J. J. W. Mezun ☆ Season 6 ☆ 2020 January 15


Autumn, Edgar, & Dawn all originated from a wretched comic called Pendejos: a Spanish mild curse word that means quite a few things, but I usually took to mean “asshole”. As such, this comic was merely ’bout 2 assholes — the obnoxiously infantile Dante Summers & the cardboard greedy & shallow Autumn Springer. Edgar Winters — who was still a skeleton, albeit with an absurd blob body with line limbs straight out o’ Pearls Before Swine — was the lone nice character, & thus the one the other 2 constantly picked on as some o’ the tritest “humor” I could e’er regurgitate. That is, when he wasn’t stalking the waitress Ruby Solstice, who would later sort o’ become Dawn Summers, ’cept with an almost completely different appearance & an utterly different personality — in that sense, then, a completely different person. But the character somehow gradually morphed into Dawn.

‘Twas only ’bout 40 strips in when I realized none o’ Pendejos’s writing was good in the slightest, & thus I swiftly dropped it.

Allow me to quote my teenaged self ( god, time flies ):


As of now Pendejos is on indefinite hiatus. I know, empty void I pretend is my audience, this is just heart-breaking.

The justification I give for this decision--and simply viewing this comic should render vindication unnecessary--is based on three reasons:

The comic is complete horse shit. I need to think about this comic more to decide if I can perhaps improve it--but looking at it now causes me to doubt that theory to be probable.

  1. Because of the start of school, I have less time to waste on this garbage.

  2. I plan to work on other things--maybe learn how to fucking draw, perhaps?

So there you have it: Fuck this comic.

& this was when my highest claim to literary fame were articles making fun o’ bad sprite comics — so you know they sucked.

Primarily, ‘twas Dante whom I reviled, the epitome of frat douche bag sociopaths who infect too much o’ the faux-edgy, bottom-o’-the-sewers black comedies out there already.

For some reason, I still had a desire to do something with the other 2 characters, though with much improved characterizations. My only guess is that I enjoyed Edgar’s visual design. Anyway, since Autumn’s most interesting character trait was her greed, this translated into a treasure-hunting adventure comic book inspired mainly by the Wario Land video game series,1 as well as other collectathon series I so loved. Edgar, ’course, would be her tepid sidekick. Also, I included a Spanish — the only foreign language I sort o’ knew — anthropomorphic cat called Montago Verano for some reason.

The one change I made to the greedy treasure hunter who goes on dangerous adventures ( & usually gets killed or humiliated ) was a nuance I added to Autumn’s character, since e’en though I said greed was her most interesting trait… well, that didn’t say much. In this case, I decided to add a psychological twist to her greed: rather than being for pure material selfishness, Autumn’s quest for treasure was put down to an insatiable hunger for the sentiment of success, brought on by an impoverished childhood. This formed a better explanation for why she would go on such dangerous ventures all for treasure she hardly had time to enjoy — as well as it might explain the common American’s overwork for materials they ne’er get the time to enjoy, too. I think part o’ me meant this as a parody o’ treasure-hunting stories, like Scrooge McDuck. ¿Why go through so much trouble while being too cheap to use the money for what it’s actually useful for — spending? The psychological value o’ money was the best answer ( & proves how wrong Say’s Law is ).

This comic didn’t get far. I remember I finished the artwork for 2 episodes — the prototypes for “DIGNITY 40 DEGREES BELOW DIGNITY” & “TOMBS IS DOOM SPELLED COMPLETELY DIFFERENT” — as well as starting an earlier version o’ “STRANGE MEETINGS AND MOTELS HAVE NO CORRELATION SO STOP BRINGING IT UP”2 & starting scripts for a few other comics — the prototypes for “MACHINE”, “CIRCUSES”, “PAST”, “HOLLY”, and “DISTURBED” being ’mong them3.

By this time, economic issues made getting access to drawing materials difficult. This, in addition to a growing interest in literature, which was much mo’ convenient to keep in digital form ( 1 megabyte for a whole book vs. multiple megabytes for a single comic page ), led to an abandonment o’ comics & an inclination toward literature. In particular, I remember Stephen King being a particular influence: I read his On Writing as a recommendation for writing comics, only to get the idea to get into writing, as well as reading. ( Surprisingly, I hardly e’er read any fiction literature before adulthood; then during the 1st 5 years o’ my adulthood, I’d read close to 50 books a year ).

I remember 2 half-assed attempted @ writing literature — not including some others ’mong years before: some intentionally bad book that went on for pages o’ nonsense & incoherency, & some story based on a comic I made ’bout chickens rising up to wage war gainst the vile meat-eating humans, told in verse.

But my 1st true experiment in prose — & since this was the 1st, I didn’t expect it to go anywhere good — was a goofy political satire inspired by a line in The Grapes of Wrath in which a character describes capitalism as a monstrous machine. Naturally, this led me to devise a story in which capitalism is literally an alien robot named the “Gold Machine”, seeming to come straight from Earthbound. And since I was playing round with capitalist tropes, I decided to make the Marx Machine as a counterpart, too. On the statist side resided a cult led by a cloud-cuckoolander version o’ Trotsky, while on the capitalist side resided a gang o’ business executives named after famous capitalists. Their leader was Fitzgerald J. Gatsby.

Since economics played such a large role in this story, I decided to shove in characters who were most related to money matters: Autumn and Edgar. In this story, Autumn was a thief torn apart by the civil war ’tween the Gold & Marx Machine, 1st hounded by the zealous property-rights-protecting Gatsby Gang into the Marx Machine, where she had to continue her thieving career ( with the clever alias, “Tonya Joad” ) in a society zealously opposed to private property.

When she 1st meets Edgar — who just-so-happens to be her randomly-chosen roommate--he’s not revealed to be a skeleton yet — nor the fact that he knows magic, which was kept solely to this novel. Though they conflict at 1st — Autumn suspicious o’ Edgar’s selflessness & Edgar bewildered by Autumn’s desire for success — they ’ventually become partners — 1st as Autumn decides that exploiting Edgar’s generosity is her only chance o’ success, & then through authentic friendship as Autumn gets to know him & becomes jaded with her doomed goal for economic success.

Autumn’s schemes to use Edgar’s magic to get power leads her on a head-to-head conflict with Joe Steal & then the Marx Machine, leading to the o’erthrow of the “Socialist Republic of Boskeopolis” & replacement with a direct democratic political and economic system. The next part has Autumn and Edgar travel through Boskeopolis proper in the form of video game levels named like Sonic the Hedgehog levels4, ending in an Elite-Four-like battle gainst the Gatsby Gang in the capitol, Atlas Tower, & then the Gold Machine itself. Its defeat leads Atlas Tower to crumble, ’long with the capitalist Republic of Boskeopolis.

’Twas at the tail end of working on the rough draft — December 2011 — o’ this novel5 that I wrote the 1st episode of Boskeopolis Stories — what was originally planned to be a canonically-independent spin-off. This 1st story was “LOVE CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS”, a story in which Autumn falls in love with a homeless person who rejects her due to the most forced misunderstanding e’er. This leads her to such an identity crisis that she decides ne’er to leave the house, prompting Edgar and Montago — who’s still friends with them, for some reason — to find evidence that someone likes her, e’en though they all think she’s a nutjob. Meanwhile, it just-so-happens that someone asks her for charity, causing mo’ to do so, ’ventually leading her to be dragged into a conspicuous parody of Occupy Wall-Street. There she meets the homeless person ’gain, either to get a date or go home with bittersweet acceptance.

This story would hold so many incompatibilities with how Boskeopolis Stories would ’ventually develop that all o’ my attempts to rectify them in later drafts failed and I ’ventually just rejected it. From there I used an odd mix of inspirations from Pendejos Venturas, Boskeopolis, & new ideas to create the series o’ stories as they are now.

’Course, in addition to these basic fact discrepancies, there were deeper personality evolutions that occurred o’er the prenatal years for Boskeopolis Stories. Most notably was Autumn’s gradual transformation from a rather dopey, obnoxious thief with no scruples to a principled — if, albeit, these principles are alienable to most — stoic intellectualist. For a comparison, in Pendejos Venturas, Autumn would always mistake Montago for Mexican, e’en though he was a Spaniard. She’d also treat Edgar much more callously, while he, most jarringly, had a nice-guy-syndromy stalker complex for Dawn, who most certainly was not a friend o’ his in this case. Indeed, in general Boskeopolis Stories was more cynical & relied more on black comedy in its earliest form, which has remnants in some o’ the earlier published stories ( most notably “SURVIVAL OF THOSE WHO DON’T DIE” and Felix’s treatment in “DISTURBED RESIDENCE”. )

Strangely, Boskeopolis Stories was originally meant just as an exercise, a form o’ practice. I thought it odd that I started with a novel ’stead o’ short stories, as most writers I read ’bout seemed to start with ( Stephen King being the main example ). But then I started to find Boskeopolis Stories mo’ interesting than the novel, which I felt couldn’t mesh its dramatic & silly elements well ’nough.

’Cause I’m a hypochondriac, & ’cause my body feels like crap all the time, I had some scare where I thought I was dying or something for some reason in summer 2012. Plus, I was feeling impatient, so I said, fuck it, & forced a deadline on me: Boskeopolis Stories starts publishing July 2013. By that point I think I had most o’ season 1 done in rough-draft form & basically cranked out stories in 2013 — which is why seasons 2 & 3 are so mediocre ( season 1 was atrocious ’cause I was still learning how to write when making them ).