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Helloes! This is me. I live in Norway, and I like to draw stuff. My name is Vanja, though if we met through EQ2 you probably know me as Tuatha, Baguette, Hortensia, or Wensleydale.

I've been drawing silly little comics since the 80s, but I never posted any online until I started doing EverQuest II themed comic strips to entertain my friends and fellow players. The protagonist we meet in the first strip was based on my main EQ2 character at the time, a female high elf templar. The rest of the cast were composite characters based on people, rats and cats I met during my travels through Norrath (on the Toxxulia, Guk, Everfrost and Splitpaw servers), as well as my own alts.

In strip 36 two little goblins (or were they orcs?) showed up for the first time, already obsessed with potatoes. Being eaten by a bear didn't stop them, and they returned as art critics before tagging along when the templar protagonist of the strip explored Lord of the Rings Online. They soon stole the show (which wasn't all that hard, really). The last strip so far was posted on April 26, 2012. Maybe one day I'll finish that story.

In December 2013, Grok & Grok were promoted to main characters in their own story, with a new strip every day throughout the first 24 days of the month. It's become something of an annual Yule tradition, with new stories appearing in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They also went on a little adventure in early November 2015, exploring the Barrows and finding a useful helmet that seemed just right for boiling their potatoes. The first five stories have been collected here.

I usually have some rough idea of what might happen to Grok & Grok, but more often than not the characters will run off in directions I hadn't anticipated. The little lizard wasn't part of my plan at all, it just showed up on day four and by day five it was already taking an active role in the story. The sketch was more detailed than the finished version, sporting spikes or plates along its back, and visible claws. I prefer the final version, it is quicker to draw. It almost became a hedgehog or a rat, but I'm glad I went with the lizard. A different hedgehog inserted itself into the story next year, and just like the lizard it seems determined to stay.


2008, 2017 Vanja Utne