Deathscape began over twenty twenty years ago and has slowly evolved with time. While the core characters have been with me for decades, the dark and dreary atmosphere that you will come to know is a relatively new addition, which has its roots not in ancient gods and untold horrors, but a child’s comic and screwball comedy.
Deathscape does not have its roots in “funny animals” or “furries;” I didn’t learn about these concepts until well into its creation. Instead, its roots lie in the imagination of a lonely, troubled child. To pass the time, I would draw crude “horror” comics in Composition notebooks. Featuring little dialog and panels that took up entire pages, these “comic books” were inspired by harmless, cheesy B-movies–the kind with boring gore and acting so awful that even a child would find it more funny that scary. Despite the aimless plots and graphic violence these comics explored, no one saw any harm in them.
How they didn’t worry my teachers is beyond me.
I eventually slowed down on this style around 1994, when I began being treated for a more serious mental illness. Due to the difficulties in treating children, I found myself frequenting hospitals and residential homes. This meant I had long periods of time where I could not see my family, my friends, or my pets. To cope, I began drawing a corny panel comic on notebook paper, which I titled Batcat. This comic placed my pets–as normal animals–in situations that reminded me of home.
As I grew older and my hospitalizations became shorter and less frequent, I found myself drawing Batcat instead of my horror comics. This eventually changed into writing stories featuring the characters, which were now intelligent and living among people, although still very much four-legged cats. Eventually I began writing my first novel featuring the characters. This novel would feature a selection of Deathscape’s cast, notably Fiona, “Batcat” (who would later be renamed Devon Carter), Roderigo, Yvonne, Princess (which would eventually become her nickname instead), and Pepper. As time passed and new pets entered my life, they were given their own roles in the story as well. By that time, many of original cast’s namesakes had grown old and passed away.
This novel, which was titled The Submarine, would show a major transformation. With my characters no longer being pets, they would now wear clothes and behave more like people. Due to the need for them to interact with this new world, I gave them specialized tools and increased their size to make interacting with the human characters easier to swallow.
At some point during the writing of The Submarine, I dropped the focus on humor. Part of the reason was that–my love of humor aside–I had always felt the need to write darker, more serious stories, and the slapstick that had originally been the focus of The Submarine no longer fit the world I had in mind. There was also the second novel that I was working on alongside it, one that was much darker and veering more toward horror; this novel would be the first major step toward transforming my Batcat stories into Deathscape.
Eventually I gave up on The Submarine, instead diminishing it to a part of the saga’s backstory. The story I had in mind would undergo major changes, eventually shifting away from Christian-inspired themes and toward something decidedly more Lovecraftian. However, as the draft neared completion I began to realize there was a serious flaw: with over half my cast lacking hands, this made them unable to fend for themselves in this new world, and as such the focus was shifting away from these characters. For a while I considered dropping that angle and making them all human, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I decided to go to into the market with what I had.
That was a mistake. Through the recommendation of a well-meaning friend, I ended up giving the manuscript to a vanity press, who roped me into a hellish 7 year contract that I could not escape. Faced with the reality that this novel would not be going anywhere anytime soon, the idea crossed my mind to rework the story for later. I experimented with giving my feline characters weapons based on the technology introduced in The Submarine and gave them thumbs; however, I knew this wasn’t enough, so I placed the story on the back burner, only occasionally returning to it to work on the lore.
Around 2008, I was browsing a gaming forum when I came across a poster with an avatar featuring a style I’d never considered. The avatar featured a cartoon cat oogling over a shady merchant’s inventory. I realized that this gave me the perfect solution for my novel’s major flaw: instead of having giant but otherwise normal cat-like characters, I would make them more like transhumans, with a bipedal stance that would let them fight back on a more even footing. Thus, the Hybrid was born.
Over the next seven years, I obsessed over transforming my story into something new. Eventually I got the chance to buy back the rights to the book itself, but by then I was already working on its new concept. The characters with pet-like names were given new, human ones, and the world behind the story was slowly and painstakingly fleshed out. Finally, the transformation was complete–that goofy comic with my pets doing pet antics was now the Dark Fantasy/Cosmic Horror story hybrid known as The Revelation, and the saga as a whole was given a new moniker: The Deathscape Mythos.