Chapter 1 - Page 17

Fish-head and Friends

“Fish-head and friends” you ask? Yes. I’ll get to that in a moment.

In the meantime, lemme just say that Beckah and I love this page, so we hope you like it too. Perhaps you like it enough to enjoy a really cool HD desktop background made from this page?

If so, you’re in luck! We have a cool downloadable desktop image available through Patreon. You can pop on over there, check out our reward tiers, and perhaps even sign up. The $3-and-up tiers all get access to cool downloadable content, such as desktop and iphone backgrounds (and whatever else we can think of/you want to see), high resolution pages every week, and DRM-free PDFs of each chapter. Support the comic and have fun doing it!

Chapter 1 - Page 17

A Not-So-Short Story

So. Back to Fish-head and Friends. (Settle in, folks. I accidentally started from the beginning…)

Beckah and I are just not satisfied with telling one story. It’s just fact. Our love for storytelling started off with a free online forum we set up in the early 2000s. It’s so old, I can’t even remember which company hosted it, and I guarantee it’s no longer available, but we referred to the forum and everyone who used it as “The Pretenders.” (Genius, I know. Cut me some slack, man, I was like 14 and we were still getting over the 90s.)

The Pretenders consisted of Beckah and myself, as well as all our friends in person and online who enjoyed writing fiction. We would spend hours upon hours staring at the same computer screen, passing the keyboard back and forth, while we made posts to our home-brew forum in order to see what happened next in our stories.

And when I say “stories” I don’t mean “Oh how cute, little Johnny has a couple chapters.” I mean, “HOLY SHIT IT’S LIKE LORD OF THE RINGS, GAME OF THRONES, AND HARRY POTTER COMBINED TWENTY-NINE TIMES AND THEY’RE STILL NOT FINISHED.”

See, with so many possible combinations of writers, ideas, and genres to work with, we filled the entire freakin’ Pretenders site with stories. And they all ran at the same time. Our defining writing years molded us into the kind of people who have five completely different stories running at the exact same time—enough to keep us preoccupied for 12-18 hours a day on weekends and summers without ever having to face the pain of writer’s block. Stuck on one? Switch to the other, back again, oh another idea, bored of this, make a new one, remember that thing we like, write it again bigger better stronger, can’t stop, won’t stop. You could say we were obsessed. There, I said it first.

Thinking back on this phase of my life, I have my parents to thank for not forcing me to go outside. (Thanks mom and dad!)

Anyway, given this background, you can begin to imagine the excruciating pain Beckah and I went through in order to select one project to focus on to the extent required in order to produce a comic. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” could have been hanging over the entrance to our studio because the world outside Magical Boy Basil ceased to exist in the past 3 months required to produce Chapter 1. See, we knew that in order to execute this project and make sure it would persist, we had to fundamentally change our entire creative process. And that’s what we dedicated ourselves to doing.

It worked. But not completely. You see, when you put me and Beckah in a room long enough, we’re gonna start making up stories about the people we see. And running all 3 months in the background of Magical Boy Basil was the fabric of fictional life seen in the NPCs. (That’s “Non Playable Characters” for mom and dad, which refers to all the non-speaking people in the background of our panels.) Slowly, and without fail, our NPCs started to gather names. And histories. And friends and enemies and summer vacations, and hobbies and families and pets and petty dramas and favorite foods and fears and oh my god please make it stop why won’t it stop we have a comic due on July 1st.

So… Over in seat 10 is Fish-head. Why Fish-head? I’ll give a demonstration when we see him again on page 23. And the kid standing up in seat 9? His name is MJ, can you guess why? And the troublemakers in seats 6 and 7? Beckah is already brewing an entire head cannon based around these kids, so keep an eye on them as their story progresses in future chapters.

This—all of this—is Magical Boy Basil. Not just Basil and Aaron and magical monsters, but the people who make up the world that surrounds them. Basil is the main character here, but, just as we are in real life, Basil is one drop in an ocean of main characters—all of them with living, breathing stories that we can only glimpse in the peripheral of our daily lives.

So, TLDR? People watch. You won’t be disappointed.

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