Title: Karen #0 ("Devil Girl")
Date: May 19th, 2001
Description: Everything begins here.

I drew this picture in a Spanish language class during my junior year of high school. I, of course, failed said class, but what I got out of it in this image will last me a lifetime. Prior to this drawing, the bulk of my characters were draw in a very Western style with slender eyes and faces. I was familiar with the generic Anime look, as well, and in my quest to seek my own style I decided to try and combine the two looks. After several attempts I came up with this, a generic, naked devil girl with a nice mixture of sexy and sweet.

The history of this particular devil is far richer than a mere schoolboy doodle. Almost a decade earlier I had obtained an issue of the G.I. Joe comic book by Marvel that featured a crossover with The Transformers: Generation 2. Within this particular issue was an advertisement and order form page featuring the X-Men's Psylocke in an ancient jungle backdrop wearing little more than a torn bikini top and loincloth. From this image I became inspired to draw numerous young women of similar attire, or going for the more stereotypical lei flower rings and grass skirts; and, like that picture of Psylocke, these girls often had the majority of their bangs hanging over one eye.

As the years went by I began to draw these similar women in differing appearances and roles, from ninja to vampires to the girl-next-door (I can still clearly remember such a vampire drawing from my late junior high school days, and I would love to find it again). Overtime, both the girls' eyes and bangs would grow bigger and bigger, until that day in Spanish class when I merged East with West and came up with this (which quickly yellowed with age after acting as the cover to my drawing notebook for so long).

I clearly recall wanting her to have a strawberry-red skin, almost with a slight hint of pink, and to have big, bright green eyes to contrast (the eyes of past women being most often blue). What I do not remember, however, is how I came upon the name, "Karen." More than likely it simply came to mind one day, as has often been the case with a number of my characters. Originally it had been spelled as the much more common, "Karen," though I had chosen the present variation mainly due to a strong Japanese influence (such as Karen Kanzuki from Street Fighter Alpha 3). I know there had been another name that I had considered at the time, but it has long since been forgotten. At any rate, I don't know why this version of my raven-haired beauties stuck such a chord with me, but since then I began drawing more and more pictures of Karen; not of the generic women of years earlier, but of Karen specifically. Of course at the time I began to draw all of my female characters with similar, pupilless eyes, but starting around the time I drew Ariel Le'Ammas and Denise Âmesang I began to deviate from that until today Karen is the only one to still have such eyes, to represent the purity of her soul that other dæmons lack.

Starting around the time of Ariel's creation I had decided that the two would be the stars of a comic book centered around the misadventures of a sweet-hearted succubus and a mischievous angel. The plan was to have each comic book be double-sided, each side focusing on one of the two characters and their perspective of a single storyline; for example, the two might attend a rock concert but be at two different ends of the stadium and thus would have their own problems to deal with. Some stories would've had the two crossing paths and directly interacting with each other, other stories they'd pass each by with hardly any recognition. The title at first was to simply be "Angel/Devil," with Japanese kanji and kana (stolen from Yu-Gi-Oh! cards) above and below the image and with only the corresponding name being highlighted and the other darkened, to differentiate which side the reader was reading. Unfortunately I was never able to create a cohesive plot for the first issue and thus never finalized Angel/Devil. The idea is still hiding within the dark recesses of my mind, though, and will slowly take shape in the form of "Heaven's Gate." I had begun one issue that was to be focused on the aftermath of one of Karen's dates (becoming a hentai, more than likely), although I never truly made it past the second page; these couple of pages have been available in the Heaven's Gate section since this site's creation. I also tried creating a Karen-centric storyline for 24-Hour Comics Day 2008, but was unable to finish it in time. Again, it was to be date-oriented though without any sex, ending with her waiting for her beau and falling asleep, dreaming of a beautiful night together, only to wake up to the reality of her being stood up or... well, I've forgotten the other ending that I had in mind. I don't know where they lie now, but somewhere are pages dedicated to another Heaven's Gate issue that involved Karen and Ariel's struggles in creating their own comic book, a strange break in their otherwise rivaly and perhaps as a source of self-deprecating humor. If I can ever find these pages I'd like to try and restart this idea, since I believe it still has merit and I probably one stopped due to boredom and my ability to be easily distracted (ooh, shiny!).

Thus is the history of Karen Thorn. Oh, right, her last name! She's had different ones in the past, the only one I can remember being the all too obvious, "DeVille." I went with "Thorn" out of pure laziness, taking it directly from the antichrist, Damien, of the infamous film, The Omen. Perhaps someday if I actually sit down and think about it I'll find her a more appropriate last name.

Karen Thorn © 2001-2010 RJM Whittaker