JULEN GOÑI
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Design Externality Journal: Ethel Red

Online design journal for the Bean project creating an animation for their character, Ethel Red.

Research

When I first came across Ethel Red from the dossier of Beano animated characters, I knew to pick Ethel Red for the amount of possibility and humour that this character can bring through Ethel’s character and greater Viking world.

History Research

There is unfortunately not much info on Ethel Red. She appeared in the 9th Nutty magazine on 12 April 1980 as a one page comic which was found by looking through a wordpress archive of British comics including a section on Beano. Not even a wikipedia page or anything bar a pintrest image can be found on Google. This however, provides a great opportunity for reinvention.

Character

Fortunately, I was given a bit of information on her character by the Beano team. The thing that stuck out to me the most was about her personality of being a ‘rebellious Viking girl’, wanting to explore the high seas, encountering various sea creatures and exploring undiscovered lands while decked out with a Viking hat, bright red hair and trusty axe. She’s definietly the kind of character that I would of enjoyed watching as I grew up like I did with characters like Finn from Adventure Time, Dipper from Gravity Falls and Luffy from One Piece. Characters who similarly have a drive to venture the wider word, get rid of evil and let nothing stop them from their adventuring. I believe those shows were a great influence on me to push myself to wonder and do things like the exchange trip I’m on at the moment.

I decided to forgo the competition between Ethel and her male counterparts like her father and uncles, trying to prove to them that ‘plundering and striking fear into people’s hearts’ is not just ‘man’s work’. The concept feels like something outdated that would make her less of a strong stand alone character to and is something already seen in movies like Disney’s Brave (also trying to distance the two). Instead she can just be a great character like in shows with male main characters without needing to compare herself.

Additionally, the reason why her existance as a female Viking does not need to be justified is because fearless women who have sailed around the globe exist now! To give two examples of people I studied in the past in highschool, Jessica Watson and Laura Dekker who both sailed the world by themselves at the age of 16 and 14 respectively. They faced people who told them not to do it, but pushing through they were able to do it.

Norse World & Mythology

The great thing about being set in Norse times is that there’s an entire world of mythology to explore and islands that can be created for the stories. There’s a whole host of gods like the classic Thor, Odin and Loki creating our own interpretations on them