On March 16, 2002 I had my first foray onto the web with Nervillsaga, a fantasy/comedy webcomic that followed the misadventures of Nervill, a bumbling medieval hero and his band of cohorts: Elionas the effeminate elf, Turgin the grouchy dwarf, Sir Brettlefort the aging narcoleptic knight and Reejik the goblin manservant. Nervill was a fellow unfortunate enough to be the victim of many rolling boulders and swinging traps in the margins of my high school notebook, and during my unfortunate days as a call center employee I decided it was time to be rich and famous, created him some companions, and put him on the world wide web with what wasn’t my first website, but the first of note and effort.
Granted, with tables. Lots of tables. And font tags. And inline styles.
I was, I’d like to note, figuring this out from scratch.
Somewhere along the way, the burden of working in retail (I’d been sacked from the call center) made the comic feel like too much effort, and it quietly went to sleep with an unfinished storyline on July 04, 2006. Less than a year later I’d forgotten to keep the domain paid for and the site simply vanished, and as far as I knew, with most of the comic strips with it. Despite my retiring of the material, I’d always felt regret at letting it disappear into the void. From time to time I’ve gotten emails from old fans wondering where they could find it, and sadly would poke around old backup CDs to no avail.
Today, by coincidence, I’d noticed a folder on my host labeled “archive” that I’d not noticed before. Inside it was every strip I’d done for Nervillsaga, all 677 of them in their clunky, old glory! I’d been sitting on them this whole time! I don’t think I can describe the sensation of finding them. There’s the sheer euphoria of uncovering what I thought was a lost part of my life, blowing the metaphorical dust off as I pulled each image up after downloading them all to the safety of my hard drive. There’s the embarrassment at the clunky art style and off-tune humor. There’s the pride in the size of the comic, with 677 strips. There’s the shame of having ever stopped.
The comic was drawn with ballpoint pens on white printer paper. Each character and background object was separately drawn. I’d scan them all to my computer, fire up Photoshop 6 and then proceed to try to clean-up the lines of the pen (to varying levels of success) before adding in color. It was my first bumbling experience with Photoshop in any capacity, and the associated website was a coding tragedy that showed my complete lack of awareness of these whole “web standards” things that I obsess over these days.
The domain’s long since gone away, and been claimed (apparently) by a Chinese spam blog. But I’ve created a new domain and placed all the comics up there for the world again. You can check it out here, from the first strip, if you’re so inclined. No offense taken if you’re not. I’ve put it back online for myself.
Read it from the first comic right here.
I never felt good about leaving Nervill behind. I’m going to fit the comic back into my schedule, and pick up his adventures where they left off. I don’t have the time to do it daily anymore, but even at a leisurely pace he’ll live on.
P.S. Thanks to Stephen Kennneally, an old fan who emailed me six months back asking about Nervillsaga and sharing his fondness for it. I’m glad I could find the comic for you to read again, Stephen. Enjoy.