Edison, Kekionga’s Radio Inventor, has been lurking around the edges of the cast for a while, taking part in stories yet to be drawn and making one cameo appearance a year or two ago. He is finally appearing in continuity in my new story “Bottlecaps”– here are the pencils for his first panel. Part of the reason for his delayed debut is that I’ve been on the fence about his owl pal. Is an engineer (or wizard) character having an owl for a pet/familiar just too cliched for words? I knew once I drew him in the lab in a canon story Edison would either have an owl or not have an owl. Because the one thing that’s even worse than having a slightly twee pet owl would be designing a cool (but slightly twee) pet owl and then having him disappear suddenly without explanation.
Of course, I decided to go with the owl. I have a corny side and maybe I should just accept it. And Kekionga is built on cultural archetypes. Making him a tiny screech owl with a bad attitude will keep him from being too cutesy, I hope. But then I realized I had given myself a second problem. Now I had to name the owl.
I did what any sensible cartoonist would do– I turned the job over to an expert. I asked regular reader Wolfie who is the Old Radio Guy on Shakespeare Street*, to come up with some radio-related names for the Radio Inventor’s Radio Owl. He offered a list, and we had the same favorite immediately.
So please meet Filament, Kekionga’s Radio Owl! Or Fil for short. If you dare.
“Naming Owls” (or “Naming All the Owls”) would be a good name for a band. Or a Kekionga book collection.