The Secret Origins of the "Cross Time Cafe:"
It started with a hug...
nce upon a time, in the the "FreeFall" forum, a forumite called Mlle.
Miaou asked people to post Hug pictures to
celebrate love and affection. Pictures were posted of loving couples: Mlle. Miaou and Dark Ferret, White Pony
and Florence Ambrose. (Note: some images in the thread are no longer available.) However, the
course of true love never runs smoothly, especially in the "FreeFall" forum. Mark Stanley was challenged by
Hortmage, the Magic Gardener (another "Freefall" forumite) to draw a hug picture of Sam Starfall, a squidlike alien.
The forum members decided that Hortmage was asking for a face-hug from Sam, an idea firmly rejected by Hortmage.
The thread went on to love poems, and the face hug was forgotten. Or that's what everyone thought...
...And it became a joke...
The "Cross Time Cafe" was originally a six-part series, planned by Mark Stanley, Scott
Kellogg and White Pony; and posted in the "FreeFall" forum. The goal was to bring Sam and Hortmage together for
the long-promised face hug. So the "Cross Time Cafe" was created, a place where webcomic characters and forum
avatars could get together and socialize, without affecting the storylines of their own strips. Hortmage did
receive his face hug, and his daughter was there to tell her mom-- which is another story.
...Then it got weird...
Of course, having given Florence and White Pony a place to play, the ideas and the strips didn't stop there.
White Pony started hosting the strips on his own web site, "White Pony
Productions." Scott Kellogg added
some drawings of his own. The three artists had created a sandbox where they could be silly without affecting
their real stories, and took full advantage of it. The forumites dove in and started posting filks of their
own. Bill Redfern joined the party, adding Mzzkiti from "Freighter Tales" to the cast.
...Then it got weirder...
The "Cross Time Cafe" moved into the Construction Period. Robots from FreeFall came in to begin remodeling the
site, with their own attitudes, tools and rotten puns. With occasional breaks for holidays, painting and
inspections were completed. A side jaunt into the world of "21st
Century Fox" and "Carry On" began, as Kathy
Garrison joined the artist pool, and Kathy Grrson joined the cast. Side jaunts for conventions and hurricanes
diverted the artists from the storyline for a time, then the focus returned to the CTC as the cast members began to
work together (more or less) to open the "Cross Time Cafe" for business. Of course, nothing is
straightforward where Mzzkiti is involved.
...Then it got even weirder...
The "Cross Time Cafe" has continued on its unpredictable way, adding more artists: Roy Calbeck, The Feychild of
"Stick Figure Dragons" and Maniac Wolfman of
"Hellbound." A new main character, KY was introduced. Forumites
becoming employees, exploring caverns, falling in lakes, surgery, more cameos and the magic of unicorn boogers.
Story arcs intertwine, blossom and disappear, as the artists pursue the goal of maximum fun.
The Philosophy of the Cross Time Cafe:
The Cross Time Cafe artists' collective was described by Kathy Garrison as:
The reality of the CTC is that several artists who started out as colleagues and ended up as friends began
contributing cartoons which built on a single idea--what if there was a place at the nexus of everyone's comic
worlds where their characters could interact without messing up the established plots of their own strips.
Additionally, the artists of the CTC have tacit permission to draw and use each other's characters, so long as
they don't do anything very outrageous to them/with them. So far it's been pretty productive and fun, mainly
because we're nice people who respect each other's talents and creativity,
For the CTC fans, it has been described as:
It's kind of like watching a bunch of artists standing around a big drawing board giggling, and one of them grabs
a pen and says, "Wait, wait, I got one, this is great, hold my beer and watch this!"
The show goes on. Pull up a barstool, order a cafe mocha, and watch the show.
2/15/07 Sleepy John