The Secret Origins of the Cross Time Cafe!
It started with a hug...
Once upon a time, in the the FreeFall
forum, a forumite called Mlle. Miaou asked people to post Hug
pictures to celebrate love and affection. Pictures were
of loving couples: Mlle. Miaou and Dark Ferret, White Pony and Florence
Ambrose. (note: some images in the thread are no longer
available). However, the course of true love never runs smoothly,
especially in the FreeFall forum. Mark Stanley, creator of
FreeFall, was challenged by
Hortmage, the Magic Gardener (another forumite) to draw a hug picture
of Sam Starfall, a squidlike alien. The forum decided that
Hortmage was asking for a face hug from Sam, an idea firmly rejected by
Hortmage. The thread went on to love poems, and the face hug was
forgotten. Or that's what everyone thought...
...And it became a joke...
Months later, the "Cross Time Cafe" was planned as a six-part
series, by Mark
Stanley, Scott Kellogg, and White Pony, and posted in the FreeFall
forum. The goal was to bring Sam and Hortmage together for the
long-promised face hug. So the 'Cross Time Cafe' was created, a
place where webcomics characters and forum avatars could get together
and socialize, without affecting the storylines of their own
strips. Hortmage did receive his face hug, and his daughter was
there to tell her mom (which is another story).
...Then it got weird ....
Of course, having given Florence and White Pony a place to play, the
ideas and the strips didn't stop there. White Pony started
hosting the strips on his own web site, White Pony Productions..
Scott Kellogg added some drawings of his own. The three artists
had created a sandbox where they could be silly without affecting their
real stories, and took full advantage; the forumites dove in joyously
started posting their own filks of the CTC strips. Bill Redfern
party, adding Mzzkiti from Freighter
Tales to the cast.
...Then it got weird ...
The Cross Time Cafe moved into the Construction Period. Robots from
FreeFall came in to begin remodeling the site, with their own
attitudes, tools, and rotten puns. With occasional breaks for
holidays, painting and inspections were completed. A side jaunt
into the world of 21st Century Fox and Carry On
began, as Kathy Garrison joined the artist pool and Kathy Grrson
joined the cast, Side jaunts for conventions and hurricanes
diverted the artists from the storyline for a time, then the focus
returned to the CTC as the cast members began to work together (more or
less) to open the Cross Time Cafe for business. Of course,
nothing is straightforward where Mzzkiti is involved.
...Then it got weird ...
The Cross Time Cafe has continued on its unpredictable way, adding more
artists (Roy Calbeck, The Feychild of Stick Figure Dragons,
and Eric Nault of Hellbound),
a new major character KY, forumites becoming employees,
caverns, lakes, surgery, more cameos, and the magic of unicorn
boogers. Story arcs intertwine, blossom, and vanish
the artists pursue the goal of maximum fun. And the hugs, jokes,
and weird continue apace.
The Philosophy of the Cross Time
The Cross Time Cafe artists' collective was described by Kathy Garrison
The reality of CTC is that several
who started out as colleagues and ended up as friends began
contributing cartoons which built on a single idea--what if there was a
place at the nexus of everyone's comic worlds where their characters
could interact without messing up the established plots of their own
strips. Additionally, the artists
of the CTC have tacit permission to draw and use each other's
characters, so long as they don't do anything very outrageous to
them/with them. So far it's been pretty productive and fun, mainly
because we're nice people who respect each other's talents and
For the CTC fans, it has been described as :
It's kind of like watching a bunch of artists
standing around a big drawing board giggling, and one of them grabs a
pen and says, "wait, wait, I got one, this is great, hold my beer and
The show goes on. Pull up a barstool, order a cafe mocha, and
2/15/07 Sleepy John