As friends who have visited our home in the last two years will know, there is a “real-life” Hector the Narwhal behind the latest arrival to the Pink Narwhal webcomic. Ever since our slightly strange obsession with narwhals began, myself and my husband have made a game of trying to source narwhal-related gifts for one another at birthdays and Christmas. When I discovered the Squishable Narwhal (also now available from a UK store!), I began dropping hints about it so obvious that even the slightly myopic blue whale couldn’t fail to pick up on them. Still, as Christmas that year neared, I wasn’t sure that a large fluffy narwhal would find its way under the tree – surprise, of course, being part of the enjoyment.
And then, Mr Whale used my Paypal account to make a payment to “Squishables.com”, which promptly appeared on my bank statement late in November. Somehow, a joke arose between us that this was in fact from “Mr Squish Able” (pronounced “Squee-Shabluh”), a Mongolian bookseller – Mongolian to explain the fact that the ‘volume’ was being sent by airmail. Of course, it transpired on Christmas Day that the large, definitely-not-book-shaped box did not contain a novel, and so was born Mr Squish Able’s whale school, and thus the backstory of the newest character in the webcomic.
…do very silly webcomics grow.
Just under four years ago, I came back from a party – just a little tipsy, you understand – to my then very-new boyfriend’s house. After fetching me a glass of water, he said he had to show me a video that he and his housemates had just discovered. That video was Mr Weebl’s “Narwhals”. I then proceeded to spend about half an hour giggling and singing it over and over very loudly. By the time I went to sleep that night it was pretty much stuck in my head, and me and my boyfriend sang it at one another for weeks on end.
At some point, the song-singing evolved into a slightly eccentric alternative to “sweetheart” as an appropriate pet name for one another. From calling one another “narwhal” we moved onto “pink narwhal” and “blue narwhal”, and sometimes just “whale” (fellow-shoppers must think it very cruel when I’m told “that dress doesn’t suit you at all whale!” outside changing rooms). At some point the gooey love notes exchanged in the first flush of a new relationship began to be adorned with narwhal-related art: usually little cartoons of two narwhals hugging, or sometimes more elaborate sketches of, for example, narwhals house-hunting, or hiking. Then about six months ago I had the idea of turning these little pictures into a comic strip. And, so, the Pink Narwhal was born.
As for that brand-new boyfriend of four years ago… well, reader, I married him!