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Napoleon Maxwell Sowachowski
Sock official art 1

Official art of Sock by Erica Wester.

Biographical information
Birth name Napoleon Maxwell Sowachowski
Nickname(s) Sock
Homicidal twink (fandom)
Age 15 - 20[1][2]
Gender Male
Physical information
Status Deceased
Demon
Height 5' 5" - 5' 6"[3]
Eye color Green
Hair color Brown
Relationship information
Family Unnamed mother and father (deceased)
Series information
Voice actor Ann Mendenhall[4]
First appearance Welcome to Hell film
Welcome to Hell comic (pg. 1)[5]
Napoleon Maxwell Sowachowski (commonly referred to as "Sock") is the main character in Erica Wester's short film and comic Welcome to Hell. He is the earthbound demon assigned to haunt Jonathan Combs.

Concept and creation

Works depicting Sock date as far back as 2007[6] on Wester's social media accounts. She first began drawing Sock without a name. When she asked friends for suggestions she eventually decided on "Sakuryu". He has endured several name changes. Formerly he has been Sakuryu (or Saku)[7] and Kilroy Conrad.[8] She later chose to Americanize his initial name into "Sock", which became short for Sowachowski (pronounced sah-wah-chow-skee[9]). A possibly defunct explanation for how Sock comes from Sowachowski is that a childhood friend, likely Jojo, couldn't pronounce Sowachowski.[10] His middle name, Maxwell, is a reference to the song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" from the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road, in which a man named Maxwell commits murder with a silver hammer.[11] Napoleon was chosen as his first name because of a television trope recognized on the popular website TVTropes (Television Tropes & Idioms) known as "Embarrassing First Name", which constitutes a character that dislikes being known by their first name either because it is odd or causes them embarrassment for other reasons.[12][13]

Certain characteristics in Sock are reminiscent of some aspects of Wester during her time in secondary education. His outgoing demeanor reminds her of how she perceived herself, though not how she presented herself, and he shares some traits of her fashion sense.[14] Even the reference to his "spooky hole" originates from the youth fad of buying garments with or cutting holes for thumbs in the cuffs of sleeves, which she participated in.[15]

In original concepts for the Welcome to Hell short film, Sock was a prolific murderer who was caught and sentenced to prison and later the death penalty.[16]

Characterization

Outward appearance

Sock is definitely burdened by what medical professionals call "glorious kawaii", so the cuteness factor makes him look a lot younger than he is.

—Erica Wester, via welcometohellfilm

Sock outfit model

An example sketch of Sock's usual outfit by Wester.

He wears a set of clothes consisting of a light blue T-shirt under a brown pullover sweater vest with yellow accents, a short light purple skirt, blue jeans ripped and rolled just under the knees, black and red striped socks that are at least a little less than knee-high, brown boots with yellow strings, a red scarf around his neck tied like a tie, and a red aviator hat (maybe made of fleece[17]) with yellow stars on the ears, a black backside and tail, and yellow goggles attached directly to the hat. Word of God is that he wears underwear briefs, probably patterned.[18]

In illustrations Sock's skirt is pleated. To simplify the animation of the short film the pleats were removed. Plaid is present in some illustrations and was briefly considered for the animation.[19]

His hair is a medium length, brown, and most notably manifests in a large bang across his face and a cowlick at the top of his head, usually hidden under his hat. He has white skin with a peachy tone. In one frame of the short film and some illustrations, his teeth can appear to be sharp.[20] The self-inflicted stab wound, his "spooky hole", is located on the center of his abdomen. One fan gauges it to be in or around his liver.[21] He stands around 5' 5" or 5' 6", slightly shorter than Jonathan Combs.[3]

Wester sets his age range to ambiguously 15 to 20 years, at least a freshman in high school when he died,[2] though he may often lie about his age.[22][23]

Personality

Sock is generally a very positive person, a contrast to the apathetic Jonathan. His attitude towards death is very blasé, and he has enjoyed inflicting it since early childhood.

Gender identity and sexual orientation

I also just like the idea that Sock wears this skirt and nobody draws attention to it or gives him a hard time about it. Sock’s got deeper issues than his skirt, I suppose, haha.

—Erica Wester, via welcometohellfilm

Morguebooksockalternateoutfits

A page from Wester's Morguebook depicting Sock in alternate outfits that incorporate fishnet tights, short shorts, and skirts.

A prevalent question from newcomers to Welcome to Hell is whether the purple cloth around Sock's waist is the end a long shirt or a skirt. As Wester answers in the official production blog's FAQ page and a few published asks on the topic, it is a skirt.[24][25] Because of the skirt and his female voice actor, Ann Mendenhall, Sock's gender is sometimes confused. Wester wants it clear that he is a boy that "intentionally blurs some gender norms"[26] but also leaves his character open to interpretation. Some think of him as transgender, genderfluid, or a number of other gender identities.[27][28][29]

Regarding the reason he wears a skirt, Wester often replies along the lines of "he's just a dude who wears skirts".[28][30] In one answered ask on the Welcome to Hell production blog she goes on to explain, "I guess what I’m getting at is we can choose to identify however we want, and we don’t owe anyone an explanation; we’re just being ourselves. Sock is just being himself, I guess! What’s important to me is that people identify, sympathize, or connect with the character in some way, and if part of that means interpreting his gender identity in a specific way, then I encourage it!"[28]

Wester also puts forth a "creator's headcanon" about Sock's sexual orientation, neither a fact set in canon nor Word of God. It is something she might not address within the future narrative of Welcome to Hell, but has considered and developed thoughts on. She says he is at least bisexual and at most "he transcends sexual preference altogether and someone’s gender/sex just isn’t a concern".[31] Her reply also mentions that it is not unlikely that he has more than platonic feelings for Jonathan, a sentiment she has echoed before in her playful interest in the fandom's shipping of Sockathan.

Background

Sockjojochildhood1

Sock's flashback to an ill-fated childhood exchange with Jojo.

Sock's parents were typical and caring. It's noted that Sock's mother was oblivious to his more concerning homicidal tendencies during childhood and convinced her sometimes suspicious husband to brush them off as well.[32][33] Sock had no siblings, but some extended family. He was well-liked within his community and had a few acquaintances, but no true friends.

He lived close to the graveyard in which he attempted to bury his parents.[34]

Sock killed small animals, one of which he offers Jojo in a flashback during the short film in a failed shot at friendship. He considered Jojo a friend during his childhood, though the feeling was not mutual.[35] It is mentioned that Sock may have had a pet dog named Silver during his lifetime, towards which Sock was affectionate, but the dog was always nervous.[36][37]

Abilities and skills

Sock has displayed only two abilities in the animated short film: self-levitation and intangibility, both common characteristics of demons.[38] Under specific circumstances he can possess Jonathan,[39] but it is unknown if this applies to only his charge. It is assumed that he possesses the abilities of any typical earthbound demon, though these have not been fully revealed in or outside canon.

Possessions

His most notable possession is his knife, possibly a simple kitchen knife. He used it during his lifetime to kill small animals, and later presumably his parents and himself. In the short film and comic he refers to it as "old friend". Wester says since he had no true friends the knife was his "trustiest companion" and notes that it is "actually really pathetic".[40][41]

Appearances

As early as 2007, initial versions of Sock, Jonathan, and Mephistopheles appeared in online media published to Wester's social media accounts. Formal manifestations of their story began with the dropped 2010 to 2011 Welcome to Hell webcomic and later Wester's 2013 Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) graduation film, also titled Welcome to Hell. The short film is considered the authoritative version of events, i.e. "most canon".

Webcomic (2010-2011)

Main article: Welcome to Hell (webcomic)
Wth 7 by real-faker sockmeph clip

Sock and Mephistopheles in page seven of the webcomic.

Sock's first debut in Welcome to Hell's formal media was as the main character of the Welcome to Hell webcomic, published through the social art website DeviantArt from May 26, 2010 to May 11, 2011.[42][43] Mephistopheles first appeared on page seven and Jonathan was never introduced. Sock appeared on each page.

It was left unfinished, with eleven pages and a "Daily Deviation" award for pages one and ten. Wester has expressed interest in continuing where the short film left off as a comic in similar format to the original.[24]

Short film (2013)

Main article: Welcome to Hell (short film)
Sockfullbodygraveyard1

Sock in a flashback at the beginning of the film.

Wester's senior thesis ("graduation film") at KCAI, the Welcome to Hell short film, was crowdfunded through the Kickstarter platform beginning January 1st, 2013 and was fully funded by January 31st, 2013.[44] It details a revised version of the events presented in the Welcome to Hell webcomic and from there elaborates on Sock's first days with Jonathan Combs. Sock, voiced by Ann Mendenhall,[4] is the main character. He is tasked by Mephistopheles to drive high-school age Jonathan to suicide.[45]

W2H2 (TBD)

Main article: W2H2
W2H2sneakpeekboardsockbook

A "W2H2" storyboard by Neil Morrissey.

Sock will feature in an upcoming installment of Welcome to Hell. The installment has no set release date.[46] Wester is referring to it as "W2H2" until a title is decided upon.[47] While it will focus more on Jonathan, Sock is still a very prominent character.[48]

Trivia

  • It is very possible that Mephistopheles has a Hellfile on Sock, just as he has one on Jonathan in the short film. Wester sees it as an opportunity for a "shocking reveal" about Sock if it were used in the future narrative of Welcome to Hell.[49]
  • In the animated short film the specific color code for his hair is #bc6324, a shade of brown with a reddish tint.[50]
  • Wester says Sock's Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is ESFP or Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.[51]
  • If Welcome to Hell were to become a live action film, Wester would be interested in seeing Michael Cera play Sock, because "he’d be so unconventional and awkward about it."[52]

Posts for later development of page

References

  1. Comment on WtH: Color Guide by Charanty on DeviantArt
  2. 2.0 2.1 Welcome to Hell, How old is sock? How creepy do we need to feels about... on Tumblr
  3. 3.0 3.1 I don't remember having seen this answered before... on Tumblr
  4. 4.0 4.1 Welcome to Hell, Characters/cast on Tumblr
  5. Welcome to Hell by real-faker on deviantART
  6. Welcome to Hell, Okay, first off, wanna say that I've been in the fandom...
  7. Sketch DUMP by real-faker on DeviantArt
  8. Sock and Jon sketches by real-faker on DeviantArt
  9. Welcome to Hell, What is socks full name, how is it pronounced
  10. Welcome to Hell, How did Sock come up with his nickname, or how did his... on Tumblr
  11. Maxwell's Silver Hammer on Wikipedia
  12. Welcome to Hell, I care. I would read a full length novel to find out... on Tumblr
  13. Main/Embarrassing First Name on Television Tropes & Idioms
  14. Welcome to Hell, does john like wearing clothes that are more colorful... on Tumblr
  15. I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY., fyeahwelcometohell: real-faker replied to your post... on Tumblr
  16. Welcome to Hell, diabetesmaus: cinnamontreats: clones-are-people-too: idk... on Tumblr
  17. Welcome to Hell, What kinda of material do you think Sock's hat is...
  18. Welcome to Hell, I don't know if I should even ask this but...what kind... on Tumblr
  19. Welcome to Hell, Is Sock's skirt pleated? on Tumblr
  20. Welcome to Hell, I keep seeing this in fanart and I'm not sure if...
  21. Only A Fandom Butterfly, I decided I needed to know exactly where Sock’s...] on Tumblr
  22. Welcome to Hell, How old is Sock and Johnathan? on Tumblr
  23. Welcome to Hell, How old are Sock and Jonathan? on Tumblr
  24. 24.0 24.1 Welcome to Hell, FAQ on Tumblr
  25. Welcome to Hell, Okay I've been wanting to know this for a really long... on Tumblr
  26. Welcome to Hell, I'd like to hear the story behind Ann and Neil! on Tumblr
  27. Welcome to Hell, my friend and i love this project. we have a headcanon... on Tumblr
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Welcome to Hell, I was actually wondering because I'm going too deep... on Tumblr
  29. Your Fave Is Nonbinary, Sock Sowachowski from Welcome to Hell (W2H) -- agender! on Tumblr
  30. I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY., yes hello friends i am here: reasons why welcome to... on Tumblr
  31. Welcome to Hell, hey uh on the ~secret page~ you said somethin bout... on Tumblr
  32. Welcome to Hell, Now that sock's homicidal tendency issue is out in the... on Tumblr
  33. Welcome to Hell, What was Sock's relationship with his parents like? The ... on Tumblr
  34. Welcome to Hell, I always had a headcanon of Sock living really...
  35. I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY., cat-antlers: i know Erica said that we should... on Tumblr
  36. DUMP 4 on deviantART
  37. Welcome to Hell, stariceling: I like the idea that Jonathan is great with animals... on Tumblr
  38. Welcome to Hell on Vimeo
  39. SNOW by real-faker on deviantART
  40. Welcome to Hell, does sock have a weapon preference? we only saw him... on Tumblr
  41. Welcome to Hell, I have a couple of questions, 1. I was wondering did... on Tumblr
  42. Welcome to Hell by real-faker on DeviantArt
  43. WTH:11 by real-faker on DeviantArt
  44. WELCOME TO HELL: An Animated Student Film on Kickstarter
  45. Welcome to Hell on Vimeo
  46. Welcome to Hell, General Update
  47. Welcome to Hell, Are you gonna animate the second episode with them...
  48. Welcome to Hell, hi mom its me again i was just wondering what limb...
  49. Welcome to Hell, We got to see Hell's file on Johnathan, does... on Tumblr
  50. Welcome to Hell, im planing to get a new wig for my Sock cosplay... on Tumblr
  51. Welcome to Hell, Hello! I was just wondering, if you had to assign Myers... on Tumblr
  52. Welcome to Hell, So I had a thought. That if WtH was ever made into...

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