About The Soxaholix
Part Doonesbury, part Bill James, part graduate seminar in literature, The Soxaholix chronicles the schizoid emotions that govern Boston fans like the tides.
Stefan Fatsis, The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 11, 2005)
Hart Brachen is the pseudonymous author the The Soxaholix.
The author chooses to use a pseudonym for several reasons the most important being anonymity and the freedom to not be associated with the strip or the characters in day-to-day life.
The name Hart Brachen is meant to phonetically mimic the word "heartbroken," which until the Red Sox victory in the 2004 World Series was the default emotion for Red Sox fans year after year.
A daily comic strip cum weblog set in a generic office/cube farm inhabited by a collection of die-hard Red Sox fans who individually personify a stereotyped and/or caricatured fan personality type.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Bill Callaghan in his late-40s is office manager and wears his Red Sox heart on his sleeve. A type-A personality prone to a rapid moon swings inextricably tied to the fate of the ball club, Bill finds reassurance in talking to his colleagues in the office.
Bill is a cross between David Brent in the BBC sitcom The Office and the Dabney Coleman character Buffalo Bill from the 80s sitcom of the same name. That is, he's somewhat of an asshole, but in a likable way.
Doug Roy, 28, is a guy best taken in small doses. He's cynical by nature and some what of a fair weather fan. Doug can be a real pain in the ass, for instance, he insists that people pronounce his last name "Roo-Ah" in the French Canadian style, although Doug himself can only speak a couple words of French
Doug fancies himself quite the ladies man, and, much to the rest of the surprise of the rest of the office, he does do alright for himself in the casual dating scene.
Doug was born and raised in Lowell, MA, and received his B.S. from UMass-Lowell. Whenever possible, Doug tries to avoid kids, includining parents with kids, for fear of germs, believing all kids are "carriers."
Mike Sweeney, age 33, is Bill's "go to" guy in the office. He's the ultimate task master though prone toward a foul mouth and can be a loose canon at times.
Among all the Soxaholix, Mike is the biggest critic of the Boston media. He keeps a blog that he updates frequently. Active SoSH member. Mike is generally a "glass half-full" guy with respect to the teams chances any given season, but he's no Pollyanna.
Tara Hemmings, 30, is the intellectual of the office. An M.I.T. graduate in Computer Science, Tara is a backbone of the company's success. She's also the resident Sabrematrician and has a photographic memory.
Tara inherited a love for the game of baseball from her dad, who was a left-handed pitcher and prospect in the Indian minor league system before a career ending injury ended his dreams of playing Major League Ball.
As somewhat of an "outsider," i.e., a woman in the male dominated CS world, an African-American in a predominately white office, and having grown up outside New England, Tara most often has a different take on any given situation. This is most evident in her more rational approach to the Red Sox. She doesn't let the ups and downs of the ball club effect her personality, and finds it humorous when her friends and coworkers do. She's not afraid to wind up her colleagues when talking baseball, just for the fun of it.
Susan AKA Circle
Susan Wentworth is the newest and at age 27 the youngest member of the office, fullfilling a vacant graphic designer position. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Circle is the artist, bohemian, bon vivant, of the group. After several years hopping from job to job during her early to mid-20s, including work at several dot bombs, this is her first corporate/suit workplace environment. She's from "old money," and spent her teen years at boarding school (Choate).
Susan is trying hard to fly straight and narrow after some interesting youthful indescretions, including liasons with several minor league ballplayers from the PawSox while she was in college at Providence. (She may or may not decide to share this info with the other staff in the office.)
Meanwhile, Susan has asked that her co-workers refer to her as Circle for the same reason (and where she got the idea) as the character Sarah in Geoff Dyer's Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It: She finds her own name boring. But, as Dyer points out in the book, "you cannot call yourself Circle until you have in some way become Circle." Though even Dyer concedes, "assuming the name can hasten the development of the persona."
Marty Silverstein is a Yankees fan and attended college with Bill. He's a smug, upper East Sider, who calls Bill every so often, typically after a Yankees win and Red Sox loss, just to gloat.
Every Red Sox fan seems to know somebody like Marty. Perhaps you even work with a "Marty" in your own office?
Like Tara, Steve Xiang did not grow up in New England but came to the region from the West Coast to attend college in Boston in September of 1985. At that time, he had little interest in baseball but when the 1986 team electrified the city, Steve was hooked.
Unlike Tara, however, Steve has picked up most the personality traits that mark the typical Red Sox fan.
"Lisa the Temp"
Lisa the Temp makes an appearance whenever the regular Soxaholix characters take a break. We don't know much about Lisa (who bothers to get to know the temps in any office?) except that she's not much of a baseball fan and is generally resentful of anyone who has a full time job with health benefits. Others tend to avoid Lisa for she reminds them just how precarious the employment situation is.
Unlike most online comic strips, the text within the callout bubbles is plain HTML rather than text within a GIF or JPG mage. This allows the text to be hyperlinked, searchable, RSS syndicated, accessible to alternative user agents such as cell phones or screen readers, as well as affording all the benefits associated with a typical weblog.
Much of the clip art, including the original character set the site launched with, is from the standard collection that ships with Microsoft Office X for the Mac. Since launch in April 2004, many of the characters and the background scenes behind the characters have come about in one of several ways: original illustrations from Chris and Emily of The Red Seat; purchased downloads from istockphoto.com; images downloaded from various public Flickr albums then "posterized" by the author to create the comic look/feel; or by way of direct work-for-hire illustrations from Kell Carter and Jeremy Majewski.
The logotype is an original from Jeremy Majewski as is the background image of the stylized Fenway and Boston background.