Titles are terrifying.
They’re supposed to be one or more words that will represent everything that your hundreds of pages of work have been trying to get at.
And it’s a paralysing prospect: in addition to being representative of the whole point of your work you want the title to convey the tone of the work, right genre, and hopefully not be too much of a mouthful at the same time.
During the year we took to prepare RFR before launching, we went through at least a dozen titles for the comic, none of which made much sense after a few days of commitment. “NEXT! Ok, this one is good. No, what were we thinking? NEXT!” Some were going for a wild west vibe (not sure why), some were as broad as can be (“Witch hunt”), and most were so unmemorable that for the life of me I can’t recall them now.
And this leads me to “Run Freak Run”.
During my college years I used to have an Etsy shop where I sold plush toys sewn by me. It didn’t exactly take off, but it gave us a bit of pocket money to… well… eat something else than plain spaghetti with a drop of soy sauce on top for flavouring.
All the toys were these weird, cute, colourful monsters with tongues and brains coming out from behind zippers and with “X” to mark their buttholes.
But the shop needed a name.
My approach to finding that name was to rifle through my seven shoeboxfuls of cd’s and brainstorm based on the song names. A mash-up of “Run Boy Run” (I can’t remember by whom, I’m pretty sure it was in a “Punk-O-Rama” cd) and “Freaks in uniforms” by Horrorpops became “Run Freak Run”.
I stopped running the shop when I got a full time job. The shop was empty for couple of years gathering virtual dust, the toys gathering actual dust, until in the year before launching the comic Silver said something along the lines of: What about reusing Run Freak Run? We already have a website for it, a shop set up, and it fits the story surprisingly well. That doesn’t actually sound like Silver at all, but you get the gist.
For better or for worse we went with it.
To give you a feel for what RFR was originally I photographed the toys we still have in the apartment and pulled some pictures from Etsy sales history.
I hope you enjoyed hearing this somewhat unusual origin story. How we came up with the comic itself is a tale for another day.