edit: Here’s what I wrote about the Shepherd, one of the characters I played who influenced the character of Elysia.