As a Gemini, I am fascinated by duality in human nature. I was once married to an identical twin; I might have been one myself, had I not grown to a gargantuan eleven pounds in my mother’s womb. All the best songwriting teams are duos, and stand-up comedians used to come in pairs.
Now, after a mere eighteen years on the Internet, I’ve done something I never thought possible; run two sites at once.
I solemnly pledge not to let it drive me out of my mind.
Look, friends, I’ve hung up my mourner’s hood, but the fact is, Berni Wrightson passed not long after Jay Lynch. That’s two of my DNA ladders, down. When this happens, I gauge the public reaction to the passing, and their general awareness of the person’s cultural impact. I learn many things doing this.
For one thing; keep going, and don’t stop.
In March of 2009, I officially started work on The Ceaseless Fables of Beyonding. My goal was to remind readers of why they crave illustrated fantasy. To create a living, breathing world that they want to visit. I drew up the initial character models, plotted the first twenty pages, and brought the strip online in September. I committed to posting a page every Sunday, to salve the loss of great newspaper comics like Prince Valiant. I promised to keep the humor sparse, and character-based, in contrast to my profanity-laden material up to that point.
If there’s profanity in Ceaseless Fables, it’s there for a reason.
I wanted to make unicorns cool for 13-year-old boys again, so unicorns are the only ones in the Beyonding who can swear without repercussions. For everyone else, cussing causes horrible breath that drives others away, and attracts disgusting little creatures called besmurchins. Sexuality is not addressed because it’s not a relevant part of the narrative. The purpose of the strip is to invigorate your imagination, not to normalize or give voice to any sort of sexual fetish. So you never have to worry that I’ll resort to using rape as a plot device.
Censoring the work would only damage it. I did this so that it could not be censored. It’s intended for ages 13 and up, who should be able to read “fuck” or “cunt” on a page and know that it’s only a word. This is a legitimate long-form piece of “sequential art”, if you wanna get pompous. Speaking of which:
The obvious influences are George Lucas’ Star Wars saga, Akira Toriyama’s Dragonball Z, Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack, and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Connections are made with pre-existing Podworks like Invisible Inc. and John’s Arm: Armageddon. There’s been a page every Sunday since 2009, except the times I was homeless or in jail.
At this point, nearing the close of the first phase (360 pages), there are over 300 pages of character designs, hundreds of pages of notes, four 72-page digests with exclusive appendices, a custom atlas with tissue overlays, and pages of charts noting when each page was plotted, inked, and posted.
When someone tells a lie in the Beyonding, and enough people come to believe it, it becomes truth. The teller may become a “besmurchin”, but the damage is done. Still, if someone has enough power, they can change history.
And all it takes to enter the Beyonding is to open a book. Getting back? That’s a whole, other story.
Now there’s a website, where you can get all caught up and properly obsessed. Believe me, I wouldn’t be this close to 360 pages if I didn’t have the utmost faith in the concept. To paraphrase Zappa, illustrated fantasy is not dead, it just smells funny, because corporate interests spoiled it. As for whether having two sites will cause a decrease in quality here, I’ve been doing CFB since 2009, whether you noticed or not. The possibility exists that a 13-year-old discovered it back then, and is now old enough to hang out with, just about. Despite the numerology of CFB, I stink at math.
What I mean by “numerology”- the panel borders of every page of CFB form the number of that page. This way you never really lose your place.
I don’t mean to brag, I’m just extremely proud. If I were to brag, I’d bring up the Choose Your Own Adventure-style novels I’ve been doing with author J.P. Kittens, about the Musical Meddler Squad (as seen in BIUL III) and their adventures with the albums of Steely Dan. There’s three so far with a fourth and more on the way. All of it, great. Hilariously great.
This is how I put my money where my mouth is. I ate all my money. I ate it. Now: comics. Books. I just pooped out the fourth BIUL, and I haven’t even given you time to breathe! Breathe COMICS! LIVE FOREVER!
I take back the pledge I made at the start of this page. I don’t even know which site I’m writing on. I’m gonna go have a lie-down.
I have a splitting headache.