When I Grow Up (webcomic)

When I Grow Up (webcomic)

When I Grow Up is a webcomic written by Jeffrey Rowland, who is also known for his comics Wigu Adventures [Mike Meginnis] [Matt Willemain] and Overcompensating; both of these comics are still in production. When I Grow Up (also abbreviated as W.I.G.U, which is the name of the comic that came afterwards), which ran from June 14, 1999 until January 1, 2002, takes place in the fictional town of Shallow Brook, Oklahoma. The story focuses on four friends living in an apartment building in Shallow Brook, Zoe, Gina, Roger, and Neal. Other characters often reoccur in the story, such as Helmut and Donkey.

When I Grow up was hosted on keenspot for some time, but Jeffrey Rowland eventually moved it to his own server.



Zoe Day "(1999-2002)"

Zoe Day is one of the major characters in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". She works for the local news channel WIGU-17 as the anchor-woman for the six o'clock news. She has a short temper, and is always being forced to do undercover stories for her boss. She lives in an apartment with Gina Jackson, and is friends with Neal and Roger, who share an apartment in the same building. She is very self-conscious about herself, her weight, and her image. In the storyline of the comics, Zoe has had a breast enlargement surgery and a nose job. At the finale of the comic in January of 2002, Zoe is shown relinquishing her angry ways in order to avoid looking hideous by age 35, and possibly being driven to an early grave. In the final panel, she is shwon enjoying herself with Roger, Neal, Gina, and Donkey. [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/20020101 JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ] Zoe also had a brief job at a bar as a waitress. Like other "When I Grow Up" characters, Zoe has made many cameo appearances in Rowland's second comic, Wigu Adventures, as the anchor-woman on the Shallow Brook news channel WIGU-17. Throughout much of the comic, Zoe is selfish and/or bitter, but shows her good side on occasion.

Roger "(1999-2002)"

Roger is one of the major characters in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". He lives with Neal in an apartment in the same building as Gina and Zoe. Roger is an unemployed slacker, who floats checks and "has really good luck at the dog tracks" for his money. Roger smokes, drinks and does nothing to bring in money, which he sees as Neal's job. He is friends with Donkey, and near the end of the series, moved into Donkey's new mansion (acquired under the name "Hector Rodriguez") along with Neal. During the storyline of the comic, Roger pretends to be homosexual in order to find women. He ends up meeting up with two bi-sexual girls who have millions of dollars. The trio moves to Paris, France, where Roger begins to have second thoughts about his choice. He eventually finds out that the two girls plan to harvest his vital organs and sell them on the internet. He is saved at the last minute by Helmut, who blows up the Eiffel Tower for reasons unknown. After this, Roger moves back with Neal. [ [http://jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/20000630.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ] At the finale of the webcomic, Roger is last seen enjoying himself with his friends. Roger is lazy, obnoxious, and a procrastinator by nature. He is constantly trying to hook up with Gina, in which he manages to succeed once for a very short time after shaving his beard. Roger makes one cameo appearance to date in Rowland's second comic Wigu Adventures, where he appears in a prison, giving Wigu a bootleg copy of a video game. This is a reference to the several times Roger has been arrested, the most memorable being when Roger stole a ferrari and was involved in a high-speed chase with the police.

Neal "(1999-2002)"

Neal is one of the major characters in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". He lives with Roger in an apartment that is in the same building as Gina and Zoe. Neal has a job, unlike Roger; Neal works at the government facility "Cat-Head Laboratories" as a scientist and has invented things such as an anger-powered car and a way to see back into time. Neal sometimes has identity crises due to the fact that he believes he does not act "black" enough, because Neal is African-American in ethnicity. Neal has a robot clone of himself that he uses to cover for him while he is on vacation. The last appearance of the robot Neal was after it had sex with Gina. Some time later, Neal actually had sex with Gina, much to Roger's dismay. Neal is friends with Donkey, and saves him from the government on several occasions. When Neal was last seen at the finale of the comic, he is shown enjoying himself with his friends. He is also seen with his arm around Gina, who is returning the embrace. This may hint that he and Gina got together at the very end. Neal also briefly had a relationship with a girl Gina hooked him up with named America, who used voodoo and was possessed by a demon. Neal has also been possessed himself. Neal also moved in with Donkey and Roger near the completion of the series.

Gina Jackson "(1999-2002)"

Gina Jackson is one of the major characters in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". She lives with Zoe in an apartment that is in the same building as Roger and Neal. Gina is currently in college, and works at a video rental store part-time. Gina is very different from her room mate, Zoe. She is more content with her image, and has possibly the least problems of the entire W.I.G.U group. Near the completion of the series, Gina finally graduated from college and became a teacher for a second grade class. Gina is constantly under a barrage of Roger's attempts to date her, but she does not see Roger as a potential boyfriend. during the storyline of the comic, Gina has sex with a robot clone of Neal, which upon her realization of this, causes her to go into a comatose state. Some time later, she has sex with the actual Neal, much to the disma of Roger. At the finale of the comic series, Gina is seen enjoying herself with her friends, and has her arm wrapped around Neal, who is returning the embrace. Both are looking at each other. This may hint that Gina and Neal got together at the very end. Gina shares a telepathic bond with Donkey, and remains friends with him.

Gina is seen more often than the other "When I Grow Up" characters in Rowland's second comic, Wigu Adventures. She plays the role of Wigu's teacher at Nokia/Aol-Time Warner Elementary. This is hinted at in the actual "when I Grow Up" storyline, as Wigu was the reason that Gina got the job, as the other teacher quit because of him.

Minor Characters

Helmut "(1999-2001)"

Helmut is a minor, recurring character in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". He is described as the "shadowy, lurking character" and has one lazy eye and a pointed ear. Throughout much of the series, Helmut is accompanied by Donkey, his best friend. Helmut has lived in a trailer, the sewers of Shallow Brook, and the woods nearby Shallow Brook. At the beginning of his role in the comic, Helmut is shown to have a fascination with Gina, but this is later changed into a creepy, stalker relationship with Zoe. During this stalker relationship, Helmut devises mischievous plans in order to unite himself with Zoe, but each plan fails. In the final half of the series, Helmut is killed, and resurrected by Neal as a cyborg. Upon touching a mushroom, Helmut reverts back to his normal appearance, but grows to become twenty-feet tall; later, Helmut begins to live in the woods as a giant. Neal eventually finds Helmut, and in attempt to revert him back to normal size, places him in a machine that he built at Cat-Head Laboratories. However, due to modifications on the machine that were made by another scientist, Helmut is reverted back to normal size, and is also accidentally transported to Dimension "X", which is a complete opposite of the world that Neal, Roger, Donkey, Zoe, and Gina live in and is also represented by inverted coloring. Helmut makes his final appearance with the Dimension "X" version of Zoe, eating hotdogs on Thanksgiving. The comic explains that since Dimension "X" is a mirror of the real world, instead of being a "repulsive loser" he is a "charming stud". Helmut also has a German accent.

On New Year's Eve in January 2001, Helmut gets to share a kiss with Zoe on television.

Donkey "(1999-2002)"

Donkey is a light-purple colored donkey in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". Donkey is the best friend of Helmut, and remained so for most of the comic's duration. He is also friends with Neal, Roger, Gina, and Zoe. Donkey has the ability to talk, and is also telepathic, the end result being that he is constantly chased by the government. Donkey has saved characters from the comic on several occasions; an example being his rescue of Roger when he was about to have his organs harvested by two women in Paris, France. Donkey has also developed telepathic bonds with Neal and Gina. After the disappearance of Helmut, Donkey moved in with Roger and Neal, but eventually bought his own mansion. Under the alias of Hector Rodriguez, Donkey brought Neal and Roger to Mexico in order to retrieve approximately three million dollars he had received in monthly checks from the government. Donkey quickly spent his fortune, but was able to regain some money by turning Horse over to the government under the guise that Horse was really Donkey. Donkey is kind, generous and gentle by nature, and has a good relationship with many of his friends. At the finale of the series, Donkey is last seen enjoying himself with Gina, Roger, Zoe, and Neal. It should be noted that Donkey is similar in appearance to Sheriff Pony, from Rowland's "Magical Adventures in Space".

Characters Who No Longer Appear in the Strip

* Horse — Horse appeared during the time period when Helmut was a giant. He is a brown horse who is revealed to be a racist. Horse was last seen in "When I Grow Up" as he was hauled away by the government, who believed he was Donkey. Horse mad a cameo in Wigu Adventures as he was hit by Paisly, who was driving her father's van.


The structure of When I Grow Up is very similar to the way Rowland structures his second comic, Wigu Adventures. It is split into several different story arcs, which are often interrupted at different points by short stories or a single comic. As of the finale of "When I Grow Up", there have been five different story arcs:

*Project W.I.G.U (June 14, 1999-July 17, 1999) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990614.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]
*Vampire Slaying (July 19, 1999-August 7, 1999) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990719.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]
*The Jim Hermit Project (August 9, 1999-August 14, 1999) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990809.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]
*The WIGUWF (August 16, 1999-August 21, 1999) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990816.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]
*The Haunted Shrooms (August 23, 1999-September 11, 1999) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990823.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]
*Helmut's Revenge (September 13, 1999-January 01, 2002) [ [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/19990913.html JJROWLAND.COM: Wigu Adventures, and More! ] ]

The story arc "Helmut's Revenge" was the longest of the six story arcs, considering that it spanned over three years instead of about a week to a month. It lasted until the end of the series


Project W.I.G.U "(June 14, 1999-July 17, 1999)"

Project W.I.G.U was the first story arc in the webcomic "When I Grow Up". It lasted for just slightly over a month and served as a basic introduction to the characters, including Neal, Roger, Gina, Zoe, Helmut, and Donkey.

Vampire Slaying "(July 19, 1999-August 7, 1999)"

Vampire Slaying was the second story arc in the "When I Grow Up" storyline. It began with a strip concerning comic revisements and character changes. After the first strip in the arc, the story mainly focused on Neal, who went on a vampire slaying crusade with a hooded cloak and pants made of garlic. After that, the story focused on Zoe, who went undercover as a prostitute for her television news broadcast. Zoe was arrested near the end of this section. The arc ends with Roger attempting to make Gina jealous by asking out a bank teller, then going to a movie, where the city is being terroized by a rude naked man in a gorilla mask. The final comic in the arc is the capture of the man in the gorilla mask.

The Jim Hermit Project "(August 9, 1999-August 14, 1999)"

The Jim Hermit Project was the third story arc, and a blatant parody of The Blair Witch Project. The story in this arc was about Zoe, Gina, and Roger venturing into the woods in order to find and learn about a hermit named Jim. This was Zoe's new project for her newscast. The second strip in the story arc used this tagline in the first panel:

In August 1999, three young people went up in the woods to film a cable news segment on the legend of Jim the Hermit. THE JIM HERMIT PROJECT

The WIGUWF "(August 16, 1999-August 21, 1999)"

This was the shortest of the "When I Grow Up" story arcs, lasting only six strips. This arc involved the "When I Grow Up" characters in wrestling events and gags.

The Haunted Shrooms "(August 23, 1999-September 11, 1999)"

The fifth story arc was about the hallucinations that Neal, Zoe, Gina, and Roger had after eating rancid mushrooms. The mushrooms led the four to become mentally unstable and believe their apartments were haunted by ghosts.

Helmut's Revenge "(September 13, 1999-January 01, 2002)"

This was the sixth and final story arc in the comic series "When I Grow Up". Helmut's Revenge was the longest running story arc in the series, spanning about three years. These strips had a multitude of different storylines, characters, and events, many involving Helmut.

The Finale

On January 01, 2002, the final strip of "When I Grow Up" was posted. It is the end of Neal and Roger's New Year's Eve party. Zoe threatens to leave the party in anger, when Gina calls an "intervention". Neal brings out his laptop in order to show Zoe her future if she continues to lead the life she does. Shocked by the image she is shown, she begs to know how to avoid such a future, Neal then tells her to "open her mind to new experiences" and "stop trying to act so cool". The Final panel involving Roger, Gina, Zoe, Neal, and Donkey shows the five of them enjoying themselves. Zoe is seen riding atop Donkey, Roger is see drunk and holding a bottle of alcohol, and Neal is shown with his arm wrapped around Gina, who is returning the embrace. Both Gina and Neal are looking into each other's eyes. This may hint that Neal and Gina got together at the end of the series. The words "THE END" are shown in that panel. One extra panel is added on the bottom of the strip, showing Wigu from Wigu Adventures saying "It's about time"


* [http://webcomicsreview.com/?p=126 When You’re Eight Years Old, Anything Seems Possible / An Interview with Jeffrey Rowland] , Mike Meginnis, Webcomics Examiner, 2006-03-14
* [http://www.sbindependent.org/node/1746 Jeffrey Rowland, Web Cartoonist] Matt Willemain, Stony Brook Independent, 2007-03-26
* [http://wigu.keenspot.com/ "When I Grow Up" Archives.] Hosted on [http://www.keenspot.com KeenSpot] .


External links

* [http://www.jjrowland.com/ Jeffrey Rowland's Home Page]
* [http://www.jjrowland.com/whenigrowup/ When I Grow Up by Jeffrey Rowland]

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