Anti:Bully

In the latter part of my childhood, I basically had four big fictional stories “on the go” (primarily in my head, acted out with lego / repurposed other toys, or as imagined repurposings of videogames – and occasionally in comics and stories!). The four were

The Gun

Teddy Bear Wars

Galactic Conquest

aaand… Anti Bully.

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Except, if you’d asked me at the time, I would have insisted Anti Bully (or Anti:Bully, as the logo had it) was real life. It was, in fact, partly real life and partly fiction. You might call it a LARP where the other players don’t know they’re part of it. And the “combat” (if any had actually happened) certainly wouldn’t have involved pulled punches!

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There was also an “abbreviated” logo with just the black bits.

So, what was Anti Bully, then? Well, at the time, it was a “spy agency” me, my brother and our friends Robert, Thomas and Wayne ran. It also had various other members who came and went, but those five were the main ones. In fact, it wasn’t even called Anti Bully, most of the time. It started out as something like the MM-RG Spy Agency (named after me and Robert), later becoming the DM-RG Spy Agency (after I quit in a huff for like 20 minutes, then re-joined as a ‘ranker’, with my brother as the leader). Robert then became the leader, naming it Eagle Spy Agency. He then moved away, taking the name with him. My spying shut down for a while, but was revived as Anti Bully around 1997 (when I REALLY should have been too old for such things), for a couple of summers.

We had decided to form a spy agency at some point in mid-early 1995 (or maybe late 1994), right at the end of primary school, when my brother and me both bought the Funfax Spy File at a school book sale.

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This fucker…

Robert was also round our house, at the time (he may have bought one of those files, too). It took us about 5 minutes of looking at it to decide to become spies ourselves. We let our friend Thomas in on it the next day (he and Robert went off on a “mission”, while my brother and me stayed at home waiting for them – maybe we were grounded, I really don’t remember). Anyway, our spy agency hadn’t been in existence more than an hour and we’d already had two tantrums and fights about it (the first two of MANY). The Funfax Spy File had a page where you could write in the names of your spy ring. Robert immediately claimed leadership (he did things like that), after some wrangling we decided me and him would be joint leaders, while my brother would be second-in-command. Except, in his file, he put “Mr David Martin” in the “Master Spy” box, because he thought reading out “Mr David Martin” in a strained, posh-sounding accent was the funniest thing in the world. After I threw a wobbly, we decided that, in our agency, “Master Spy” would be the name for the second-in-command, the leader called, erm, “Leader”.

Anyway, we then practiced spying, which involved trying to sneak through the house as quietly as possible (with no penalties for messing up, though), and passing a note to the next agent. My brother was supposed to wait in another room, but joined Robert, and hid with him. I passed the note to Robert, saying “now take it to… DAVID!”, the latter part shouted, as I saw him hiding in the darkness. The next thing I knew, I was flying backwards from a two-legged kick, and he somehow still managed to punch me three times before I hit the ground. He did all this while saying “I thought I heard a whistle! I thought that was our secret signal!”. That reminded me that we did actually need secret signals, but I was too busy trying to punch back, at the time.

First battle report: 2 agents bruised, enemies not even aware we exist.

Anyway, we did come up with a whole range of secret signals later, all terribly-imitated animal sounds. The only one I can remember was “coo coo” (not a cuckoo sound, actually just saying “coo coo”), which meant “come here”.

I think the name “Anti Bully” first appeared in an unrelated comic strip, about which I remember nothing at all. It was probably like the Bash Street Kids, only all the characters would have looked identical, and probably didn’t even have names. Later, in 1995-6, I tried to start up a separate spy agency at school, which was called Anti Bully, while the DM-RG / Eagle agency was the “home” one. I only had one school friend who was immature enough to be involved in such a thing, and he got some major health problem, resulting in him being away from school for entire terms. By this time Robert lived in “far away” (for kids without cars) Chatteris, and Wayne lived in also-distant Pymoor. But we dedicated ourselves to fighting bullies and criminals, wherever they were found!

…so, who were the “bullies”? Well, some of them were real bullies, of course, but most were just people we didn’t like. Some of them were people we didn’t even KNOW, and some of them didn’t exist at all! I told you this was a mash-up of fact and fiction. While the other three stories were games played with toys / written about in comics, Anti Bully existed in the form of our “mission reports” and “investigations”. These have only a very tenuous connection with reality. We’d go out on “spy missions” (kidding ourselves we were doing outdoorsy, boy-scout, woodcraft stuff. Actually we were just walking around in conveniently-then-fashionable camouflage, and looking at distant people through barely-functional toy binoculars), find some bit of screwed up paper, or see somebody walking their dog miles away, and write up some exciting account of finding “secret messages” and “observing enemy agents”.

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No, I mean I looked up over a plant-covered fence and somebody’s turned-away head was literally right up against the other side of it. Nearly shit myself.

Anyway, I’d actually almost forgotten about Anti Bully, until I was forced (by a badly-insulated, damp house) to have a major clear up over Christmas 2015. I discovered the old Anti Bully folder (the files had once filled two of the extra-thick A4 ring binders, but had, at some point, been consolidated into one). It made interesting, if incredibly embarrasing, reading. I chucked some of the stuff away (many “case notes” were repeated several times), and decided to blog about the bizarre crap that remained.

The files are broadly separated into “mission notes”, “encounters”, “cases” and “instructions”. They all have several odd symbols drawn on them, as the files were organised and indexed in several ways, and at several different times.

One of the funniest sets of symbols is the “departments”. After the Spy File (and the later Minifax Spy File, this was basically a plastic binder thing, with slots to slip in the tiny, A7-sized books. If I remember rightly, all these books were on woodcraft, codes, disguises etc – no stories!), Funfax released a successor called INTERactive Secret Agent. This made use of the advanced, modern technology of, erm, casettes (on thier way out, even then), which contained some of the story dialogue, and appropriate sound effects. The file itself featured stuff about spycraft, codes, disguises etc (as well as bits to fill in, puzzles, and so on), the three additional books you could buy (and the one it came with – making a total of four tapes, which was as many as could fit in the plastic holders on the inside covers) were all about going on missions for INTER (I can’t remember what it stood for), rather than the disjointed themes of the earlier Funfax Spy File.

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This was the best picture I could find on Google.

Anyway, INTER was broken up into different departments, so I decided the same thing must be done with Anti Bully… all 8 members it had, at it’s absolute height. One of them was called Weapons Or Equipment Dept (WOE Dept), there was also a FAR Dept, MAP Dept, and a bunch of others. The “Weapons or Equipment” were just toy guns, pretend binoculars (with maybe 1.5x magnification at best), walkie talkies with a range of about 7 paces (we once tested it by holding down the morse key and walking away), and other such items. I occasionally invented ‘secret devices’, the best one of which was a spring-loaded toy rocket launcher off a G.I. Joe, attached to my wrist by one of mum’s 80’s wristbands. That could have caused somebody to have a slight pain in their eye for a minute, that could.

Anyway, on to the files. The Mission Notes were scribbled descriptions of things we were doing on our “missions”, which were walks or bike rides around the village and (very) nearby countryside. They’re surprisingly legible considering, and many are precisely dated – allowing me to see that I was acting like a 10-year-old when I was 13 or 14. Oh god, the cringe!

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Newly-drawn maps of where most of our spying happened. The park and school are considerably different, now.

Most of our missions were totally uneventful (though any little thing like finding a new bit of litter, or seeing a ‘suspicious’ dog walker in the distance, would be blown up into observed activity by enemy agents), but on the rare occasion we came into conflict with our enemies, the mission would be written up as an “encounter”. These were often blown vastly out of proportion. If we hid behind a hedge and watched some “bullies” playing football in the park, it would be illustrated as a heavily-armed gang patrolling, secretly observed by us.

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That bit at the top, described as happening in “Autum” 1993, was actually from before the spy agency existed.

Yes, even Anti Bully had retcons!

If they spotted, and came after us (one fun-packed afternoon was spent this way), it would become a tale of how we “interfered with” their “planning”. In my head, the bullies were an enemy spy agency, just like ours, with ranks, carefully-kept files (that we dreamed of capturing) and plans for secret missions. Their mission was to steal penny sweets from the village shop, light small fires, under-age smoke and other nefarious crimes, what with them being the ‘bad guys’. Of course, far from being an enemy agency, they were, in fact, just normal old children / young teens hanging out. We were the weird ones.

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A reasonably typical encounter. Probably one of the last proper ones.

Some of our later agents (including two suddenly-discovered distant cousins) were even friends with the “bullies”, and treated the thing as either a joke, or as some sort of gang warfare. I was trying to make a plan to recapture the “bases” (hedges you could get under) in the park, with military precision (even involving a tank), and one of them asked me when we were going to go and “get” one of the kids I’d named as an enemy. I really went off on one, about how the agency was not about “getting” kids, but was “professional” XD.

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Anti Bully had many notebooks and different folders, over time. This is a rare survivor.

if the bullies failed to provide us with their presence, so we could wishfully-think it up into some heroic battle between good and evil, we just plain invented “encounters” in our heads, or faked them. One of the coolest / funniest was when we were building our own base in the park, and some of the older kids (later designated “bullies”, but at the time “civilians”) came along, and insisted that their dads had discovered the base first, so it was theirs. The base we were building was in roughly the same location as one my dad had mentioned as existing in the late 50’s – early 60’s. Of course, kids in those days didn’t claim ‘ownership’ of a bit of hedge on public land. Anyway, we told these two kids about our spy agency (I used to blurt it out to all sorts of people, including a half-Italian ginga at secondary school, who was barely sane), and they went off, warning us about “enemy agents”. Pretty soon we were attacked by a weird guy in a strange blue mask, who would always run off into bushes or fields before we could catch him (we were all pretty slow, weedy and unfit – at the time. Thomas later joined the Navy). The other two kids would alternately show up, asking if we’d seen “the maniac”. Naturally, those two were swapping the mask between them, and pretending to be “the maniac”, but we could never prove it.

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That one wasn’t written up until about 2 years later, for some reason.

On another occasion, “enemy agents” were hiding in the farm yard behind our house, throwing the odd stone at the fence, or whispering in voices only two of the four of us could hear. Later, while I was looking through a hole, I saw Robert hit the fence with a stone, out of the corner of my eye. A flurry of accusations and denials later, I realised I’d never actually been looking at the fence when we’d heard stones hitting it. However, later on, we actually saw loads of earth being thrown over the fence at us, so there was clearly an actual gang of bullies on the far side. The fact this was a few minutes after Thomas had left for home, and he’d had a whispered conversation with Robert just before going, probably had nothing to do with it. This was, naturally, written up as a great victory over the bullies.

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I used a bunch of odd code-words, inspired / stolen from contemporary SAS books. “Ratline” was “going home after a mission”. I don’t know what “Case 1K” is, though.

On occasions when we were writing up encounters that had happened to only one of us, we were bounded only by our imagination. Robert once single-handedly fended off an attack on his garden by over 100 bullies (there was probably only about that many kids in the village as a whole – of all affiliations). He had been deflecting thrown stones by hitting them back with the inside of his wrist (the “hardest part of your hand”, he insisted), and had taken down hordes of bullies by throwing his bike and skateboard at them.

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Oddly, while they were ready to storm his back garden when he was alone, when there was three of us, trying to provoke about 15 of them into another battle (by shouting insults then running in the gate), only one of them ran up to the gate and shouted “come on then” a bit. The 100 that attacked him before must have been all the other bullies, clearly.

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Once Robert had moved to Chatteris, he got involved in some amazing adventures. The bullies there (who were, of course, in the same nationwide agency of united bullies) had built a two-storey underground base, with a stockade of spiked logs around it. This was a thing it was totally possible for bratty, selfish, disorganised 90’s kids to do. They’d also built some impact-detonating “shockwave grenades”, by, as Robert described it, “doing that thing where you get old engine oil and…blahblahblah… in an old coke can”. Curious that the phone line went bad at only that moment, eh? Luckily, he was able to steal some of these oil bombs, and hurled one of them into the entrance of the underground base. It collapsed, and he escaped as the angry bullies extricated themselves from the mass of earth and wood.

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The map of the base in this picture was drawn from our phone conversation. The “real” one is below.

As he was describing this to me over the phone, one of his other agents (he had loads of them, in both Little Downham and Chatteris, who none of the rest of us ever met… oddly) bought him a letter. He opened it, very noisily (it was almost as if he was holding the phone right up against an envelope) and told me his agent had found out the bullies were planning to build an even bigger, 5-storey underground base with file rooms, weapon rooms, planning rooms, etc (all things that bullies actually needed to bully effectively). It was also going to have a 6ft high log stockade. I started working on a plan of attack to destroy it, which was even written up as a sort of comic strip. Note the bullies running away from the terrifying firepower of a toy gun loaded with conifer seeds. Naturally, this attack never happened, and I never even saw the base. I didn’t even see one of his stock of captured oil bombs, come to think of it.

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Bullies always keep detailed records of their bullying.

The next category of files are the “cases”. These were our major investigations into totally real and genuine plots by the bullies. The very first case, when the agency started in around 1995 (it was just before I left primary school, anyway. The very last Scholastic Book Sale I went to at that school was the one where we got our Spy Files), was The Car Case. This was, come to think of it, something else that Robert came up with. Though, this time, there’s a chance it might actually have been real (mind you, before the spy agency, we’d had a period of UFO investigating, which was a veritable feast of bullshitting from all of us). Basically he saw some teenagers trying to open the door of a car parked outside his house. A few days later, he decided some girls walking around the village were part of the gang, and we followed them for a bit. They probably thought we were horny young boys who didn’t know how to act around girls. Even if he did see an attempted car theft, I doubt the girls in question had been involved in it.

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Haha, I forgot about Robert saying one of the girls had been captured, but used her diamond ring to cut a hole in the police station window and escape. How he was privy to police knowledge, I don’t know.

The next, and longest, case was The Big EA. Apparently all of the bullies and young, petty criminals from the whole of East Anglia (who all had a secret network of information-sharing, of course) were going to come to Little Downham to bully us, steal penny sweets, start tiny fires etc. Quite how they were going to do this without attracting police or parental attention was not something we bothered ourselves with. Imagine a sudden traffic jam to and from the village of parents’ cars, with accompanying crime wave that “we had nothing to do with, though, mum”. Or the barely-used bus suddenly crammed with kids coming to and from the village, with the accompanying vast increase in calls to the police, but nobody being able to put two and two together. Nobody but us, anyway, the sole defenders of law and order to have discovered the truth! For at least a couple of years, whenever we successfully spied on bullies, we’d kid ourselves we’d overheard them talking about “the big one” and “training for the day”. I also convinced myself that a bunch of teenagers I saw hanging around in Littleport were “preparing for” it. I even did a comic strip about the day The Big EA happened – Anti Bully making a foray into complete fiction, and not for the first time, either XD.

Now, while The Big EA was clear nonsense, it was in fact a “guys, this is worse than we thought!” expansion (coming from mouth of somebody with a name beginning with R) on an earlier case called The Big E (for Ely). This smaller event, in which a bunch of bullies (well, the friends of people we had decided were bullies) would come to Little Downham for a surge of bullying… actually happened! Though the “bullying” was actually a crowd of maybe 30 of them hanging around the bus stop and shouting insults at us as we went past. We cycled past several times, trying to overhear information about the “real” Big E, which we thought this was just a planning meeting for. Some of them may even have pocketed some penny sweets from the shop, and passed a ciggie or two around – and not one of us was able to stop this sheer anarchy!

On a smaller scale, but no less ridiculous (and primarily investigated by you-know-who) was Operation Fencekill. Having nothing to do with the extrajudicial murder of a seller of stolen goods, it was, in fact, an investigation into the kidnapping of one of Robert’s trusted (imaginary) agents, nick-named Goldwing.

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Which is totally not the name of a motorbike.

Who had kidnapped him? Why, none other than the leader of all the bullies, and head organiser of The Big EA… Jazz Ice! Yes, Jazz Ice… he was a shadowy figure, and nobody knew his real name, apparently. Robert actually pointed him out to me once – he was an older teen, visiting some other kids, and they were playing football in the school playground at the weekend / after hours. This may have been the same day we tried to start a fight with them.

Anyway, apparently Jazz Ice and his shadowy cabal were holding this agent hostage, making him phone his mum and say he was “staying with a friend” (for like 8 weeks), and trying to… I don’t even know. To Robert’s credit, he had kept a detailed day-by-day log of his “investigations”. He only seemed to find out important information on his own, though. Whenever we tried to find out information about it together, the bullies didn’t even mention it. Robert actually moved to Chatteris while it was going on, somehow finding out more information about a kidnapping that had, presumably, happened in Little Downham there, than we could on the spot!

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A note from Robert. He was worried the bullies had “found out about” us investigating a kidnapping they were responsible for.

Another case was called either The Bomb Case or The Destruction Case. Either way, the day before going on holiday somewhere, I heard our neighbour and a friend talking about how to make molotov cocktails. Disregarding the fact this is just a thing that boys do (hey, upper-middle class woman who is now saying “isn’t this how it starts?” and “those kids are a Columbine in the making”: You are thick and wrong), I assumed they were actually going to make bombs. It didn’t help that, a few days after we came back from our holiday, they got hold of some firecrackers and chucked them over the fence at night.

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By this time Robert had moved away, and what was now Anti Bully was primarily Me, my brother and Thomas. We’d set up a dead letter box, on a tiny “bridge” (two planks of wood over a dyke) in the village allotments. We used to leave each other messages in it nearly every day, then phone up the other guy and basically tell them everything that was in the message. It’s a good thing the bully spy agency hadn’t thought to tap our phones, eh? Now, as we were going on holiday, I only had time to quickly leave Thomas a message in the dead letter box, not to phone him and tell him it was there. Did he think to go to the dead letter box and check it for left messages, during the week we were away? did he FUCK. The first he knew of the bomb case was when we got back and told him in person. The very waterlogged and unreadable message was collected and got rid of – couldn’t risk the enemy finding out what we knew about a conversation two of them had almost certainly forgotten they’d even had, by that time.

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I probably expended more effort on writing up the bomb case (at least three pages about it, all of which said basically the same thing) than I did on investigating it. But some time later we did find two litre-sized, thrown-away plastic bottles (of the sort milk comes in). One had a tiny, sticky bit of blue residue in, and one had a tiny, sticky bit of orange residue in. These were obviously bomb-making chemicals, and got taken away and chucked somewhere else.

Also in among the case files, though not really a case, was plans for something that was first called Park Attack, but later called Operation Jackpot. “Park Attack” kind of gave away what it was about – a plan to attack the bully-‘owned’ bases in the park, and recapture them. Though, of course, the moment we went home for tea, the bullies would take over again, and we’d be back to square one. The operation was inspired by one of the series-ending Soldier, Soldier episodes where they actually went to war. We were going to gather up all our agents (all 5-6 of them, though the plan called for about 50), get super soakers and other toy guns, build a pedal-powered, turnip-firing TANK,,, and launch our attack! Even if we had managed to do this, we’d probably have found only 3-4 bullies in occupation of one of the bases, and not the “10 in one, 15 in another…” numbers, in 24-hour occupation, that a certain guy who’s name rhymed with Bobbert insisted he’d seen.

Also, the plan called for an open, obvious, frontal attack on the bases by racing across the park. A more effective, and doable, plan would have been to creep in across the fields and attack from the rear. We could probably have even ‘captured’ one base in that manner, with the numbers we could muster.

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The, erm, perfectly clear plan.

A few other cases came and went. After Robert moved away, Thomas said he’d found an enemy dead letter box, with a note in it written by somebody called JNK. He later spied on a group of bullies who said they’d found our dead letter box (I did actually move it), then spotted and chased him.

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Robert, in keeping with his personality, immediately launched The Bulldog Case (Bulldog was Thomas’ code name), accusing him of writing the “enemy message” himself. Some of his evidence was compelling (similar handwriting), and some of it was nonsense. Thomas had reported spotting a piece of paper in the Allotments, assumed, and written, that it was Robert’s, only it wasn’t, and Robert used this as further ‘evidence’ that Thomas was a traitor. I, wanting to stop infighting, so we could concentrate on “the real enemy”, immediately disbelieved everything Robert said about it. Though Thomas almost certainly had written the note himself, anyway. It’s not like Robert had ever faked anything XD.

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The “note from the enemy” that Thomas found, and one of his own notes, which he said had been screwed up by bullies, who had found it in the dead letter box.

There was, actually, almost constant infighting and distrust in the agencies. Robert once randomly accused my brother of being a traitor, because he’d “seen him talking to the bullies”. This was obvious bullshit, my brother was hardly out of my sight on missions, and I, too, had sometimes talked to the bullies while other agents were at a distance. Still, on another occasion I did pretend my brother was an impostor in disguise… but that was just an excuse for a punch-up. Like we needed one.

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The last case, in late 1998, was launched when I left a secret “we went this way” sign in the Allotments, and a few days later discovered somebody had added a bit extra to it. I “launched a full investigation” (by this time, Anti Bully was basically just me), which discovered absolutely nothing.

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The last category of files is “Instructions”. This was either plans for weapons, pedal-powered tanks, knicker-elastic-launched gliders, a submarine (there was no lake, sea or river near the village), or articles on spycraft. The latter was mostly copied from children’s spy or detective books we’d borrowed from the library, only with loads of spelling mistakes and crappy illustrations.

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Fortunately we never attempted to build these things. Imagine if we’d got that glider into the air, or drowned ourselves in a home-made sub.

I also had a few maps, battle plans (my brother and I spent hours drawing these things. Somebody at primary school told me that if you cut the end off a cap gun’s barrel, it would shoot ‘bits’ that would “sting for 10 minutes”. So we planned out how we’d do various shootouts with bullies – assuming the “sting” would be as incapacitating as death, but ultimately harmless) and crappy spycraft articles I’d made up myself.

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The founding of the agency, the Car Case, Big EA and early part of Operation Fencekill all occupied the summer of 1995, during which I started at secondary school and founded the first, short-lived, version of Anti Bully (the “home agency” was still MM-RG and DM-RG at that point). The two Car Case girls actually went on my bus! But that had largely petered out by then. Somebody in one of the higher years at school had the nickname Jozz. I found some graffiti saying “Jozz smells” in maths class, and nearly had an orgasm as I convinced myself it actually said “Jazz smells”, meaning Jazz Ice went to my school, and I could track him down and find out Big EA and Fencekill information. But after a term or two I was getting pretty badly bullied, and concentrated on keeping cryptic, anal records of that bullying (which, naturally, just made it worse).

After Robert moved away, we carried on visiting him for a while, talking about spy stuff and doing some very small missions (Getting out of his back garden and ‘patrolling’ the empty field beyond). We also acted out Galactic Conquest lego battles, drew The Gun comics, or played videogames, though… it wasn’t all spying! Sometime over the winter of 1995-6, we had some bullshit argument, like kids do (I think we’d forgot the cause of it before it even ended), and I didn’t talk to him for ‘ages’ (it was probably less than 6 months, but seemed like years, at the time). At around the same time, a passed-around family tree thing revealed that another two boys in the village were our cousins. They were immediately recruited, and Thomas and Wayne got more involved, making the summer of 1996 a vintage one for spying.

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A base found in Pymoor. We thought we’d captured it from the bullies, but I remember the metal cans and wheels being super-rusty. It had probably been built by kids in the 80’s or even 70’s!

I got back in touch with Robert, and visited him a few more times (this is when The Bulldog Case happened), but he was getting too old for it. Eventually, whenever I phoned him up, his mum always told me he was out. I got the hint and dropped it (though I did want to excitedly suggest uniting Eagle Spy Agency and Anti Bully into United Spy Agencies, or USA, with appropriately star-spangled logo).

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A very generic, self-mocking plan.

On the first of September, 1996, we had the most ‘fun’ and action-packed day of spying in the whole history of the agency. It started early in the morning, when Thomas came round and told us he’d spied on a huge gang of bullies, who had spotted him, and chased him away with water bombs. This may have actually happened, as there certainly was a “huge gang of bullies” out and about. Well, about 7 kids we didn’t like. We went out, down one of the country lanes leading out of the village, and started to make a base. Some of them came riding down the lane on their bikes, and I was fumbling for my gat (a dart-shooting pistol with a magazine), but they just rode past us, calling us sad, stupid etc. One of them said “E’s got one of them guns”, as I held it against my backpack in an attempt to look intimidating. It wasn’t even loaded with the ‘more painful’ conifer seeds, they wouldn’t fit properly in the mag.

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After that, we went home for some ‘training’, well, running out of the back door and shooting three targets. I was explaining all the things you weren’t allowed to do to ‘cheat’, and my mum (hanging out the washing), snaps “not asking much, are you?”. She absolutely hated our spy agency (as well as every other activity we did, show we watched, game we played, music we listened to and friend we made. Later on she hated every girlfriend I had, except for one… though she hated the idea of me visiting that girlfriend’s country). We went out again, and were hanging round near the school / one of the shops, when she came past in the car and stopped. She told us to “stop doing yer spy missions!”, to which I shouted “tough!” as she drove away. My brother had an attack of the morals, and said he was going to tell her I’d said that. I told him I didn’t care, and we went into the Allotments. We left our bikes there, got over the fence into the school field, and crept up to the hedge dividing it from the park. The bullies were on the swings, and we were trying to listen to them, when we heard them saying they were going to the shops, which would mean they’d come through the school field. We just ran like hell (hearing them shouting, as they spotted us), grabbed our bikes and raced away.

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Me and Thomas got home, he went upstairs while my mum confronted me in the kitchen, barking “TAFF… IZZIT?” and grinning like the Cheshire cat, as if knowing what I’d shouted at the back of the car meant she’d scored a massive victory. I just grinned back and said “YÆS, IT IZ”. Before long, we heard a commotion next door – the gang of bullies had come to collect our neighbour, and wait in ambush for us. Mum told us not to go back out, and that she’d either drive Thomas home later, or (more likely), that he’d have to risk a 7-against-1 fight on his own. I wasn’t having that, so we tooled up with Super Soakers, got our bikes ready, and prepared for the fray.

Now, the gate down the side of the house opened inwards, so we could probably have opened it carefully, and took off at top speed, getting well away before they spotted us, if at all. But I decided to instead bang the gate open and ride away shouting “GO! GO! GOOO!” like a Hollywood hero. We were not even halfway down the drive before I heard the bullies shouting “there they go! come on!”. We went belting down the road, at proper standing-on-the-pedals speed, but, at the time, my brother had asthma (well, I suppose he still does, but it actually affected him back then). I heard him getting out of breath, so told him to split off down a side road and hide.

Thomas and I got to his house, and after he’d gone in I was readying myself to head back home, knowing the rough ‘square’ of streets I lived on would be bully-patrolled. Then mum suddenly showed up in the car, saying she’d escort me home. I was almost disappointed. I had an incredibly slow ride home, mechanically performing all the signals and looks-around that I’d been taught in Cycling Proficiency, to mum’s annoyance. I even heard her screaming “JAHST GAHÜW”, over the sound of the engine, as I did my “lifesaver’s look” for turning right, from a major road to a minor road.

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After getting home, I learned why we’d “lost” the bullies. They’d assumed we were going into the Allotments, and followed my brother, who was in the process of turning back. The road he had taken was a loop with a dead end, but at the end there was an alley, which led back to the road he came from. The bullies chased him down the road, so he rode down the alley. Only one of them was waiting for him at that end, but had to jump out of the way of his bike. He went back home and told mum where I’d gone.

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Another new map, showing roughly where it happened. The scale is way off, though.

We were, naturally, banned from doing any more spy missions, and from associating with Thomas. naturally, we were straight round his house and out for more missions on the very next day.
1996 was waning by then, and by the summer of 1997, Thomas had got too old for spying. Now the agency was mainly Me, my brother, the two cousins and Wayne, all 1-3 years younger than me. A few other members joined, but they were people I didn’t know, some of whom were friends with the bullies.

In 1997, with the cousins in tow (and occasionally Thomas or Wayne), we set about building a base all of our own in the Allotments. The cousins had some old arrows (of the shoot-from-a-bow kind) which we stuck in the ground, then leaned a box against them and covered it up with pulled-up long grass. I also had an army surplus camouflage net, which I told them was for emergency use only. I went away to ‘scout’ for 5 minutes, came back, and they’d inevitably put it up, saying “we thought we saw a bully”, and pointing to an old man weeding his Allotment. I actually took some photos of this operation, allowing you to see some actual pictures of Anti Bully in action! (Hey, it was all film in those days, taking photos of anything was a rare activity).

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As well as the hideout, we had “bomb cases”, which were the dried-out, woody husks of some tropical fruit. They looked like giant peanuts. The idea was to fill them with dirt and throw them, so they’d explode on impact. After finishing the hideout, we went around the cousins’ house. There I threw a wobbly over some childish argument, and cycled home. I stopped off at the hideout to kick the wall down, smash up the bomb cases and scratch “die” into the dirt on the floor. The others came to our house later, looking shocked and asking why I’d wrecked all our hard work. I said I hadn’t even been to the hideout, and that the bullies must have done it. Considerably one-upping Robert by blaming imaginary bullies for actual physical damage!

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Some on-photo, biro annotations have been shooped out. Badly.

Also, that little bridge, in the top photo, was the first dead letter box. We left notes on the old, single-plank bridge underneath it.

As you can see, by the time the photos were developed, I’d kicked the other two, Ben and a different Robert (about whom I can remember absolutely nothing) out of the agency, as traitors.

The 1997 agency was barely stable, lots of younger kids joined, thought it was “about” being in a gang, and “getting” the other kids. They all quit / were fired after disobeying orders. By this time, I’d become the Captain Mainwaring-style leader by default. I even instituted a “points system”, to maintain discipline. People could be kicked out for getting 5 points. Some of them got 15 or more in a single day, but I always let them off, just to keep the numbers up.

I’d also started ‘rating’ the different weapons we had, on a system that worked on range and ‘firepower’. Plastic swords were Level 1. Wayne bought a friend to the agency, who I don’t think even he knew that well, and the kid thought the whole thing was about getting into fights. He noticed the swords we were both carrying were marked “Level 1”, and just randomly turned to me going “less ‘ave a level 1 faight!”. He eventually quit after being asked for a password to enter our garden. He’d only been told them 5 minutes before.

Over new year’s 97-98, we went round Wayne’s house and spotted some actual crime! Well, the one bar (more like a portacabin) in the village had sold beer to some underage teens, and we saw them drinking it through a hole in the fence. My mission report also mentions an “army of druggies”. Because there’s absolutely no other reason a bunch of teens would be out and about, in the vicinity of the one bar, on new years’ night, right? It must have been a drug deal!

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Some more spying happened in the summer of 1998, but I can’t remember much of interest. The cousins and other friends kept leaving, re-joining, and leaving again. Wayne found some “drugs” in Pymoor, and chucked them in a pond, because he’d have had to pass a police car while “taking them back for evidence”, and didn’t think of telling the police.

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Some of the other people from Pymoor, who had quit started up their own spy agency, unimaginatively called Anti Anti Bully. We finally had enemies who were organised along the lines of our own agency! Shame Pymoor was all of 4 miles or so away, and therefore way too far for us to spy on / battle each other. Wayne did join their ranks as a double agent, though. He “got information” on their organisation, which amounted to their names, and the fact it existed. This was the most successful piece of spying we ever did. Our cousins, meanwhile, also started up a group to fight against us, but that didn’t come to much.

antibully37 – antibully36

They know all our codes and passwords, so we MAY need to change them!

Right at the end of 1998, even hanging about in the park was too childish for the “bullies”. I went on missions that were nothing more than walks or bike rides around. At least it was exercise.
In 1999, the year I turned fift-fucking-teen(!), the end of Anti Bully came. I was investigating a potential base, possibly used by our cousin’s agency (which was no longer active. They’d probably forgotten it even existed), when some little girl pointed out that the barrel of my Super Soaker was poking out of my backpack. I thought “what an annoying kid”, followed by “I bet she’d think this whole Anti Bully thing was childish, if I told her about it, though”, followed by “wait, what the FUCK am I doing?”. I abandoned the attempt to “look for clues” in a bit of overgrown hedge, crammed between a crumbling wall and a garage, and went home.

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I think I probably harboured vague thoughts of continuing Anti Bully in some form, but that was really the start of a “flat spot” in my life where I didn’t do spy missions, was too old to act out things with lego (or teddy bears), and couldn’t think of decent comics to draw. I even started one called “Some Thing!” (later named Time Travel Patrol). Yes, I started to draw it before I’d even thought of a name!

Basically, I spent the rest of spring and summer 1999 waiting for the internet to happen (or watching videoed South Park episodes over and over – especially the Damien one). It looked like there was no chance of us getting a computer (even the worst ones were over £1000), until we came into some money unexpectedly. An internet-capable PC was literally the first thing out of my mouth, when I heard. When we did get a 450mhz Fujitsu monster (and set it up, very slowly and angrily, while my aunt, who has a habit of butting into, and ruining, important occasions, stood nearby and laughed to herself), I briefly considered creating a computerised Anti Bully file, but put it to the back of my mind – that part of my life was over!

antibully45 – antibully46

Yellow is teachers, green is us

In the end, Anti Bully managed to actually prevent absolutely no bullying at all. In fact, the school version managed to cause some (we told the teachers about a big fight, which even had an “entry fee”, and got basically the whole of Year 7 except us into trouble). But I’m not sure that worries me, over much. Most of the bullying I endured in year 7 was because I made a loud and unnecessary joke about owning a flying car, or ran around the corridors making Millennium Falcon noises (followed by “and other noises made by the big, round spaceshippy thing out of Star Wars”). A (school) year of bullying later, and I’d learned the very important lesson that nobody wants to hear this shit, and that I should shut the fuck up and face the front. An absolutely essential lesson for becoming a useful and productive member of society, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Later bullying was because I was an Anarchist, and believed in abolishing government, currencies and countries. I deserved everything I got, there, too. I’d have been a right loudmouth prick if the bullies hadn’t intervened. Like one of these modern “Social Justice Warriors”, I should imagine.

The bullies actually taught me more about good citizenship than the actual “good citizenship” (not called that, obviously. They were called PSE, though I think it’s now PSHE) classes. All I remember from them is doing a crossword where the answers were all terms for genitalia. And that was 1995, so imagine how bad it is now.

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But what, you might be wondering, happens to the bullies themselves, after they’ve forced the loudmouth, bratty “rebel” kids at school to conform? Well there was really only two main ones at secondary school. One killed himself while drink-driving, and the other currently lives on the nonce wing of one of her majesty’s guest-houses. So they both naturally selected themselves out of a society their behavior helped to stabilise and maintain.

Felney, the village

For most of the run of Old Felney, and in the planning of my ludicrously-ambitious “Grand Theft Felney” videogame , the village of Felney simply replaced the real-life village of Little Downham, where I’ve spent nearly all of my life (and most of the bits away from it, I can’t remember). But, as I came up with more stories which were centred, in one way or another, around the village, this became increasingly impractical – I’d have to “assign” real people’s houses to them, or else keep inventing / extending, new streets.

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The very first Felney strip also had a totally fictional layout

For a short time, during the planning of Grand Theft Felney, I’d thought about “mirroring” Little Downham to the south-east of Ely, and making that Felney. Partly because Mike’s house in Felney was in the same place as my own, and my controversial political statements (not to mention the URL of my website) around the internet, might cause people to hunt me down. But a “rotated” Little Downham, shifted elsewhere, would fool nobody. So, last summer, I came up with a totally new Felney – just kind of scribbled together on graph paper, to begin with. It’s still partly based on Little Downham, but also has elements of Streatham, Witchford and Haddenham (as well as some other mashed-up village I’ve seen in my dreams a few times). Plus various extra features that may or may not make for interesting story elements in the future.

I could also give some other characters definite places to live (namely Andy Fox, from World Pursuit Agency, and Steve Gunn, from The Gun – more on those in other entries!). Also, several of the parody businesses, which have had websites kicking around my server for years, now have definite addresses.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the crappily scribbled map! (I’ll be making a better, and coloured in, one, at some point – and probably a new “interactive map” to click around).

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Not all the street names in this are final, nor are the shop locations. Also the “dodgy used cars” place should be a lot smaller. “That mansion” and “Queanea (Quanea) Drove” are real places, though they are actually considerably further apart, in real life. Also, Quanea Drove turns a corner, though in this map it runs straight, then ends in a dirt road. The “sinking house” is one my parents were thinking of buying, once, but didn’t… because it was sinking XD. The School’s playing field and the park really did connect, in the real Little Downham (they don’t any more), but the park was at the top end of the school. Also the park’s playing field is a good 3 times bigger than the school’s XD. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make Little Downham’s mysterious, very-high-up, abandoned treehouse (in a dead tree – very dangerous!) fit in… but may be able to in the revised map. The “Death Junction” will be an equivalent of the real-life Witcham Toll (mentioned many times in Old Felney), where there really should be a roundabout. Note that there IS a roundabout, further into the 30mph-limited village proper. That will be the subject of a re-told “New Old Felney” storyline – and is exactly the sort of thing the council round here do.

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I got pretty far into drawing this one before realising I had no idea what a roundabout actually costs.

The “small shop”, the tiny road next to it (with a Rover SD1 always parked down there – little tip, if the videogame gets made!), and the village hall (in roughly the same place, and with roughly the same architecture, as Little Downham’s old school) are all places seen in a recurring series of dreams. In the dreams, the shop is VERY small, you go in, turn a corner, and there’s a tiny counter in an alcove, and a few chocolate bars on the opposite wall, plus another spiral staircase going underground. In Felney (if any character ever goes there), it will probably be a bit bigger, and have a staircase going up, to a flat above.

Also, Cauliflower Drove is a sort of “fan fiction” of a story set in the area. It was first put on the internet back in 1998, and a was a murder mystery following Yaxley Farcett D.I. (Drainage Inspector) unravelling a mystery. Originally it was behind a paywall, with episodes uploaded weekly (just on to plain HTML pages, with various stolen images) – no Kindle Ebooks in them days! But now you can read it for free: http://www.ely.org.uk/collie/prologue.html

Anyway, it opens with a murder on Cauliflower Drove, near a drain / dyke / ditch, and with the “Ely-Cambridge railway line in the distance”, meaning it could easily be near Felney! I did actually once start to write a nonsensical Felney / Cauliflower Drove crossover story, which was going to be set in France, and have a different murder (plus the gratuitous death of David Beckham and Posh Spice written in, for reasons I can’t remember), but that’s long gone.

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Actually, with map super-imposition, it could not be near Felney. But ooh ‘eck, I’ve done it now. – Actually, the superimposed map should probably be considerably smaller, too.

The Homonian Police uniform

Homonia is a fictional country, appearing in two of my stories – Sarah Millman, and Agent Smoke, which are both about the same character XD. I’ll do a more detailed article (and a map) one day, but basically it’s an “Israel for gay people”, based on the island of Sakhalin, currently in Japa-er-Russia. The political system is a cross of Fascist Italy, 1950’s Britain, and Japan. Basically it’s a fascist, one-party democracy, with jukebox cars and traditionalist “jobs for life”… and doesn’t give a fuck what anybody else thinks. It also has a large amount of immigration, due to being full of gay people, and acting as a safe haven for them to move to. But the basically-brainwashing immigration procedures effectively stamp out multiculturalism.

Anyway, Homonia’s “state apparatus”, ie the armed forces, police, fire, ambulance and NHS services (and, to a degree, the civil service), are all one big organisation called SEC-DEF (Security and Defence). And, as Sarah Millman is a cop (albeit a plain clothes detective), here’s the basic police uniform.

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CPPH stands for “the Council, the People and the Party of Homonia”. The Council is the three houses of Homonia’s parliament.

It’s actually similar to the party uniform, worn by civilians (if they want to, though it’s compulsory for party events, and counts as ‘formal dress’), only the civilian one is all black.

Felney

Right then.

Overview

Felney is the main story in the Felneyverse (surprise surprise). I also use the name Felneymike in various places, so there’s that, too. It did become the “main” strip kinda by accident, though.

Felney really started all the way back in 2001. I was doing a daily webcomic called Insanity Please (and actually managing a daily schedule, too! I think 2002 is the last year that I kept my promises with regards to comic making. It was all downhill from there!), which was set in a Final Fantasy-type world, and full of action and gore. But I was also an anarchist and (a bit later) a pacifist. I wanted the comic to have more “up to the minute” political satire, which I couldn’t really slot into the story as and when. I decided to start another strip, with no real over-arching storyline, which could reflect everyday life in Britain – what better than to “base it on my life”?

Except, it’s not really based on my life at all, other than the main character is called Mike, and looks like me. Even that isn’t true – I had short hair at the time, and still lived with my parents (and now, I am much older than him, and I still do >.< never mind, Japan soon…ish!). The name of the strip was a corrupted mishearing of some girls on my college bus talking about Welney. For almost all of it’s initial run, Felney was basically the same as my own village, Little Downham. But, as of strip 17 of New Felney, has been made into a totally fictional village.

Old Felney – Quick Plot Synopsis

There wasn’t really much of a plot to speak of, in Old Felney (still isn’t, in fact!). Aaron Anderson and Tina Wright, two gays from Kent, were forced into an ex-gay programme by their parents. They escaped, in a brutal gun battle, and went on the run. They eventually got to Felney, in Cambridgeshire, where they had a confrontation with a fat racist screaming woman. Then Mike invited them to live in his house, rent free.

Tina has a girlfriend called Ann, who, because she felt attracted to a woman, assumed she was a lesbian. There was a lengthy subplot about Ann not-so-secretly fancying Mike, and eventually having sex with him. I’m not actually sure if she became his girlfriend, as well as Tina’s, or if they just had fun now and then. Mike also slept with the wife of the village shop owner once o_O.

Another early plot involved Mike saying he was not going to vote in the general election, so the council put a mobile phone mast outside his house, to slowly kill him (that was a hot topic, at the time). Later they replaced it with one the size of Blackpool Tower, but it collapsed seconds later.

There was also some bullshit about a zombie invasion (caused by evil magic, not “scientific zombies”). But that’s been relegated to the Delta Universe… the actual zombie invasion was in 1996, duh! A bit later, Aaron got a boyfriend called Vinny (Vincent Jones). They had an active sex life. In fact, that was the only reason for introducing Vinny, otherwise he was just Mike Mk 2.

After that, versions of Felney set in 1032 and 2407 appeared. I actually had more ideas for the latter one than I did for the “everyday” one – including a Star Wars like war against the TV Licensing Agency! I also started a yearly tradition (except when I forgot) of having a week of sex scenes. These days I’m doing well if I finish a four-panel strip a MONTH!

There was then a stupid story about them winning a trip to Japan for the World Cup, but they didn’t watch any games (because “sport is simulated war”, of course). Except I knew next to nothing about Japan, other than it’s where yaoi comes from, so that storyline just kind of died on it’s arse. Then they went on one of the more conventional British holidays they’d had several of. Tina demonstrating an apparent awareness of the fact she’s in a comic! There was also a hint that Mike had had gay sex at least once before (with his friend Harry, who looks almost the same as him, only blonde).

All of this was sprinkled in among pathetic, far-left “gag” strips about how “western capitalism”, especially Britain, and even more especially the people of rural Britain (and/or soldiers) are responsible for everything bad in the world. Also foreign cultures were superior, and London was a utopia. At least I got it out of my system before I was able to vote, eh?

Oh, and, back in the anarchist phase, Aarons mum (who had forced him to go on the ex-gay programme) tracked him down, so Mike killed Aarons dad (with a big illegal firework aimed at their living room window) to warn her off. A year later, a “horror” storyline started, called “I Know What You Did Last Bonfire Night”. By this time, Felney was semi-“famous”. I’d gotten fan-strips off a few people, emails about it (well, 2-3 anyway), found discussions about it on several forums (one of which was from lesbians in the US Air Force, talking about “smelly hippies protesting outside the base”. Had they actually fucking read the comic?). That storyline even got mentioned on a webcomics news website! Shame it kinda went nowhere. It was about somebody trying to kill Vinny, who turned out (surprise surprise), to be Aaron’s mum. She then died in a car crash.

My politics started to “moderate” a little, after that. Also updates began to become less frequent. I did a significant (from the point of view of the Felneyverse as a whole) storyline about the nightmare Britain of 2014. A country where hysteria about pedophiles makes it illegal to ever show a child’s face or name (which make’s kid’s gameshows interesting, a bunch of silhouettes, referred to by single letters, competing), sees the age of consent for sex being raised, pornography totally outlawed, and, eventually, all women being forced to cover up with full-body burkhas, so they are not “sexualised”. All to “protect our democratic freedoms”, of course.

Of course, that was presented as a far-right version of Britain’s future. Now I am far right, in the new 2014 of the Felneyverse, Britain is dominated by a far-left, SJW dictatorship… and is exactly the same as I described. Only men have to wear the burkhas, too.

After that, Mike and Vinny perform a terrorist attack on an animal testing lab (I was a pacifist, remember!), the “Ann of the future”, Mei, ends up in the past, too. So now there’s two “Ann’s”, only Mei is straight. After that, the strips began to peter out, being replaced with Private Eye style speech balloons on photos, or fake newspaper articles and ads (one of which, about George W Bush being Emperor Nero, attracted a few links). I kept trying to “get back into the plot”, but was burned out with the satire, and didn’t want to just do strips about the characters mucking about. When I did, the “straight” Mike got a boyfriend. But that was just about the last “storyline bit” in the strip, other than Tina hunting for a job. Oh, also a minor character called Amanda Millman, or “The Qeueing Woman”. had babies.

The very last “proper” strips were of a black family with a young child (who looked exactly like Amanda Millman and husband, but were not them. My drawing style was not the best) moving to Felney, at around the same time the head of the Commission for Racial Equality suggested bringing back apartheid in British schools. A suggestion the racist teachers at Felney school were all too ready to jump at. After that, there was precisely three more “strips” (two of them scribbled with biro), and Old Felney died on it’s arse.

New Felney

In 2006, I was going off to university, and had been reading Deathworld (aka Dead//Life or Fudda Comix) for years. Deathworld was originally printed in “the cartoons page” of the weekly, on-campus paper at the University of Alberta. Obviously, Lincoln University would also have a weekly paper with a cartoons page, right? Nope! It was lucky if it managed an issue a term. Anyway, I sent them the rather unimpressive first issue (and was already trumpeting about my “publishing deal” around the net). They never even replied. Well, would you?

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Rather shit

Anyway, I re-started Felney from the beginning, and “re-told” the origin story. Now Aaron and Tina had just escaped the Ex-Gay camp, not blown it up. They had vandalised the boss’ car, though. A sinister secret agency called “The Agency” was hunting them down, so they hid in Felney. Also, Aaron gets a work-from-home office job, and Tina gets a job as a checkout girl. Their source of income in old Felney was never very well defined.

After the little bit re-telling the origin story, new Felney jumped to 2006 – except that strip wasn’t finished until 2010! It then stalled again, until 2014, when I started making new strips, very slowly. I have scripted about 70, though. I need to draw it more simply, or just faster!

BUT, I’m also going back to 2001, and re-telling the whole of old Felney. Those strips will be print-only, in a big book, though. Some elements of the old old Felney (this will get confusing!) will remain, though there will be plenty of totally new storylines. So far they include:

2001 – Ann trying to seduce Mike, a holiday, the “phone mast assasination”, re-introduction of Kate, her husband, and Jane, and 9/11

2002 – Ludicrous islamophobia (with lots of assumption that parts of Hinduism and Sikhism are Islamic, they’re a bit ‘better informed’ today), Vinny turns up, Mike and Aaron vie for Vinny’s heart (as does Ann), killing Aaron’s dad, Tina gets a bass guitar.

2003 – Tina joins a band, the Iraq war, the murder of Dr David Kelly, Anti-Japanese guy (only now I’m way more “up” on Japologism), money-wasting council, I know what you did last bonfire night!

2004 – Hazel Dick, the village war memorial gets destroyed, the Queuing Woman has babies, gypsies come to the village, as do chavs, Mike meets some characters from another comic, the bad gypsies who give the rest a bad name move into a house.

2005 – General election, CRE guy recommends bringing back apartheid, Mike changes jobs, The council fucks up on building a roundabout in the village, SHIT on TV.

There will be other, shorter stories, or even just one-off gags, too. Of course, this will all take decades to draw. With my other big epic comics, it may take the rest of my life, or perhaps not even be finished before I die. Or maybe I ought to draw faster, and not piss about making blogs about stuff I intend to do.

New Felney is intended to stay set in the Gamma Universe, so from about 2008, it will get very dark and depressing. The government starts cracking down on dissent, outlawing classic cars (and driving altogether), “disappearing” people, subjecting people to huge, arbitrary fines (the auto-driving cars can still ‘speed’, and various eco-fines are imposed for leaving lights on too long) and severely restricting the food supply. In 2014, there will be a violent revolution, after a series of semi-peaceful protests (Mike, as an ultra-centrist, will piss off the extremists on both sides). The story will then continue up until 2023, covering World War 3, from my strip The Gun.

Of course, the Gamma Universe totally departs from actual history in 2008 (in fact, in 2005, as there was no Blair-Brown deal, so privacy-hating, war-loving Tone remains in power), which precludes any satire of real-world events. When I want to do some of those, I’ll do a “Felney Beta”, which is set in the Beta Universe (where world events largely mirror real life, but Felney still exists). I’ve already done one, about the Hong Kong protests:

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The 2006 – 2020 “era” will probably be Book 2 of print Felney (as well as available online as a webcomic. The book will probably have a number of bonuses, to make it worth buying). If I’m still alive, I might then do a “Felney through history” book, with versions of at least Mike and Aaron appearing all through the ages (including World War 1, as well as modern takes on Ye Legend of Felney and Planet Felney). This will probably also include a number of metal songs about Doctor Who, because if I was in a metal band, I’d do a whole album, with a song for each Doctor, as well as an intro (a metal version of the theme tune, seguing into a general song about a “wanderer”) and outro (which would be called “The Stuff of Legend”).

I also hope to move to Japan, sometime in 2015. If all goes well, I may become a naturalised citizen and live out the rest of my days there. My initial move is likely to be to a rural place. If that happens, I’ll probably do a Beta Universe-set story called Tabakutaku (多縛沢), which would be like a “Japanese Felney”, and would feature a grown-up Jane from Felney (who is 8 in 2001, so would be 23 in 2015), plus a character from Fiasco, moving to the same rural Japanese village, and having different kinds of culture shock. 多縛沢 is a very crude rendering of “Much Binding in the Marsh”, the title of a 1940’s BBC comedy about a rural RAF station / country club. (The show later moved to London, and became about a newspaper. I think the late 40’s episodes were best. Best theme tune, anyway!).

Main Characters

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The only old picture I could find with all of them in. They normally wore more than this XD

Felney has five core characters, and several ancilliary ones. Let’s go! (with crappy, rushed portraits!)

Mike Smith

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Looks like some sort of 70’s glam star. He’s supposed to be more masculine… but only a bit!

Old version: The old version of Mike was an anarchist, who had once been into bomb-making and violence (though, after renouncing that, he still killed somebody with a huge firework. And burned down a school. And “tested” an old home made rocket, setting fire to a holiday camp). He was “straight” (a friend I had at the time complained there was no good straight characters in the comic, so I made him one), but later got a boyfriend anyway.

Other than that, he was a more outgoing version of me (at the time). So often made pessimistic, smart-arsed comments about stuff in the paper.

New version: The new version of Mike is like a more outgoing, better-paid and mechanically-able version of me in 2006. He also likes sick splatter movies, but isn’t into old British comics (I didn’t really start getting into those until 2007 XD). This one’s a centrist extremist, and hates far-left and far-right politics equally. He’s also bi as fuck, right from the off. Possibly slightly further up the Kinsey scale to me (I’m 2, he might be 2.5). He also (from 2006 onwards) works as a lab assistant, not a van driver, Does basically the same jobs as me, though gets paid more. There will be very lengthy series of strips ridiculing things that have happened to me at work (New Felney is just about to get into one of those).

Unlike his real-life counterpart (me!) he has almost no body hair, because it’s disgusting >.<

Aaron Anderson

felney-aaron1

…actually, this is pretty much what Aaron is supposed to look like. Square-jawed and well-presented. His hair wouldn’t be allowed to get that long/messy in “real life”.

Aaron’s initial characterisation was “gay”, and that was about it. He later became the straight-talking, non-crazy “straight man” of the strip. He’s the one who has changed the least between old Felney and new Felney. In the old version he used to camp-ly “goss” on his mobile, with a bunch of unseen friends. He’d also killed a lot of people, when escaping from the ex-gay camp. In the new version he’s a tad more straight acting, and simply broke out of the ex-gay camp, he didn’t burn it to the ground and kill everybody.

The old Aaron was muscular, but “just was”. The new version actually has to work out to attain it. I may do a storyline about his times at the gym, but I don’t go myself. I’m sure there’s material for horror stories on the /fit/ of various Chans, though.

Tina Wright

felney-tina1

I CAN’T DO LIPS! The rest of her’s pretty accurate, though. Cute snubby nose, and chubby face. Her lips are meant to be just plain average sized, not fat or thin.

Old version: The old version of Tina had no real characterisation at all, beyond “lesbian”. She was a little less crazy / horny than Ann, and, obviously, didn’t not-so-secretly fancy Mike. In the first porno week series of strips, she didn’t mind getting naked in his presence, though. But that was porno week. The old version of Tina was thin, shapely and had big tits, though she was usually buried under a worn out, faded black tracksuit.

New version: The new version of Tina actually looks like somebody who would exist in real life, so she still has big tits, but also has the curves to match. She also has a slightly chubby face, and cute ‘snub’ nose. Oh, and a personality! She’s kind of quiet, and a bit shy. Mike entices her to like splatter movies, after a while. She’s also a bit sexist, when Ann fancies men she says that a relationship with a male “doesn’t count” as they’re “just meat” XD. She’s 5 years younger than Mike and Aaron, and has car insurance problems (especially with Mike’s lashed-together deathmobiles). She drives his working Mini, which is based on a modified one that I actually own.

Both versions of Tina liked pop-punk from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, like Greenday and Operation Ivy. The new version of Tina will be (“is”, by 2006, where the web strips are set) in a punk band called The Deathless Men, where she plays bass. On stage she becomes a wild banshee, smashing up amps, and howling backing vocals that nearly drown out the singer. The long-in-the-future planned book will feature Deathless Men song lyrics, though most / all of them will probably just be altered lyrics to songs by other bands, with an accompanying crazy picture. They’ll also be apolitical, and largely about drinking, fucking, British comics and classic cars XD.

Ann Morgan

felney-ann1

Least accurate portrait! The hair and tattoos are right, anyway XD. She’s really got a far more square-shaped, “boyish” face. Her nose is meant to be thin and pointy.

Old version: The old version of Ann was a “true 3” bisexual (though she thought she was a lesbian at first. She has liberal parents, but they’re old fashioned, and only believe in gay and straight). She was also very childish, crazy and silly. And mega-horny, she’d often be after Tina for sex… and later Mike, too. Later on, after discovering she was bi, she got a bit “fujoshi”, and kept trying to spy on Aaron and Vinny XD.

New version: The new Ann is more mature, though she can still be silly and childish when she wants to. She’s also Canadian, as her personality in old Felney started to resemble a Canadian I knew at the time (though she was straight). The new Ann also has lots of tattoos (and she’ll get more body mods as time goes on, the pic here is ‘from’ 2001), and is a biker. She also models for a Suicide Girls-like website. Mike had actually downloaded loads of her naked pics before he even knew who she was XD.

The old version of Ann had small boobs sometimes, and was almost flat chested others. The new one’s body shape is simply “normal”, going slightly towards the thin side. I have too many flat-chested female characters, as it is.

Vincent Jones

felney-vince1

Most accurate portait. The ends of his hair are meant to be all level, though.

Old version: The old version of Vinny had slightly longer, light brown hair, and glasses. He was also the same height as Mike, Aaron, Tina… in fact, they were all the same height XD. He was also an Anarchist and, if I remember rightly, was supposed to have come from Manchester. He was one year younger than Aaron (24 in 2001), and his boyfriend. He was also pretty boring (to Aaron). Usually talking about political and philosophical theories, while Aaron wanted to talk about shoes and pop music.

New version: New Vinny (he hates being called Vinny XD) has changed the most. Mainly because his old look strongly resembled Rob Dixon from Fiasco (though his hair is lighter still, and curly, and he’s only 19). He is still a year younger than Aaron, but looks a LOT younger, like 17. He’s also short. He’s very quiet, shy and geeky, but unlike the old Vinny, is entirely apolitical. He’s an otaku, and likes yaoi, shonen and shoujo anime. He’s also a bit of a Goth, though Emo was at it’s height in 2006, and he’s adopted parts of that style, too. He’s as gay as a bloody Christmas tree, and Aaron’s boyfriend. BUT there was a bit of a love-triangle thing going on, and Mike fell in love with him, too (a parody of somebody I am hopelessly in love with, but can’t have. Though that guy is straight). Also Ann is desperate for even a kiss off him, but women make his cock about as lively as Lberace’s in a nunnery.

Oh, and he’s Welsh.

Felney Itself – Significance

The Zombie invasion of 1996, from my “connecting comic”, Zombie Shock Massacre!, happened near Felney, though it didn’t enter the village proper. In Old Felney, there was a “magical” zombie outbreak in 2001, caused by the local Tory MP, but that’s now been relocated to the Delta Universe. It also made it into the first Felney videogame, and may be re-made as a top-down survival horror thing one day.

Andy Fox, from a planned comic called World Pursuit Agency (it will be a Boys’ Own secret agent tale, published in my Red, White & Blue comic), lives in an isolated house near Felney. He also likes doing up classic cars, but actually finishes and then sells them. He and Mike don’t know each other, somehow.

Steve Gunn and Sue Jackson, from my war comic The Gun, also live in isolated houses nearby. In fact, Steve’s parents met during the 1996 zombie outbreak, and later bought the house they took refuge in during it. (Joyce, Steve’s mother, was, in fact, John Gunn’s university lecturer. He was the latest in a string of students she seduced and took to an isolated caravan to sleep with. But they fell in love during the zombie attack). Sue Jackson’s parents were paranormal investigators, who thought that the aftermath of the outbreak would create lots of ghosts, so bought another house which had been “freed up” by the attack. Steve and Sue were both born in 2000, so are still little kids during Felney.

Sexton Blake, the old Amalgamated Press detective, chronicled by over 200 authors, had various vague hints at his history thrown out. One of them hinted that he was born in a Cambridgeshire village. I decided to “claim” him for Felney! But then I got (willingly, I contacted them!) Fox’d by IPC. I came up with my own Blakealike called Norman Saxon, who was definitely born in Felney… in 1866. No chance for Mike and co to meet him XD.

Some concept art for The Gun

My war strip about two huge, well-equipped armies fighting World War 3 with only conventional weapons presents a few problems (the lack of Nukes is a whole other issue, which I’ll explain in a later overview post about The Gun). The main problem being that a lot of modern military equipment – tanks, ships and planes – is incredibly complicated and expensive. A tank might take weeks to build, a fighter plane, months! (This is actually touched on in a book called Team Yankee, somebody mentions than an Abrams Tank regiment are “losing a month’s production a day”).

With World War 3 eating up F-15’s, Abrams tanks and so on like sweets (and, in yet another “whole other issue”, the US Civil War preventing the production of new ones – though both sides in the war reverse-engineer copies), the two sides need equipment that is simple, cheap and versatile…

New Intersoc Fighter

conc-intfig

The New Intersoc Fighter (don’t know if I’ll give it another name XD) is not much more than a flat delta wing and some tails bolted to a pair of simply-produced jet engines. An F-22 or Eurofighter could take it down without much effort – but could it take down 10 of them at once? The NIF is pretty simple to fly, and Intersoc excel at hypnotic propaganda and brainwashing, to get a supply of wiling pilots. And besides, both sides had F-22’s and Eurofighters at the start of the war – which proved very good at killing each other!

The NIF is rather under-armed, having four cannons and six missiles – always heat-seeking, and hidden inside the leading edge of the wing, for better aerodynamics. The plane lacks in-air refuelling capability, making it short ranged, but it also has an arrestor-wire hook, and so can be operated from short sections of road, close to the front lines. As well as, of course, equally-hastily-built carriers.

UNA Heavy, Supersonic, Semi-stealth Bomber

conc-sybil

The United Nations HSSSB (or “Sybil”) was developed at great speed, after the war broke out. Like the NIF, it’s a bit “cold war”, being a stealthier remodelling of the Vulcan design, with engines very similar to those in the Concorde passenger plane. Except here they are above and below the wings, on either side, with large thrust-vectoring plates to make it more maneuverable.

Given the lack of fighters (and not-very-good-ness of the hastily-developed wartime ones), the HSSSB is designed for self defence. It has small, independent radars on the front and rear, as well as various “pods” containing heat-seeking or radar-guided missiles. This lets it detect and attack distant fighters on it’s own, reducing the need for a fighter escort.

As for it’s main purpose, it can carry a number of gravity bombs, air-ground or anti-ship missiles. It could even be armed with nuclear, long-range air-ground missiles, in the same way as the Vulcan’s cold-war Blue Steel missile was supposed to operate, But neither side wants to escalate the war into a nuclear one, if they can help it.

HMS Valour

conc-valour

Incredibly, Britain does still have naval shipyards. Inevitably, they get heavily bombed at the start of the war. Many in-progress ships are destroyed. The bombers couldn’t keep on attacking, though. The RAF still had it’s Eurofighters, Tornados and Harriers, then! This meant some cargo ports, and the ships inside, were undamaged. Large, flat container ships were seized by the Navy, stripped and turned into “fleet-in-a-ship” battlecarriers. Many of the weapons systems, intended for the now-destroyed warships, were integrated into these carriers, surrounding a central flight deck, with lifts to an under-deck hangar.

Power was upgraded to nuclear, and ICBM launch systems, intended for new submarines, were also fitted, giving these huge ships the ability to launch devastating attacks against targets well inland, while also defending themselves from air attack with an array of anti-air missile launchers and cannons. They also have anti-ship missiles and rotary shell-firing cannons (you can’t decoy a shell!). The air-fighting and surface-striking abilities of the on-board Eurofighter Tempests (a sea-going version of the Typhoon) or F35’s is the cherry on top.

Of course, all this power makes these ships prime targets – especially from submarine attack, so they are usually escorted by hunter-killer subs, formerly intended to find and track nuclear ICBM subs. They also have an escort of picket destroyers and frigates, themselves with potent anti-air and anti-surface weapons. Fuel and supply tankers, kept nearby for protection, help a small number of fighters to always be in the air and orbiting.

FIASCO

Fiasco is my main story in the Kappa Universe (that’s the one Genshiken is set in, remember!). So it’s technically a Genshiken fanfic… except it will have virtually nothing to do with Genshiken, other than maybe some non-speaking background cameos during a part of the story set in Japan.

Anyway, Fiasco is a “manga”, except I can’t draw manga, so it’s actually just my usual style with “screentone”, hand lettering and sound effects. I was going to create the screentone with pencil, then turn it into dots in photoshop, as I did on this old test picture:

tonetest

But that looks a bit messy, so instead I bought a set of Letraset Promarkers in different shades of grey. I could have done the screentone with various shades of grey in photoshop, but I know what I’m like. I’d end up getting ridiculously perfectionist about it, and add so much of so many shades that I might as well have just done the bloody thing in colour. With the Letraset pens I’m forced to use only 5 shades (speaking of which, the shop was selling sets of five pens for £21. The price of five shades, and a blender, bought individually? £11!)

The process of making them into screentone is a bit of a faff. You have to create an un-toned image, put it over the toned one (and make it semi-transparent), then “cut out” the shapes of the tone with the lassoo tool, and delete them.

I tried to get rid of the ‘texture’ of the paper, and turn the tone into solid blocks, by adjusting brightness/contrast, levels etc – as well as using various filters like despeckle and median, but none of them really worked. Often the lightest tones got obliterated along with the unwanted artifacts. Soo, I have to do it the slow, boring way. Still quicker than actually buying sheets of tone, cutting them out and sticking them on, though! Anyway, the faffed process produced this, the first ever completed Fiasco page!

page008web

Page 8 of the story, exciting, eh?

When I have some more pages prepared (I have about 6 inked, but with no ‘tone’ as yet), I’ll go into the story and general info a bit more. It started out as an idea for a short story, which rapidly expanded – the final version may be around 500 pages! Though, because of my drawing speed (not to mention other, also ridiculously huge, projects), many of those will have to be undetailed talking heads, if I want to actually finish it in this lifetime!

The Felney Multiverse

People (actually, “person” might be pushing it) who have followed my creations for a while might remember the old “Timeline of Felney” article (which was mainly a joke), and the later, slightly more serious “Story Chronology” page, where I tried to link up several of my stories into one narrative, with a few knock-on effects (this isn’t the Marvel or DC universe, though. Every story can stand alone!).

The first story that really embraced this was Zombie Shock Massacre!, from 2004. It was actually a re-make of an older, and mostly lost (I think I have one page of it kicking around somewhere) story about zombies, which was made in the 90’s, but set in 2000. ZSM, on the other hand, was set in 1996, and featured the parents of a character who was born in 2000!

As time went on, and I came up with more stories, it became clear that they could not all be set in the same universe, as some events conflicted (in the “main” universe, Europe is a brutal dictatorship between 2008 and 2014, which would make ‘everyday’ stories set in those years considerably different). I soon had the idea of setting the “big” stories in The Gamma Universe, and the “small” stories in a world mostly like the real world, called The Beta Universe. The Alpha Universe was, of course, real life.

I later laid down a few rules, for instance, some of the universes didn’t have magic, while others did. I also started classifying my fan-works into other universes, all named after Greek letters. I still have several letters to “fill”, but for now the in-use ones are:

alpha

THE ALPHA UNIVERSE

This is real life, my Youtube videos, blog updates about real things, photos etc are “set” here.

It has a sub universe in which my Hourly Comics are set, as those are sometimes slightly altered to be funnier / cooler. Also, real life is in colour and has more detail than my demented scribblings.

beta

THE BETA UNIVERSE

This universe is similar to real life, only there’s a few extra towns and villages scattered around (for instance, Felney!). The history (and present) of this universe is almost the same as real life, for instance big world events like 9/11 all happened here, too. One major difference is the history of Women’s Football. In this world the Women’s FA Cup and Women’s World Cup both began in the 1960’s. There is “no future” in this universe, except for about 6 months ahead. As world events need to more or less mirror what really happens.

The stories set in this universe are usually “small” or “secret” ones. For instance, a small incident in a bigger, chaotic event (a war or riot), which only affects a few people. “Bigger” stories about terrorists and supervillains plotting some major disaster, but being thwarted by a secret agent, are implied to have happened without public knowledge.

gamma

THE GAMMA UNIVERSE

This is the main Felney universe, all the extra towns and villages from the Beta Universe also exist in this one. The history of the world is actually mostly the same as the Beta Universe up until 1985, when a zombie outbreak occurs on an oil rig. Then, in 1996, a big zombie outbreak occurs in the Cambridgeshire Fens, which is reported on the news. This is the real main divergence from the “boring” Alpha and Beta universes, into the “fantastic” Gamma universe.

From 2008 to 2014, the European Union is an orwellian dictatorship, which is overthrown in “The Great Revolution”, a series of riots started (by Amanda Millman, the qeueing woman) in early 2014, which end with the blowing up of the European Parliament on November 5th. The revolution also spreads to Russia (which becomes a ‘kind’ Christian country), China (which eventually becomes a democracy) and the USA (which just descends into a civil war for over 200 years).

World War 3 happens from 2020-2023, but very few nuclear weapons are used. Most of them are destroyed right at the start, by heavy tungsten rods dropped from satellites. These can puncture the toughest bunkers, but the explosion is confined to a small area. After World War 3, Russia gives Sakhalin back to Japan, but Japan’s (and Russia’s heavily oppressed) homosexuals anticipated this, seize the island, and declare independence, as a new country called Homonia. Which also adopts English as it’s standard language.

The Gamma Universe goes right off into the future, with contact being made with aliens, Earth joining a “United Nations” of space, and at least three Great Galatic Wars.

There are several sub-universes in this one, as some of my stories are being re-made. For instance, many events from Old Felney “didn’t happen” in New Felney. Also my World War 3 strip, The Gun, was re-made many times. (The Gun is actually the oldest ‘Gamma Universe’ strip, I started it in 1997!)

delta

THE DELTA UNIVERSE

Magic, ghosts, mystical powers and the Judeo-Christian Heaven and Hell all actually exist in this universe (you could call it the “Bible Universe”). It’s where my horror stories are set. Zombies in this universe may be created by either “science fiction” means (as in the Gamma universe), or “magical” means.

Otherwise, life in this universe is like the Beta Universe, though there may also be science fiction stories set in the far future. These may (for simplicity) use the same ship designs, planets and alien races as the Gamma universe.

epsilon

THE EPSILON UNIVERSE

This is the universe of a stupid game we played as kids (and which I did an inevitable, and inevitably unfinished, comic about), where there was a nuclear war in about 1980. The survivors all fight each other in souped-up, heavily-armed cars. The game in question involving ‘actually firing’ rocket launchers from war toys blu-tacked onto toy cars. One day, I may turn this game into a simple videogame.

This universe has a sub-universe where there was not a nuclear war, car-fighting is just a “sport” instead. Mainly because the comic strip I made about it featured a character from Cart Wars, a strip from the Beta universe (which was set in the early 1990’s, when it was made).

There may, in one or two porn comics, be another sub universe where the nuclear war happened in 1960, and the stories are set in 1980. Mainly so the cars in question can all be jukeboxes and leadsleds.

zeta

THE ZETA UNIVERSE

In this universe, Eugene Manx from the Gamma Universe never existed, so the Nazis are able to set up a huge secret base, build advanced weapons, and take over the world in 1977.

I originally intended to make a Doom Wad set in this world (NB: This was years before I invented Eugene Manx!). Later it became a failed (and pastel coloured) 24 hour comic, and still later an unfinished text story called The Fourth Reich.

theta

THE THETA UNIVERSE

This is the universe of Star Wars, and my fanfics, comics, games etc. about Star Wars are all set here. Except I’ve not yet made any! The Force (fuck midichlorians) is known by several names in this universe, for instance Mako energy and magic. Which may tell you that the Final Fantasy worlds are all set in this universe, too (as is Insanity Please, my crossover of FF6 and 7, though the planets all three are set on are many thousands of light years apart). The Force is also known as “The Chosen Intuition”, because this is also the universe of “Peter Green”‘s The Story of the Whos, which I intend to make fanfics / comics about.

Another story set in this universe is Teddy Bear Wars, which is set on a planet of living teddy bears. They don’t have any concept of “The Force” or “Magic”, though. Earth does exist in this universe, but this is really for stories set on far-away planets with absolutely no connection to our world.

As this is the universe of at least two incredibly popular franchises, it has several thousand sub-universes, in which other people’s fanfics are set. Oh, Insanity Please also has it’s own “alternate universe”, called Esper World, which has magic in abundance.

kappa

THE KAPPA UNIVERSE

This is the universe of Kio Shimoku’s manga / novel Genshiken. The first series of Genshiken was apparently set in 2002 – 2005, and the second series in 2012 – 2015. But the second series acted as if it was continuing directly on from series 1, thus retconning series 1 to about 2009 – 2012. This would place the Genshiken novel in roughly 2010.

Though this is the universe of Genshiken, it’s really for my own “British Genshiken” story, called Fiasco. Some of the anime and manga from Genshiken (for instance, Kujibiki Unbalance, which is as world-famous as Naruto) are referenced in Fiasco. When the characters of Fiasco visit Japan, the Genshiken characters will get cameo appearances.

The main character of Fiasco, Pete Chiu, has a brother called Nick, who appears in my first Tijuana Bible. Thus, my first series of Tijuana Bibles are also set in this universe. They mostly revolve around a demonic invasion in 2010 – happening at the same time as all the strange, supernatural occurrences in the Genshiken novel. After the demon in the novel is stopped, everybody “jumps back in time” to the morning before the invasion, which they think was just a bad dream.

Oh, Bakuman also really happens in this universe, and several of the manga created in that will be read by characters in Fiasco.

nu

THE NU UNIVERSE

This is the universe of my Norman Saxon stories. It’s basically like the Beta universe, with several extra towns and, in the early 20th century (when the Norman Saxon stories are set), several extra, small, countries in Europe.

Unlike the Beta Universe, this one features several colourful supervillains / dastardly terrorists, who do actually manage to carry out thier attacks / assasinations / robberies, this earning them fame and noteriety. Of course, Norman Saxon, Xin Zhou and thier able assistant (though he doesn’t see it that way!) Inspector Brayford, are there to catch them!

sigma

THE SIGMA UNIVERSE

The “Harmsworthiverse”, being the setting for stories from Harmsworth / Amalgamated Press / IPC / Fleetway / Egmont story papers and comics. Especially my favourite ones – from before the First World War! My Sexton Blake fanfics are set in this universe. Also, other stories that Sexton Blake crossed over with are ‘canon’ here, as are ones they crossed over with. Meaning Sexton Blake, Nelson Lee, Greyfriars School, St Jim’s School, Rookwood School. Cliff House School &c &c all exist together. Roy of the Rovers also actually exists here.

Of course, many of those stories contradicted each other / themselves, at various times. So there’s a number of sub-universes.

upsilon

THE UPSILON UNIVERSE

This is the universe of the Doom series of videogames, especially the first two, followed by the Team TNT wads Icarus and Daedalus. Plus any other wads that people want to think of as “canon”. Of course, I personally include my own wads in this, but other people might not!

Many other people have created either “retold story of doom” wads or, more commonly, “sequels to doom”. So all of these are in sub-universes, as are Doom 3 and (maybe) Doom 4, if that’s not a sequel to Doom 3.

phi

THE PHI UNIVERSE

Back when I actually cared about Steampunk / Dieselpunk, I created a genre called Fenpunk, which is set around 1905, but in a world where the sea level is much lower / the bed of the North Sea is much higher. This means there’s one huge fen stretching from Cambridgeshire / Norfolk across to Germany and Holland. It’s also it’s own country, with it’s own language (a mixture of Fenland English, Frisian, German and Dutch).

There’s steam and very basic internal combustion engines, powered by dried reeds, peat and (in the latter) the plentiful gas and oil which just ooze out of the ground. Of course, people live in stilt villages, or in a few towns on ‘dry land’, artificially formed by transporting rocks and earth out and pounding them down into solid islands.

Further into the 20th century, the pacific (which also has thousands of extra islands scattered all over it) becomes dominated by the Japanese Empire, which is fought against by a band of rebels, led by the bastard son of an Imperial general. Basically, it’s Star Wars retold with 1940’s technology (and the USA stays isolationist, and Japan develops a nuke before they do).

Mind you, I might never actually make a story set in this world.

chi

THE CHI UNIVERSE

A universe where Sexton Blake, Doctor Who and Doom all coexist. Also I am a cool millionaire secret agent with a hot girlfriend and boyfriend, and loads of classic cars. I only invented this universe for a stupid Doom wad I planned to make (which was going to be an “attack” on some guy who kept uploading crappy wads to the archives). I suppose it’d probably be better off as a sub-universe of Upsilon, especially as the wad in question will probably never be made. (The girlfriend and boyfriend were based on real people – she’s not speaking to me, and he turned from a hot metalhead into a bearded hipster).

psi

THE PSI UNIVERSE

I suppose it doesn’t take too much to work out that I need to assign a universe to Doctor Who, and here it is! I’ve not done any Doctor Who fanfics, though, but I probably will one day. I also did a big “season outline” thing on a forum, once.

I actually intend to give vague implications that the Doctor, UNIT and Torchwood also exist in my other universes (especially Gamma, Sigma and Nu), along with the Daleks. But this universe contains the stuff actually seen on the TV.

Of course, there’s also a number of audio plays, books and comics, as well as millions of fanfics, all of which require sub-universes for the times when they contradict each other. And don’t forget “Pete’s world”, where Rose ended up, either!

omega

THE OMEGA UNIVERSE

In this universe, the Roman Empire developed the steam engine (invented by Hero of Alexandria) into a viable machine, bringing in the Industrial Revolution 1800 years early. By the 2000’s, they are working on teleportation, but accidentally “swap” a legionnaire from the Omega universe with a chav from the “real world” (Beta universe).

Or at least, they were about to in  the story I started to draw for a site called Comicspace, but I never did very much. I didn’t even get to the actual swap over! Then Comicspace went weird, anyway.

What is this blog for?

I already have a blog for British comics, on which I sometimes post news about my own comics. The news about my own comics will now be posted here, instead! Partly because I’m also working on some adult / porn comics, but my British comics blog is family-friendly. Some pictures posted on here will be NSFW!

Another purpose of this blog is world-building. I’m very slowly working on a complete redesign of my site, which is also going to have a big Wikipedia-like info section about characters, settings, vehicles and equipment in the universe of my comics. But I’m not going to use actual wiki software, I never seem to set them up right. They’re either totally locked-down (I actually have one for my own use, which is! But it contains spoilers, like the death dates of characters that haven’t even been introduced yet XD), too open to spammers, or the images don’t work. So this big info section is being hand-coded in notepad, which takes “a while”. Especially when you want to cross-link it to everything else!

So, inspired by the Story of the Whos, a big epic story on Tumblr, I’m also going to use this blog for character bios, machine blueprints, maps and other info.

Oh, and there will also be art, background info, and old, rejected things!