Danny has been bi the entire time I’ve been writing Dumbing of Age. I decided he was while figuring everything out before starting up the webcomic.
The thing is, my strip is about mostly ladies, and so there aren’t very many dudes. And since Ethan was going to be around, I really wanted SOMEBODY in the main cast to actually be able to potentially return his affections. It can be kind of annoying when there’s a gay dude in the cast and they’re resigned to never getting to date anybody or just having a rotating cast of unimportant people they get to be off-panel intimate with who you never really get to know. Sometimes those characters become break-out characters, like Leslie, but you can’t really count on characters like that happening. Sometimes lighting just strikes. But more often they’re just not interesting enough to move into the spotlight. And so I decided somebody had to be there from the beginning, so Ethan doesn’t necessarily have to be alone. There’s a potential for a relationship. And more potential for more relationships is always better! It’s more wood on a longform story’s fire, so to speak.
And why not Danny? Nothing in the old stuff said he wasn’t also into dudes, and even if there was, a person can understand himself better over time, especially what his junk is into. (And, yes, this bisexuality is retroactively canon for the Walkyverse.) Plus Ethan x Danny would be super adorable.
So adorable that in Shortpacked! I was like yeah okay whatever Manny get over here make Ethan happy I guess, you boring ol’ blank slate, I’m more interested in what’s gonna be happening over there. And I pat them on their heads and send them on their way because THIS shit is the real deal.
Real-life people learn new stuff about themselves their entire lives. Fictional people, likewise, are not cemented in place forever.
BECAUSE MY PHONE IS FINALLY FIXED
HOLY SWEET JESUS AMEN THAT WAS AN AWFUL SIX MONTHS
Okay, yeah, there’s obviously larger concerns vying for audience attention in a strip that ends in two dudes straddling on the ground and staring deeply into each other’s eyes, but—this is the part that really made me happy. Ethan of all people knows how to recognize crippling self-esteem issues in others and he wants to help. He’s such an unequivocally nice person.
Don’t you hate it when there’s a perfect opportunity for lesbians and the writers just don’t?
…You know, I was initially inclined to write off the whole “oblivious-Danny-unwittingly-flirts-with-closeted-Ethan” storyline as just more good old-fashioned, sitcom-style hijinks born of simple misunderstanding, but…
…belatedly? It occurs to me here that Danny never actually said that he was straight.
It’s a Willis strip, after all. We can’t assume anything.