The geekiary interview with Jenny-Toons, creator of our universe

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Image courtesy of Jenny-Toons

The genre of cosmic horror pits human existence against the universe. Human life seems nothing more than a stain when you consider the endless nooks and crannies and possibilities beyond our solar system. Even the oceans contain unknown life and phenomena. Jenny-Toons Webcomic Our universe shows the horror of knowing everything about a loved one.

Our universe, a comic book about a cosmic horror romance, revolves around Brenda and her partner Christina, from their first meeting until their wedding. Christina has stars in her eyes and refuses to reveal her real name. But Brenda wants to know everything about his wife. Jenny-Toons is very good at disentangling the consequences of Brenda’s decisions. As with cosmic horror in general, the webcomic does not use gore or shock value to get the point across. The “horror” of this story is the fact that we don’t know everything about our loved ones. Jenny-Toons shares her creative process and inspiration in creation Our universe.

Our universe by Jenny-Toons
Image courtesy of Jenny-Toons

The Geekiary: So glad you’re here! Let’s start by introducing yourself.

Jenny-Toons: Thank you for hosting me! I’m just a girl from Chicago who loves to tell stories. I’ve been working on comics since elementary school, but 2017 was the year I really got into web comics and decided to get serious. I really enjoy experimenting with genres and visual arts, although it always comes down to horror. I don’t know – it speaks to me, you know?

TG: Our universe has a fantastic premise, and I firmly believe you executed the story beautifully. I’m curious how this cosmic horror romance came to be for you. What is your creative process?

JT: Our universe started out as a short story.

I wanted to write about a woman with stars in her eyes and the romance she would experience. The short story portrayed a ‘summer romance’: but with more development, I decided to expand it into a comic book – and therefore make some long-term romance.

When I started comics, I didn’t have a script. I just had some character designs and a rough storyboard. In the eyes of my mind Our universe was going to be as short as the written story. But over time he developed bigger concepts, bigger themes, and I realized I needed to develop the root story a bit more. So after Season 1 ended, I took a hiatus and scripted for Seasons 2 and 3. I guess that’s why Season 1 is so short in comparison.

I will say it was a good learning process. From now on, I start all of my comic book ideas with scripts. I prefer 75% – 100% of the script done before starting on the panels. This gives me more room to create buffer pages for updating, and it’s good to refer to the notes.

Our universe by Jenny-Toons
Image courtesy of Jenny-Toons

TG: In Our universe, Brenda tries to find out everything about her partner, Christina, the star-gazing woman. Christina warns him not to do it, but of course Brenda does it anyway. History shows the consequences of knowing someone else’s secrets, even without their consent. In real life, we don’t know everyone and everything. Some people don’t mention their trauma, don’t talk about their family, or reveal certain things about themselves. Some of these people take their secrets to the grave. It is impossible to know everything about those we meet, know or love. In most cases, it’s best not to know. How did the character of Brenda develop for you?

JT: It’s such a good observation, and it’s one of the most important points I try to talk about. Because you’re right – we don’t know everything about the people we love, and we shouldn’t. People deserve their privacy, and we must respect that, even if we come from a place of love.

For Brenda, I wanted to contrast this idea of ​​“selfless love,” which we see a lot in love stories. The kind of love that doesn’t leave room to take care of yourself and care a little TOO MUCH about your partner – to the point where it’s overwhelming. “Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person with horrible intent. But it can be difficult to breathe in confidence and individualism. For Brenda, she wanted to know so much because she wanted to prove that she loved “Christina” regardless. She wanted to show that comic horror wouldn’t scare her away.

But in the process, she was almost killed, and we barely got to see them as people. Season 2 was really all about the relationship, rather than what they do on their own, and I wanted to make that point. Brenda was so focused on being good enough for her wife, she almost forgot that “Christina” already knew it: she never had to prove anything.

I feel like a lot of us look like Brenda.

Sometimes we go to great lengths for our loved ones because we care so much about them. But sometimes this care suffocates (for us and for them), and we forget to make room for separated people. Also, we might end up giving too much of ourselves and leaving little room for loving ourselves. That’s why I wanted to end with Brenda realizing that she didn’t need to know everything. She has to trust “Christina” to know that she loves him and just … appreciate what she has now.

Season 2 was all about relationship – but season 3 will be about individualism in relationships. I want to focus more on Brenda and Christina as people and what they like to do on their own.

Our universe by Jenny-Toons
Image courtesy of Jenny-Toons

TG: What are your books, TV shows, movies, etc. favorite? Everything that inspired Our universe?

JT: Many media from the 1980s (both direct and inspired) contributed to Our universe. For the horror aspect, I shot from two John Carpenter films The thing and Prince of Darkness. For the romance element, I listened to a lot of dream-pop (like Beach House and Men I Trust) and 80s new wave (like The Cars).

But overall, Our universe is a love letter to the following subgenres: folk horror, cosmic horror and gothic horror. When you dig deeper, they focus a lot on romance – how the pursuit of knowledge and obsession go hand in hand and can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

I also love how these subgenres show lust and desire in a way you don’t always see in romance. There’s a little more spirituality, and while most aren’t shown as romantic, I like how easily these depictions still fit into the romantic genre.

Our universe by Jenny-Toons
Image courtesy of Jenny-Toons

TG: Are you working or planning something other than Our universe?

JT: I currently have four other comics that I see between:

My demon Valentine: A romantic comedy between a woman and a demon.

With butterflies in her hair: A gothic horror centered on regret, obsession and the five stages of mourning after the murder of his wife by a man.

Juliet’s 24th birthday: A Bluebeard-inspired horror about a young woman discovering her new husband’s dark obsession.

Belief: A mythological thriller about a young warrior trying to save her people from a nameless God.

As you can see, I really enjoy working with horror and the supernatural. I think most (if not all) of my comics will delve into these aspects. All five comics can be read for free on Webtoon (although I post My demon Valentine and Our universe on Tapas)!

Our universe is available for reading on WebToon.

Webcomics that Jenny-Toons recommends:

Sword by Momojiji (Comedy / Fantasy)

Hidden charm through Merkuryart (Thriller / Supernatural)

Bropocalypse through ZAIF0N (Comedy / Post-apocalyptic)

Amunito by Hambonous (Fantasy / Action / Mystery)

Sister Jack through Mr Lang (Horror / Thriller)

For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics Archive! You can read more about the Black Creators and their work on The Geekiary here.

Author: Brahidaliz Martinez

Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) graduated in 2019 from the Masters program in Creative Writing at American University. They are a Submission Writer for Uncanny Magazine, a Queer SFF Book Database Volunteer, and an Intern for Entangled Publishing. Their diverse areas of interest include intersectionality in apocalyptic and disaster films, artificial intelligence, writing for animation, YA SFF, and LGBTQ + portrayal in children’s media.

Pronouns: he / they
Location: Metro DC
Twitter: @brahidaliz

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