Frequently Unasked Questions

Some things you probably didn’t want to know.

About the comic:

Q. When did the comic begin?

A. The first comic was dated 29 March 2007, but was actually posted a few weeks later than that (I don’t know the exact date offhand).  I was working with a friend who was going to be my webmaster and we delayed posting for a while in order to build up some material.

Q. Do you draw the comic by hand?  Why don’t you use some complicated computer software so it looks good?

A. I enjoy drawing by hand.  Also I believe nothing can help the art at this point.

Q. Who are the characters in the comic?

A. In Em oi! #1-50 (the Viet Nam era), the main characters are Em and Ly.  From 51-181, the main characters are Em, Daniel (my brother), and Claire (his fiance, now wife). From #181-now, the main characters have been Em, and Bryan (my boyfriend, now husband), with occasional guest appearances by Michel Foucault, among others.

The last of the "Viet Nam" comics.

An early Daniel comic

The people portrayed haven’t died or anything since I stopped drawing them.  They just moved away from where I happened to be.  Since most of the comic is focused on my life, if you’re not in my immediate vicinity, you’re not likely to make it in.  Sometimes I have conversations with these people that later make it into the comic, but since drawing computers/people talking on the phone isn’t very interesting, that doesn’t happen much.

Chocolate chip cookies forever!
This comic has nothing to do with Bryan directly, but I drew it shortly before (as in 20 minutes before) he left chocolate chip cookies in my office.

Q. Your art has really changed since 2007.

A. That’s not really a question.  But yes, yes it has.  My hair has also changed considerably (reflected in the comic).  Ok, here’s one other thing that has changed:

One of my favorite early comics.

Originally the comic was entirely in black and white (“reality”) with color being used only for fantasy scenes.  So for example, the above represents a flight of fancy Em has, so it is in color.  Nowadays I typically color everything (time permitting, anyway) and leave the reader to decide if Em really had a conversation with Foucault or not.

Q. What’s this “Em oi/ơi” nonsense?

A. In Vietnamese, “oi” (really, “ơi”, but I don’t have Vietnamese installed on this computer right now), is a calling particle.  When you see someone across the market (Chợ), you might want to call them over and say hello. To get their attention, if they were a man who was slightly older than you, you’d call “anh ơi.” If they were slightly younger than you, regardless of gender, you might call, “em ơi!”

I think you see the pun.

Q. Do you wear glasses in real life?

A. Yes, a lot of the time.  Many of the photos of me dotted around this blog feature me directly after running a race, which is the time I am most likely to be wearing my contact lenses.

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