About the Strip
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. 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 SJ, putting NN 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.