Sorry for taking so long to pick these up again. If you will recall, Brian received a guitar from his dad. Now we see him using it in the way that he is moved to do so.
I think this is a good strip to start talking about the details of the backstory, to let you know what was going on in my head as I was writing this. It’s a lot of stuff that is very relevant to The Epic of Sally Robertson, and while I hope to cover it in the course of that comic, it may help if other people have it in their heads as well, to help me craft it better. Bare with me, this is kind of lengthy, but it’s really good catch up! And we’ll get to what Brian is doing here in the end. It’ll be well worth it.
So, Harmless Free Radicals really started out as a conglomeration of three or for different ideas. One was to make fun of me and my friends without using any characters besides Ian that could be remotely linked to us (Ian is a caricature of my worst tendencies). Another idea was to have it about a group of people who start a band to make music but have adventures instead (that didn’t work out quite so well). Finally, I decided to wrap this all up into a great story I’d been working on regarding the creation of the world, the gods of the Arts, a battle between those that want to bring ascension to the world and those that want to preserve it, and one lone individual’s nearly futile attempts to bring peace between his brothers and sisters.
So, Fenmere is the Poet of the Dragon People. He is sick of the bickering between two factions of the Dragon People, the Order of the Hunter and the Guardians. The Order of the Hunter is led, actually, by Bone Jackdaw, the Story Teller. The Guardians are led by Jade Crow, the Diplomat. So Fenmere cracks a plan to use a powerful magic that humanity has within itself to scare his siblings into listening to him. This magic, incidentally, works very much like new age theory. Whatever humans dream of and believe in tends to become reality. Also, because the Dragon People are nearly forgotten, Fenmere’s plan is also an attempt to preserve what is left of them.
Deciding that comics have a slightly better grip on the human psyche than the traditional poetic form, he declared that comics are a form of poetry and then proceeded to attempt to make a comic, a webcomic, in order to influence the world in his favor. Thus, Harmless Free Radicals was born. This comic wasn’t very popular or effective (probably because Fenmere is NOT The Cartoonist), but it was influential enough to actually create the city of Fairport, an echo of a real Pacific Northwest town, which exists “half way between the Canadian border and the land of dreams”. Since then, this bubble of “narrative reality” has extended to include an entire county, Liberty County, which also includes a town by the name of Jam.
Something begins to happen. Some of the people featured in the comic begin to learn that they have abilities that are somewhat beyond the scope of human capacity. There are several reasons for this, which have not been discovered or discussed yet. One of those reasons is because of humanity’s magic. Because Fairport is isolated from the rest of the world, its reality is more malleable. There are fewer imaginations dictating what is possible there, and those that read the comic have the strongest influence (that means you, by the way). Another reason is because the Dragon People have indeed started to take notice, and are exerting their own magics on the events in Fairport.
Brian using his guitar as a weapon of justice, as depicted here, is just one of these events. Aside from the comic itself, it is the first foreshadowing of the things to come in The Epic of Sally Robertson, and the struggle that Sally herself will have to face.
As I’ve said before, Ian is Sally’s dad and Brenna is her mom. Brian is Marshall’s dad. A bit later in the comic, Brian will meet Dakota Barnes. I haven’t written the comics about their marriages yet, but these two couples do get married and have kids nearly the same age. Ian and Brenna are roughly ten years older than Brian and Dakota, but Brian and Dakota also spend some time in Vancouver, outside of the influence of Fairport and it’s fairy like bubble of time, and… I’m getting ahead of where we’re at right now! We’ll get to some of this in time. Both here in the Vintage Comics review, and in The Epic of Sally.
Cheers! And thank you for reading,