This week we’re returning to our quest to find those brave souls who put their art on the line in 2013’s reality webseries Strip Search. With half of the contestants behind us, we conclude our race to the finalists by looking at what Monica Ray, Tavis Maiden and Maki Naro have been doing in the five years since the show aired.
A true case of ‘beware the quiet ones,’ the girl who was “no stranger to being the centre of it all” became exactly that – with her departure marking the halfway point of contestant eliminations (depending on where you count Lexxy).
Monica had come to the competition as an established webcartoonist, with Phuzzy Comics having run since 2007, and she quickly leveraged her appearance on the show for a successful print run of that comic. Monica continued with Phuzzy Comics long after her appearance of the show, with updates finally grinding to a halt at the start of 2016.
As well as Phuzzy Comics, Monica lent her drawing arm to Penny Arcade’s The Trenches for a time, beginning in late 2013, and since early 2014 has been working as a storyboard artist for Nickolodeon Animation Studio. Some of the projects she’s worked on through Nickolodeon include Magic Children Doing Things, a three-minute short cartoon that Monica wrote and directed and Ben 10, where she has worked as both an artist and a writer. Most recently, Monica has been an ongoing writer and storyboard artist (and even done some voice acting) for the cartoon Harvey Beaks.
The only one of the contestants who was a parent at the time of production, Tavis melted our hearts with his genuine sadness at being away from his family while shooting the show. Understandable for any parent, but as the creator of the family-autobiographical Stranger Danger since 2012, Tavis was also separated from his muse.
Once he left the Strip Search house, that muse returned in full force – Tavis has been working like a webcomics powerhouse over the past five years, not only continuing Stranger Danger to the present day, but also giving Penny Arcade’s young Gabe ‘The Talk,’ premiering fantasy-adventure webcomic Tenko King in 2014, and collaborating with industry Godfather Scott Kurtz since October 2015 to write and draw Binwin’s Minions, both of which are still updating. A full list of Tavis’ projects can be found here.
Coming back for an honourable mention in this post, Lexxy was reintroduced to the series in episode thirteen, when she beat out both Nick and Mac to win her way back into the competition. For more information on what she’s been up to since, don’t hesitate to check out Searching for Strip Search – Part One.
Like so many of the competitors, Maki had a webcomics pedigree before the competition began, having run the scientifically-themed (and aptly-named) Sci-ence webcomic since late 2010. Maki continued to update this comic following the competition, albeit with a couple of site hosting changes and a rebranding to the name it operates under today: Boxplot. He also launched the comic he workshopped as part of the series, Sufficiently remarkable, which he also continues to update to this day.
As well as working on his own independent webcomics, Maki has been a cartoonist for The Nib since 2014, and has created several short scientifically based webcomics that have run through the web like some sort of…viral…disease.
That brings us up to the lucky last, the cream of the crop, the top tier and the final two who fought it out in the Strip Search grand finale 2013. So, don’t forget to check in next time for our conclusion which will touch on exactly how the competition ended, what that meant for the winner, and how those final two have developed over the past few years.
Until next time, don’t forget to let us know if you know something about today’s artists that we didn’t cover, and above all – don’t eat the clickbait!