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Hosted Site Forums => P.S.I.: A Pessimistic Sense of Inadequacy => Topic started by: fesworks on March 21, 2009, 01:42:44 pm

Title: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on March 21, 2009, 01:42:44 pm
**** SPOILER ALERT!!! ****

*** Well, MINOR spoilers... but nothing too bad, really... Mostly behind the scenes stuff.****




Many readers know that PSI is one of those comics that started as a 4th wall breaking, self-insertion experiment that ran away as a full-storied comic, complete with characters and a world. While the main cast (Fes, Ernst, Nemi, Ford, and "Fesworks") are Webcomic Aware and know of the 4th wall and such, the world of PSI, and the other characters, have been slowly developing in the background.

As the main characters still need a home, a world/universe with rules, history and a system are needed. Despite being Webcomic Aware and gone through the Crossover Wars, they still have a home to go to.

There has always been a general idea of PSI... but I never wanted to go into it originally. I didn't want to explain things, I just wanted things to be the way they are and accepted that way. Unfortunately, people like to know these things!

So I've been slowly refining the background of "Universe P.S.I." to give the comic and it's story more structure. Much of this will come out IN-comic... soon hopefully... it will kinda be an "info dump", but should work well in context.

However, there are a few hurdles because of poor planning... or no planning.... Again, as some people know, PSI was strictly an experimental project.... A project I should have restarted when I had the chance. But since I didn't I'm going to have several "inconsistencies"... Taken from the view of any of the main characters, these can easily be ignored if only THEY were involved.... but anything involving other characters or world rules themselves... Must be dealt with in a manner that is logical enough to work.

One of such problems is the use of cameos and crossovered characters.

(to be continued in another post)
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World
Post by: fesworks on March 21, 2009, 02:00:47 pm
Such as Jack, from JACK, as the world's Reaper.... 

While originally going to be the world's reaper, using Jack more or less ties the world's afterlife to the afterlife of JACK.... which isn't 100% Christian or such, but is structured in very much a "Heaven/Hell, God/Devil" kinda of way, with a complete rule-set for it's workings.... also, in a way, it *may* also tie into Jack's universe, where humans used to live, Furs were originally genetically created, and are now the only living sentient on the planet.

This presents a problem for PSI... Cameos are one thing, but extended uses become staples.... like Anissa for example.

Anissa is from Two Way Mirror. This comic ALSO used Jack as the Reaper... however, the afterlife in Two Way Mirror is not necessarily the same as JACK. In fact, I think it is not... though some parts may be similar. Another note is that Two Way Mirror's world may or may not correlate to JACK's universe... as Two Way Mirror has Humans and Furs living together....

Since we do not know all of JACK's Human & Fur history, I can't say one way or another how closely related these two comics are... I also cannot say how closely related PSI's history matches with Two Way Mirror... since I do not know Two Way Mirror's evolution history.... I could ask the artist and writer that, but they've been out of action for a while.

In any case, I can easily say that the Anissa and Jack that I use are not cannon to their original comics... I can say that they are alternate versions.... almost that they are an alternate version meshed into one reality... Though, I could mostly say that PSI is based off an Alternate Two Way Mirror (that already had an Alternate Jack the Reaper).

PSI... WAS very much based off of Two Way Mirror's world.... however, PSI expands on it... Two Way Mirror does not talk about evolution, food sources, magick, or much of it's history... though magick DOES exist in Two Way Mirror.... however, it is very apparent that Two Way Mirror's world, and PSI's world are too different to be the same.... Thus, an Alternate Two Way Mirror.

So... for Timeline purposes, the alternate world of Two Way Mirror, happens in the PAST, compared to PSI... How much in the past? About 1-2 years after what would be Two Way Mirror's actual end, which would be when Anissa finishes college.

Perhaps confusing to some, but it works for me!

Then there is Jack. Should I continue to use him? Should I make a substitute? I have a few ideas... not sure what I'm gonna do just yet. It is possible that (1) he is merely going to be an "alternate" or Two Way Mirror's Jack... (2) I may come up with a new character, and work him into the story logically (enough), or (3) Go back and look at what happened with "Jack", and try to make it a "different" character without changing anything...

#3 is KINDA like #2... only it "technically" makes the reaper never "Jack" to begin with... and only that the "real" reaper was posing as him to be more intimidating...

I am leaning towards #3.

Well, any thoughts would be welcome!
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World
Post by: ArdraCreator on March 21, 2009, 08:37:08 pm
I don't see why you can't use Jack as is...unless his creator has an issue with it.  Same with any other cameo'd/crossovered character.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World
Post by: fesworks on March 21, 2009, 10:33:16 pm
I don't see why you can't use Jack as is...unless his creator has an issue with it.  Same with any other cameo'd/crossovered character.

I could, and I did have permission from David Hopkins to use Jack in the sequence that I had him.... but the thing is... the afterlife may come into play down the road... which means I'll need a viable Reaper and afterlife mechanism, ruleset, etc.... especially since I'll be touching on the "religion", so-to-speak, of the PSI world... And I use "religion" VERY lightly... Without giving anything away... "Religion" is "faith-based"... PSI's world has actual evidence and recorded encounters of meeting the Earth's Goddess....... Believe it or not, all in a non-preachy, non-religuiousy way... Kinda like most "Fantasy" comics that borrow from Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft, etc... Where its just a matter of fact of how things are.

*shrug*
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World
Post by: Celtic Minstrel on March 22, 2009, 03:19:35 pm
Why don't you just make your own Reaper? I'm not sure how to deal with the appearance of Jack earlier on, but it seems to me that using a new character would be better than using someone else's character. Cameos are one thing; integrating someone else's character into your comic as a canon character is quite another, and I don't think it would be a good idea to do something like that without permission from the character's owner.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World
Post by: fesworks on March 22, 2009, 03:58:02 pm
Why don't you just make your own Reaper? I'm not sure how to deal with the appearance of Jack earlier on, but it seems to me that using a new character would be better than using someone else's character. Cameos are one thing; integrating someone else's character into your comic as a canon character is quite another, and I don't think it would be a good idea to do something like that without permission from the character's owner.

It is one of the considerations, to make my own reaper.

Like I said, I had permission to use Jack before... but I doubt I can really use Jack for the future plans I have as it kinda does detract from JACK's afterlife model too much. So devising how to explain Jack is something I have several ideas for.... and I have a new reaper design in mind. ;)

ASSIDE from discussing the Reaper (which can stay in this current thread), any additional discussion of outside characters can be found here:
Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 2: Outside Characters) (http://xepher.net/forum/index.php?topic=858.0)


EDIT: also, it should be mentioned that "P.S.I.: The Webcomic", will never be printed..... so other characters are not so much of a concern for that... however... that does not mean that there won't be any "P.S.I.: Print Adventures".
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on March 23, 2009, 12:24:34 am
New idea. Extension of #2 and #3: Make a "new" character to be the Reaper... though, in story, this would be the REAL reaper, and this Reaper had Jack help him out for this particular instance....? That would logically work, and TOTALLY play into this character's... um... character.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: TuuronTour on March 23, 2009, 09:30:27 pm
You could always explain that reapers aren't necessarily bound to only one universe - heck, in Discworld there was actually a Death of Universes ;-).
Jack could have been an appointed reaper to the universes in which both humans and sentient furs exists (or used to be in the past). A rabbit as reaper would never be believed in at human-only universes. A new reaper can be introduced with the excuse that Jack had too many universes to pay attention to.

Your latest idea works too. Nemi, Reevo and Kerr could be originally from Jack's universe and Jack had to cross-over into PSI's world to collect their souls.

My 2 cents for today :)
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on March 23, 2009, 10:37:57 pm
You could always explain that reapers aren't necessarily bound to only one universe - heck, in Discworld there was actually a Death of Universes ;-).
Jack could have been an appointed reaper to the universes in which both humans and sentient furs exists (or used to be in the past). A rabbit as reaper would never be believed in at human-only universes. A new reaper can be introduced with the excuse that Jack had too many universes to pay attention to.

Your latest idea works too. Nemi, Reevo and Kerr could be originally from Jack's universe and Jack had to cross-over into PSI's world to collect their souls.

My 2 cents for today :)

To be honest, I considered switching to one of two different webcomic's reapers. The first being from Life & Death, and the other from Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit.... both for comedic alternatives.

The only thing is that Life & Death mingles with a lot of the comics that work  together, such as Magical Misfits and The KAMics.... which would make Steve (the Reaper) ideal to use... however... it's the whole "switching" that doesn;t make sense... Technically, I actually had a plot seed in place that would help explain why the PSI universe has a new Reaper, but it's just too damn reaching...

However, the possibility of using OTHER reapers will still work with my current (#4) plan.... and does not need to jarringly affect the Canon PSI Universe much.... aka, the universe of PSI where I'm trying not to break the 4th wall.... but anyway, basically, yes, as you suggested, it would also explain multiple reapers/multiple dimensions as well.

I am very tempted to "start over", as I've stated various times.... though, as mentioned above, "P.S.I.: The Print Comic" would be the closest to a "restart" as possible, as (most) any print comic I make revolving around PSI, would be as if none of the 4th wall breaking, nor The Crossover Wars, had ever happened..... of course, anything print (even a simple 8-page mini) is a ways off yet.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: Celtic Minstrel on March 24, 2009, 11:40:51 am
New idea. Extension of #2 and #3: Make a "new" character to be the Reaper... though, in story, this would be the REAL reaper, and this Reaper had Jack help him out for this particular instance....? That would logically work, and TOTALLY play into this character's... um... character.
This sounds like a reasonable idea.

Switching to Steve could work too, and perhaps you could even use the same explanation of why Jack appeared that one time. Or, you could always do a retcon I suppose...
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: ArdraCreator on March 24, 2009, 11:50:53 pm
Quote
To be honest, I considered switching to one of two different webcomic's reapers. The first being from Life & Death, and the other from Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit.... both for comedic alternatives.

Grim would be hilarious, even if only for a one-time cameo. 
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on March 25, 2009, 04:47:59 am
New idea. Extension of #2 and #3: Make a "new" character to be the Reaper... though, in story, this would be the REAL reaper, and this Reaper had Jack help him out for this particular instance....? That would logically work, and TOTALLY play into this character's... um... character.
This sounds like a reasonable idea.

Switching to Steve could work too, and perhaps you could even use the same explanation of why Jack appeared that one time. Or, you could always do a retcon I suppose...

Merely "switching" to Steve presents problems as well. For one, it requires MORE explanation and exposition. However, making a "new" character will more quickly explain things, AND also quickly explain future appearances of other reapers from other comics. ;) :P :D

Grim would be hilarious, even if only for a one-time cameo. 

Actually.... my "new" reaper would probably be a bunny as well.... It just makes sense.... and it's so cliché now too.... I already have a name for him. :P
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: harkovast on January 09, 2010, 02:27:42 am
I think using characters from other comics is generally a bad idea.
It always makes the work they appear in seem like the lesser work, and where is the need?
Why not just invent an original character instead to fill the same role?
The long term implications of two works existing in the same universe just provide further headaches for continuity.
I just cant see why you would want to go down that road.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on January 09, 2010, 05:00:28 pm
I think using characters from other comics is generally a bad idea.
It always makes the work they appear in seem like the lesser work, and where is the need?

Maybe in general, yes, but there are a lot of comics that do it regularly. The trick is that if the comic is known for it, it's audience already generally accepts it. PSI has been doing it since close to the beginning, and was even apart of the original plan I had. These days I'm trying to integrate it more, WITHOUT world jumping in most cases. Or if world jumping is apart of it, avoid the 4th wall crap.

The point was to have fun (as PSI is a hobby comic), and connect with other cartoonists, etc. Also I LOVE crossovers and such, and world jumping. The webcomic will continue to have such cameos and crossover. When/If I print, things will be mostly different.

The main answer to these concerns are this: PSI was an experimental, hobby comic from the beginning, original meant to do cameos, parodies, and crossovers. Things have changed and improved all over, but I love the cameos and crossovers, and will continue to do them. However, I will continue to use PSI as a learning comic, and improve my storytelling skills to intertwine everything with the story that eventually developed from PSI.

PSI is my continuous project. It helps keep me sane as a creative outlet.


Why not just invent an original character instead to fill the same role?
to be honest... when I do the rewrite, some existing characters' roles will be extended to cover various cameoed characters' roles in the story. Some existing characters' roles will also be extended to help mold the story better, and streamlining certain things to avoid runarounds.

In some cases, such as the Reaper, I already have "invented" some characters to fill the same role. This will be explained in-comic soon.

In the rewrite, the crossover wars will likely be entirely written out. However, it's possible I'll still write SOME sort of dimensional mishap to bring in some characters... but it'd basically be all new.

The long term implications of two works existing in the same universe just provide further headaches for continuity.
I just cant see why you would want to go down that road.

The idea is that Webcomic PSI will continue as it has, while Print PSI will streamline PSI's 300+ pages into something smaller, simpler, and more to itself. Webcomic PSI should mostly continue as it has with cameos and crossovers, but the main story and plots would relatively be the same as the Print version when the Print version catches up. Basically they'll more or less share continuity, with little differences.

The other thing is that PSI is impossible to print as it is. On TOP of not having enough original material that is actually printable, without re-inking, scanning, and coloring the majority of strips... the Cameos and such are a legal nightmare... I'd also like to make PSI all "mine" too...

I could just up and start completely over. Stop the webcomic version, and just focus on a rewrite... but I can't bring myself to do that. All that time and effort and progression to just up and quit? Without finishing the storylines and plot points I've been waiting years to get to?

I also had another idea to make some stories that would work in EITHER the Webcomic or Print versions... Like I said, aside from the first 200 or so strips, the basic plot and story of PSI is basically going to be the same for both versions.. as long as I don;t reference past events that only exist in on or the other's version.

It all makes sense to me, anyway :P

I mean, if people are STILL reading my comic after what I have in the archives, that's good enough for me, as long as I keep improving my storytelling.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: Celtic Minstrel on January 10, 2010, 11:02:59 pm
I dunno if the cameos would really be a legal nightmare... at worst you'd need explicit permission from every cameo's creator to include the character in the print comic.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: harkovast on January 11, 2010, 04:44:09 pm
The other problem with crossovers is that they rely on the person reading being familair with who the crossover characters are.
For example- on the site "that guy with the glasses" they do lots of funny reviews of things. But sometimes they do crossovers with other reviewers. While this sounds great in theory, the main problem is that a lot of the time they cross over with someone I dont watch, so the joke is completely lost on me. Even if I go check who the guy is, thats basically just making me explain the joke so its not funny anymore.

Especially in niche area like webcomics, you cant gurarantee that everyone will have a knowledge of other comics that you include...or worse yet they might not like the other comic you are borrowing from (Jack is dumb....there, I said it!)

I just cant figure why it wouldn't be better to make a new character to fill that role, and make something unique people can care about rare then a pale reflection of an existing work.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on January 13, 2010, 07:24:04 pm
I dunno if the cameos would really be a legal nightmare... at worst you'd need explicit permission from every cameo's creator to include the character in the print comic.

For legal reasons, technically, you need expressed, written and signed permission... with stipulations of use and any sort of compensation sited, if any, etc.

In small scale, this is usually not an issue. Still, it's something that could get me in legal trouble, especially when I have a few cameoed characters that actually have roles.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on January 13, 2010, 07:53:39 pm
The other problem with crossovers is that they rely on the person reading being familair with who the crossover characters are.
For example- on the site "that guy with the glasses" they do lots of funny reviews of things. But sometimes they do crossovers with other reviewers. While this sounds great in theory, the main problem is that a lot of the time they cross over with someone I dont watch, so the joke is completely lost on me. Even if I go check who the guy is, thats basically just making me explain the joke so its not funny anymore.

You are thinking about it too much.

Sometimes, just KNOWING that it's a crossover is enough. Like in the case of those reviewer crossovers, You may think "Who's that guy?" But really, that's not important. What's important is what they are reviewing.

In other cases, like comics, you don't even have to know it's a crossover.... so some character you don't know comes in.... you don;t need to know everything about every character. could be as simple as a passer-by character... which is something, for the MOSt part, I try to do in PSI. Many of the characters that op up as cameos from other comics (especially recently), are like that.

When Toh (that ninja cat) comes in and steals the pendant, you really don't need to know who that is... just that they stole something, and the guys got to get it back. Sure, it may HELP if you know about the other comic, but I tried writting it in a way that things were just happening all around them.

Same with the ghosts in the graveyard. They were ghosts. there were some references to their respective comic storylines, but really were not that big of a deal to go into and explain.

When the Crossover Wars were starting during that battle in the graveyard... well, I cheated and broke the fourth wall, etc. However, from the crossover wars, even without knowing Scale's, Jenny's, or Gertrude and Brunhilda's comics, NOW in the comic, you are least know they are from other worlds. All that the reader needs to know/remember are the past experiences and interactions they had in the comic... not necessarily anything else they are doing, or have done... however, this may seem like a "cheat", but they are already explained enough WITHIN PSI's storyline, that I could bring them back with no trouble.

Most of this relies on my ability to storytell as well. A goal of mine is to keep making cameos and crossovers that meld into the story. If I don't go into who a character is, the audience doesn't need to know any more than what I present.... I just need to make sure I present that character enough when I introduce them.

AKA not bring in a character and assume the audience knows them, and in turn, utilize the character in a way that baffles the audience.

This last part is a flaw for many comic makers... A good example of this would be if I had Jenny Everywhere come in towards the beginning of the comic... Shift in, Grab Fes and Ernst for toast, and then just shift out, and going out it as though it was normal.

Granted, sometimes random comics can work like that... or a joke could be made at the expense of the characters or scene (which in turn gives the scene and/or cameoed character some basis for existing, etc).

I'd like to think, that for the MOST part, that I behave with the cameo characters and crossovers I do... meaning, that I *really* don't think that any of them "require" the reader to know who they are. They are merely there, and do stuff, as though I made up a new character anyway (except all the background work has already been done for me :P )

Of course, feel free to pick something specifically and I can try to explain myself or admit fault ;) :P

Especially in niche area like webcomics, you cant gurarantee that everyone will have a knowledge of other comics that you include...or worse yet they might not like the other comic you are borrowing from (Jack is dumb....there, I said it!)

I just cant figure why it wouldn't be better to make a new character to fill that role, and make something unique people can care about rare then a pale reflection of an existing work.

Remember that PSI was originally designed, specifically, to have cameos and crossovers. And was really just going to be my little hobby comic.... and it still is. However, these days, I'm trying to improve myself more, and write the stories better intertwining with the comic...

... however... and this might be a slight spoiler... a coming arc will kinda put it to the challenge. However, with what happens, it all relates to the story of PSI in some way.

PSI is already well established as a cameo and crossover type of comic... so future cameos and crossovers can be excused for the most part.

If I have the characters go to another webcomic, I will design it so that they are actually dimensionally traveling, so that things stay correctly defined in each world. Will the reader need to know what world it is? No. What about the characters they meet? Not really. They will be introduced like any new, unknown character. (unless I'm making non-cannon side strips for quick jokes).

You mentioned Jack... well, when I had to pick a reaper, I *did* want to use Jack, because I think it's cool :P And it goes in line with some of the stuff I was trying to do back then, for world defining.

HOWEVER, when you see Jack in PSI... the audience doesn't need to know who specifically he is... just that he's the reaper... and it works. You go on to ask "why not just make your own character?" ... well... I WANTED a cameo of Jack in it :P Also, the PSI world was mostly not really designed back then anyway... I wasn't really planning a whole lot. And I especially wasn't planning a "profession" type of comic. I wasn't trying to make something marketable. I was just having fun, and doing what I wanted. Which is a viable reason, and will fight to defend it (for myself and others), regardless of how stupid others may find it (ah, good 'ol freedom of speech and exprerssion).

Now, when I am thinking about redefining... or DEFINING rather... the world of PSI: If there's a rewrite (like for print), cameos and crossovers are ousted. Some existing characters (and some new characters) will fill in cameoed roles.

But yeah, you bring up good points. And if written properly, the reader doesn't need to be lost, when there's a cameo or crossover.

But sometimes, people don't care and are doing comics for themselves, others that also read those other comics, other cameo and crossover lovers, etc....

OH, and feel free to bring up examples if you will. Especially with new ones that come ;) :P

Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: Celtic Minstrel on January 14, 2010, 04:32:22 am
I agree that, in general, it's not necessary to know the identity of a cameo — if you don't know who they are, then they simply seem like one of the "extras", ie characters who appear once (often in the background, or in a crowd) and are never seen again. Even without cameos, such characters exist.
Title: Re: Designing the P.S.I. World (Part 1: The World)
Post by: fesworks on January 14, 2010, 07:16:03 pm
I agree that, in general, it's not necessary to know the identity of a cameo — if you don't know who they are, then they simply seem like one of the "extras", ie characters who appear once (often in the background, or in a crowd) and are never seen again. Even without cameos, such characters exist.

Why can't one do the same for a character that has some sort of role?

Dahla and Rachel don't really have much to do (thus far) in the comic, and they could have easily been cameos. Same for Becky too. Granted their roles have been less involved than other cameos.

I guess the most recent Role'd Cameo would be Suzy, Toh, and Toshubi (since Brunhilda and Gertrude had already been pre-established, i don't count them). Certainly it's complex, but... wait, actually, that was a crossover... Still, for PSI, the reader is really supposed to know just as much as the main trio know... I *try* to avoid making assumptions that the reader may also know of the characters moreso. I mean, these two characters, it's apparent that they are rivals. During the crossover, you do get a sense of their characters. Does it overall add to the story of PSI?

Not entirely. But their storylines interwined enough that they became directly involved with the chaos going around (Zombies at the mall), and how Fes and Ernst had to deal with things. It also resulted in a couple of PSI story defining moments, such as a good portion of the Nemi/Bodil thing. It's where my muse was stronger than my desire to stick to the plan. The fields of character development and plot were too ripe to not harvest.

Could I have had that whole mess without the crossover/cameos? Well, Gertrude and Brunhilda HAD to be in it. Toh and Toshubi didn't have to, and I could have made other characters to cause a conflict... but hey, my comic is specifically designed to do cameos and crossovers :P

I hope I don't sound like I'm "trying to convince myself", but honestly, it's me sticking to what created PSI originally for, and PSI is my comic to have just fun with, experiment, while improving overall. Hopefully taking what I learn for other independent comic projects.

I do accept all criticism, though, as long as it's obviously not trolling for hits and just to be a dick for entertainment value.