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Ask the Famous 8!note  is a Thomas & Friends Fan Webcomic by sleepyhenry.

This comic is told through an Alternate Universe Character Blog run by Percy. It shows some of the shenanigans that the Famous 8 deal with on a regular basis, as well as dive into their backstories.

The Tumblr page can be read here.

Ask the Famous 8! provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Gordon's father, Gordon I, was openly abusive to him and blamed him for his mother's death.
    • James' parents never approved of him being transgender, and they always suppressed his attempts to "act tomboyish".
    • Bill and Ben's foster parents never accepted that Bill was a transgender male, and their foster father resorted to molesting Bill in an effort to "prove" that he was female. It's also heavily implied that said foster father is a pedophile.
  • Adaptational Diversity: A given, since the engines are now humans. The majority of the cast, including the titular "Famous 8", are of non-white minorities, with a few being mixed-race. In addition to this, there are multiple LGBTQ+ characters, including seven of the Famous 8. The original books and television series this is based on did not feature any of these, being written at a time when such were considered taboo, and sleepyhenry decided to include these changes to reflect the diversity of the modern world.
  • Adaptational Gender Identity:
    • Thomas is nonbinary and uses "he/they" pronouns.
    • Henry is genderfluid and uses "he/him" pronouns.
    • Gordon is nonbinary.
    • James is a transgender man.
    • Percy is a nonbinary transgender boy.
    • Duck is bigender and uses "he/him" pronouns.
    • Bill is a transgender boy.
    • Douglas is agender and goes by "he/him" pronouns.
    • Ferdinand is agender.
    • Murdoch is a masculine agender person.
    • Bash and Dash are both transgender girls.
    • Daisy is a transgender woman.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Not that the source material had any romantic relationships between the engines to begin with, but each character has a distinct sexuality.
    • Thomas is bisexual.
    • Edward is gay.
    • Henry is gay.
    • Gordon is bisexual, but he had to hide his attraction to men for most of his life before he started dating Henry.
    • James is gay.
    • Percy is pansexual.
    • Bill and Ben are both grey-pan ace.
    • Donald is bisexual, while his twin brother Douglas is gay.
    • Rebecca is lesbian.
    • Lady is lesbian.
  • Rosie's and Millie's orientations are not specified, but they are attracted to women, as they're both in a relationship with each other.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Percy's legal name is "Claire". No one knows about this in-universe, however.
    • Toby's first name is "Tobias".
  • Age-Gap Romance: Downplayed with Edward (44) and James (34).
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the information can be found on either the Tumblr page or the Wiki.
  • Alternate Universe: One where everyone is humanized.
  • Author Appeal: The reason why Henry and Gordon are one of the prominent couples is because sleepyhenry personally ships them together even before she started the blog.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Downplayed with Percy. While he may be the youngest of the Famous 8, at 15, he can handle volunteering to deliver the mail, while also pulling the mail train with Thomas.
  • Berserk Button: Do not ask about The Wiggles on the blog. At all.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Seven of the Famous 8 are LGBTQ+ in some way, with six not being on the gender binary. There are also multiple LGBTQ+ side characters.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: No two characters look alike, except for those who are identical twins (Donald and Douglas, Bash and Dash).
  • Character Blog: Thomas, Gordon, Henry, James, Bill and Ben have their own Twitter accounts.
  • Closet Gay: Gordon had to hide his attraction to men throughout much of his life due to his family's aristocratic status. It wasn't until he started dating Henry that he began to feel comfortable with his sexuality.
  • Comic-Book Time: Despite the comic reflecting the passage of time in the real world, no one seems to be getting any older. Thomas, for example, hasn't aged up any more than 17 years old.
  • Composite Character: Daisy and BoCo are the same person in this AU, with "BoCo" being a nickname for Daisy's pre-transition self.
  • Cool Old Guy: Toby. He's the oldest of the Famous 8, at 72, with no intention of retiring.
  • Death by Childbirth: Gordon's mother, Lily Lu, died while giving birth to him.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation:
    • Thomas is an amputee in his right handnote , and he has ADHD and PTSD.
    • Edward is missing the last two fingers of his right hand and is farsighted, and has bipolar disorder, social anxiety, and PTSD.
    • Henry has asthma and hemophilia, and he has general anxiety disorder, hypochondria, depression, schizophrenia, and PTSD.
    • Gordon is on the autism spectrum, has severe burns and hypertension, and has depression and PTSD.
    • James is partially deaf in his left earnote  and nearsighted, and has borderline personality disorder and ADHD.
    • Percy is on the autism spectrum, and he has general anxiety disorder and auditory processing disorder.
    • Toby is colorblind and has general anxiety disorder.
    • Duck is on the autism spectrum and has social anxiety disorder.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Percy looks rather feminine compared to his peers, as he has long hair which he sometimes ties into a bun and a noticeable bust. Justified, as he is transgender and currently in the process of transitioning.note 
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Many of the older posts were drawn in a more cartoony style instead of the realistic style of the current posts. In addition, Thomas was Caucasian, and Toby's design was not finalized when sleepyhenry started the blog.
  • Foster Kid:
    • Thomas was orphaned at the age of six, when his parents were killed in a car accident. From there, he was taken in the care of his closest living relatives, his distant aunts Annie and Clarabel Clementine. Though they loved him deeply, they were ultimately unprepared to raise a child, so they put him in the Shining Time care center on Sodor.
    • Percy was abandoned on a doorstep by his mother, who did not feel ready to raise a child just yet. From there, he was taken to a hospital until he no longer needed constant care, and he was soon sent to the Shining Time care center.
  • Gold Digger: Gender inverted and double subverted with Gordon I. He originally married in order to expand his own wealth, but he changed his mind after he began feeling unconditional love for a Chinese woman, Lily Lu. After Lily's death giving birth to his son Gordon II, he reverted back to his old ways. At present, he is married to Lady Carmine Redferne, who hails from an even wealthier family, and has faint connections to The British Royal Family.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Thomas and Percy are adoptive brothers, but they're extremely close to each other.
  • Lethal Chef: Thomas. He nearly burns the kitchen down in one ask.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Each of the characters are given last names, when they had none in Thomas and Friends: Thomas' is Vaishnavi, Edward's is Rosemore, Henry's is Ly-Fiorenza, Gordon's is Featherstone-Redferne II, James' is Alvarez, Percy's is Ferris, and Tobias' is Smith.
  • Official Couple: Several throughout the series, with a few notable examples. Toby and Henrietta are Happily Married, Edward and James are in a committed relationship (as are Thomas and Ryan), and Gordon and Henry became engaged as of New Year's Day 2021.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Cranky is only referred to by that name. No one In-Universe knows his real name.
  • Original Character: Gaylen Lovell-Featherstone, Gordon's younger half-sibling, and Lady Carmine Redferne, Gordon's stepmother.
  • Race Lift:
    • To name the Famous 8 themselves: Thomas and Edward are British Indian, Henry is of mixed race (Armenian Italian-Vietnamese), Gordon is British-Chinese, James is Latino-Spanish, Percy is Ethiopian, Toby is British African-Israeli, and Duck is German-British.
    • To list the side characters: Donald and Douglas are Afro-British, and Bash, Dash, and Ferdinand are of mixed ancestry (Japanese-African-Caucasian-Jewish).
  • Related in the Adaptation: Ferdinand is Bash and Dash's older brother in this Alternate Universe.
  • Running Gag: Even though asking about The Wiggles is strictly discouraged on the blog, people still ask about it, much to Percy's dismay.
  • Shout-Out: The childcare home that Thomas and Percy are sent to is called "Shining Time".
  • Youthful Freckles: Percy has these. They're less noticeable with his dark skin, however.