History is a webcomic created by Andy Evans, Emily Allom and Steven Olden, and was first published online in the January of 2007. The storyline follows the lives of multiple characters in the comics Universe, (known by the community as the UJ-verse) as their seemingly separate lives draw them ever closer together, through events and plot twists until they all end up together. The comic is the main continuity and backbone of the UJ-verse, hosted on Ultima Java: Creative Media. The hosting site has been discontinued.
History and Development:History is the Reboot of the original Ultima-Java comic. After the disbanding of the original team of contributors, the comic was left without four of it's main characters. As such instead of trying to continue and pretend that the other character didn't exist, that comic was renamed Universe 2 and a new story was started.
The comic has been known by a few names over time which alluded to it's shifting and developing place in the UJ-verse as a whole. History was originally intended not as a series in it's self, but purely as a few chapters, briefly telling the story of the characters as they all came together, ready for what was going to be the main comic named Ultima-Java, this is why the comic was originally called Ultima-Java: History, or simply UJ: History. While development was in progress it was discovered that a lot of information could be weened from the years before the groups formation, and so the comic was developed more and more. It was decided towards the end of 2009 that the comic would drop Ultima-Java, and take on History as it's main title. At the moment the story lines for History, stretch on for over twenty story arcs, each containing at least three chapters. NOTE: These are stories that have been written and mostly scripted, but not yet produced in comic form.
The comic was originally being produced at a rate of one full colored page per week, with rare, minor issues delays from time to time. The update schedule then changed for an experiment, and 6 pages were being produced at the end of every month. The extended time between updates, although allowed for work to be produced at a more comfortable rate, also turned out to be too much time between updates to retain regular readers. From the end of 2008, there was a long running hiatus, due to personal issues with Andy Evans and Emily Allom. In January 2010 however, the comic went back into production and has been consistently updating every two weeks. The creators are aiming to produce at a much faster pace in the future.
In September of 2009, Kevin Gibson joined the creative team of History. The first chapter of the second story arc, (fourth chapter overall) is the first time that Kevin Gibson's contributions to History are published online, with the additions of characters and plot advisement.
Story arcs and Chapters:History is broken up into Story arcs that are made up of multiple chapters, which consist of 23 pages and a cover. This convention was instituted in 2008, however due to the long hiatus was never implemented. As of the first chapter of the second story arc, these changes have been implemented.
In The Beginning...
- Chp 1: First Step to a Thousand Miles - The three main characters first appear here.
- Chp 2: A Tip of a Quill - Focuses on the relationship between Stephanos and Queen Qeeko.
- Chp 3: A Deviant Cause - Puts Andy in the spotlight as he encounters the chapter's eponymous group. (In Progress)
The Winding Road
- Chp 1: Learning Curve - Things are starting to come together. Andy has joined the group from A Deviant Cause, while there are revelations about the Demon Lord who lords over Stephanos.
- Andy Frogman : Andy is a young man who while severely injured and in semi-conscious state, was brought to the village of Shimmerwood where he was taken in by a family. Upon waking up it was discovered his memory was black concerning the events previous to him waking up and how he suffered those grievous injuries. After a few years, Andy started to have nightmares of him fighting for his life, he finally came to realize that these nightmares were actually more than just bad dreams. Andy does not currently exhibit any majick, as all his abilities are enacted through the use of an item, like his Armoury Ring and his Keyglyph.
- Queen Qeeko Maya Ayoi: Queen Qeeko's back story has so far not been revealed as much as Andy's as the first Saga was mostly about Andy's back story. This second story arc, starting with Learning Curve is going to be focusing on Stephanos and Qeeko's relationship as well as delving into a little of their back stories. What is known about Qeeko is that she is a mortal, who has been made Lord of Chaos, something that she is finding hard to comprehend. The comics also seem to show that she is preparing for something, though it has not yet been revealed what. Qeeko has been seen to use lots of majick, including a balancing spell, a transformation spell, "Shadow Hands" and flight.
- Stephanos: Known by no other name than his first, Stephanos is a dark knight in the service of a Demon Lord. Though by UJ-verse class system this should define him as a Hell Knight, it does not appear that he has sold his soul to his master and does not exhibit any Hellish or demonic traits. Stephanos used a Dark Sabre, a Maji-tech item that conjures Darkness Majick and forges in to a Darkfire Blade. Stephanos has also been shown to use Arcane Majick, in his fight with the Angel.
There may be some confusion as to some of the terms that have been used in this article as well as the terms used in the comic. Though the comic has not directly referenced the differences in the Majick, Andy has constructed a cosmology chart, and explained the ways that Majick works in the UJ-verse.
"Majick is a very real and natural force in the UJ-verse. It's energy exists in non-physical planes of existence, beyond the Physical Threshold, and can be channeled to exist in the Physical UJ-verse." - Andy
- Majick is the term used to describe abilities that utilizes this external energy source. There are many varieties of Majick but this Troper doesn't fully understand all the details, and wouldn't want to overload the details either. Suffice to say there are many majick realms which have been laid out and explained. Methods of conjuring majick also seem to differ, sometimes it's a natural force of will, sometimes it has to be pre-prepared, and Word of God suggests that there are many other forms of majick conjuring that have yet to be explored.
- Elemental majick is drawn from the Elemental realm and allows the user access to Fire, Water, Wind, Rock, Ice, Lightning and Metal.
- Greater Elemental are the powers of Light and Darkness.
- Arcane is majick that has no specific attribute or element, including transformation spells, flight, teleportation and majick missiles.
- MIAO Majick In Appearence Only, or sometimes spelled as magic, are other powers or skills that do not utilize the external energies. These are instead the natural abilities of Psychic powers like Pyrokinesis, or skills of performance magicians that create tricks and illusions through slight of hand.
Tropes in History:
- Aerith and Bob: There are many situations of normal everyday life, which are in star contrast to the fantastical that is seen also.
- Deviant Cause starts in a normal everyday, Earth-like city, before cutting to the Corridor, and Majick based conduit between Human worlds.
- Animesque: History started off with a very anime style of artwork, but over time, a sense of westerization has been put in the comic, to try and produce a unique art style.
- Anti-Hero: Stephanos is probably the closest thing to an Anti-Hero in History. He has a no nonsence attitude in battle and has no qualms about killing, which is highly contrasting to Andy, who reveres all life even that of the series villains.
- Art Evolution: Over the years that History has been running, the quality of the artwork has been increasing gradually, but usually the significant changes that are developed gradually are implemented between chapters. This is plain to see in the flattening of the chins from First Step To A Thousand Miles to Tip Of A Quill", and the addition of hand drawn backgrounds in Learning Curve'' compared to modified photos from the previous chapters.
- Author Appeal: The creators over time have had a tendency to add something of themselves to their characters. The most predominant features are colours. Andy Frogman's fondness of Purple, comes from his creator Andy Evans, and the same goes for Queen Qeeko's fondness of blue coming from the characters creator Emily Allom.
- Author Avatar: All the characters that are in History were first and foremost characters that the authors used on online forums, long before the idea of History was even a spark of inspiration. Andy went by the name Frogman on an old sprite forum, while Emily and Steve went by the name Queen Qeeko and Stephanos respectively, on NPF and continued o use those characters on the RP and sprite comic forum Slightly Out of Order. After the creation of the UJ-verse based comics, the character have progressively developed to differ from their real life counterparts. This major split is the difference between the UJ-verse versions and the Forumverse' versions of the same characters. The Universe 2'' versions however were created to continue the story of what happened to the members after Slightly Out of Order disbanded, these character versions inured no further development.
- Battle Aura: From where the effects in History start to increase in quality, there have been a few Battle Auras. The way Majick works in the UJ-verse, an aura is not always present, except for when spells are being charged or if they require a lot of energy to cast.
- Andy has a power within himself that shows as a purple Aura around his swords when fighting.
- Though Qeeko herself has not been shown to glow when she is casting majick, however what she touches does tend to glow blue.
- Miso is seen in A Deviant Cause to have a green glow when healing.
- Zhan is first seen in A Deviant Cause with blue flaming aura, however as the effects improved in Learning Curve, he has has a frosty misty aura when he's charging his Cryomancy.
- BFS: Andy Frogman is shown to wield a few of these.
- Catapult Nightmare: The Whole History comic STARTS with one of these!
- Character Development: The whole point of History is the development of the characters and the emphasis of characterizations over other story telling elements.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Andy Frogman's powers are based on training his inner Warriors Spirit. (Although this has yet to be properly explained in the comic it's clear from the other versions of the character)
- Chekhov's Gunman: "But I'm not going to tell you who exactly :P" - Andy
- Cheeky Mouth: Having it's roots in Anime, History does still conform to this style of "cheap artistry".
- The Chessmaster: There is an underlying power at work in the comics. "I'll let you all figure it out though!" - Andy In a more literal sense, Stephanos IS a Chess Master.
- Chosen One: Queen Qeeko is the Lord of Chaos, she is a mortal that has been chosen to bear the burden of the Balance. Stephanos is chosen by Qeeko, to be her Herald.
- Continuity Reboot: After the change of Creative Team members the story was restarted, the original script is also available under the header of Universe 2. (This is not an example of Multiverse)
- Webcomics Multiverses or AlternateContinuity: There was originally a UJ Multiverse, but this has since been removed, however the pre reboot continuity comic is still hosted and titles Universe 2, and the Fancreated continuity on the forum is refered to as the Forumverse, these are not considered by the Authors as an actual Multiverse, although it is conceded that they are alternative continuities, that use the same, or similar characters.
- Determinator: Andy... enough said.
- Deus ex Machina: Some critics believe that the very start of the History story is riddled with Deus Ex Machina, but Andy has frequently pointed out that the comic is in slow development, and the production rates are slower than many others, and just because the topic has no been approached thus far, does not mean that an event randomly appears, does it's job and is never mentioned again. Andy's nightmare at the start of First Step To a Thousand Miles seems to cop the most flack with this, but just because a character is only shown having the most recent nightmare, that opens up his eyes to discover that they are memories, does not mean that it was a one off event, and the comic goes on to say that he has had these dreams before. Though their significance is not yet fully realized, they are shown to be important when it is revealed that Jacob also has these dreams.
- Discontinuity Nod: Andy Frogman is shown in his dream at the beginning of First Step To A Thousand Miles wearing the costume from Universe 2. This was done purely as a nod to things that had past, this costume will never be seen again.
- Elemental Powers: Zhan uses the Element of Ice, in the U Jverse the Elemental Majicks are, Fire Water, Wind, Rock, Ice, Lightning, Metal, and the Greater Elements are Light and Darkness.
- Fan Nickname: The Angel in ''The First Step to A Thousand Miles, has never been named and never referred to as anything more than an Angel, however, the belief came about that he was some kind of Archangel and from that the Nickname "Archie" was coined. The name has stuck in the fandom, despite only appearing in a few pages of the first chapter.
- Fanon: Despite no direct Fan Fiction or Fanon for History, Andy is always there to encourage fan works of the UJ-verse, even to the extent where there is a section of the Forum called the Forumverse, which is a Universe, that for all intents and purpose is considered by the creators as canon. The Forumverse has a successful comic run called Komewnitees, where members of the forum, take turns to write stories in the Forumverse, with no long term commitment and no screening process keeping members out. So long as you are a Forum member and comply to some of the basic rules you may create your own part of the Forumverse as you see fit.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Andy has a Good Guy scar running across his chest, from his left shoulder to under his right side.
- An Ice Person: Zhan is a cryomancer and thus uses Ice Majick.
- Functional Magic: As defined by the Word of God on the forums, there is a set cosmology that has been planned out which explains fully how Majick works and it's effects in the UJ-verse. However the Cosmology does leave room for the effects of other Non-Majick, but majick-in-appearance-only, referred to by the acronym MIAO (said Meow).
- Nameless Narrative: The nameless Angel from First Step To a Thousand Miles
- Non-Lethal Warfare: Andy does not approve of lethal force, though he seems to be the only one with this point of view.
- Only One Name: Stephanos does not have a sirname.
- Open the Iris: The characters are based initially off an anime style, the tend to only have irises and no pupils.
- Order Versus Chaos: Not so much Order Vs Chaos, but certainly examples of both
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Many many plans have been spoken of that have yet to come to fruition.
- Word of God: A number of things concerning the background of the UJ-verse and some of the characters have been revealed on the Forum by the creators.