Sunday, June 19, 2011

In the beginning...

It was 1980, I was 17, alone at a tram stop, a crisp early morning, on my way to college with 30 minutes to kill until the next ride. Deep in thought I decided to make an appeal to the heavens. "I don't get this religion stuff, but I know you are there, I have studied nature enough to see that there is a deliberate design to it, I can see the intelligence behind it. I have nothing left to offer you except my art. Please teach me through my art so that I can understand you better".

The next few months were the most productive I'd had up to that point, so many concepts generated, so many new characters and styles. One of the concepts was about a man who turns himself into a living universe, I saw it as a dumbed down model of our vast Universe but in human terms, and common ground for me to learn from the Universal intelligence I had appealed to earlier. But my universe needed a name. As I often did, I turned to the Latin section of my dictionary and started hunting, I got to the end and found the word "zoon" but it was the definition that got me, ".... a zoon is any individual of a compound organism". A perfect fit! My compound organism was the living Zooniverse which had populated itself from it's own substance with trillions of lifeforms called "Zoons".

I was so happy with the definition that I photocopied the page and present it to you here. My project had a name, and the creatures in it shared that name! The Zooniverse was born!


  1. Zooniverse is one of my all-time favorites. I love it hugely, and if you saw my comic strips from high school in the late '80s you would recognize many homages to, and a few outright swipes from, your excellent art and writing.

    Based on this post, it seems that all these years I've been mispronouncing it "Zune-iverse" or "Zoo-niverse", and it's actually supposed to be "Zoe-on-iverse"?

  2. Thank you Gareth, you've been pronouncing it right all along! lol

  3. @Fil Barlow

    Alright! Glad to hear that, because it sounds better and has more comic value with an "oo".