On the Status of "Stone Punks"
Updated: Mar 28
As hard as it is for me to believe, with the coming of the Year of our Lord 2023, it will have been 10 years ago that I started a little comic called Stone Punks. After the conclusion of the first episode in 2014, I've not done a whole lot with it since, save for a feeble attempt to reboot and revamp the series in 2018... and there's a reason for that. Stick around if you're curious to know why that is.
A Contextual Retrospective
The Beginnings of an Adventure
In 2012, I was raring to embark on some creative endeavor. Having graduated high school three years prior, I felt it was high time I get my career as a cartoon artist up and running. Naturally, I gravitated to the medium of comics, as that was the one I was most familiar with at the time, and it seemed like the most likely thing I could feasibly pull off.
I batted around a bunch of different ideas to see what kind of story I wanted to commit to for a while. I thought about my older idea, Sir Dufius and the Knights of the Unnecessarily Trapezoid Table, a comic I came up with in 2007 or so about an idiot knight in a wacky take on Arthurian era Britannia. I played with that idea, but enthusiasm for that fell flat after a while. It felt like rehashing something old, and I was wanting to embark on something entirely new to me.
One day, doodling in a community college class (don't even remember which one), I came up with these three neolithic adventurers - a big muscly buffoon, a hooded roguish figure, and a short guy (these becoming the characters of Gullock, Sailyph, and Carl respectively). I liked the idea of a neolithic adventure story, so I developed these characters a bit more, and dreamed up strange scenarios they could encounter, and what kinds of stories could be told from those. Soon, I learned of the "stonepunk" genre (an obscure spin-off of "cyberpunk" or "steampunk", instead taking place in the stone age), and thought "Stone Punks" would make for a good title, and it stuck.
Shortly thereafter, I came up with another character the three guys would encounter - a wandering huntress named Muna. She started off as almost a kind of rival character, someone the Stone Punks would only occasionally encounter, but wasn't originally part of the group. This character started developing into something quite interesting, so I eventually decided to have her be the fourth member of the Stone Punks group. This is why the first episode is all about her joining their group, it's an esoteric reference to how the character came to be.
After building in my head these characters and the world in which they lived for many months, I thought I might just have a good enough creative engine for a series of stories from which to generate.
And thus, "Stone Punks, Episode 1: Meet the Huntress" was born.
A Good Start that Petered Out
It took many, many more months than it properly should have, but in the end, I did manage to complete Episode 1. I even sent it off to a comics publisher and pitched it to them as a potential series, and they responded! Due to confidentiality stuff, I can't be specific or anything, but I think you can probably guess what their decision was ultimately. However, they did complement me on my work and encourage me to self-publish, which was pretty cool coming from professional comics editors!
So I found a print-on-demand comics service in Ka-Blam Digital Printing, who did a great job at printing my comic. It's hard to forget the first time seeing one of your own creations, something you've poured heaps of effort and energy into manifested on the corporeal plane, physically holding it in your hands. There are few thrills quite like it, and I hope to relive that thrill, and
s o o n...
However, that thrill soon faded when I failed to get anyone interested in buying it. In hindsight, I blame putting the whole thing up on the internet for free, but oh well, live and learn.
Sometime in 2014, Episode 2 was well under way, with a complete script and about half of the pages thumbnailed, but after a while the interest just waned considerably. It was hard to keep up the process after failing to garner any sales from my comic. Also, that was at the height of my deviantART """popularity""" with my foray into the Brony fandom, doing up fan art for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic... yep, I was into that at one point. Don't regret it or anything, it was kinda cool for what it was at the time, especially seeing the interplay between the audience and the creators of the show, the likes of which I've not seen before or since, but I digress. My point being, what audience I had garnered at that time was almost exclusively looking for Pony content, and obviously had no interest in my other work. Such are the dangers of riding out a fad for attention...
-- PRO TIP for Up-and-Coming Content Creators - Avoid making "crowd-pleasing" stuff that is entirely disassociated with the content you want to make, otherwise you run the risk of having people think your crowd-pleasing stuff is your primary shtick and it funnels most all the audience's attention to that stuff rather than the real work you're actually proud of. Do the thing you want to be known for and do it well, and keep at it, keep improving, and you will find an audience for it in time. --
Point is, no one (other than maybe three or four folks), were at all interested in this comic, and the results didn't seem worth the immense effort it would take to continue it, so I quietly dropped it for the time being.
The World of Stone Punks Keeps Evolving
While I quit actively working on Stone Punks, I had the characters and the world fixated in my mind, and it was constantly evolving and changing. During this time, I was getting into alternative history, delving into the fascinating works of the likes of Graham Hancock, Zachariah Sitchin, Jim Marrs, and Lloyd Pie. The whole idea of the Ancient Astronaut Theory of human origins I found highly intriguing, and not nearly as far-fetched as I once thought... yes, I'm being serious. Just because that tall-haired fellow from the History Channel show is weird-looking and makes some silly claims here and there does not mean the entirety of the theory is silly.... but anyway, that's a whole other can of worms I don't feel like opening at the moment.
So, this fascination with the potential extraterrestrial component of our origins began to shape the world of Stone Punks, and the story became something entirely different from what I originally had envisioned. What started off as a goofy romp across a cartoony neolithic world started becoming something of an allegory for this ancient astronaut take on human origins. The overall tone had changed drastically, and thus the way to tell the story had to change along with it. No longer would a goofy cartoon style work, I had to tweak the visuals a bit, make them more illustrative... still expressive like a cartoon, but more realistic, down to earth.
A Reboot that Got the Boot
Over the years, Stone Punks started becoming more and more different from what I had originally envisioned, and started becoming something truly, dare I say, epic. What started off as merely a fun cartoon became a dramatic action/adventure story with many highs and lows, the full range of human emotion engaged throughout... not without some bits of levity, of course.
In early 2018, I began to work on what I called a "reboot" of the series, starting again from the beginning with a new perspective and better draftsmanship and artistry with which to render the story. Unfortunately, this was started during a pretty low point in my life, so any zeal I may have had for the project couldn't be easily maintained, and thus the project was ultimately dropped... for now.
Here's as far as I got. For the first time ever (I'm pretty sure) I will show you what could have been. Behold:
I'd say it was an improvement all around; better art, better storytelling, better characterization, better paneling, everything. Had I started it during a better time in my life, it might've taken off.
-- Allow me real quick to address the elephant in the room; namely Muna's race change. Originally, she was a blonde white girl, and here she's more, um, ambiguously brown, shall we say. This isn't an attempt at """"diversity"""" as the woke-ing dead might claim (which wouldn't even make any sense in a time long before globalization anyway). This is merely an artifact of retooling the world and story and such. As the story and world evolved, it started making less and less sense for Muna to be some Nordic blonde, but did make sense for her to be brown... I'm deliberately keeping her actual ethnicity a secret because it's a spoiler. Where she's from is important to the story, and I don't want to give it away. --
Here we are, nearing up on the far-flung future year of 2023, with nary a Stone Punk thing in sight. Besides a nifty little looping animation I did back in 2019 or something (specifically for the website and not to herald some new Stone Punks project), I've been utterly mum on all things Stone Punks. Why is that?
It... Just... Keeps... On... G R O W I N G...!
Remember earlier I mentioned that over time the story and world kept expanding based on what all I learned about alternate takes on ancient history and such?
Well, that expansion has yet to cease.
In fact, now, Stone Punks (I'm talking the entirety of this 20+ episode series of comics) is now just one episode in a much grander super-story that now spans the entirety of human history, from ancient past all the way up to modern times!
As it stands at the moment, Stone Punks is the first "episode" in this super-story, one of (at least) three. The second one would be (for lack of a better name) "Steam Punks", obviously taking place in Victorian times (late 1800's into the turn of the century), and the third being a schizoid narrative called both "Atom Punks" and "Cyber Punks", taking place in relatively modern times involving a split timeline. As you may have noticed, all of these are temporarily named for their -Punk genre, which seemed like a great way to explore alternative takes on history, past and present, and maybe even future.
For example, Steam Punks would have something to do with this burgeoning new alternative research into what they're calling the "mud-flood" and the forgotten nation of Tartaria... it's far too deep a rabbit hole to take you down at the moment, so here's a website where these researchers converge. I still don't know what to make of it myself, honestly, but it sure is fascinating, and would make for a fascinating story.
Atom/Cyber Punks would involve more modern mysteries and conspiracy stuff, such as governmental and corporate coverups of extraterrestrial influence, reptilian shapeshifters, time travel, that kind of thing... I think. These stories are so new, I don't even know what they will all involve in the end. They're really more like narrative vacuums into which actual stories can be inserted rather than stories themselves.
There's even space for smaller stories, like perhaps a Sandal Punks that takes place in Ancient Greece or in that time period, Clock Punks that takes place during the Italian Renaissance Era at the height of Da Vinci technology, or even a Diesel Punks that takes place during World War II and the ushering in of a new globalized world order.
If I had to put this whole thing into a nutshell, it would seem that Stone Punks has expanded from one long story in the distant past to the first of several other potential stories that span across all of human history.
And what's really nuts about all of this is that some of my other stories could fit into this timeline/world/universe as well! Sir Dufius could take place during the English Renaissance, Shadows of Wiccumshire could take place a century thereafter! It's like Stone Punks' narrative expansion has opened up the possibility of a shared universe across almost all of my other stories! Definitely an exciting prospect, that's for sure.
Why Stone Punks is in Limbo at the Moment
So, to wrap this all up and answer the inciting question brought up at the very beginning of this post, the reason why Stone Punks has not had any active work done on it since that attempt to reboot it is simply because it's expanding so rapidly I don't know what to do with it at the moment!
There's so much up in the air with this project - What's the overarching story going to be called? Should I drop the whole "-Punks" naming convention and come up with something a little more original? Should these stories be shortened to better fit a more palatable size, or do I go full One Piece and spend 20+ years creating this one singular super-story? I.. I just don't know! And that's exciting!!
And don't worry, it's absolutely NOT on the table as far as considering making currently, oh hell no, not even close. I'm still planing on getting the Kiki Banana print comic up much before then, as well as a slew of other smaller projects as well.
The reason for this blog post is twofold; one, to act as a retrospective for what is still the longest, most complete creative work I've yet produced even ten years later, and two, to explain to whomever might be wondering what the status is on Stone Punks. This is your answer.
So there ya go, that's why Stone Punks is in the weird limbo state that it's in currently. Figured the 10th anniversary (or there abouts) would be a good time to explain that. Jeez, I still can't believe it's been that long since I started the comic that is still, to this very day, the longest work I've yet produced.
That'll change though, and s o o n...
Anyway, thanks for reading! Until next time, peace be and take Care!