Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lifeworks: Book Twelve

"Lifeworks" was intended to be the last of the twelve albums that I had planned. It was an origin story telling about how a scientist deconstructs his body into a cloud of living sub-matter and reforms it into the Zooniverse.

This highly symbolic cover was printed with a summary for part 2 of Lifeworks in 1994. Colored here for the 1st time (Click to Enlarge).

In 1993 fellow Australian cartoonist Gary Chaloner approached me to contribute to his publication Cyclone Comics Quarterly.  I had been trying to get a publisher interested in "Lifeworks" a few years earlier, so I jumped at the chance to have a deadline to work towards. A total of twenty pages were published in issues #3 and #4 in black and white, unfortunately Cyclone ran out of funds and I never had a chance to complete the story.

The Originie, the first child of the Zooniverse. Painted with gouache on board in 1994

Above is one of two covers that I prepared for Cyclone, unfortunately both were rejected, this image of the Originie has never been published. The Originie, the first Zoon, reappears in my first Zooniverse animation shown here on LoopDeLoop.

Story overview:
Lifeworks was tricky conceptually and I would write it differently today. It was intended as an analogy for my own creative relationship to the Zooniverse concept. The scientist in the future who turns his body into the living Zooniverse shares my name, and has successfully created a microscopic test Zoon from his own matter, called the Originie. Young, energetic the Originie is kept safe in a sphere hung around this future Fil Barlow's neck. The Originie has the ability to form his own playground inside the sphere from the same pre-matter that he is made from.

Based on a dream I once had, an assembly of virtual characters appear to witness the actual birth of the physical Zooniverse. The scientist Fil pulls his soul out of his body, which is able to form a face on a soul sensitive screen behind him to prove that he is still living (see top cover), his body is encased in a protective, computerized ball and stripped down to a sub atomic pre-matter, the soul re-enters this new etheric cloud to form it into what ever it desires.

The Originie safely inside his sphere, which is now inside the larger ball, realizes that a big change has happened to his father and gets so upset that the Zooniverse, being sensitive to extreme emotions, has no choice except to release him. Disaster strikes as the Originie is blinded by the piercing light of the proto-Zooniverse, and he runs screaming, his panic calcifies the pre-mater around him creating the Birthbone. The Zooniverse puts the Originie to sleep to save itself. Millions of paraspan pass before the Originie reawakens, horrified to find that he is blind, ancient and trapped by the calcified roots of the Birthbone.

A being called The Observant was created by the dreaming Originie to be his eyes upon awakening, but so many millennia have passed that there is no life left to observe in this ancient end of the Zooniverse. The Observant is now so old he can barely serve the Originie, but sets out to find some sentient being who can shed some light on the current state of the Zooniverse.

Zeroy marooned from page 14 of Lifeworks published in 1994

The Observant discovers Zeroy who has been marooned on an isolated planetoid. For the last eight paraspan Zeroy has been waiting for an event that opens up a wormhole allowing him to return to his own Nebulaxy.

... and here the published comic ends.

Zeroy bids farewell to the Kren Patrol this is the last time they are together and their last printed panel. Page 20 of Lifeworks published in 1994


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