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Character Types
- 23rd Feb 2014 -
1: D'Olby, Neeta, and Octobriana as shown in Return to Second Life;  2: a version of Jenny Everywhere similar to that shown in Return to Second Life; 3: a drawing of Octobriana for the cover of Hypergraphia #3; 4: the cover of Octobriana and the Russian Underground; 5: illustration of Octobriana; 6: the original version of Neeta by Michael Lee Lunsford; 7: Jenny Everywhere as shown in the Wikipedia page by Diana Nock; 8: Thomas Dolby circa 21st Century; and 9: Thomas Dolby circa 20th Century.

Sometimes inspiration for characters comes from different places. Elsie, Laurel and Marble are all avatars I've used regularly in Second Life, and it seemed only natural to use them for a Seconds Story. Characters like Boss Grey, Curtis and others come from a variety of ideas and sources, and their appearance relies on the ideas I have and available body parts, clothing and accessories. Other characters, like Neeta, Jenny Everywhere, Octobriana and D'Olby come via other ways.

Neeta and Jenny Everywhere are "open source characters". This means that in general "a creator or group of creators create a character for express use in comic books or other media without concern of payment or other compensation" (comic vine). In addition to being open source, Jenny Everywhere is also public domain, where "those intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable".While it might seem a "cheap way" of adding a character to a story it's no good if doing so puts the character out of place or adds nothing to that story.

I decided to adapt and use Neeta because I was intrigued with the character and she filled a niche in the upcoming stories in Seconds. She's an engineer and scavenger and that fits well in a a team working from a warehouse in a space between alterverses. It was also fun to develop her look in a practical way for the Second Life version. Jenny on the other hand fits less well, but she has a particular niche as a character who "both exist[s] in every reality and being able to shift between realities" she seemed a logical inclusion in a series of stories that focus on travel, trade and conflict between several digital realities. Jenny is described as "short, dark hair. She usually wears aviation goggles on top of her head and a scarf around her neck. Otherwise, she dresses in comfortable clothes. She is average size and has a good body image. She has loads of confidence and charisma. She appears to be Asian or Native American. She has a ready smile". The only real requirement in using Jenny though, is reprinting this paragraph on each page she appears:

"The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, that others might use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."

The Jenny seen so far in Seconds is still very young and inexperienced. For more information on Jenny Everywhere see The Shifter Archive. I rather like Jenny Everywhere's Infinite: Quark Time, which is another webcomic made in Second Life.

Octobriana first appeared in Western Culture with the publication of the book Octobriana and the Russian Underground by Petr Sadecký in the early 70s. Sadecky described her as being an "east block Barbarella", created by members of the Progressive Pornography Party - an underground resistence group, and presented many examples of her stories. Much later it transpired that this was a hoax, and that Sadecky had Czeck artists Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian draw stories about "Amazonia". Apparently Sadecky stole all the artwork, escaped to the West and altered a few details, and presented that as "Octobiana". However, Octobriana was never copyrighted and more or less became public domain by default. She has been used in a number of works (most notably The Adventures of Luther Arkwright) and appears in at least one film: Octobriana and the Finger of Lenin. I first came across Octobriana in the 80s when reading the Luther Arkwright series and later the book mentioned above. I've used her myself, on the cover of  Hypergraphia #3, and later in Hypergraphia #4 and #5. I like the character - she represents a certain fighting attitude and spirit of independence - and have wanted to use her in my comics more for a long time.

Tee D'Olby is openly based on a media version of  Thomas Dolby, but is not meant to portay the real person at all. Thomas Dolby is a musician I've long liked since the 80s. His career has included several hit singles and albums, he's created scores for films and video games and been a director of TED Conferences in 2001. More information can be gleamed from his official website. Tee D'Olby's appearance is based on a "steam punk" look similar to that on the cover of the CD A Map Of The Floating City (and this video clip). It made sense for a character who was a musician and flew via technology/music to look that way. Likewise the Buggle brothers are based on Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles. But the physical resemblance and name is is the only connection. The rationale is that these are alternate universe versions of people, but apart from one or two ways there's no real connection with them.

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