Reger's comic is based on the principle that this more familiar version of Cupid, Venus' bratty little winged kid flitting around shooting arrows into people and driving them to distraction with infatuation and lust -- 90 percent of the time for people inaccessible to them -- is really a sadist. "All the other mythological characters seem to be doing their jobs. I mean, Atlas holds up the Earth, and the sun rises and sets," says Reger, whereas Cupid, supposedly in charge of love, seems more often than not to inflict pain. The heroine of Dipuc.com is Cupid's undiscovered sister, Dipuc, whose name is to her brother's what "Count Alucard" is to a certain Transylvanian aristocrat. Dipuc's cosmically ordained quest, on which she is accompanied by her matter-of-fact dog "Reality," is to free the victims of her brother's archery from the illusions and agonies of unrequited love.
"You know," the author explains, "when we fall in love, it literally feels like we've been shot with arrows. So why haven't we explained that moment where we go, 'What the fuck was I thinking?' You know, like, 'He had a girlfriend all along, but I couldn't see it, because I chose not to see it.'" In Reger's pungent metaphor for such epiphanies, Dipuc, the comely anti-Cupid, literally pulls the heads of the benighted afflicted out of their butts and gives them a good liberating bonk on the head. "It's that moment of clarity that really feels like somebody pried your head out of your ass and knocked some sense into you." Thus, as Cupid has his arrows, so Dipuc has her crowbar and mallet.
Reger, a Phoenix native who got her BA in journalism from Chico State and studied photography at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, was a successful commercial photographer in Phoenix when she began the Dipuc site, which grew out of her collection of written musings -- "Jillisms," she calls them -- titled Deep Thoughts, or the Brain Vomit of the Melodramatic. Currently viewable on the Dipuc.com site is the cute "origin of" comic and a première adventure for the heroine, along with a variety of contests, write-in boards on which the lovelorn compare their most appalling dating experiences, and other fun.
But Reger's most ambitious plan to date, perhaps, is her attempt to add a holiday to the calendar. The first "Dipuc Day" -- a singles' event with a nuts-and-bolt matching game and prizes, including a prize for the worst dating story submitted in written form -- will be celebrated from 6 p.m. to closing Monday, August 14, at Mill Avenue Beer Company, 605 South Mill in Tempe. Admission is free.
And the reason for the choice of August 14 for Dipuc Day? It's precisely half a year from Valentine's Day.