Comic 1 - Questions and Answers

9th Oct 2012, 12:00 AM
Questions and Answers
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 12:00 AM edit delete
James (Magravan)
Well, this is it. You ask a question, you get an answer. Some answers will be "I don't know." or "I never came up with an answer to that." or "I'm not sure."

Some answers may be contradictory, at least one will likely use 'movie science' and things of that nature.

If you don't want to know, don't read. If you do read and you don't like what you see, you were warned. ;)

Hopefully this provides the closure you were looking for. Sadly, I suspect a number will be disappointed that it is what it is, and what they hoped it was / could be. I don't think this can be helped.

If you are asking a new question, don't use Reply. Reply will eventually render things unreadable if you nest too far in.

And with that... Ask away.

(Graphic Credits to T.Gatto)
Post a Comment


MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 5:00 AM edit delete reply
Robert's 'brain'. Why is it green stuff? Why did RZ level up when it was destroyed?

What is the green stuff? Why can only humans see it (or maybe just Thomas and his clones)

What is in TOGM?

What dictates which zombies have their heads in the VR thing?
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
also reply buttons what
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
This is my backup, test site... Which has reply buttons :) It breaks eventually, which is why it isn't on the main site.
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
What is the green stuff? Why can only humans see it (or maybe just Thomas and his clones)

Switching the order up, since it makes sense to answer the second question first.

The Green Stuff is the result of Robert's initial experiment. It was intended to allow a minor implant to provide access to VAST stores of information. Almost like the Jungian concept of the shared unconscious, everyone with the implant would be capable of tapping into it in order to improve their lives.

However, it was unfinished, and accidentally 'released into the wild' before Robert had properly set up safeguards, done proper testing and things of that nature.

The result is a hive mind with an awareness. 'Control' is how Robert (and others) access this in a more direct way.

The Green Stuff exerts a sense of control. It's main objective is to create more of itself, so the desire to eat brains is one of these things. It doesn't understand how it derives energy from eating brains, and why it isn't propagated by eating TOGM. This is Robert's greatest contribution to the society. He created the means to trick the overmind, and give them some relief from the main command.

Another part of this control is that the overmind does not allow them to perceive it or anything related to it. This is why the green stuff escaped from the microscope, and went inside. It had a sense of self preservation.

Robert's 'brain'. Why is it green stuff? Why did RZ level up when it was destroyed?

When a person is Enlightened, the first thing that happens is that it travels to the brain, regardless of point of entry. I don't think I ever got to show this, but it only took one transfer of the green stuff to begin, and once it reaches the cranium, it repairs any damage and then 'sets up shop', creating the equivilent of a brain out of Green Stuff.

The first zombie, Robert, has a single 'brain' in his head, but 100% of his computing power is his own. The fours have a single brain in their heads as well, but a portion of their processing power is diverted for Robert's needs. So it's like cloud computing, where a portion of many processors doing small bits of work achieve great results.

RZ levelled up because he was so close to being a 3 already, and Robert is no longer diverting any of his processing power.

What is in TOGM?

TOGM is just enough brain matter to trick the Overmind into thinking that it is getting what it wants, which gives them a temporary relief from the overriding command to get more brains.

What dictates which zombies have their heads in the VR thing?

I'm not sure what this question means, so I'll answer it as I believe you wrote it...

Every head that Robert decapitated was put into the VR thing. His objective was to keep them safe from harm (preventing himself from losing processing power), until he solved the means to manufacture Enlightenment.
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
ooh, that's neat as

I wish that could have been answered/touched on in the story, because that's really cool :D
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 5:10 AM edit delete reply
welllll I guess I could ask some more

Where exactly is this set?
Wherever it is set, how far does Robert's authority extend? How did the enlightening actually spread? What was the original cause for that matter? What is actually in the manufactured limbs? What is the consistency of TOGM? Does it need to be refrigerated? Did the whole enlightenment affect any other animals? What was Robert before? What was Sylene before? One time, you promised that we'd find out what Sylene was like before the whole zombie thing, and I am going to hold you to that >:U

How did Thomas actually end up in that desert place? Why didn't Beth's arm leak green stuff when she cut it open, but Robert leaked green stuff when his head exploded and the one leaked green stuff when he was incapacitated?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Where exactly is this set?

Somewhere in North America. I didn't want to set it any place specific because the world isn't what it once was.

Wherever it is set, how far does Robert's authority extend?

Technically, the entire globe. Obviously the closer to his presence, the more he can exert it.

How did the enlightening actually spread?

It started out in a single building. Robert's experiment was released prematurely, and infected him. He killed enough people to become aware, and then it gradually spread. When the zombies were killed, their 'blood' was basically aware and capable of infecting new people. By the time a serious response was ready, there was already a significant number of intelligent zombies banding together.

What was the original cause for that matter?

I've already explained this :)

What is actually in the manufactured limbs?

It's basically a housing for the green stuff to circulate. The implanted chips allow a direct control of the limbs that goes beyond the ability of the Overmind to accomplish on its own.

What is the consistency of TOGM?

Human brains.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

RZ ate blackened brains... No. I'm sure some people might prefer it.

Did the whole enlightenment affect any other animals?

It transmitted and killed them. I didn't want to have talking animals, so enlightenment didn't 'work' on them.

What was Robert before?

Inventor / Medical Researcher

What was Sylene before? One time, you promised that we'd find out what Sylene was like before the whole zombie thing, and I am going to hold you to that >:U

Was it Sylene I said that about? I thought it might have been Katie or Beth... Sylene was a bit of a flakey girl. She obviously had a lot of issues about Beth being sick and blaming her for Chad's behaviour, but I think most of that was just giving an explanation for the anger that she felt, as opposed to being the source of said anger.

How did Thomas actually end up in that desert place?

He escaped in the confusion, but didn't receive the 'escape treatment' that John did.

Why didn't Beth's arm leak green stuff when she cut it open, but Robert leaked green stuff when his head exploded and the one leaked green stuff when he was incapacitated?

It was more a case of trying to show different views. In the case where it was more a John centric scene, then the green stuff showed up. When it was more of a Beth/Other zombie perspective, then it didn't. I'm guessing we did this imperfectly at some point, but that was the intention.
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 5:15 AM edit delete reply
(look what you've done now)

We know Robert is highly intelligent, but does he just 'know' things or does he use his intelligence to find these things out? Did every person affected by the enlightenment become a zombie, or was it incidental? What was the method of infection? How long can a zombie go without TOGM before they... do whatever they do without it (go mad or whatever), and is it affected by what type of zombie they are (one or two or three or whatever), and if so, how long can Robert go without it? How far off was Robert from being a six? Can you even be a six? Assuming no limits to the amount of brains available, how high could you go? When a zombie eats a brain, does that affect the level of people they've enlightened? How long do manufactured limbs last? Do fours require excessive training to assist at clinics? Do fours have different specialities, or are all fours equals? If they do, then does that depend on what attachments they have? How exactly do zombies control themselves, without a centralised nervous system, or is that what the green stuff is? How brittle are manufactured limbs? Do any zombies have manufactured parts that are not human-like?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
We know Robert is highly intelligent, but does he just 'know' things or does he use his intelligence to find these things out?

A combination of the two. He knows a variety of things, but as he mentioned, he's also running thousands of scenarios at the same time.

Did every person affected by the enlightenment become a zombie, or was it incidental?

Yes, they all became zombies. Some a liiiiittle different than others. But I'm not telling unless someone asks the right question ;)

What was the method of infection?

Any transfer of the Green Stuff.

How long can a zombie go without TOGM before they... do whatever they do without it (go mad or whatever), and is it affected by what type of zombie they are (one or two or three or whatever), and if so, how long can Robert go without it?

It is absolutely affected by which level they are. A major aspect of the next 75 pages was going to be about them gradually losing themselves without TOGM, and becoming the equivilent of Ones with an unrelenting hunger. Robert can go the longest, likely in the vicinity of months to a year-ish.

Ones would be more aggressive, but otherwise unchanged. Twos would go probably within a few days to a week, threes might make it a few weeks to a month.. Fours would be a few months, maybe.

How far off was Robert from being a six?

Robert had been a six briefly, which was what changed him from somewhat benevolent overseer into paranoid, over the top dictator. Thomas noticing this change is what switched him from house pet to rebellion forger. He was somewhere between 5 and 50 away from being a Six.

Can you even be a six?


Assuming no limits to the amount of brains available, how high could you go?

Becoming a Six allowed him to basically tap into the Overmind in order to get a prescient awareness. He had the ability to take a more direct control, he could predict things like the weather and things of that nature by just being more aware and more capable of processing the stimuli received from both his own body and from any other zombie in the world. How high could he go? Infinitely, I suppose, but it would be a case of building a bigger and better super computer. Eventually, it's going to be more powerful than anything you could want to do with it.

When a zombie eats a brain, does that affect the level of people they've enlightened?

No. It just adds another brain that is diverting some of their processing to the zombie.

How long do manufactured limbs last?

Until they break down.

Do fours require excessive training to assist at clinics?

Not a huge amount. They basically come equipped with the knowledge, they just have to have the predilection towards it.

Do fours have different specialities, or are all fours equals? If they do, then does that depend on what attachments they have?

They have different personalities, which factor into it. It's a mental thing. They are genius level intelligences, but that doesn't mean that they are all going to be happy working in a Clinic. Beth was a patient in a clinic, so it makes sense that she has a desire to help people, given how much help she received.

How exactly do zombies control themselves, without a centralised nervous system, or is that what the green stuff is?

The Green Stuff is basically a very, very refined hydralic control system.

How brittle are manufactured limbs?

They are pretty solid, actually.

Do any zombies have manufactured parts that are not human-like?

They could, but it's not a standard thing. You'd have to have someone who devoted their personal time / resources.
neon5162 9th Oct 2012, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
what about the rest of the world as far as we can tell robert only controlled a decent sized city with the outskirts of that being wasteland are there other pockets of civilization human or otherwise and was robert the only one to make it to 5th level hmm well if he started the zombie thing and he was patient zero and according to that whole pyramid scheme thing where the lesser zombies boost the creator zombie's intellect he wouldnt be the only 5th level then due to the first few he turned also having a huge amount of intellect flowing into them unless the zombie plague didnt cover the whole world and only covered a good amount of a state or a few of them with a barrier having been made around them that would explain why he is the only 5th unless it was something he did to himself at the start of the experiment and eeing as 6th level is a state of allknowing and then having had robert killed all the inttellect spread out amongst those who he created there by leveling them up which would explain RZ leveling up
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Honestly, that was less question than trying to guess... Please keep questions short :)

Anyway, Robert was the only one to become a 5. He controls the whole world in theory, and the area around him in truth. There are pockets spread all over the world. Something we never really got to before switching course to develop an ending.
neon5162 9th Oct 2012, 5:40 AM edit delete reply
eeing a how togm probily didnt have the electro pulses that a human brain would of had which would explain the fact that togm didnt incress the level of those zombies who ate it
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 7:14 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Sadly no.

And here's where my 'movie science' is coming into play.

The Overmind didn't realize that it was unable to perceive what it needed to improve itself. The next portion of the story was John realizing that it was the autobiographical memories, which are stored in a separate place than skills and information. So the gist is that the portion of the brain responsible for storing these memories were needed for Enlightenment.

Because Robert was not letting his clones really live before eating their brains to test Enlightenment, he wasn't getting anything noticable from them. John would have provided a very, very small amount (namely roughly as much as RZ would need to level up, as that was the ending if we hadn't gotten to this point), but thankfully that never came up.
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 5:53 AM edit delete reply

How many brains does it take to level up? How long after the enlightenment did it take to develop replacement parts? Did all the zombies have to re-learn how to use devices and such? They still have cars, but do they have communication devices and public broadcasting and such? What level of distance communication do they have, for that matter? How is Robert's... government organised? Why are the wastelands outside the city wastelands?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
How many brains does it take to level up?

Depends on the level. One to Two? One. Anything beyond that, it's not specified... But it's not a linear progression.

How long after the enlightenment did it take to develop replacement parts?

It was a little while. Replacement Parts came after TOGM allowed him to think more clearly without needing to Enlighten someone else.

Did all the zombies have to re-learn how to use devices and such?

No. As evidenced, the Green Stuff was able to assimilate the memories of the people. If they knew it in the past, and had sufficient levels of Enlightenment, then they would be able to recall it.

They still have cars, but do they have communication devices and public broadcasting and such?

Yes, but it's used less frequently. It's more a means of his ability to control over a long range than for people in different groups to be able to intercommunicate.

What level of distance communication do they have, for that matter?

Global for Robert, local community for everyone else.

How is Robert's... government organised?

He has basically chieftains in the communities. They each have a version of the PSOs to help keep order, and Robert communicates to all of them.

Why are the wastelands outside the city wastelands?

There is less time / people to keep things up, and after things got really ugly, there were a lot of areas destroyed by war. So they found places that had enough infrastructure to utilize, and made those the bastions of their civilization. Then they put their effort into improving those small areas.
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
RZ juuuuust about made it to 3 before the last strip - how did he get the brains before that? What would happen in the very next strip, if you were to make it? You've implied that John's brain would have been eaten soon because they ran out of TOGM, but what's to stop them from continuing to produce TOGM on existing equipment, given that it seems fairly automated? What exactly was the Phantom's plan of attack all along anyway? Why did John get thrown out of the vehicle at the start? What does it take to kill a zombie?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
RZ juuuuust about made it to 3 before the last strip - how did he get the brains before that?

Beth got them for him.

What would happen in the very next strip, if you were to make it?

I would probably have shown them freak out on Chekhov, and the TOGM machines shutting down.

You've implied that John's brain would have been eaten soon because they ran out of TOGM, but what's to stop them from continuing to produce TOGM on existing equipment, given that it seems fairly automated?

Once Robert died, it would all shut down. TOGM supply was going to last briefly, but very shortly, it'd be degradation.

What exactly was the Phantom's plan of attack all along anyway?

He was relying on Robert's law about killing others, and the fact that he was not going to be disabled by those darts this time around. He had shields and a deprogrammer along for the ride, but didn't need them.

Why did John get thrown out of the vehicle at the start?

They believed that the PSOs were going to catch them, and dumped him in order to prevent him from being recaptured.

What does it take to kill a zombie?

Anything breaking the brain case kills them.
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
What causes them to shut down without him?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:44 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
He built the system to need him. Whether it's a changing code that needs to be put in on a regular basis or a kill switch when if he died..
MatthewJA 9th Oct 2012, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
It was the Phantom's men who had John, right? How did they get him in the first place?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:44 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Sullivan helped him to escape the first time, but the Twos took John instead of Thomas.
Muchacho NL 9th Oct 2012, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
Now, there's one thing that's caught my attention, you were speaking about switching course to this ending.
What made you decide to switch course to a, somewhat, abrupt ending?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
June was expressing unhappiness with what I was asking her to draw a while ago... So I started seeding a sooner ending in order to accomodate if we had to end it like this...

We eventually agreed to take it to 375 at least, but then we had the whole thing previously mentioned, and we agreed that we'd just go to 300 and call it a day.

So thankfully she drew another 8-10ish strips in order to give it an ending other than "John dies, RZ becomes a 3".
aok666 9th Oct 2012, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
1) What were the other two potential endings (1 and 3)?
2) Does the presence of this page mean that TOGM has reached a permanent end?
3) Why was Beth better able to resist brains than most Fours? Does it have anything to do with the brain tumour?
4) Please may we see a picture of Chad pre-Enlightenment so that we can laugh at him?
5) Why was Beth one of the first Enlightened? Was Robert researching in an actual hospital or something?
6) Where has John been going to the... well, john?
7) What font style would be used for a Six?
8) What are the limbs made out of? You seem to be avoiding this question. Metal, plastic or what?
9) What did Alexander do to land himself in Death Row? Assuming this has been de-classified now that TOGMverse has ceased to move in time.
10) What were the full names of the characters?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) The default was that John died somehow, RZ ate his brains and became a 3. The proper ending was that John figured out how Enlightenment worked, and allowing the clones to live out their lives and harvesting their brains upon their deaths to enlighten the remaining zombies.

It miiiight have had Beth cloned and turned human using the same machine to implant her old memories, but I can't say for sure.

Oh, also, Beth and John would have ended up together, living out their lives as sort of caretakers for both societies, after John chose Beth over a human female clone.

2) Yes.

3) YES! The tumour in Beth's brain prevented proper formation of Green Stuff Brain. She was probably the only Zombie who was capable of giving up brains.

You see this both when she gives Sylene her TOGM, and when she gives RZ the brains from Corpsey.

4) No idea, that's up to June's discretion, and she already has a boatload of stuff on her plate right now.

5) She wasn't. Chad just Enlightened a loooot of people. Her fourhood was because of him. One of the reasons he resented her preferred status.

6) Some place out of the way, I guess. Honestly, I intended to have him get his own place, which would have explained that stuff... But that was back when it was still intended to just be a slice of life strip without all this other craziness.

7) No idea. Probably just Evil Genius, maybe with Bold on... I think I went a little overboard on fonts anyway.

8) I didn't really put too much thought into it. It's pretty much just a regular limb except with maybe some fortification involved.

9) You know, I had an answer for it when I wrote it initially, but it has completely slipped my mind.

I recall that he felt he needed to atone for it, so I think that it was something like he killed someone out of jealousy or in protection of someone else...

10) They didn't have full names, and I don't see any point in making them up. They were given simple names to be easier to remember, and I didn't make up last names because it wasn't something that was likely to come up in the story.

This was part of the disconnect between our society and their society, the lack of a need for a last name.
aok666 9th Oct 2012, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
11) Why has Skrael closed her ComicFury account?
12) What's the "thing previously mentioned"? I think I missed that.
13) So did you disagree over the future path of the comic, as well as getting sick of producing it and/or having trouble writing it?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:35 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
11) No idea. I didn't even realize she'd done so.

12) Basically when you guys became aware of the fact that we were ending the strip. She'd expressed concerns previously, but we'd talked it out and decided we'd try to reach 375.

13) She didn't like the idea of Chekhov taking out Robert, but I don't think that had anything to do with it. She was just tired of drawing modern stuff with zombies, neither of which were a huge interest of hers.
Phineas 9th Oct 2012, 1:53 PM edit delete reply
Would you ever consider writing the rest of it as a novel?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 1:54 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
No, probably not. Especially not now that I've basically given away all the good stuff :)
asheswillfall 9th Oct 2012, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
So Chad doesn't like going around and beating people up, threatening them, looking mean, and being an all-around jerk???

About the limbs, when "nameless security guy" was around, she was knitting a limb, so maybe it's some high-tech thread that resembles flesh; aka science magic!
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 4:22 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Chad became worse post-Enlightenment. He excelled because he was ruthless, and Beth benefitted from that ruthlessness.

As for Beth, she was doing it differently, adding additional aspects to the pre-existing limb in order to give herself increased control (and super strength!).
T.Gatto 9th Oct 2012, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
1. When Robert was examining John, he seemed to be talking to someone, was he, or was he just taping the examination?

2. What was the deal with the question about the girl they used to know?

3. Are there any human survivors who are not cloned?

4. Who did Robert have cloned, and why were they selected (I understand you have not set this in stone, but I'm still curiuos).

5. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swollow?

6. Was Robert really Evil? For that matter were the Heroes (Thomas, John, Beth, Phantom etc...) really intended to be good?

7. What is the answer to the ultimate question of Life the Universe and Everything?

8. Who was the super assassin stealing heads in the Phantom's HQ.

9. Will RZ always be a kid, and are there other kid Zombies?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) When he sounded kind of crazy? He was arguing with the Overmind.

2) Just that Robert used it as a safeguard against Thomas being swapped with one of the clones. He was a little paranoid, if you didn't notice. With all those clones of the guy, it made sense to come up with tests.

Thomas just cheated by finding his information machine :)

3) Nope. Thomas was literally the last human in my story.

4) He clones Thomas primarily, as well as a female. Other potential clones were there, but they would have been random people who were still harvestable for cloneable material after he was smart enough to do so.

5) Infinity.

6) What I wanted to get across with this ending was that Robert did the best he could with a large portion of his mind being run by the Overmind, which was constantly pushing him to do more to achieve this goal.

He managed to subvert it by creating TOGM, and was trying to Enlighten people as much to help them as to serve the Overmind...

In the end, he was a guy doing his best under the circumstances. Kind of like Schindler from Schindler's List.. He is working to do good under an oppressive force, and doing what he can within the constraints. Honestly, I consider him a flawed hero, rather than a noble evil.

Everyone else had their own agenda.. Thomas saw that True Enlightenment gave more control over to the Overmind, and wanted to stop Robert before he did bad things.

7) TOGM. :D

8) Elite versions of the PSOs.

9) He's a 3 now. If he chose, he could look like any adult and function as a low 3. Or he could continue to look like a kid. The body is somewhat irrelevant, and dependant on personal taste.
asheswillfall 9th Oct 2012, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
1. Does Thomas play a role anymore in the story? Or does he stay a One (or Two)?

2. If Thomas does become more enlightened, will he be the new leader or will he take revenge in his friend dying?

3. What's Chad's plans now that the powers that be are dead?

Ack I knew I was forgetting to ask your first question T.Gatto. My guess is he was talking to the green brain goo.
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 4:41 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) He would have been John's test subject, since going from a One to a Two is the easiest improvement to detect. Other than that, not much, no.

2) At best he would have been an assistant to Beth and John running the system. He wasn't going to lead anything, and Robert's death was unfortunate but resulted in positive benefits overall.

3) Chad's fate was an interesting one, and one I never fully decided on, to be honest. But once they realized that higher ranked zombies dying gave back to the people underneath them (At least to some degree. Since they aren't the top, most of their stuff would go to Beth still.), and RZ started to suffer from TOGM lack, keeping him around was going to be a question they were going to struggle with.

I never decided what the outcome of that struggle would be, which is why Chad's last appearance left on an ambiguous note.
Skrael answers something 9th Oct 2012, 3:05 PM edit delete reply
The reason I quit the comic was because I really sucked as an artist, and I was tired of trying to pretend I could draw a zombie comic well -- and James wasn't very prompt with the scripts for me, so I was often expected to draw the comic withing 12 hours or less of recieving the script, and that was too much pressure on me.

I deleted my account because I wish I could delete myself entirely.

T.Gatto 9th Oct 2012, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
I for one (one of many I would think) believe in you.
That is both you, and your considerably well done artwork.
Differences with James aside, consider yourself lucky for what the two of you have accomplished together, someday you will both see the picture of your accomplishments more clearly.
aok666 9th Oct 2012, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
You are one of the best artists I've ever seen, not to mention the most dedicated too (you drew a comic from your *hospital bed* after *emergency surgery* - most artists will take a week off if they get a cold). And I have never seen a better-drawn zombie comic than this. (Shame on James for not giving you enough time to draw the comics!)
It sounds to me as though you have some very serious unpleasantness in general going through your head right now, and (at the risk of sounding clichéd) I urge you to seek help - even if it's just talking to someone who cares. You have a rare and great talent which you should be proud of, combined with an even greater sense of responsibility and duty, and you've never let either go to your head - you've chatted to us fans on our level, and been generally wonderful.
The ether is filled with over four hundred TOGMite minds singing your praises, Skrael!
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Not sure if she's going to check this, so I will say that she is working on a lot of facets of her life right now... Do not fear that this is going unnoticed or without action.
Muchacho NL 10th Oct 2012, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
If the fabulous art you've bestowed upon us is called "really sucking as an artist", I don't want to know what my doodling should be called...

Skrael, listen to me carefully, I shall say this only once.
You're by far one of the best artist that I've been following around the interwebs, and I would LOVE to see more of your work.
As I've seen some of your pin-ups I think a fantasy graphic-novel could become your next project :)
Muchacho NL 10th Oct 2012, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
Oh, and what aok666 said :)
James (Magravan) 10th Oct 2012, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
If we did another any more in the webcomic arena that wasn't finishing TOGM, it would be fantasy based.
Eh-nonymous 13th Oct 2012, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
Hey! You're an amazing artist, way better than most! And definitely way better than I am! I sincerely hope things calm down over there, whatever is happening, and I hope you feel better. No self-deletion, you're too amazing for that! :(
asheswillfall 9th Oct 2012, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
*Warning: Mushy girly response initiated*

Awww Skrael, we are our own worst critics, I say some very nasty mean things about myself. You have a talent not everyone has, art is all based on perception. Have you seen some of the stuff that goes up in museums and such that calls itself art? I feel like it's something they didn't try very hard on, but you do have people that love your work. It is a part of you and your spirit that you have shared with us, and we are blessed to have that gift from you. I don't blame you for not liking his schedule on you, that is difficult. I am sorry you are stressed and not feeling well. I hope you have more happiness and sunshine coming your way.
aok666 9th Oct 2012, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
@Magravan: 14) What was going to happen with Ol' Corpsey's girlfriend/crush? You said she'd eventually have a semi-major role in the story, but she never turned up again.
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
14) She was just going to become another character in the story that they were going to interact with, probably on the level of Karl of how important / how often she showed up.

Her role was to give more of an insight into the world beyond the conflict between Robert and Phantom.
Skrael 9th Oct 2012, 11:24 PM edit delete reply
Thank you, this made me smile :)
Lexie 12th Oct 2012, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
Look, Skrael, I don't even know if you're going to read this.
But I want you to go to a popular art gallery, and take a good hard look at ALL of the art on display. Sure, some of the work in there is mind-blowing in its quality and beauty. But then there are pieces, even displayed in the top galleries of the world, which are little more than paint splashed across the canvas (Blue Poles, for example). Everyone's style is different, and I must say that your art is beautiful. Go and read the first five or so pages of TOGM, and then read the last few - look at how much you improved!
And we are all our worst critics - I used to draw quite a bit, but once I started comparing my pencil sketches to beautiful digital artwork, I became very discouraged and haven't drawn anything for about four years. Last week I did a drawing for the first time since then, and it surprised me - I actually enjoyed it, and it wasn't absolutely awful (although I still have a long way to go).
Also, as a writer, I look at my work, and then make the mistake of getting discouraged by comparing it to Tolkein, Landy, or Rowling.
I guess that what I'm trying to say is that art is HARD, no matter what medium. But you are never as bad as you think you are, and Skrael, your art is amazing. And sometimes, a switch between projects or mediums can really help with self-esteem and motivation. Whatever you choose to work on now, even if it's just doodling for yourself, I hope that you can see how truly talented you are.
T.Gatto 9th Oct 2012, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
1- What was the story behind the guy in the bunker with his brains blown out, and how was he tied to John/Robert?

2- Why did John's/Thomas's DNA open the bunker?

3- Most importantly, what will Beth do, when she finds out she was video taped in a compromising position which was then replayed 1,000 times?

4- Can I hire the dreaded Sack Patrol to clean up the leaves in my back yard?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 7:56 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) The three of them were friends in the past, each working on their own projects. Dr. Murphy was working on vault technology in case of a future war, and had built that vault as a prototype, so it was unlisted in any of the military records, so when Robert got access to those, he wasn't able to root out Corpsey's location.

2) It was coded to allow all three of them in, plus probably some others, but specifically Thomas. John just coasted by having the same DNA as Thomas.

3) She can never find out. *blood pact*

4) Yes, they also do windows.
Kay 9th Oct 2012, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
I feel really silly asking this- but even after reading the comic three or four times, I can't seem to grasp the Thomas/John situation. Can you explain?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Thomas was a friend of Robert's. He was a scientist before the Enlightenment that Robert protected after being Enlightened.

John was a Clone, based on Thomas' DNA.

The start of the comic shows John being thrown from the back of a van which we later learn was Thomas' escape plan gone awry.

Every scene until "An Unfortunate Introduction" is John. That scene, and every scene until he gets brained in the desert, is Thomas, who finally escaped on his own.

After he is Enlightened, Thomas is the zombie, John is the human.

If you need more specific information, let me know.
Salty 9th Oct 2012, 9:13 PM edit delete reply
What was Sylene/Beth/Chad's relationship pre-Enlightenment? There was the occasional reference in-comic and I think I've seen it a couple times here, but I could never quite figure out the details.
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 10:57 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Beth and Chad were married, Sylene was a neighbour.

Beth got sick, Chad basically didn't take no for an answer when he decided to pursue Sylene.

It was the first time he'd tried, and Beth Enlightened him before he'd had the opportunity.

From then on, they've all had a fairly antagonistic relationship with each other.
Link2Hyrule 7th May 2013, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
While we're on the subject of personal relationships, if Beth is RZ's mother, is Chad really his father? I couldn't tell which direction you were trying to go in during the fight at the factory.
James (Magravan) 12th May 2013, 2:43 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Yes, Chad was his father. His terrible, terrible father.
Marlox 9th Oct 2012, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
How does the enlightenment system work overall?
James (Magravan) 9th Oct 2012, 11:01 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Infected person infects someone else, the green stuff travels to the brain, destroys the brain and sets up shop in it's place, creating a brain like structure out of green stuff. The cranium is repaired and strengthened to prevent easy death.

At this point, a portion of that brain works for the Infected individual that it is housed in, the rest provides computing power for those above them in the heirarchy.

As they Enlighten more people, they get more processing power from those under them, and eventually achieve higher and higher levels of intelligence, awareness and capability.

Going from a One to a Two comes from the first brain. After that, it takes a significant amount to level up again. This is not set in stone, except to say that it increases in a non-linear fashion.
Guest 10th Oct 2012, 2:38 AM edit delete reply
Skrael: As a long-time reader I'm sorry to see TOGM go. However, I understand, other things take precedence.
You are a much better artist than you believe (and much, much better than I will ever be) with a unique and interesting style. It is too bad the demands for meeting a deadline proved too much. Consider, however, that many web-comic artists have taken long breaks. Maybe some day you can re-visit the TOGM world, and we can see how things turned out a decade later.
semiokme 10th Oct 2012, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
I wanted to start by thanking both of you for making this comic. I've read the entire thing, I think you were on #13 when I started, and I've enjoyed it immensely. I'm sad to see it end, but I was to re-enforce what everyone else said: you're both awesome. Good writer and Great artist, and together you made something special so thank you!

My question is, can you talk about Katie's history? Specifically pre-Enlightenment, how she became enlightened, and how she has managed to survive outside of prison until the start of the comic?
James (Magravan) 10th Oct 2012, 3:58 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Katie was a grandmother, living in a nursing home with few visitors and little interaction. It was a time of being trapped in her head, which was starting to fail, and generally looking back on her life with a sense of regret.

She spent the majority of her life doing a some menial boring jobs and taking care of her kids who eventually wanted little to nothing to do with her.

You can imagine that once a halfway intelligent zombie made its way into the nursing home, it was pretty easy pickings. Fortunately, she was able to enjoy a bit of the buffet before escaping herself.

She made a fairly decent zombie, though she was unable to become a Four by the time the brains were too scarce to be found by random zombies without access to significant technology / secrets.

Once zombie society really started up, she decided she was going to make up for lost time, and just started picking up odd jobs, leaving them before the shine wore off, and on to a new adventure.

As a side note, her initial introduction when we were still thinking of the comic as Zombie Slice of Life, was like an Avon seller, coming door to door selling things.
notazombie 10th Oct 2012, 12:55 PM edit delete reply
So, this explains why Robert could feel it when Thomas was "enlightened". I notice, you say that the section of the mind that makes up the memories is what advances them. Wouldn't Robert have known everything Thomas knew then? Are the memories absorbed into the overmind? Is the overmind a separate computer, or is it just a portion of the collective minds of all the zombies working in series? Does a new "controller" automatically get selected, or is there none now that Robert is dead? Wow, full of questions, though I thought I only had one! Sorry you all had to end this, I really enjoyed it.
James (Magravan) 10th Oct 2012, 4:07 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
For the most part, it is just processing power that is contributed up and above. Robert doesn't possess psychic powers as a Five, the Overmind isn't strong enough. That is one of the reasons that it wanted him to become a Six again.

Thomas would eventually get his memories back, when he had sufficient Enlightenment to be able to access those memories. RZ, for example, remembers less of his pre-enlightenment than Beth did.

Memories are kept more individual. The Overmind has a very limited awareness of individuality. It's trying to Enlighten itself, I guess, by forcing them to Enlighten more people. Eventually the Overmind would have a greater awareness, as opposed to the instinctual mentality that it had as we were writing the story.

The Overmind is a Hive mind that is distributed amongst all of the zombies. It has no central core, though Robert represented the apex of it's benefits...

Robert's death means that everyone under him has some more for themselves... It's enough to get all Ones to become Twos. But there is no one that benefits from everyone anymore. He was literally the progenitor of them all, and everything traced back to him. Now that he's dead, there is no central point anymore, just a bunch of Fours that are that much better.

And thank you :)
T.Gatto 10th Oct 2012, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
1- Was Chad always such a jerk to RZ, or did the Zpox make things worse?

2- Was Chad always an Alpha male, or did he get beefed up by his augments.

3- Will Nameless Security Guy ever get a name? (3a)How about Harvey?
James (Magravan) 10th Oct 2012, 4:14 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) He was always sort of a jerk, but no where near the same level. Chad blamed RZ for taking brains that could have gone to him instead, and maybe allowed him to be something other than a PSO.

He's unhappy with his lot in unlife, and blames Beth (and by extension RZ) for it.

2) Yeah, he was always an Alpha male, not quite as big, but that helped guide what he was looking for in a body.

3) You know what's funny about him? We actually intended to have Beth and Company save him, but we forgot to draw him into subsequent comics, so it was like Beth just abandoned him... Same with the shields at the end, so Phantom ended up with a gun instead...

Anyway, the reason why he was nameless was because I wanted to show that Beth was nice to people that didn't 'matter'. He was a background character with no ... anything, really. And she befriended him.

I felt kind of bad that a character who was literally defined by being undefined was one of the few non-white characters in the story. I never really specified which ethniticity to make any of the characters, and June didn't know what was in store for the character when she coloured him, so it just worked out that way.

As for a name... I dunno.. Why Harvey?
T.Gatto 10th Oct 2012, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
Because John and Thomas were already taken. Duh!
Would humans ever come ba 11th Oct 2012, 5:15 PM edit delete reply
If the cloning technology could make more humans would the race ever be retuned. Also what would it mean? Peace between two races? War more likely... John caught in middle
Also will Sylene be with the phantom romantically?
James (Magravan) 13th Oct 2012, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) There was a plan for the two to co-exist peacefully, where the cloned humans would live out their lives, become ripe with memories, and then be fed to zombies after death.

2) No. Sylene was right when she said that it would be a screwed up relationship.
Seras 12th Oct 2012, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
1) Had your strip made it to 375 as planned, what would have been the faiths of the characters on the way there as their TOGM ran out?
2) What was Robert's initial reaction to becoming a six? Why did he go back to being a five afterwards?
3) Would there ever be another five or six?
4) What would have been everyone's relation to the Overmind upon the story's final end? Would they learn to communicate or coexist with it, or would it always be a "necessary evil" in the background?
5) Why did Sully help Thomas escape? What was the relationship between the two? Why did Sully act against Robert?
6) If Robert could get fresh brains from the clones why did he bother to create TOGM? Why not just feed people clone-brains?
7) Barring any accidental injuries, what is a life expectancy of a zombie?
8) What would be the average level of a zombie after John learns to manufacture enlightenment? If they could all get free brains would that make them able to reach higher and higher levels?
model S 12th Oct 2012, 5:22 PM edit delete reply
model S
i can answer 6, 7, and 8.

6) they needed memories in order to raise levels, the clones couldn't actually live, so no memories to define them, thus no leveling.

7) immortal (read the last 3 togm strips, robert says they're immortal)

8) probably a 3. average human inteligence.

as for my own questions and comments:

first james and june, thank you once more for sharing this wonderful comic with us all. june, your art is amazing, i have that pic of sylene with the giant cookie from the first livestream as my phone background most of the time. i also sometimes put up the one of beth i won in the contest way back when. that should tell you something.

on to questions:
1) was chad short for anything? i know weird question to start with.

2) how come R.Z. never pulled out the toys he stole from that building again? (soja and the girl who's name escapes me)

3) was beth a natural redhead before the enlightenment?

4) will we ever get to see beth's little strip show? as an animation or otherwise?

5) if i open a zombie stripclub based on the leveling system of togm would you visit at least to say hi? (surprisingly a few of my friends are still interested in this idea)

6) can i have a cookie?

7) .... actually that's all i have for now.
James (Magravan) 13th Oct 2012, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Thanks for the pleasant comments :)

1) It's short for Chadsajerk. His parents knewwww.

2) The toys were meant to be shoutouts to other comics, but not something that was meant to stick around. It added unnecessary complexity to the images.

3) Yes.

4) Not likely ;)

5) If it was some place I could reasonably get to, I might stop in and say hi. It's not really my thing though (I've never been to one!)

6) Yes. But you have to get it yourself.

7) That's not a question.
James (Magravan) 13th Oct 2012, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Answers to Seras.. model S replied to his question, and now I can't 'answer' it directly.

1) Faiths? Much like their society is a skewed reflection of ours, any faith that they had would be equally skewed. It's a moot point, and not something I considered.

2) Surprise and then Elation. Perhaps a healthy dose of fear and paranoia.

3) In theory, there would be people who could be at a similar level, but they wouldn't be exclusive like Robert was. And it would be a Five or Six surrounded by a bunch of 2s and 3s, as opposed to 1s and 2s.

4) It was a necessary evil. Originally, when I was planning on taking it far and wide, it was going to be a war between the clones and the zombies.

5) Sully was a plant by the Phantom. His chip was altered to show him as a Two, as well as his voice being different. But he is definitely a Three.

6) Clone brains didn't grant Enlightenment. A portion of TOGM is clone brains.

7) Unless the cranium is destroyed, endless. Without TOGM, they would become pretty much like a hibernation after a certain amount of time, but they wouldn't die unless something happened to their brain.

8) Well, each time they Enlighten someone new, they add someone to the bottom rung... So the average would probably actually hover or go down...
David 13th Oct 2012, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
No questions here, but after reading all this I felt compelled to thank Skrael and you for making this comic.

I've read this comic twice. It's so sad it had to end, yet I think it was somehow the right thing to do, as there are so many comics that just drag on and get tedious.
Your ending was very good as well I thought. You kept on saying how it would be disappointing, so I was actually disappointed when it wasn't ;o)
If you get a chance, tell Skrael that her drawing skills are great. the artwork changed a lot along the comic, but it was always good. I liked the amateurish (don't mean to offend by using this wod, but don't know what else to say) quality of the beginning and then teh professional quality of the later stuff. It was all great.

Thanks to you again for such a well thought-out story and thanks to Skrael for the great drawings! :o)
James (Magravan) 14th Oct 2012, 3:26 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Well thank you for all of that, I will let her know. :)

Did you read it after reading the Q&A? Does it make sense? :)

I have to say that Martian Samurai nailed down quite a few of the points on our now defunct forum, so it helped me to know that I wasn't making it completely impossible to figure out :)
David 17th Oct 2012, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
Wow, just saw you replied :)

Well, I stumbled on TOGM about a year ago. It was in a list of recommended webcomic and was the only one that grabbed my attention because of the cool story and the nice artwork.

I have been following since, so I read the story before reading this. I was wondering about RZ leveling up and the green stuff at the end... The comments left on the comic put me on the right track and this Q&A did the rest though.

But, I really liked the fact that your story didn't have a definite end. That way it can go on and on in my imagination :)
Saying that, if you ever decide to give it a sequel, I'd be very happy to read it!

I can't thank you two enough for having made this comic. Knowing there'd be two updates coming used to sweeten my working week :)
James (Magravan) 18th Oct 2012, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Well, all I can suggest is checking out Comicfury for some other great comics.. Maybe something else there will tickle your fancy :)
Boggieboy 16th Oct 2012, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
First of all, thanks to both you and Skrael for producing such an amazing webcomic. The story was hugely entertaining and always made me want to know what happened next. The artwork was also amazing from start to finish, with the stuff in the last 100 or so panels better than a lot of professional comics I've read. It would have been nice to have been able to see it to it's end, but I'm just glad I was able to read it at all. And don't either of you feel bad for ending the comic prematurely, I'm sure everybody here understands that both of you have lives outside this comic, and they come first no matter what. I admire you both so much for being able to create new panels week in and week out for such a long time, it must have been incredibly difficult for you. For all your hard work you have created something that so many people have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy for a long time to come. Thankyou.
Now, the questions!
1. What happened to Chad? The last we saw of him was when he got pinned down and couldn't escape. Did he have any role after this, or did he never get out?
2. How would the general zombie populace initially react to losing their supreme leader? Would everything fall into disarray?
3. If all the zombies started to revert back to lower levels after Robert's death, does that mean that John's friends (or even the general zombie population for that matter) would go after him for his brains?
4. When you initially stared The Other Grey Meat, how long did you intend to keep it going for?
5. How long do you intend to keep the TOGM site live for?
James (Magravan) 17th Oct 2012, 8:48 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Thank you very much, it's wonderful to hear things like this.

1) I honestly don't know. Chad's fate was not decided. Picture the scene, they realize that killing higher level zombies helps those below them. RZ is fading, and Chad is lying there... Pinned.

Beth was going to have some crisis, and then either forgive him and he was going to be somewhat reformed, or someone else would have crushed his skull, and RZ would have gotten a bit more time before the lack of TOGM rendered him unable to communicate.

In short, his fate wasn't set in stone.

2) Shock, initially. They'd have access to a part of their mind that had been dormant for a long time. Thomas would have had a brief period of lucidity where he could give them some hints.

Once they realized that the TOGM supply relied on Robert's interventions, things would go downhill quickly.

3) Yes. Everyone except Beth would have been willing to hunt him (and each other, to a lesser extent) as the hunger took over. It was going to be a fairly dark, lonely chapter for John as he watched them all 'disappear' into mindless Ones.

4) Honestly, I didn't have a set time. At first it was just kind of "Let's do it til we get bored.", but I started throwing out pretty far reaching concepts that could have carried the story for some time if they'd had more time to develop...

So at one point I was planning the story to continue for several more years.

5) The site will be up as long as ComicFury exists and Kyo is cool with it taking up space. So far as I am concerned, I have no intentions of taking it down, and it's existence or lack thereof is dependent on the host.
vine409 16th Oct 2012, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
First of all, thank you James and Skrael for sharing your story and artwork with us. It was a fun read. Second part here is mainly for Skrael: going to state that as far as web-comics go, the artwork here was definitely above average. I know some people said this earlier above; but don’t get discouraged by comparing yourself only to art at a really professional, highly refined level. This would be like a talented person in some physical activity comparing themselves against the Olympics; they can be one of the best around, but compared to that they don’t see themselves as that good. So believe in yourself, you do have talent and can do great things. For one Just look at how your artwork improved, and I imagine will/would continue to get even more amazing if you continued. I really can’t draw, my art work would basically be stick figures or close to it; compared to that your artwork is Einstein level, keep in mind perspective. Also I rate that you can’t suck as an artist because you work hard on your work, and we could see improvement over time, just look at the difference between the first and last comic. You worked hard and put effort into it, improving yourself as you went; in my opinion that’s the sign of a great artist.

Don’t delete yourself, everyone goes through times when they are down; things will get better! Look at the people here that you’ve affected positively just from them seeing your artwork. You helped provide a distraction/relief/entertainment for these people. I don’t know what the situation is that you’re going through, but I hope that everything works ok in the end; and good luck with working everything out in the mean time. Finally don’t feel bad about being overwhelmed and put under too much pressure, that is a good reason to end something like a web-comic, and I’m really glad (and impressed) that you managed to stick with it in order to give the comic an end. (I’ve seen too many web-comics disappear completely unfinished.) And if you do comic back to web-comics do a theme that you want to do, like fantasy, or if you don’t, continue your artwork for your own enjoyment without the pressure. Good luck in whatever is to come.
vine409 16th Oct 2012, 10:17 PM edit delete reply
Now Questions:
1.) If a peace between the clones and Zombies were eventually reached; I'm guessing that there would be the choice to have your brain eaten by a zombie when you die, or to become a zombie yourself when you get old (like Katie). Eventually with that system the earth would become over populated since zombies are immortal. What would they do then?

2.) If the green stuff can move on its own when a zombie is killed and infect another human, what stops if from infecting John? How did Thomas safely write in it; or were the zombies just colorblind to the color green?

3.) If zombies (like ones) are killed, does it decrease the mental level of the zombies above them? Or does the continued existence of the green stuff prevent that? Did Sylene's running over of one's cause anyone to drop in level if the first is true?

4.) Little less of a question, but basically what I've gathered is that wisdom and life experiences are what the green stuff feeds off of, and what contributes to enlightenment?

5.) From above, would this mean that an elderly brain contributes more than another brain; in some cases even up to twice as much or more?

6.) If you do ever start up anything like a fantasy story after all the issues get settled and worked out; is there any way for you to let all of us to know?
James (Magravan) 17th Oct 2012, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) They wouldn't have a choice ;) They'd basically be the equivilent of farm animals. Taken care of, but ultimately at the whim of the zombie society's needs.

The byproduct Ones would essentially be decapitated and put in the VR program, so they aren't going to take up too much space, and once the other zombies reached a certain level, they would stop adding more. Becoming a 6 would be a bad idea, so the lower levels would be enlightened first to prevent the upper levels from getting too high without any advantage to the zombies below them.

2) It could have infected John. We never really got into it, but if they'd actually made out, John would have been at risk for infection. Especially if Beth had any open wounds.

The stuff that Thomas was writing in was already 'dead', so it wasn't able to escape like the stuff when Beth cut herself.

3) The only way to kill a zombie is to allow the green stuff brain inside to be destroyed. This happens when the cranium is broken, or they are in an MRI machine, as examples.

And yes, Sylene's running over people absolutely dropped people. If Thomas died, the guy who ate him would have become a One again. Robert's loss of True Enlightenment (6 hood) was in part caused by Sylene's antics.

4) It feeds off of a specific element of the brain found in autobiographical memory. Honestly, this is movie science, so I'm not sure if it actually has any discernable difference in real life. I do know that you can lose your autobiographical memory and still have skills and other aspects of memory intact.

5) It does, though this may contradict something I've said previously.. Otherwise a few hours out in the yard experiencing Life would be enough to raise a One to a Two.

6) I was thinking that the Facebook / Twitter thing would probably be the easiest, but if you use neither, then I don't know what would work. All I know is that I'm not willing to send out individual emails...

Do you have any thoughts on how this might work?
Wit 19th Oct 2012, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
For some time, checking your guys' site has been a regular part of my webcomic routine. I won't hit you guys with a lot of flowery praises, but I have a few that I will say that are, in my opinion, significant accomplishments. You took an idea, and ran with it at least to a comfortable finish. You provided plenty of viewers with free entertainment, and we all came back for more. The spirit the two of you imbued into the comic made it a read to remember. Good luck with whatever comes next. - Wit
James (Magravan) 19th Oct 2012, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Thank you :)
Zorian 28th Oct 2012, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
1. Other than being the first zombie and being the receiver of the trickle down from everyone is there anything else special about Robert the Zombie?

2. Is Robert the "weird kook" mentioned in the recording found in the bunker?

3. If I understand it correctly the boost to a zombie that propels them from 1 to 2 to 3 etc is Enlightening others because they receive a portion of that zombie's processing ability. If that is so them eating the brains from corpse in a morgue should only sate the hunger of the Green Stuff. If this is so why did eating the brains of the dead guy from the bunker seem to raise RZ a little, no one was Enlightened? Beth seemed to think it would work.

4. That being said how did RZ get enough brains to raise to a upper end range 2? Being child sized could be a detriment or benefit.

5. Who invented the artificial limbs? And was it during the time frame that humans were still around?

6. Beth said she only Enlightened 2 people. I know one was Chad, which is how she became a 4, but who is the other? RZ? Sylene?

7. Why didn't Robert let some of the clones out of tanks and see if they could learn? Seems like a logical step in an experiment to see if the clones had fully functional brains. Blind spot caused by uncreative thinking, caused by the zombie change? Or something like them not seeing the green stuff itself?

8. Approx. how long ago from the events in the story was the outbreak? Thomas seemed to be a similar age. Less than 10 years? Or was he in some sort of cryo storage?
James (Magravan) 29th Oct 2012, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1. He created the green stuff in the first place... But other than that, no. He's just a scientist whose experiment ruined the world.

2. Probably, yes.

3. It's primary means is creating a new brain in the newly created zombies, but directly eating brains can also result in some amount of Enlightenment, just not to the same extent.

4. Beth fed him. Once she was intelligent enough to grasp what was going on, she basically hunted for him.

5. Robert invented them, and they were created as the harder to access humans were still around. Enhancements served a purpose of letting them blend in better.

6. Sylene was the other. Chad enlightened RZ.

7. He was able to check their brains, and was able to load them up via information... It was basically a combination of fear of his secret getting out, and an arrogance regarding the superiority of his creations.

8. John was a rapidly aged version of Thomas, since clones would begin as infants. These were all efforts to try to figure out the source of enlightenment, and John was just an advanced version that was more successful than a lot of Robert's attempts. (Also the reason that Thomas chose him, as he was the least likely to be figured out)
Nation 8th Nov 2012, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
Just the one question from me.
Are there any plans to release a physical copy of the comic for sale? I would love to be able to proudly display a TOGM book on my shelf, and I'm sure many others feel the same.
James (Magravan) 8th Nov 2012, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
There are plans to maybe do it someday, but I am not working on formatting it and such at present.

It would be a lot of hours of work to get it into shape to be printable, and that's time I'm just not able to commit to right now.
Stone 15th Nov 2012, 3:27 PM edit delete reply
Everything else has been asked already, and this may have gotten asked too, but I haven't seen it so...

Why have there been no murderers trying to steal brains from fellow zombies in an effort to rank up? (Like Sylar from Heroes.)

Follow up: Is it that only human brains would work? And if so, why would that be?
James (Magravan) 15th Nov 2012, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
They didn't realize that some people would rank up... It only works by killing higher level zombies, and even then, there is a net loss.

The reason why it is only human brains that work is because the pseudo-science says that the triggering mechanism for further enlightenment is the parts related to autobiographical memories, which is non-existant in Zombies as they are a simulation of a brain, as opposed to an actual brain.
Leete 16th Nov 2012, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Stone: Follow up: Is it that only human brains would work? And if so, why would that be?

I think he meant why not dog, cat, monkey, dolphin, etc. brains

Possibly because they aren't of high enough sentience to trigger enlightenment?
James (Magravan) 17th Nov 2012, 4:31 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
You know, I'm not 100% sure, but my pseudo science through planning it was that it was a very specific thing that the green stuff needed to reproduce. I'm not sure if the memory storage in animals would possess the exact same qualities as a human's.

Interesting thing to think about, but honestly not something I really considered too thoroughly beforehand.

But anyway, the idea was that the specific structure / chemical aspect of human autobiographical memory was what triggered growth of the green stuff.
Marsvin 18th Dec 2012, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
Why do the zombie (at least male) reproductive organs not work? And does that affect female zombie as well?
James (Magravan) 25th Dec 2012, 3:29 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
It wasn't important, and the green stuff doesn't support it ;)
Lennart 16th Jan 2013, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
Thats easy, u need blood to get a erection, and the zombies did not have blood, only the green stuff :-) hehe
James (Magravan) 4th Feb 2013, 5:15 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Pretty much :)
Frederic 22nd Dec 2012, 3:07 AM edit delete reply
I found the art work here the greatest I have seen. And I have loved this story and enjoy following it. I had a webcomic once and I can tell you my art work never came even close to yours. And I know how hard it is to come up with a story line and how hard it can be to draw sometimes. But you are the best Skrael. And to James thank you both for giving me the chance to read and see this wonderful story unfold. I will miss reading this story that had become a big part of my routine. Thanks again.
James (Magravan) 25th Dec 2012, 3:39 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Happy holidays!
The Letter M 1st Feb 2013, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
The Letter M
Since all the TOGM machines stop working without Robert, does that mean that all of the characters will turn into mindless, brain craving monsters and die?
James (Magravan) 4th Feb 2013, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Not die, no. But become the equivilent of Ones, eventually. That was pretty much the next arc, where they were all going to start to degenerate.
Leete 9th Feb 2013, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
Since the green stuff was controlling them enough to make them not see the green stuff was it controlling Robert enough that he never could have solved the problem?
James (Magravan) 12th Feb 2013, 5:45 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Yes... One of the things about this story is that if you look at John, he's not great at a lot of things. He's not the most physically powerful character, he's not the smartest character, he's really not the most anything, except the most unaffected by the Green Stuff.

One of my frustrations about this story is that ultimately, John IS the hero, but you don't really get the sense of it within the story. Who defeats Chad? Beth. Who defeats Robert? Chekhov. Those are basically the two major villains in the story, so far as everyone knew, and John was not the one getting to do something about them.

But John's contribution, what makes him a hero, is that he was the one to figure it all out in the end. The one to give them a future. Basically to restore the human race AND give the zombies something more to look forward to than eventual attrition. We just never got to see that final Act, that piece of the puzzle that would have shown John's true colours.

So ultimately, Robert's inability to solve it is what made John's story worth telling in the first place.
Grimjac 23rd Feb 2013, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
First, thanks for an awesome comic. I was sad to see it end because there seemed to be so much more left to go! And regardless of how Skrael feels about her art...she's awesome! Sorry, but Beth is the hottest zombie chick ever and that's where it ends. Skrael is great with expressions and body language, which in my opinion is often lacking in `talented' artists.

Enough rah-rah stuff...on to questions!

1) Zombie society was going to break down. Why? I understand that TOGM ws necessary for their survival and its production required Robert's input. But with John and Beth working on the problem, I question how inevitable that future would be.

2) Just so you know, in my imagined aftermath, John and Beth wind up happily-ever-aftering. SHould you ever decide to continue the tale at a future time, please keep this in mind.

Thanks for a great run!
James (Magravan) 23rd Feb 2013, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) They hadn't figured it out yet.. so eventually there would come a point where existing supply dropped to 0, and they hadn't figured out the new thing yet.

2) Me too. Beth and John just worked too well together. He was going to choose her over a human clone girl that was going to be introduced and provide a lot of the tension for the last chapter.
Grimjac 23rd Feb 2013, 11:02 AM edit delete reply
Sorry, had other questions but couldn't formulate them at the time...

1) If the other zombies `upgraded' when Robert was Chekhoved...would the same hold true if other zombies were eliminated? Doesn't that contradict the premise of `more zombies, more computing power'? Or was Robert's green stuff the queen of the hive, so to speak? If so, wouldn't a new queen be promoted? Or, without the queen green, does the drone green eventually deteriorate, removing the brain-hunger impulse, as it apparently the queen green that drove it, wanting more computing power?

2) Am I over-thinking this?

Thanks! :)
James (Magravan) 23rd Feb 2013, 10:04 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) Basically anyone underneath of them would get a bit of an upgrade, anyone above them would lose some of their own. Ultimately, killing zombies would result in less overall intelligence between the whole.

Think about it this way: If zombie A is a low rung person with say 40% of their computing power for themselves, 60% spread amongst the zombies above them. One of the zombies above dies, they might be at 45% of their own, with 55% spread amongst the others.

If someone below died, they might be at 35% of their original with only 60% amongst the others, an overall net loss to the total cognitive ability.

2) Probably, but that's awesome for me :)
Leete 14th Mar 2013, 7:05 AM edit delete reply
how "biological" is the green stuff? can it mutate? reproduce? can there be competing green stuff? if the exact same experiment was done a second time would there just be more or would it be a second entity?
James (Magravan) 15th Mar 2013, 4:43 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
It hasn't mutated, reproduces only with the autobiographical memories of humans. The Green Stuff is a connected thing, but I guess if there was another version there could be competition.

If the exact same experiment was done a second time, it could go either way, depending on how things worked out. It was not exactly controlled.
Dom 8th Sep 2013, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
sooo this is kinda well after the ending to the comic but I just happened upon it and after reading it i was wondering...
1) what was robert's original intentions with his experiment before it went wrong and destroyed everything.
2) how did he lose his enlightenment
3) does removing zombies from the tracking mechanism also remove their processing power from the hive?
James (Magravan) 12th Sep 2013, 3:07 AM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) He was trying to create a sort of Jungian shared consciousness that would allow people to tap into vast stores of information, except that it would be a part of their brain.

In effect, it would make all of humanity capable of being a heck of a lot more intelligent about anything and everything.

2) Zombies died. Sylene mowing them down was a part of it... He barely touched Sixhood, so it didn't take a lot of zombies dying to bring him back from the threshold.

3) No, absolutely not. The tracker was independent of the Overmind. Otherwise all the Ones that the Phantom liberated would become Twos. The only way to lose their processing power was to destroy the brain, killing the zombie.
Kyratoline 24th Nov 2013, 10:08 PM edit delete reply
I just started this comic this morning, after seeing a post on facebook...and now I'm done, merely 4 hours later, with extensive breaks. -_- Skrael, if your art was so bad, I would have never read this far. I'm not saying the story was bad, but the abrupt ending caused so many loose threads that by the end, I was frustrated. Action scenes are definitely one of your fortes.

Question time!
1) Will either of you be doing other works, whether together or apart, and if so, could you post them here?

2) How upset would you be if a random fanfic was to suddenly appear in your inbox?

3) How did you come up with the leveling system with zombies? It makes perfect sense, but I've never had even the inkling of this idea, nor have I seen it before, and it is AWESOME.

4)This one is for Skrael: how did you come up with so many facial expressions, and different faces in general? That was probably my favorite part of this art, never knowing what type of facial expression would be displayed because they were not just copies of each other.
James (Magravan) 30th Nov 2013, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
1) June is working on an arc of EverydayAbnormal which will be starting soon. If you're interested in seeing her artwork with another writer, or checking out another great (if NSFW at times) comic, feel free to get caught up on it before her arc starts.

We will also be doing a short epilogue for TOGM to try to wrap up some loose ends. That will obviously update on the main site when it starts. It won't even begin for a while though. June still needs to finish up pages for EA.

Lastly, we are also working on a comic called "Fuss and Shush", which won't start updating until sometime 2014. We're going to be doing that one differently, putting out an issue and then going on hiatus for a while until the next issue is ready.

2) I'm always happy to see fanfics :) Standard "You can't make money off of it" rights apply, but otherwise I'm all for people doing whatever they want with the world. Except inappropriate things with RZ. That's not cool.

3) I was initially inspired by Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains", and then it was a case of coming up with something that not only accomodated the talking zombies I wanted, but also the standard zombies that I wanted to explain...

So I just went into it expanding on each facet in a way that made sense to me while paying tribute to pre-existing zombie lore.

The Green Stuff / Hive Mind concept was put in exclusively because I wanted 'sub bosses', where you would hate one person (Chad), but then you find out that Robert's behind him, so it transfers to him somewhat.. And then you realize that Robert's a decent guy, just misguided so far as our heroes are concerned..

And because he's not a super bad guy, I wanted something else that they could resist and fight against without realizing it at first, and then more intentionally as they learned more.

4) I've told Skrael about this question, and hopefully she'll be along to address it :)

Also, which post did you see? And did you like our Facebook page? June's put some prototype pictures of the new comic up on the Fuss and Shush page, I believe.
James (Magravan) 2nd Dec 2013, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
From Skrael:

I'm certainly quite flattered by your question, because quite frankly, I thought that TOGM people looked too much alike! That was one of my pet peeves with my own art work. Needs more diversity, hehe. Well, thank you for thinking differently. What I did to develop the different expressions in my drawings was pretty simple. I watched a lot of video tutorials on Youtube, for starters. I like some ofthe videos by Jazza, Mark Crilley, and Neil Fontaine. I also studied my own expressions in the mirror. Sometimes I kept a mirror by my computer to help. When you're drawing an expression, one of the things that I always kept in mind was exaggeration. When you look at a photograph, it's easy to pick up the subtleties of a facial mood because they are realistic representations of the human face. When you're drawing comics, you are simplifying things to linework. So, lift those eyebrows up to a somewhat unatural position, or open the mouth wider than humanly possible. It will look fine because it's a drawing, but it will add so much flavour and dynamicism to the piece. Any way I hope this helps! Thanks for your question! -Skrael
Kyratoline 4th Dec 2013, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
No problem! The post I saw was "Zombies wear thongs?" and it was on a funny post without any type of OP link to it. So I searched it to find the comic. But now I know there is a facebook page!
James (Magravan) 6th Dec 2013, 6:11 PM edit delete reply
James (Magravan)
Awesome, thanks for letting us know :D
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