What all this then?

Short answer: I don't know, and I wrote it.

Long answer: It is a collaborative storytelling venture with a number of damn fine artists on board (some of whom, I'm sure, will turn pro in the not to distant future):

All brought together by the lothario of lettering (fonting things up as only he knows how) Mr Jim Campbell.

The common thread is that we all read 2000 AD and have been known to frequent the official forum, where a lot of the artistically inclined take part in the competitions (and generally help each other out in the creators forum). A number of us also contribute to the small press: Chris has a long history of work on FutureQuake Press titles and he, Kev and I are all in the latest Zarjaz and Kev, Matt and... me again are in the current Dogbreath (but you know that because you've already read them both I'm sure). Jim is the old, seasoned, pro keeping us all in line (and we all need one of those, , at least according to a Tory MP I once met in a house of ill repute) having written the Warhammer 40k story Daemonifuge and the Dredd-world tale The Inspectre and (both alongside the awfully talented Kev Walker) and with his lettering cropping up all over the place. He isn't a shabby artist either, so he could really be doing this as a one-man show if I hadn't wedged a spoon into his cerebellum. If we can stop flicking the protruding handle we might even be able to to tempt him to draw a page or two at some point.

But what am I doing, while these talented folk are slaving away? Apart from standing round stroking my beard and pretending really hard that I know what is going on? Welllllll I'm operating in a scripting support role, ready to give as much or as little as is required. However, that is what I tell all the ladies, so perhaps it might help if I tell you this all came about.

Matt and I are working on a little something (keep an eye open for news next year), so we'd already had a bit of a chat via email and he punted another idea over to me: what about doing some kind of collaborative webcomic with a few other people we knew? Coincidentally, I had been thinking the same thing (the success of such things as Huzzah has probably got a few cogs turning for a lot of people) and had thrown out such an idea on the 2000AD forum. So I was obviously up for the challenge but how to start?

Matt suggested I dust off an old story idea but that didn't narrow it down as I've got a tonne of them sitting around (even if a reasonable proportion are fit only for the budgie cage). I did have a nose through them though, and found one idea I'd come back to a couple of times but it had never got beyond the introduction. The basic premise was: a young lad turns up for a job interview and ends up being catapulted right off the map. The first iteration of this idea, gave us the name "Fractal Friction," although the story and reason for the name will remain a mystery for now, as there is a possibility we will delve into that further down the line. The second shot at the story is pretty much what you see here, just with a little back and forth first helping firm up the characters and the larger backstory. So once this was given a provisional thumbs up, I hammered out the 40 panels-worth of introduction (as it was pretty clear in my head by now) which, the way it has been divided up, runs to the first 9 pages. And then beyond that... what?

Well that is all up in the air and is where the fun really starts!! I'm happy to step back and let the artists take it from there, seeing where the story takes them. I see the blog description paints the situation like a runaway bus with me holding onto the wheel. Personally, I see it as more of a bobsleigh, where I'm the one at the back running like a big fool (which is the only way I know to run) and then jumping on the back, holding on tight during the ride down the side of a mountain, possibly while wearing a revealing skintight outfit (although I might stick with the lightly-soiled, orange bathrobe left provocatively open, but it does plays havoc with the tobogganing and no one wants to share a sledge with you). Beyond page 9 it is all up to the artists and whatever approach they prefer: I can leave them to it and cheer them on from the sidelines or I can offer advice when required or do some heavy to light plotting Marvel Method-style or I am up for just adding the words to the pictures or I might be called upon to provide more script. We'll have to play it by ear, but I'm up for any challenge and it'll be fun seeing where it goes. I'll update with more information as I find out myself.

From this point onwards, the scope of the comics should, hopefully, soon become apparent as we plummet headlong out of the introduction into... whatever comes next. The possibilities should be nearly endless.

For now the other important thing beyond the story itself, is that we want to open it up to others, and there will be guest slots available. We have already had a couple of exciting offers and will be snatching their hands off (just not the one they draw with, of course). We'll do a full couple of turns through the artist currently on board, which should take us into the start of the next story, and by then eveything should be running smoothly and we'll have a better idea of the pace and the process, as well as a glimpse of a broader picture, which should make it easier to slot guest contributions in. If you are interested, just email us (or drop us a note on the 2000AD forum).

So hopefully that has answered a few questions and introduced a lot more. I will now leave it up to the story to answer them, or not - we'll just have to wait and see.