Friday, February 1, 2008

Other Janes Than Ours

In most fanfic, Jane Lane is portrayed as a talented artist, much as she appears on the show. (Notice that I said "talented," not "famous" or "great.") In certain alternate-universe and post-canon stories, however, her "occupation" is subject to change based on what other interests she displayed in the series. When this happens, she usually reappears as a track star or marathon runner, spinning off from her successes in "See Jane Run." See Brother Grimace's "Victory Lane," Renfield's "Malice of Absence," or Richard Lobinske's Falling Into College series, for instance.

Sometimes she is a cheerleader in high-school, using "The F Word" as the jump-off point for the AU. Unfortunately, though I remember Jane as a cheerleader in one or two AU tales, I cannot find them now. Duh. Jane as a teacher appears in a few post-canon stories, like Robert Nowall's Daria: 2010 series and, again, Falling Into College.

What else could Jane be, playing off on what the show gave us? Action/adventure fanfics often have Jane in a major role. She just seems like that sort of girl. Several fanfics have generously destroyed the world so she becomes a survivalist/soldier ("Apocalyptic Daria," by Doggieboy, and "Lambda," by SigDiff). These spin off nicely from Jane's "I'm a survivor" comment in "Speedtrapped." The superhero angle is well explored in "Daria’s Web," by Fezenclop; the Legion of Lawndale Heroes series, by Roentgen and Brother Grimace; and "Lawndale’s Finest: The Last Daughter of Krypton," by NightGoblyn. She's an amateur wizard in several Harry Potter crossovers and a time-traveller in some Doctor Who crossovers.

The alter-ego picture of the "Good Mornings with Daria and Jane Show" from Is It College Yet? spawned a number of television-personality adult Janes. Then there's her active dating life, which (alas) results in her becoming a teen hooker in NightGoblyn's "The Misery Chicks." I guess the weirdest one was the emo-nerd Jane from NightGoblyn's "Exchange Students." Wait, I forgot about the submarine commander Jane from Wildgoose's Submariner series. That was very weird. (I'm not counting the "John Lanes" because they turn out a lot like the "Jane Lanes.")

My question here is, what else is possible, either in AU or future tales? Maybe reality has a clue here. What happens to most aspiring artists who leave high school? Do they starve? Fade away? Sell life insurance? (Let's don't bring up the hooker thing again.) Ideas are welcome for other alternate Janes, as is more fanfic and fan art on this topic.


Kristen Bealer said...

I always thought Nemo Blank had a good idea in "Ring Toss" with Jane selling commercial art to businessmen to put in their offices. It would mean less pressure to be "edgy" (I know, that word) but still relatively steady work. It would also tie in a bit with her copy work, too.


Scissors MacGillicutty said...

People I know who've gotten BFAs have ended up:
—Bartending or waiting tables, sometimes going on to fancy places and making good $$;
—Doing carpentry (this includes a number of women), again over time moving to fancier, high-end work, such as restoration of old, architecturally significant places;
—in IT at various levels, from grunt support work to well-paid middle management;
—genteel sex industry work, e.g., phone sex, dominance, nothing that involves even the possibility of touching;
teaching commercial art (e.g., teaching design, drawing, or software classes), but never doing it.

A good number of these people complain that their jobs give them no time to do their art, but between you and me (and the rest of the internet), after a certain point (and income level) it doesn't bug them anymore. Art was what they studied in school, but now they're doing what they're doing. Because fine art offers so few opportunities for a young grad (unless they've been pre-anointed as the next big thing, and this can happen sometimes; I've never met anyone in this lucky position), they end up developing some entrepreneurial skills and the ability to hustle whatever it is they're doing for a living.

Having said that, I can't see Jane not doing her art—forget about giving it up. It seems like something she does compulsively. IIRC, Robert Crumb said he doesn't feel right unless he spends a minimum of a couple of hours a day drawing—and mind you, it's his own "inner directed" work. He would be miserable doing repro stuff or work for hire. I figure Jane is in the same boat he is.

I reckon Jane would be good with any job that allowed her enough time and money to do her work. With her off-kilter attractiveness, she could probably quite quickly end up tending bar in a spiffy, pseudo-bohemian place (it looks arty, but the prices are for grads of top notch B-schools who are just starting out at their low-six-figure salary jobs), making good money, and having time to paint, draw, etc. Overtime, however, the job becomes kinda stale. Also between the job and making her art, she hasn't gotten around to showing any of it. Friends from art school who might have helped her promote herself earlier on are now a bit wary of doing so: maybe they don't want to make the effort for someone else now, or maybe they're wondering if they didn't overrate her work in the first place, or maybe they're jealous because she makes money, does her work, and because she hasn't even tried to show it, hasn't had to compromise. Meanwhile, she's running out of place to put her work, and she's not up to being nice to another recent Wharton grad who looks into her blue eyes after his fourth single-malt scotch and decides he's in love.

And where's Daria? Frankly, who cares. Lots of high school friends lose touch and drift apart in college. What's interesting to me about Jane is that I don't see her having to change much to be a plausible character in a piece of realistic fiction. Daria would. That's interesting in its own right, but is what I think would make them drift apart in college.