Q: What is this?
The Ceaseless Fables of Beyonding© is a full-page, full-color fantasy comic strip established by cartoonist and zine veteran Matty Boy Anderson (me). It appeared weekly online from 2009 to 2017, then began again in 2020 after a hiatus. It features literally hundreds of characters in a never-ending story-line that readers can pick up anywhere.
In our current times, comic books, cartoon characters and fantasy-based movies are all co-opted by media conglomerates and exploited as corporate propaganda. In a few short years, I have witnessed the despoiling of practically every intellectual property that brought me joy and inspiration as a young man. If a character or concept cannot function as a mannequin for a company’s opportunist social agenda, it must then be subverted through intentional sabotage, under the trendy facade of “social justice”.
Movies bomb, comic books are cancelled, television shows go off the air, and even though this has happened before, no one figures it out until it’s too late. The assassins of beloved franchises are always heralded by the media as saviors, instead of the raiders and deviant hypocrites they are.
In five short years I saw the once-mighty Star Wars universe castrated and tamed to better appeal to “wine moms” and grown men who play with plastic pastel ponies. I’ve seen Marvel properties like Iron Man and Spider-Man mangled by debased editorial decisions that ushered sexual assault, racial grievance, gender dysphoria and Middle Eastern dogma into material whose true purpose is to inspire young people.
I created CFB because I wanted to inspire people in the same way that I have been inspired. I wanted to create epic tales in an intriguing fantasy environment full of mystery and adventure, with noble heroes and conniving villains, free of corporate tampering and the never-ending faultfinding of social media. I use my own obscurity to my advantage; I never intended the imprint to turn a profit. I continue the strip not to make money, but to make up for what has been lost.
And as far as “making money” goes; think of any entertainment franchise you loved as a young person, particularly if you still love it. Any show, movie, comic book or toy of which you have the earliest and fondest memories.
You didn’t have to pay for it. Odds are, someone who cared about you did.
That’s the crucial ingredient that endures, and that money can’t buy. That’s why so many of us held on to Star Wars for so long. It wasn’t just special for what it was, it was special because it was introduced to us by someone who cared. In the best-case scenario, we were introduced to Star Wars in the happiest of times; birthday parties, holidays, etc., for nothing, by one or more loved ones. Who, by the way, weren’t slavering fanatics of the saga. They did it because they thought we would like it.
Subconsciously, we all judge material possessions based upon whether they were paid for with hard-earned cash, or gifted to us. Think of a favorite movie you paid to see in a theater, and another favorite you discovered without paying for it. There could be a dozen explanations for how you saw it for free; edited for television, your family’s cable subscription, de-scrambled, a tape as a gift; all more personal than sitting in a movie theater. See the difference?
Q: What does “Genuine Guaranteed Labor-Of-Love” mean?
I have been supplying the world with a free page of CFB every Sunday for over 450 pages. I charge for collections in order to support myself and cover the printing costs and postage. You do not have to be a Patron Saint or pay to view the weekly strip. If I allowed income or market trends to affect the strip’s production, it would have poisoned the strip to death within six months. If the vagaries of crowdfunding have improved the comic strip medium in any way, it’s news to me. I’ve only been a professional cartoonist for thirty years though, so take that as you will.
There is no other way to do this properly. You have to care about the property whether it makes money or not. When you treat a piece of your creative life like a cash cow, you kill it, unless you’re emotionally unattached to it, and people can smell that like shit on a shoe. If you don’t care, neither will anyone else.
What you see here is the result of decades of loving an idea enough to stick by it. The roots of it go back to my childhood. Everything I know as a creator has gone into it. In my heart, I know that just about anyone who reads it will enjoy it. Those who really enjoy it will share it with their friends and loved ones. There are spiritual rewards to being an artist that go beyond remuneration.
Why do you think Tolkein created Middle-Earth? For a paycheck?
Q: I’m a parent/guardian. How can I be sure this is suitable for my children?
Because I give you my word, plain and simple. No entity other than myself bears responsibility for this material. No one pays me to do this, and no one is paid to edit or publish it. Nothing but my reputation as an artist and creator is at risk here.
If you’d prefer to play it safe, the suggested minimum reader age is 13. In my informed professional opinion, absolutely nothing in this comic strip is unsuitable for young adults.
Q: What about the dirty words I saw in the strip?
In the world of the Beyonding, using “curse words” causes halitosis so extreme that it drives others away, and attracts terrible creatures (unless you are a unicorn). As this is a integral plot device, censoring the language would make the strip nonsensical. This was done purposefully, for a number of reasons.
- To make readers conscious of the language utilized.
- To weed out the weak-minded and presumptuous people.
- To make the strip “uncensorable” by nature.
- To give the curse words their original impact. Even the lesser ones.
There are probably fewer than ten pages of CFB containing profanity. However, because of the manner in which profanity is used, there exists the suggestion that it might be used again, which restores the power of the words themselves. At any given moment someone might swear, and thus face the consequences for doing so, increasing the dramatic tension of the story and shaking up the power structure of the characters in play.
We live in a harsh reality wherein people of every age use profanity in public. The fantasy world of the Beyonding is affected by this, because its core element is the residue of human imagination and dreams. A million human beings on Earth experiencing cultural tragedy at once can cause evil and catastrophe to run amok in the Beyonding.
I am a 1st Amendment Absolutist. I refuse to accommodate anyone who falsely claims that words can “hurt” or “harm”, or tailor my work to suit their purported desires. The notion that words can be harmful is anathema to the human spirit. Creators who self-censor, pander, or apologize for their previous efforts have no place in any creative endeavor. They demonstrate an innate lack of confidence in their ideas, by eagerly changing or formatting them to suit social or political whims.
[TL;DR] I have nothing but contempt and animosity for “political correctness”. The following modern gambits will appear in CFB over my dead body.
- Arbitrary swapping of a character’s race or gender to accommodate someone’s “inclusion” agenda.
- Killing off any character to gin up controversy, recognition, or “sales”.
- Depiction/discussion of any sexual preference or activity. (“Fantasy” does not indicate “sex fantasy”.)
- Rape, molestation, or the insinuation of same, for any purpose.
Over the last two decades, every one of the abhorrent practices listed above has been utilized in comic books traditionally intended for children. In hindsight these methods have done nothing but wreck venerable franchises and alienate readers. The only legitimate reason for using them is to conceal a total absence of talent and skill. Editorial guidance, standards & practices; these things have sunk so deeply into the sewer during the 21st century that they resemble internal sabotage.
Thus, good comics don’t sell. In order to produce good comics, I removed sales from the equation and present them to you gratis. I do this because of my love for comics, their format, and my readers. Sales are no barometer for quality. I do this because I love doing it.
Thank you for your time. Sincerely, I hope you enjoy the strip and its world.
This is for you.