Jess and Jo are of an age just barely able to remember the times that spawned these sort of pop culture references. Since the story kind of works on a sliding time scale they’ll keep getting younger in relation to the shirts they are talking about on this page. Some people can’t understand it, but time is deliberately vague in the comic, and in many works, so that it maintains a timeless quality. Certain elements have taken place over such a long period of time that the wiggle room is vast from a storytelling standpoint. Buying CDs, for example, can be very difficult now. They still exist, but the selection at most places is incredibly limited. Bookstores that failed to adapt, or expand their scope are just gone now. Video rental is practically dead in the form most of us grew up with. In fact, I realized that was the case when I started making this comic 5 years ago. The store that Megatainment is mostly based on was 50% video rentals, but it was obvious that those kinds of stores had numbered days. Around here ALL the rental stores are gone. The entire area is served by 2 red box machines. Let me say that again… TWO RED BOX MACHINES. That may not horrify some of you, but a rental store could easily employ as many as 20 people. That varied by location of course, but the reduction in jobs is staggering. I assume that one person operates those two kiosks. That’s negative 1 job. (depending on how you do the math. XD) It’s certainly no spoiler to say that Between Failures will tell the story of the end, or at least the evolution, of Megatainment. It has to, and I knew that when I started. That’s one of the many layers of meaning the title has.
Anyway, I’ve talked about the time thing before, but new eyes always get me thinking about it. The first two stories are abnormal in that they take place over the span of a very specific period of time. Two days of in comic time. The characters are specific about it. In the first story it’s because that entire tale is basically a an adapted movie script. Acted it times out at around an hour and 45, give or take. It could be made into a film with very little change. (Although I would certainly want to shuffle some things around after 5 years of thinking about it.) The second story could too, but it’s more a function of having the idea and not dapting my storytelling style to suit the medium. I also had to stall. I got to a point where I couldn’t draw the stories I needed to tell for things to advance. I had to keep things going long enough to be able to slowly replace my failing equipment. It’s writing for the archive. I knew that readers coming in to the story would be able to enjoy it in a way that the people who watched it being made day by day couldn’t, and it worked. The return rate for QC refugees proves that. Each story after day 2 happens an unspecified time after, and time passes between parts that isn’t ever set in stone. That drives some people insane. Some people need the world to be black and white, and I understand that. I have those sorts of tendancies myself, but over the years details like that have become much less important to me. The journey is the important thing. Which is not to say that telling a story in a very detailed way is bad. It just doesn’t work as well for every story.
One thing I have noticed is that in Gravity Falls the order of episodes in important. That’s kind of rare for kids shows. Mostly I think it surprises me because the art syle is so cartoony but the stories are more young adult. You are expected to know, and remember, who Gideon is, when they fought the gnomes, and so on, because the story is building on each thing. As near as I can tell each episode happens concurrently. Unless the day changes, IN EPISODE, they appear to happen one after another in many cases. It kind of has to because the series takes place in one summer. so however many days that is is all they have. That said, I bet their count won’t be perfect.
In contrast, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does not require you to watch the episodes in order. Pretty much as long as you see the establishing episodes first you can watch them in whatever order suits you. I came in to the show at a point when they replayed the pilot and then the DVR recorded whatever episode was being rerun. Didn’t matter a bit. Although the stories do flow better in the intended order. Ther problem, however, is that most character development is erased by the next show. No matter how much confidence Fluttershy gains in an episode she will be exactly as shy as her base stats in the next one. That holds true, for the most part, with every character, and is a function of that type of stoytelling. The cast needs to maintain their architypal roles. If they grow too much the mechanics of the narrative will break down, or change to a point that will require cohesive plot to fix. Everything must reset to default by the end.
I could go on about this stuff for quite some time, but I better not. Rather I’ll end with the story of a dream I had this morning. It was pretty brutal, but not in a way you’d expect.
The dream was essentially my life, but I met a girl. She was tall. Taller than me, in fact, with dark brown hair, and dark eyes. She was also willowy. Not my preffered type as it were, but we fell for each other over time. Time that I lived in this dream world. It all seemed very cohesive at the time, but I’m sure my brain had to be glossing over the work bits, because the courtship was very clear. I won’t reveal all the details, we eventually married and were expecting our first child when I woke up. Utterly devastated. It took me the better part of the day to shake it off, but even now it seems more like a memory than a dream. All things considered, I think I prefer the obvious manufactured feeling of a nightmare.