The most important thing you need to know about Poptart is that he is imaginary. He is an imaginary character that was once used to fill the storyline needs of a particular group of girls in the midst of middle school. We called ourselves TKO.
At first we told our stories in the form of comic panels. These were sloppily drawn and only semi planned out. Three TKO girls in particular lived out adventures each one taking a turn at the reigns creating elaborate scenarios and silly situations. There were a few made up characters but the main characters were always ourselves. We were the same girls except bigger, better, and capable of anything. In real life a child in middle school stands quite small in this big world, but in our comic books we were powerful and therefore only an evil super villain could challenge us. This is where the Evil Poptart came from and you can find him in the vast majority of the TKO works.
As time progressed so did our lives, we grew and we changed and so did the TKO comic book along with us. Certain side characters disappeared from the scene as they had from our social group at the time. Storylines became more complex and more fantastical compared to where we started. Even Poptart’s role changed as he became less villain and more comedic relief. I in particular began doing crossovers with Harry Potter and Peanuts characters. It was during my 8th grade year of middle school that my mother’s boyfriend of several years died from an overdose. Having a difficult time coming to terms with the sudden presence lost from our house I turned to silence, and to books, and the silly adventures of the TKO crew. While (The contributor I refer to as) Kalpana began contributing less and less to the comic book, the other girl Reenie, began to lack in her effort considerably. Reenie was doing stick figures when I began making my most elaborate efforts and contributing often outside my turn. I began to attempt full length graphic novels outside of the group but nothing was ever finished just as the TKO adventures never truly finished.
In high school the full weight of teenage took its toll. First the comic book was replaced by an illustrated novel and then Reenie was replaced by Cleo as our third contributor. Poptart was still a strong presence in this novel and it was actually finished though its whereabouts are currently unknown. A second illustrated novel was started in sophomore year of high school but it was never finished. In Summer 2004 my father died I turned to silence, books and comic books more than ever. Junior year I began attending a vocational school for art and graphic design and that was that.
It took me ten years to think of Poptart again. I was attending Sinclair Community college in Dayton Ohio at the time. This was after I’d written five novels of a fantasy series and spent an entire year to create a single spin off comic book of thirty pages. Tired of working on long projects that go nowhere I wanted to do something small, short and strip panel based. I wanted something I could work on every now and then without so much pressure. I decided to bring back the evil Poptart as a sort of closing of the book to that part of my life. My original intent was for something of a dark comedy web comic strip.
Like many things in life Melancholy Evil Poptart did not turn out the way I wanted it to. Somehow bringing back this character from my childhood brought out some dark inner feelings that I’d been suppressing from myself. I found myself reflected in ever character arguing against my own contrasting thoughts. After a year I realized that Poptart had become something I came to in order to decompress, to breath out, from the events of the last few months. I used comedy when things were good, showed love when I felt love, and sprang some preachy uplifting bull when I was the one who really needed it.
(Spoiler alert!) I hit a low spring of 2012. I was out of school, in debt and recently fired. I had a very public nervous breakdown. It was around this time that I made the build up to, and actual event of, fruitcakes death. I went back to school as an English major instead of a fine art major. I began writing for Dayton City Paper and things started to turn around. I acknowledged Fruitcakes death and I began Poptart on the recovery process. Reflecting on the death of both my father and my mother’s boyfriend I put Poptart through some grieving recovery and then relapse. Because loss will never leave you, certain feelings can always resurface and this is something we should be aware of.
Through the course of three years Poptart has served as a funnel for my grief, a means of questioning my own ideals, and even an escape from the pressures of reality. Poptart has served the purpose of something intangible, that bubbling need to make a thing, to say something even when the reason is not clear to you at the time. Poptart is about childhood and growing up, it is about intoxication vs sobriety as much as it is about real vs imaginary. Maybe if you look at Poptart as a diary of expression written in once every couple of months it will make the more sense to you. And that is probably the closest thing to what it is.