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From Childproof the Unicorns

For 200 yearsm the faeries of Arcadia have waged a devastating war on humanity. Well, maybe not a devastating war. Actually, to be honest, the humans haven't even noticed yet. Now, through a mishap with a cupcake and a mousetrap, Colonel Beowulf of the Arcadian 49th Feline Cavalry has discovered the Pendragon, the High King of Humanity and Arcadia both, reborn in the form of a shy and geeky suburban kid.

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The Strip's Origins

NeverNever was created c. 1996, when I was looking for ideas for a comic strip to sell to the big newspaper syndicates. I had enjoyed some success with my college paper strip, "Whistling in the Dark," but I didn't think that one would get real far. The way I remember it, the big announcement had just been made that "Calvin and Hobbes" was being retired, and I was disappointed about it, which probably was a major influence on the earliest strips. I know it definitely influenced the very first strip, shown at the top of this page, which was a deliberate homage to the first strip of "Calvin and Hobbes."

My basic idea was a simple one ... faeries, elves, and whatnot are generally assumed to be immortal, or at least very long-lived ... so where the heck are they? Well, the answer is obvious: they're right there where they've always been, we just don't notice.

Well, I figured, if we just don't notice them, then they must be pretty ticked at us, building housing developments in their meadows, paving roads over their houses, knocking dragons out of the sky with our transcontinental jets, and so forth. If I were the leader of the various magical creatures, I'd want to do something to get humanity's attention -- heck, I might even declare war!

Once I had a faerie army at war with humanity, combined with the idea of a faerie accidentally caught in a mousetrap, the rest began to fall into place naturally. Arthur and his nonbelieving dad, Col. Beowulf, General Blither, Lieutenant Bristle, and Queen Isegrayne came forward almost immediately. But I still felt something was missing ... both some sort of romance angle, and some sort of really different character. Mopsy the Pooka stepped forward for that purpose, and I knew right away that she was exactly who I was looking for. I wasn't sure what her role in the strip was going to be, at first ... that she would get involved with Col. Beowulf later rather took me by surprise.

Since at that point my goal was still newspaper syndication, I quickly threw together about a month's worth of strips. My art style at that stage was still very rough, and the syndicates were not impressed. Feeling rejected, I let NeverNever sit in a drawer for a while, trying to figure out what to do next.

Late in 1998, I was unemployed and pretty unsatisfied with how my career was going, so I decided to take up my cartooning again. A friend of mine had just introduced me to Kevin and Kell, and I was inspired not only by Bill Holbrook's artwork (which is great), but by the happy innocence of the work. (This was before the Great Bird Conspiracy. ;) ) Of my creations, I still thought that NeverNever had the best chance on the market, so I redrew the first month's worth of strips and sent it off again ... with the same lackluster response. Undeterred (it's amazing what a little inspiration can do for you), I decided to post my strips on the internet. I figured that if I built an audience, the syndicates would have to take interest sooner or later. A coworker at my new job provided me some webspace, and off I went!

I began my other online strip, The Suburban Jungle, a few months later, and for about a year the two strips ran on alternating weeks. Unfortunately, the stresses of my incredibly-hectic dot-com job, a bout of clinical depression, and various other factors began to take a heavy toll on me. I decided that I should concentrate my dwindling creative resources toward one comic or the other ... and while NeverNever had the more devoted fans, Suburban Jungle had a much larger volume of fans. So I concentrated on Suburban Jungle, putting NeverNever on an indefinite hiatus, but always intending to return to it.

A lot has happened since then ... the dot-com crash killed my job, St. John's Wort and counseling have done wonders for the depression, and my resolve to get NeverNever up and running again has finally come to fruition. I've pretty much forgotten about the syndicates ... most of the stuff running in the newspapers these days isn't worth the trouble to read anyway. All of the work I really enjoy and admire is on the web. Yeah, there's not a lot of money to be made in this space, but I was never really in it for the money anyway. As long as I can keep my house and keep eating, the rest is just a bonus.

About the Creators

John "The Gneech" Robey has spent most of his life either drawing cartoons or writing fantasy and science fiction stories. During his years spent gaining a B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University, he created a strip named Whistling in the Dark that ran in the college newspaper and was quite popular as well as counting as his term paper for a course entitled "History of the American Comic Strip." Gneech currently spends his days as a graphic artist and web coder in northern Virginia, and his nights continuing to pursue his cartooning and writing.

Tiffany Ross has been doing comics online since 1998 starting with the skunk themed comic, Satin & Silk. Currently she does several comics under the Shivae Studios label. She's a stay at home mother and mostly self taught through time. (The two years at WTA&M University don't count.) She likes to try her hand at different ways of doing things and what better way than to do it for someone else? Now, this is SUPPOSED to be a temporary arrangement, but the last time I did something temporary, it ran on and off for 5 years and is now in the progress of being written up for standard publication.) marks when Tiffany Ross took over the art from Susan Rankin.

Susan Rankin is a tea-driven cartoonist. She's been drawing since the day she was able to hold a crayon and began drinking tea on a regular basis shortly thereafter. She's a renaissance woman. Always got her hands in something different artistically; sculpture, set design/painting, CnC woodcarving and animation are the latest things. Her first love though, besides tea, of course, is cartooning. From Middle School in Havertown, PA on up through a brief stint with the SCA, she's been doing cartoons for publication. When she isn't cartooning, she's lamenting that she really ought be cartooning, whereas tea tends to be concurrent with nearly all activities. Playing "Bejeweled" on Endless is not one of them. Tea gets cold.

In addition to NeverNever and her other activities, Susan is also the creator of A Doemain of Our Own, which is a silly, semi-autobiographical romp that's been romping around for... nearly 8 years now... Good gravy.

Higgins hasn't given me any bio information!

Richard Wyatt hasn't given me any bio information either! But he does a great strip called Dansk Folly, which you really should go check out ASAP!