The Un-Iverse (PG-13)

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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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The issues with Anime Superhero and image posting have been fixed so I edited the issues that needed editing. I will also be reposting my issues one at a time in a new thread in the near future.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
26,406
-2
113
43
Framingham, MA
Gilda And Meek thread is now up and in my signature. I will still be updating this thread with sketches and updates about how I'm currently doing with the saga, but I will be posting an issue a month in the new thread.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
26,406
-2
113
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Framingham, MA
Finished Gilda And Meek #24 "Timeline Trilogy: Part Three: Now And Forever" (Un-Iverse #37). It's the best Un-Iverse issue so far. Thought I'd show off a couple of alternate universe versions of the characters.

243061


This is Alt-Meek. He has a hook left hand in the exactly same spot our Meek briefly lost his hand and stole it back from another universe. Coincidence? Of course not.

Alt-Meek also wears the same tattoos as Santa (The Sword of Wisdom and the Dark Child symbol). Is there a larger message there, or am I just screwing with you? What do you think?

Here is Alt-Gabrielle:

243071


There are people who might think The Un-Iverse offers a frustrating lack of fanservice. And they are right. Except for these three issues. "Timeline Trilogy" is the Un-Iverse story most like other genre stories, so I couldn't resist the supposedly kick-butt female heroine we are supposed to take seriously in a leadership role while dressed as a streetwalker. Readers of the story will probably wind up less interested in the hookerwear itself. What will really get people talking is what is underneath when the hookerwear comes off.
 

Christopher Glennon

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Nov 22, 2003
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Hey Matt! I missed you...but my aim is getting better.

I hope you don't mind me posting in this thread. I have lots of comments and would like to respond to what you said in the Linear Notes.

First and foremost, I'm glad I'm getting to see so much of Gilda and Meek! I don't remember a lot of what you've said about them in the past, but maybe it's good I'm coming at this with fresh eyes and knowing nothing (well, bits and pieces). I don't know my Sexy Tapeworms from my Lace Doilies. Which brings me to my next point, I can give you some outside perspective. I may not get all your references or agree with your politics, but I can react openly and honestly to what I see. I'm glad you're not holding back, and I don't think you should. Although if you want my input for you pitching this as a maxi series...and it IS publishable, trust me...I would make some bigger suggestions to make it more reader friendly. But in the meantime, since you wrote this as your own personal passion project just for yourself...

Impressions on the first arc. I really do like your character designs and the expressions you make. Your art may not be professional or polished (although I did appreciate the extra effort you put into "Skeletons"), but I do dig how the characters look. I liked the explosion and everyone flying in the Christmas issue and the photo. I also like the humor and comedic timing.

I'm not the biggest fan of your Narrator. I do like how he points out some details to pay attention to, but I don't like how he will analyze things before I, as a reader, get the chance to read it and have it sink in (like when he debates on who is right about Augatha right after Gabrielle tells Gilda about the prophecy). Him talking during the Otterman/Piranha fight takes some of the impact out of it. This should be a huge emotional moment for the Piranha.

The characters themselves are fun and have a Planet Express-like dynamic. Meek (although I feel he is the Fry) reminds me of Amy in that I'd like to see him do more as Raggleworth's assistant. Does he have an aptitude for science? Bernadette is great, though, in her role of being brutally honest. Gilda makes for a strong main character and leader of the Chosen Five. I don't get a shippy vibe from her and Meek at all, and I like their moment when she's packing up her office. It does feel platonic to me, but it's also special. Their relationship is a little more passive, in that they have all night conversations. I'd like Meek to show he knows things about Gilda the others don't simply because of how much time they spend together. I like Meek's role as big brother to someone like Bernadette, but I really wished we see his reaction to her thinking she killed someone (she confides in Gabrielle but not Meek? Does he even find out?)

The only character I'm not sure I get is the Piranha. I wasn't sure if he was supposed to be a pet or not, and I can't quite pin down his age/maturity level. His reaction to meeting Gilda made me think he was a toddler, but later interactions with Otterman and then going out on his own (and Raggleworth letting him) makes me think he's closer to teenage? I am also having a bit of Carnivore Confusion (if that's the right term) with him, his family, the eating of those dogs, and Otterman talking to Crusty, but I will get into that later.

Villains. I like how gross and vile they are (particularly Vic Puff) and Augatha is very much the "superstitious and cowardly" type. I do have to admit, though...I think Eddie Cat is kind of cool.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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Squee! Chris read it! How far did you get?
Hey Matt! I missed you...but my aim is getting better.

I hope you don't mind me posting in this thread. I have lots of comments and would like to respond to what you said in the Linear Notes.

First and foremost, I'm glad I'm getting to see so much of Gilda and Meek! I don't remember a lot of what you've said about them in the past, but maybe it's good I'm coming at this with fresh eyes and knowing nothing (well, bits and pieces). I don't know my Sexy Tapeworms from my Lace Doilies. Which brings me to my next point, I can give you some outside perspective. I may not get all your references or agree with your politics,
Since when? Don't tell me you voted for Shart Garfunkle!
but I can react openly and honestly to what I see. I'm glad you're not holding back, and I don't think you should. Although if you want my input for you pitching this as a maxi series...and it IS publishable, trust me...I would make some bigger suggestions to make it more reader friendly. But in the meantime, since you wrote this as your own personal passion project just for yourself...

Impressions on the first arc. I really do like your character designs and the expressions you make. Your art may not be professional or polished (although I did appreciate the extra effort you put into "Skeletons"), but I do dig how the characters look. I liked the explosion and everyone flying in the Christmas issue and the photo. I also like the humor and comedic timing.

I'm not the biggest fan of your Narrator. I do like how he points out some details to pay attention to, but I don't like how he will analyze things before I, as a reader, get the chance to read it and have it sink in (like when he debates on who is right about Augatha right after Gabrielle tells Gilda about the prophecy).
The Narrator will definitely be controversial and he IS a work in progress. But I still can't imagine the story without him. One of the reasons I have him is to make sure the reader is never misled by the characters. Him offering the opinion he does about Gilda and Gabrielle is me saying exactly what the answer is without the reader wondering. It might be a bad idea from a Narrative standpoint. But it makes sure the reader is never misled.
Him talking during the Otterman/Piranha fight takes some of the impact out of it. This should be a huge emotional moment for the Piranha.
The Narrator taking the wind out of the sails of the Otterman and Piranha fight was deliberate. I hated that fight because the characters shouldn't fighting, so I wanted the reader to hate it too and for the right reasons. It wasn't supposed to be a huge personal fight for the Piranha. It was supposed to be a pointless one.
The characters themselves are fun and have a Planet Express-like dynamic. Meek (although I feel he is the Fry) reminds me of Amy in that I'd like to see him do more as Raggleworth's assistant. Does he have an aptitude for science?
No. Although he is smarter than advertised his role is basically cleaning up the messes. Neither he nor Bernadette are scientists.
Bernadette is great, though, in her role of being brutally honest. Gilda makes for a strong main character and leader of the Chosen Five. I don't get a shippy vibe from her and Meek at all, and I like their moment when she's packing up her office. It does feel platonic to me, but it's also special. Their relationship is a little more passive, in that they have all night conversations. I'd like Meek to show he knows things about Gilda the others don't simply because of how much time they spend together. I like Meek's role as big brother to someone like Bernadette, but I really wished we see his reaction to her thinking she killed someone (she confides in Gabrielle but not Meek? Does he even find out?)
Meek definitely knows. If Bernadette didn't tell him first, Gilda did. You are probably right we should have seen Meek's reaction.
The only character I'm not sure I get is the Piranha. I wasn't sure if he was supposed to be a pet or not, and I can't quite pin down his age/maturity level. His reaction to meeting Gilda made me think he was a toddler, but later interactions with Otterman and then going out on his own (and Raggleworth letting him) makes me think he's closer to teenage?
The Piranha is on the cusp of pubescence but like me acts younger than he is. He is also chronologically 50 years old (PIranhas have long life spans) so there is a wisdom to him.
I am also having a bit of Carnivore Confusion (if that's the right term) with him, his family, the eating of those dogs, and Otterman talking to Crusty, but I will get into that later.
The carnivore confusion stuff is deliberate. I wanted to raise the questions of the morality of eating meat in a world where animals are sentient. It's a controversy the characters don't even seem to realize is a controversy. If Otterman truly felt the proper level of guilt for killing the Piranha's family, he'd be a vegetarian. As for Otterman, the rule there is that Mutated Animals cannot understand animals like Crusty. Otterman is an exception because he used to be a proper animal himself. But he's one of the only Mutated Animals that can talk to animals.
Villains. I like how gross and vile they are (particularly Vic Puff) and Augatha is very much the "superstitious and cowardly" type. I do have to admit, though...I think Eddie Cat is kind of cool.
I know that's a Batman reference but Augatha isn't actually cowardly (although she is superstitious). And yes, Eddie is cool by design.
 

Christopher Glennon

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Squee! Chris read it! How far did you get?
This is my second read through. Errr...first and a half read through? I got past the One Shots when you returned to Gilda and Meek, but then I figured if I was going to read everything you have up and comment, I should go back and re-read the beginning since it's been a while.

Since when? Don't tell me you voted for Shart Garfunkle!
Nah, I don't vote Republican. But I try to be as moderate as I can, agreeing with some views that may be considered conservative...even if I mostly lean to the left.

The Narrator will definitely be controversial and he IS a work in progress. But I still can't imagine the story without him. One of the reasons I have him is to make sure the reader is never misled by the characters. Him offering the opinion he does about Gilda and Gabrielle is me saying exactly what the answer is without the reader wondering. It might be a bad idea from a Narrative standpoint. But it makes sure the reader is never misled.The Narrator taking the wind out of the sails of the Otterman and Piranha fight was deliberate. I hated that fight because the characters shouldn't fighting, so I wanted the reader to hate it too and for the right reasons. It wasn't supposed to be a huge personal fight for the Piranha. It was supposed to be a pointless one.
I can't imagine the story without him either, and it's good not to be misled, but at the same time, speculation can be fun. I'm not entirely sure that fight was pointless. I feel that Otterman hasn't earned his redemption (from what I've read of him anyway), and I wanted the Piranha to really express how he feels about being orphaned and take Otterman down a peg.

The carnivore confusion stuff is deliberate. I wanted to raise the questions of the morality of eating meat in a world where animals are sentient. It's a controversy the characters don't even seem to realize is a controversy.
That's interesting. I'll have to see how it plays out. One of the things that should be made clear is which species can understand which. I wasn't sure if Crusty and Otterman were talking to each other, and it wasn't until Sarah asked Winifred to talk to animals for her that I realized a dog could do something like that but a human can't.

I know that's a Batman reference but Augatha isn't actually cowardly (although she is superstitious).
Yes, more superstitious, but she strikes me as cowardly in the way that 80's cartoon villains like Mumm-Ra or even Power Ranger Big Bads like Rita or Zedd are in that she stands back, surrounds herself with werewolf bodyguards, and sends minions and hired guns to do her dirty work, never fighting unless the good guys bring the fight to her.

Which brings me to my next point, I finished the Pontue Legacy. Augatha has more depth and growth than I thought she would get. And I'm glad you said that since you're spending so much time with her, you had to put more effort into her characterization.

Backing up a little, I feel like the Pontue Legacy came too early. I am reading this and picturing each issue comes out once a month, which would mean 6 months with new characters when we were just getting to know the old ones. Krac and Winifred are Meek and Bernadette's ancestors, but I feel like I don't know Meek and Bernadette well enough to think it's a fun connection and try and see if any traits got passed down.

I almost want these to be back-ups to a main adventure, something like one of the five reading Gabrielle's journals and reacting to the story. Almost. I do think this story is perfectly paced and it works as is. Best use of the Narrator, particularly the beginning with the backstory and world building (there are still bits of him I don't like, for example his commentary on Pedro's line about the Springer show, which I thought was fine).

But like I said, really like the world building and lore in the beginning, I'm still a little lost on the concept of Mutated Animals, and I wasn't sure what the deal with the Dragons were (an off shoot race of Gragnocks who didn't leave with them?). I do like bits that clearly tie into the present day story, like the Blessed Child and Bob and probably other things I don't realize yet. I definitely cared about the new characters you introduced here, and I love that we got to see a complete story for them, even an epilogue.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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Framingham, MA
This is my second read through. Errr...first and a half read through? I got past the One Shots when you returned to Gilda and Meek, but then I figured if I was going to read everything you have up and comment, I should go back and re-read the beginning since it's been a while.

Nah, I don't vote Republican. But I try to be as moderate as I can, agreeing with some views that may be considered conservative...even if I mostly lean to the left.
You may not believe this, Chris, but that describes my politics. I am VERY personally conservative which is why I vote for Democrats. They are the actual conservative party. Republicans are fascists. I'm not anti-conservative, I'm anti-Trump.
I can't imagine the story without him either, and it's good not to be misled, but at the same time, speculation can be fun. I'm not entirely sure that fight was pointless. I feel that Otterman hasn't earned his redemption (from what I've read of him anyway), and I wanted the Piranha to really express how he feels about being orphaned and take Otterman down a peg.
Speculation is fine, and there are a ton of unanswered questions coming. But speculating on stuff that is irrelevant doesn't actually help the reader, so I'm not going to mislead them. The fight in the second issue was pointless, and won't be referenced again. It is not the big deal another franchise would make it out to be.
That's interesting. I'll have to see how it plays out. One of the things that should be made clear is which species can understand which. I wasn't sure if Crusty and Otterman were talking to each other, and it wasn't until Sarah asked Winifred to talk to animals for her that I realized a dog could do something like that but a human can't.
I sort of explain things a bit as they go along, but these are all the right questions to be asking (speculation is fun, remember?). But Humans cannot understand animals. Most (but not all) Dogs can, including Meek, Bernadette, Stella Stickyfingers, and Bill the Blue. Most Cats cannot, but the ones in the story who can are Gilda, Mitch, and Ted. Some Werewolves can sometimes understand them, usually if they have a Dog in their Infected Lineage. Piranhas can understand animals. Gragnocks can which is why despite the fact Gabrielle and Augatha are half-human, they can too. Mutated Animals cannot, although Otterman can because he was born a proper animal.

Here are a couple of helpful paragraphs from the Appendices I've written explaining Muppet rules for breeding, and Mutated Animals, and proper animals:

Cross-Species Breeding Rules

One of the notable features of The Un-Iverse is the breeding rules. People in the Un-Iverse follow "Muppet Rules" in regards to cross-breeding. Most species on Earth can cross-breed but there are no mixed species. You are either a cat, dog, or a human (or a different species). Following Muppet Rules means that the child will be the same species as the father if it is a boy and the same species of the mother if it is a girl. If a cat man and a dog woman have children the boys will be cats and the girls will be dogs. Muppet rules. It is possible to be a different species from one of your parents.

The only species that do not follow Muppet rules regarding breeding are Werewolves, Piranhas, and Gragnocks. If one parent is a Werewolf, the kid automatically will be too, although the mother or father cannot get Infected via sexual activity unless there is biting involved. Gragnocks merge with the species they mate with, which is why Gabrielle and Augatha are both half-Human / Gragnock hybrids, and Augatha looks Gragnock, and Gabby looks Human. Piranhas don't follow Muppet rules because they are unable to mate with any species but their own.

Mutated Animals

Mutated Animals are the names for people whose birth is unexplained and not following Muppet Rules. No one knows WHY some people are born as a different species but the truth is that I find the Un-Iverse more amusing with talking monkeys, giraffes, lions, elephants, birds, camels and ducks. If a Mutated Animal breeds with a Cat, Dog, Human, or different species of Mutated Animal, Muppet Rules still apply.

Mutated animals started randomly popping up in the mid-19th Century. What is interesting about The Un-Iverse is that society took the exact opposite stance as the society from Marvel Comics did their Mutants. There prejudice and fear made many families kick out their Mutant children in shame. In The Un-Iverse, the opposite happened. Once it became clear Mutated Animal births were random and unexplainable, worried parents lobbied lawmakers to guarantee protections for their children. And since this could potentially effect everybody, it was pretty easily decided upon.

Frankly, the bigotry toward Mutants in X-Men stopped making sense decades ago. Once people realized the X gene was somewhat random, they should have been more invested in equality for their children. Like people who ultimately vote for politicians leery of war because they are afraid the draft will have to come back and that their kids would be swallowed up in the meat-grinder, the parents of the Marvel Universe should have their kid's well-being at heart by now, and it is ridiculous that they don't yet. And being a Mutant in The Un-Iverse is NOT something you can be in the closet about, or hide like being gay is. Everybody here was invested in keeping their families safe. Because in The Un-Iverse every single person in it is a minority of some kind (because there are three major species and each of those have different colors and breeds and the like) and it is in everybody's best interest to stamp out racism wherever they see it. That is why the 1960's Civil Right's struggle was nowhere NEAR as bloody as our universe (and had a happier ending) and World War II never happened. In a society where EVERYONE is a minority, racism doesn't just hurt the person or race it is directed against. It could directly damage society as a whole in easily provable and measurable ways that OUR society is somehow willing to ignore.

Mutated Animals are the most likely people to become Superterrans (humans are second most likely). Partly that's to state how unusual they are as a whole, and partly that's because different animals can make up different punny gimmicks.

Mutated Animals can also be mythical creatures like Unicorns. And while many Mutated Animals are more predisposed to the Superterran Gene than most other species besides Humans, mythical creatures seem to always have it, and the superpower they tend to have is the ability to control and use magic effortlessly, which is an amazing and amazingly rare superpower for everybody else. It is probably a good thing that Mutated Animals born into mythical creatures are hellarare.

Prominent Mutated Animals include Otterman, The Humans, (Elvis, Bing, Ringo, Davy), The Elephantom, Willis The Paranoid Camel, Wacky Quacky the Chainsmoking Duck, Leon, Parley, Miz Foxx, Newtron, Camel Toe, The Bovine Avenger, The Growling Man, Ratman, Unibrow.

Proper Animals

Most animals in the Un-Iverse display some level of sentience. In fact, most dogs and some cats (as well as all Piranhas) are able to communicate with them (humans aren't). Animals in the Un-iverse can communicate with each other no matter what species (with the exception of fish who can only communicate with Piranhas and other sealife, otters, and other water mammals and birds). But the Un-Iverse is NOT perfect. Despite the fact that most animals have a degree of sentience, they have about as many rights as they do in our universe. In other words, SOME, but there are still fast food joints and people eat animals depending on where they are in the food chain. The smartest animals are rats (who seem to have their own society going on in the backgrounds) and the dumbest are fish. Other non-mammal sea life like crabs ARE able to communicate with some cats and dogs, depending on how lazy I feel. Animals in the Un-Iverse follow the same breeding rules as in our universe.

The fact that animals are properly sentient and not every Cat, Dog, and Human is an automatic vegetarian shows a marked way The Un-Iverse's Earth is worse than ours. Their animal rights activists have MUCH bigger ammo for their causes, but are even more ineffective than ours are. The people in The Un-Iverse eating meat are pretty much as bad as if the people in our universe regularly dined on Gorillas who know sign language. Except the animals in The Un-Iverse are probably even smarter and more self-aware than that. Gilda was an animal rights activist in college, and is still a vegetarian, but I think even she isn't quite outraged enough at the fact that Meek, Dr. Raggleworth, Bernadette, and the Piranha eat meat. The fact that she simply considers it a political difference shows that even she doesn't give the subject the weight it deserves.

Gilda and Hank are the two most noted Vegetarians in the saga. I made them that way because I also think that on some very real level, they are the most awesome people, personalitywise too. Stella Stickyfingers is ALSO a vegetarian, but that's not because she's awesome. It's just that she interacts with animals so often in the saga, that I kind of think she'd have to be a sociopath not to be one. It's not that Stella is virtuous. It's that she's walked a mile in other animals' shoes.

Fun fact: The Rats in the UnComix Universe are the most basically designed characters of them all. Some would say badly drawn, and Scott Adams or Matt Groeningesque. They literally have stick arms, fingers, legs, toes, and tails. But I think they look great. I really do. I'm not just saying that because I'm lazy (although I am). One of the cool things about the artwork in the UnComix Universe is that there isn't really a "house style" for all of the characters, and the designs can be as different or as funky as I want them to be. That is why a human like Dr. Raggleworth can be drawn as a cartoon with a giant head and four fingers, while Prime Minister Candace Morrison, a more realistic, comic book-style character, can have more traditional body proportions and five fingers. Besides, since almost every single rat character is merely doing stuff in the background as a visual joke, I don't want them to stand out TOO much.

Prominent Animals include Crusty The Crab, Narf-Narf, Chirp, Spring-Chicken, Phyllis the Suicidal Guppy.
Yes, more superstitious, but she strikes me as cowardly in the way that 80's cartoon villains like Mumm-Ra or even Power Ranger Big Bads like Rita or Zedd are in that she stands back, surrounds herself with werewolf bodyguards, and sends minions and hired guns to do her dirty work, never fighting unless the good guys bring the fight to her.
Augatha doesn't do that because she's cowardly. It's because she believes she's indispensable to her mission, and doesn't want to risk getting her dumb ass killed on a routine patrol. Considering the stakes and the reasons she actually WANTS to rule the world, I agree with her reasoning.
Which brings me to my next point, I finished the Pontue Legacy. Augatha has more depth and growth than I thought she would get. And I'm glad you said that since you're spending so much time with her, you had to put more effort into her characterization.

Backing up a little, I feel like the Pontue Legacy came too early. I am reading this and picturing each issue comes out once a month, which would mean 6 months with new characters when we were just getting to know the old ones. Krac and Winifred are Meek and Bernadette's ancestors, but I feel like I don't know Meek and Bernadette well enough to think it's a fun connection and try and see if any traits got passed down.
There was no real good place for The Pontue Legacy. You needed to get that info dump when you did. But to be blunt, I felt comfortable interrupting Gilda and Meek after only eight issues for The Pontue Legacy and then One-Shots for a very interesting reason, that I suspected at the time, but wasn't sure until much later. Those first 8 issues of Gilda and Meek are unlike all of the others. They are mostly self-contained, and rarely deal with character development. The closest issue to the tone of regular Gilda And Meek is Skeletons. And that's not because the rest of Gilda And Meek is as dark and scary as Skeletons. It's because it's as focused on characters and mythology as that was. I also put The Pontue Legacy so early because the first eight issues are more or less self-contained, while the rest of the issues are more or less serialized. It's probably too soon for the prequel. But it will feel like less of a major interruption before we've gotten to the good stuff.

As for Krac and Winifred's personalities, I don't see much of Winifred in either Bernadette or Meek. Meek however is very similar to Krac is being a bit Asperger's around people, although Meek is MUCH more reserved, while Krac is a bit mentally unstable. The thing Bernadette got from his side of the family is that Krac was sort of an assh0le. The whole thing with making fun of Bob the Wizard's name to throw him off balance is the precise kind of thing Bernadette would do, and is consistent with the Anderson lineage (although there are hints Krac's lineage may also be on Meek and Bernadette's mother's side too.)

As for your idea of making the Pontue Legacy flashbacks in Gilda And Meek, I hate to say it, Chris, but that's an outright terrible idea. You haven't read my reviews in awhile, but I have lost all patience for flashbacks, and think they are a lazy way for a show to not have to tell their actual story in the here and now. I feel like they are put into shows to string the viewer along with the main plot for weeks on end. Filler is what I think they are, and I'm not doing that to Gilda And Meek. That would weaken that book.

Edit:

The journals thing also wouldn't work for a very simple reason. The adventure in The Pontue Legacy was lost to history. Augatha and Fuzzy and Scuzzy know a fraction of it, but Gabrielle would have no journals, and only could go by Sarah's part of the adventure, and Sarah's part knew nothing about things like Lapinians, Blessed Children, or Blood Debts. The Pontue Legacy as a background to Gilda and Meek wouldn't work because while the bulk of the story deals with the background of The Un-Iverse's Earth, it doesn't deal much with anything relevant to Gilda And Meek itself. It's better as a miniseries.
I almost want these to be back-ups to a main adventure, something like one of the five reading Gabrielle's journals and reacting to the story. Almost. I do think this story is perfectly paced and it works as is. Best use of the Narrator, particularly the beginning with the backstory and world building (there are still bits of him I don't like, for example his commentary on Pedro's line about the Springer show, which I thought was fine).

But like I said, really like the world building and lore in the beginning, I'm still a little lost on the concept of Mutated Animals, and I wasn't sure what the deal with the Dragons were (an off shoot race of Gragnocks who didn't leave with them?). I do like bits that clearly tie into the present day story, like the Blessed Child and Bob and probably other things I don't realize yet. I definitely cared about the new characters you introduced here, and I love that we got to see a complete story for them, even an epilogue.
You are asking the right questions about the Dragons. Their relationship to the Gragnocks will not be explicitly stated, but you'll understand it by the end of Gilda and Meek. Unfortunately that is all stuff that I won't be posting online. You'll have to wait until if and when I find a publisher and another artist to redraw things to look more professional.

None of the characters in Gilda and Meek are Blessed Children. There is a hint somebody related to the characters in the near-future will become one, but none of the Gilda and Meek characters are Blessed Children. But that's definitely a plot reveal for later (namely the sequel The Supplements).

As for the end of the Pontue Legacy, it is VERY consistent with the rest of the sad endings of The Un-Iverse. The heroes win, but they almost wish they didn't. I am a big believer in sad endings. But I also don't believe you should do them unless they are completely earned and will move the reader for the right reasons. I think you'll agree that that is true for the end of The Pontue Legacy, and it's definitely true for both the last issue of Gilda And Meek, and the last issue of the entire saga.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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Framingham, MA
Wow, Chris, you've really got me thinking about some stuff, and the stuff you got me thinking about is stuff that I believe makes the project stronger.

You have a lot of questions about the rules of who can understand animals, and what the history of Mutated Animals are, and are frustrated that you aren't getting those answers in real-time. For me, not giving those answers in real-time is one of the selling points of the story. It leaves things up for debate, and for the reader to work out the consistencies and rules for themselves. Why aren't things more explicit? You'd think in a franchise with an omniscience Narrator, exposition would happen a LOT more often than it does.

The reason it doesn't is because all of the information you are asking about is stuff the characters themselves already know. They have nobody to explain it to. Which is partly why I hate exposition in fiction. It sounds unrealistic every time, and as if the characters are spelling things out for the audience rather than the other characters. In my story my characters already know and have lived with these answers their entire lives. They aren't aware the reader exists, much less the Narrator. There is no reason you'd really get the ins and outs of animals talking or the history of Mutated Animals outside of a child's classroom.

I suppose I could have the Narrator explain this as it goes along, and to be fair, he does explain some of it pretty well (the Muppet rules are detailed pretty well in the fifth One-Shot's Stella Stickyfingers story) but I don't have him do that on a regular basis, or even every time an unanswered question comes up. Because the Narrator is already annoying, and little of him goes a long way. I lean into him pretty heavily in the early issues, but if I keep doing that, the reader is going to get frustrated by him constantly bringing things to a screeching halt, the way you thought he did to Pedro's statement in The Pontue Legacy.

And one of your other notes was that it might have been nice to keep things ambiguous with the Piranha's fight with Otterman. And I completely disagree. Him and Otterman meet a handful of times at most, and all things considered, the Piranha winds up forgiving his actions pretty easily. By the end of the sixth issue, he's pretty much let it go, and their next encounter is friendlier by the end. The Piranha and Otterman's pasts are mingled together. But that doesn't really effect their futures or present, and if I didn't have the Narrator talk smack about the fight when he did, you'd be getting your hopes up for a huge revelation-filled conflict, that will never come.

The Gilda and Meek character that effects Otterman won't wind up being the Piranha anyways. It will wind up being Bernadette. And there's no reason to pretend he and the Piranha are important to each other's arcs when they aren't.

As for Otterman's redemption arc, I always play it that it's ridiculous to expect Otterman to redeem himself to the Piranha. He killed his family. There is nothing he can do to make up for that to the Piranha personally. Otterman's arc is trying to figure out what he can do to make up for that to The Universe. And I think the Piranha is absolutely fine and supportive of that idea, even if he thinks Otterman is a dimwit. I don't want you or the reader to think Otterman and the Piranha will wind up archenemies. The massacre is a defining moment in Otterman's life, but the Piranha is not involved in his redemption from it. Because there is no way he believably ever would be.

I believe it is better to spell things out for the reader dramatically. To let them know what is and isn't emotionally resonant and what will come up later. Where I like readers to draw their own conclusions is in the various confusing plot elements that I don't tend to explain in real time. That sensibility of leaving the explanations up to the reader is the biggest influence I got from David Lynch and Twin Peaks. Unlike him, I'm going to wrap up the characters, and not leave everybody on a tragic cliffhanger. But if somebody still has questions about the saga they didn't get answered, that's absolutely fine with me.

To be honest, this is the opposite perspective of most creators. Most creators want to leave the drama up for debate, and spell out all of the plot points. And the fact that I always do the exact opposite is why I think The Un-Iverse is unlike most other fiction. And that's what I like about it.
 

Christopher Glennon

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Speculation is fine, and there are a ton of unanswered questions coming. But speculating on stuff that is irrelevant doesn't actually help the reader, so I'm not going to mislead them. The fight in the second issue was pointless, and won't be referenced again. It is not the big deal another franchise would make it out to be. I sort of explain things a bit as they go along, but these are all the right questions to be asking (speculation is fun, remember?).
Speculation is definitely fun, I just want to point out every time I get confused by something. I think that might help since I'm reading these linearly and don't know what is going to happen later, so I don't know what is and isn't important now and some things I may not get as I'm reading them.

Mutated Animals

Mutated Animals are the names for people whose birth is unexplained and not following Muppet Rules. No one knows WHY some people are born as a different species but the truth is that I find the Un-Iverse more amusing with talking monkeys, giraffes, lions, elephants, birds, camels and ducks. If a Mutated Animal breeds with a Cat, Dog, Human, or different species of Mutated Animal, Muppet Rules still apply
Thanks for the Appendix Info, but Mutated Animals may still be distracting to a reader going through these first issues. Pontue Legacy establishing dominant species is going to make someone go "But wait, didn't I see a Pig an issue or two ago?"

As for your idea of making the Pontue Legacy flashbacks in Gilda And Meek, I hate to say it, Chris, but that's an outright terrible idea. You haven't read my reviews in awhile, but I have lost all patience for flashbacks, and think they are a lazy way for a show to not have to tell their actual story in the here and now. I feel like they are put into shows to string the viewer along with the main plot for weeks on end. Filler is what I think they are, and I'm not doing that to Gilda And Meek. That would weaken that book
I disagree completely about flashbacks. Lost is one of my favorite shows of all time, and it proved that telling stories in the past side by side with stories that take place in the present can create a juxtaposition that reveals character, creates anticipation, builds mystery, and broadens up the whole world. Lots of other shows, while not as successful at is as Lost, like Once Upon a Time or Arrow, also had great uses of flashback.

Having said that, I will reiterate that I think the Pontue Legacy should be told in its entirety without interruption, especially since the only character to appear in the past and present is Augatha (not counting minor characters like Tork and Fuzzy and Scuzzy).

Wow, Chris, you've really got me thinking about some stuff, and the stuff you got me thinking about is stuff that I believe makes the project stronger.

You have a lot of questions about the rules of who can understand animals, and what the history of Mutated Animals are, and are frustrated that you aren't getting those answers in real-time.
It's more confusion than outright frustration, but I think the biggest problem character is Narf-Narf, which I will get into when I talk about the One-Shots.

I suppose I could have the Narrator explain this as it goes along, and to be fair, he does explain some of it pretty well (the Muppet rules are detailed pretty well in the fifth One-Shot's Stella Stickyfingers story) but I don't have him do that on a regular basis, or even every time an unanswered question comes up. Because the Narrator is already annoying, and little of him goes a long way. I lean into him pretty heavily in the early issues, but if I keep doing that, the reader is going to get frustrated by him constantly bringing things to a screeching halt, the way you thought he did to Pedro's statement in The Pontue Legacy.
I agree with that, I wouldn't want the Narrator to halt the story and take the reader into "classroom time".

I don't want you or the reader to think Otterman and the Piranha will wind up archenemies.
That's definitely a good thing to spell out.

Okay, so on to the One-Shots. They're a definite mixed bag and a drop in quality from the initial Gilda and Meek stories and the Pontue Legacy, but I think you already knew that. I really wanted to get back to the main characters in a significant way, although at the same time, I did love the more slice of life, child friendly comic strip-like stories. While reading the One-Shots (because there are so many), I wondered if it would work better as back-ups to the main story. After all, that's how Action Comics started. It'd be sort of like how an episode of Garfield and Friends has a Garfield segment, then US Acres, then back to Garfield, and then some short gags thrown in. Actually, maybe it's easier if I just do this by segment:

-The Humans are easily the weakest and the worst of the bunch. At first I thought they were funnier than you were giving them credit for (and the Tigger comparison is apt), but they wore on my patience and they kept coming and coming. You said they are intentionally bad and you don't want to put much effort or research into them because of how stupid they are. I'm sure this will all make sense later (Terran Wars sounds VERY far off), but it doesn't make sense now.

-I liked Narf-Narf and Chirp a lot. I enjoyed seeing Vic Puff in it because of how things tie together in a good "shared universe" sort of way. I think they are fun characters, and when you shifted the focus to Stella Stickyfingers, the stories actually gained heart. As I mentioned, though, Narf-Narf is the character who confused me the most. He had earlier cameos (like at Vic Puff's wedding), and while he is smaller than sentient Cats and doesn't war clothes, I was still wondering if he was a Cat like Gilda. He walks around on two legs and holds things with his hands. It isn't until the visit to the vet and the poker game when he feels like an actual cat.

-Howler is another interesting character that contributes to your shared universe because of we know about Augatha and her werewolf guards. I am not familiar with the Talisman, but I do like the lore of the Borns and Infecteds. I also like that there's a clear beginning, middle, and end to this arc. You mentioned in the Linear notes you don't like Howler or Audrey, and I'm curious as to why.

-Unky Mattie's Wacky Funhouse is disturbing, has too many characters, and I'm not sure what's important here (or at least I wouldn't if I didn't read what you wrote about Willis).

-Again, I did like the shorter stories with our main characters like Meek's Chiller Theatre and the misadventures Piranha gets into. I have fun with these stories, and I'm not even upset at Meek attacking the Piranha (although it makes sense that this is a holdover from the way he was when you created him many years earlier). These wouldn't have worked in the main setting because I'd be wondering why everyone is just lounging around because it would make earlier plot points and revelations seem not as important or urgent.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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I disagree completely about flashbacks. Lost is one of my favorite shows of all time, and it proved that telling stories in the past side by side with stories that take place in the present can create a juxtaposition that reveals character, creates anticipation, builds mystery, and broadens up the whole world. Lots of other shows, while not as successful at is as Lost, like Once Upon a Time or Arrow, also had great uses of flashback.
I love Lost too and the flashbacks on that show WERE great. But Arrow and especially Once Upon A Time's flashbacks sucked all of the air out of the room. It's an example of franchises mimicking a great thing from a previous show, without writers talented enough to understand why that thing was great in the first place.
I agree with that, I wouldn't want the Narrator to halt the story and take the reader into "classroom time".
I have to pick my battles with the Narrator.
That's definitely a good thing to spell out.
Which is the precise reason the Narrator is an annoying jackass. I don't want the reader to expect anything else big coming.
Okay, so on to the One-Shots. They're a definite mixed bag and a drop in quality from the initial Gilda and Meek stories and the Pontue Legacy, but I think you already knew that. I really wanted to get back to the main characters in a significant way, although at the same time, I did love the more slice of life, child friendly comic strip-like stories. While reading the One-Shots (because there are so many), I wondered if it would work better as back-ups to the main story. After all, that's how Action Comics started. It'd be sort of like how an episode of Garfield and Friends has a Garfield segment, then US Acres, then back to Garfield, and then some short gags thrown in. Actually, maybe it's easier if I just do this by segment:
The One-Shots characters, specifically Narf-Narf and Chirp, The Humans, Unkie Matty and Stella Stickyfingers will wind up back-up stories in Gilda And Meek from this point forward. Howler will appear in his own issues from time to time featuring back-up stories with Gilda and Meek.

Here is my philosophy regarding the One-Shots. When you read them, you'll think they suck. But after you read all 92 issues, and you reread them after that, you'll think they're the greatest thing ever. They are almost a trick on the reader. They seem to try your patience, but actually contain an unbelievable level of mythology and world-building that is amazing in hindsight. And maybe it sucks that I won't be posting the thing that makes them great on Toon Zone itself, but I can't blow my entire wad if I ever want to get the rest of the saga published. As of now, you will have to trust me that these stupid stories are actually significant and tightly plotted, and will seem so after the fact.
-The Humans are easily the weakest and the worst of the bunch. At first I thought they were funnier than you were giving them credit for (and the Tigger comparison is apt), but they wore on my patience and they kept coming and coming. You said they are intentionally bad and you don't want to put much effort or research into them because of how stupid they are. I'm sure this will all make sense later (Terran Wars sounds VERY far off), but it doesn't make sense now.
I can't spoil why they are so important, but I REALLY want to. I can probably do it by PM because I trust you that much, but I cannot tell you that in this public thread itself.
-I liked Narf-Narf and Chirp a lot. I enjoyed seeing Vic Puff in it because of how things tie together in a good "shared universe" sort of way. I think they are fun characters, and when you shifted the focus to Stella Stickyfingers, the stories actually gained heart. As I mentioned, though, Narf-Narf is the character who confused me the most. He had earlier cameos (like at Vic Puff's wedding), and while he is smaller than sentient Cats and doesn't war clothes, I was still wondering if he was a Cat like Gilda. He walks around on two legs and holds things with his hands. It isn't until the visit to the vet and the poker game when he feels like an actual cat.
The fact that Narf-Narf has Humanoid aka Terran facets is me exploring the controversy of the idea of animals having no rights in The Un-Iverse. If it seems confusing, that is by design. Because I want the reader to wonder why it is Narf-Narf can do the human seeming things he can do, and still be considered a second class citizen. These are all questions I want to raise, and I want to puzzle the reader with. Confusion on this issue is the reader understanding the question of the scenario as intended.
-Howler is another interesting character that contributes to your shared universe because of we know about Augatha and her werewolf guards. I am not familiar with the Talisman, but I do like the lore of the Borns and Infecteds. I also like that there's a clear beginning, middle, and end to this arc. You mentioned in the Linear notes you don't like Howler or Audrey, and I'm curious as to why.
Because their part in the saga is far too brief to make their arc believable. If you count this four parter as one story, the Howlers and their cast only appear in around four others. And the problem is that Howler's arc goes by far too quickly to be credible. In this four-parter, he's merely a loving family man navigating his place in the world, and by the last couple of issues of Gilda And Meek, he's basically Spartacus leading a revolution. And that fact embarrasses me. Walter White didn't go from Mr. Chips to Scarface in five episodes. But if I did Howler's arc properly, he'd have 20 issues of character development to get him where he needs to be. But the saga's not actually about him, and I'm not going to add 20 issues of padding for him. I like Howler enough to include him. But not enough to rewrite my entire story for him. Which is why he underwhelms me.
-Unky Mattie's Wacky Funhouse is disturbing, has too many characters, and I'm not sure what's important here (or at least I wouldn't if I didn't read what you wrote about Willis).
The Unkie Matty stories wound up so disturbing to me as they went along that I was frightened by myself, especially because the psycho main character shares my freaking name. It was a humbling and harrowing experience. Stephen King was famously appalled at himself for writing something as horrifying as Pet Sematary, and that's how I view myself and Unkie Matty. I deeply regret writing the stories. That being said, Willis as a character is far more surprising in the future by having that specific dark past. I kept the stories for Willis's sake, and as much as I regret them, they still make his arc stronger. The final Unkie Matty story isn't even a comedy. It's basically a post mortem dramatic tragedy with the surviving characters discussing why the stories didn't work in a pseudo meta way, without breaking the fourth or knowing they are fictional. Unkie Matty is my biggest failure and regret so far in The Un-Iverse. And yet, like all of the One-Shots, stuff will seem better later on for these stories existing. I just completely freaked myself out by writing them.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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Framingham, MA
One more thing about the placement of the One-Shots. Now we're actually done with them. Outside of a few back-up stories the pain is pretty much over, and we can finally get down to business. One of the reasons I suspect The Un-Iverse is unpublishable is because I deliberately deliver some outright bad issues early on, and I kind of think publishers (admittedly rightly) would see it as me screwing around with nonsense and driving off potential readers at a crucial early stage. But that again ties into the fact that The Un-Iverse isn't structured like a comic book, but a novel, and some chapters are set-up, and some are pay-off. That doesn't make the set-up chapters any more fun, but The One-Shots are me paying my dues now so the reader will have an amazing time later on. The Un-Iverse was designed for people with patience, who don't actually mind sitting through a apparently bad issue or two just to see where things go. It rewards people who stick with it. I think it's good to demand quality from our television and comics, but I also don't think perfection is a reasonable expectation. I think the idea that TV has to be nonstop amazing and jaw-dropping nowadays to get any attention is a damaging mindset, and stops people from watching experimental television that does feed their needs instantly. It used to be we worshipped Joss Whedon for starting every Buffy season off weakly and building to an amazing and satisfying finale. That's what I'm doing. The One-Shots are "Anne" and "Buffy Vs. Dracula". They kind of suck but the rest of the season makes up for it.

Usually when people start a novel they finish it, even if they don't like parts of it as it goes on. That is the (possibly unreasonable) expectation for The Un-Iverse. Read everything, in the correct order. And that may be a tall order and something most people would be unwilling to do. We'll see.
 

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