Some stories you write. You chase after them, wrestle them to the ground, bleed and sweat as you knit words together, and walk away only after all the fight has gone out of them. Other stories happen to you. Pitsberg is one of those.
A chance sighting on the street, a dream that still resonated in the morning, words scribbled here and there, and a steady cascade of ideas that rained down on me from nowhere…that’s where Pitsberg came from. Over four years, I learned to trust in lucky accidents and dutifully write them all down. Whenever I tried to force something into the flow, it inevitably felt artificial and it dissolved away. Only the pieces that arrived on their own turned out to be genuine.
Lines of dialogue, character names and backstories, color theory, and even the non-traditional format of the story itself were like gifts laid out in my path. When I picked one up and suddenly recognized it as the lynchpin to a dozen other ideas, it was alarming to realize that I might have missed it – along with who knows how many other lynchpins. But after a while, it became apparent that they were all just waiting to be discovered.
Other than fitting firmly into my favorite category (science fiction), Pitsberg is unlike any of my previous stories. A female-driven mystery for mature readers with scientific, political, sociological, economic, environmental, and even religious themes. Allegory and fantasy woven together in ways that I’d never considered before. I didn’t chase after it. Like I said, it happened to me.
There was also a string of luck that brought some terrific collaborators into the mix, all of whom told me on separate occasions that Pitsberg was so unique and different that it provided a break from their usual work. In other words, it happened to them, too.
As the map on the home page hopefully makes clear, this story consists of three separate narratives: video chapters, webcomic chapters, and Fallen Heroes. They weave into one another in very specific and deliberate ways that become clearer as they advance. This was another idea that seemed to arrive from nowhere; I’d already decided to leave behind the world of paper publishing (and all its inherent compromises) to explore the freedoms granted by an online environment. The result is a story that cannot be contained on paper and converted to profit.
It took a measure of financial freedom to make that possible, but that freedom does not extend to advertising. This is where you come in. Now that Pitsberg is happening to you, too, I’ll be very grateful if you can spread the word and help it happen to others.
– Tim Eldred, March 2016
JOHNNY CERAVOLO is a musician and vocalist who has performed with When in Rome II and on many of his own projects. Find his work on Soundcloud.
ALESSIA MATERA painted the opening sequence of the first webcomic chapter. An aspiring artist in the animation industry, this is her first published work. Visit her website here.
BETSY GOLDEN is a comic book editor-turned-colorist who graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design. See more of her work here.
JEFF STARLING is an illustrator and designer working in the animation industry. His contribution to Pitsberg was to build CG models of the hardware so the artwork could actually be finished in this century.
THOMAS PERKINS is an Emmy-winning illustrator and designer working in the animation industry. He designed all of the characters in Fallen Heroes and more of his work can be found here: Blogspot, Tumblr, Official website.
JESSIE CUFFE is a comics/animation artist who contributed the character art to the Fallen Heroes chapters. Find more of her work at her website here.
CHRIS NORTHROP is a colorist, letterer, and writer at various comic publishers including Boom! Studios, Top Cow Productions, and Image Comics. His first original graphic novel, The Reason for Dragons was nominated for a Harvey Award in 2013. He can be found at Legendary Digital Networks working for Geek And Sundry and Dark Horse Comics on Critical Role: Origins.
AARON JOHNSON is an artist, colorist, musician and producer. Along with creating concept art and designs for video games and indie publishers, he operates in a brand new recording studio with his brother and friends in Van Nuys, California. Find his music on Soundcloud and his art portfolio on Instagram.
Special thanks to Thomas Kercheval and Lindsey Myers-Pearson