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FURRBALL EXPLAINS HIMSELF!


As I tend to get older (as we all do sometimes), it occurred to me that as of yet, I still haven't offered a satisfactory explanation for any of my crimes against the printed word (aka, my fanfics). Well, now is as good a time as any; so here, as best as I can recall, is the key B.S., in more or less chronological order...

NOTE: As of February 4, 2000, most of these stories have now been updated to Version 1.1!

#1:"Gone With The Whim"
(1991, rewritten 1996. First published Nov. 15, 1996)


This was the very first TTA Fanfic I ever wrote, although at the time, I didn't know there was such a genre. I was inspired by what Renee Carter and her friends had pulled off with "B&BGH", and thought, 'Hey, if they could do it, what's stopping me?' The Plucky vs. Fifi pairing seemed like a natural at the time. Still does. I submitted the original version to Tiny Toon Adventures Magazine, but it never got published (although the sketch of Dizzy on the envelope did wind up in the last issue!). Unfortunately, that version, and a small handful of stories I wrote immediately afterwards (hereafter referred to as "The Lost Stories") were trashed in a storage mishap, never to be recovered. What amazes me is the fact that I was able to actually reconstruct this one almost word for word strictly from memory! If for that, and the fact that this one reads the most like a TTA episode, GWTW remains the TTAFF I'm proudest of. So far.
#2: "A (slightly) Monumental Decision..."
(8/18/1996. FP: Oct. 15, 1996)


Speaking of The Lost Stories, in one of them (unfinished division), I'd toyed with the idea of the unexpected transferring of Rhubella Rat from Perfecto Prep to Acme Loo, but I couldn't think of a good reason for her being there at the time (probably why it remained unfinished). Before writing this one, I'd skimmed through what little TTAFF there was, and was surprised to discover that Ruby wasn't in any of them! So (except for the fact that Hudson Duck's "Bunnyfeld: The Video Mix-Up", in which she has a small cameo, was published at the exact same time) you could say that I was the guy that introduced the Rat Babe into TTAFF. I'm not sure anymore what sparked the idea of her home situation (or even naming her mom and sister Rhonda and Roberta, unless it was a cartoon convention), but I do remember the "Miniature Goof" short, where Buster pulled the Bogart gag and Ruby went all... I don't know what term I'm looking for here... "gooey", perhaps... but I did know that any girl who went crazy over Bogey like that couldn't be all bad. Which brings us right to...
#3: "Is Breaking Up All THAT Hard To Do?"
(10/1/1996. FP: Oct. 15, 1996)


If Ruby and Roddy are any example, the answer is, 'Not really, no.' This one was inspired by a comment from Kevin Mickel (as is explained in the story's intro), so no further comment is needed, save for the fact that it's probably the only TTAFF I've ever written in what can only be termed "short order". Incidentally, to set the record straight, which I probably should do (and here seems as good a place as any): The Ruby stories all take place in one year (1996-97), and while, timewise, they follow the events in Kevin's B&B Trilogy, they're not necessarily inspired by them. It just seemed natural to me that Buster & Babs would, at age 19, be married by then. (Let's see... B&B were 14 in 1990, and since I'm assuming that Roddy & Ruby were the same age... then for all intents and purposes, R&R also being 19 in these stories... yeah, they take place in 1996-97. You can put away your calculators now...)
#4: "Once Around The Writer's Block..."
(11/30/1996. FP: Dec. 15, 1996)


I seem to remember initiating a rather lively conversation on the list about how to deal with writer's block, which I was suffering for the longest time after finishing "Breaking Up". Except for revising some earlier stuff, I was going through two whole months where I just couldn't think of anything new to write! And then, one day, I grabbed my trusty notebook (this was before I got a computer) and jotted down, "Buster Bunny". And believe it or not, that did it! The rest of the story just flowed from that point on. I can tell you, it felt great! As for the "Acme Mega Jolt Coffee" reference? You remember that story, "Buster Loves... Elmyra?"? I was trying to rememeber the name of the coffee in that story, but in the end I couldn't, so I had to go with a variation of... whatever it was called.
#5: "Hoops Du Jour (The Return Of Mary Melody (8/2 - 11/3/96); Whatever Happened To Rhubella Rat?; Revenge IS Sweet... (8/12 - 12/9/96)"

Was this one story masquerading as three, or vice versa? To this day, I'm still not sure. The specifics of this one are, for the moment, lost in time, I'm afraid. Sorry. All I know is, I had to get around to Ruby's first day at Acme Loo somehow. Whether this was as good as any remains to be seen. Some details, however trifling, do stand out, such as: Part 1 marked the beginning of, for me at least, what could have been a dangerous precedent, namely, borrowing other authors' original characters (Thank goodness it worked!). Also, remembering her two scenes in HISMV, I decided to give Mary glasses. Part 1 was also where I first employed an even more dangerous conceit, throwing references to my own personal musical tastes into the mix just for fun (in this case, Terry Taylor, who's not only the lead singer/ songwriter of alternative Christian rock band Daniel Amos [as well as The Swirling Eddies, and one-fourth of Lost Dogs], but the guy behind the music for Doug TenNaPel's video games (The Neverhood, Skull Monkeys and Boombots), as well as the theme for "Project GeeKeR" [so there IS an animation tie-in]). Part 2 was where I finally introduced Rhonda Rat, the voice of love, reason and sanity in Ruby's otherwise loco world. And Part 3 was where I introduced, for the first time, RuBarb (based, by the way, on a real furry black kitten who thought she owned me. In all likelihood, she probably did). This was also the part of the story where I teamed up Sylvester with ESPN's "The Fabulous Sports Babe", Nanci Donellan (Boy, I'll never do that again... ;) ), and introduced both Honey Bunny AND Lola Bunny to TTAFF [although it would remain for other writers to do a much better job with them!]. This was also the story that put forth the notion that Plucky was still a student at Acme Loo, for reasons yet to be explained...
#6 "A Pool And Its Party Are Soon Started..."
(8/21/1996. FP:Feb. 15, 1997)


Well, Roberta had to be formally introduced sometime. :) Continuing my dangerous precedent, I re-used Eric and Emily (from KeV Beeley's "Rivals"), as well as Colin Feder's Robin Rabbit, with no ill effects to anyone. (As far as I know.) This was also the first TTAFF to feature Daffy's wife from "Stork Naked", and the only one to have a first name, Daphne Duck. Beats me where I got the notion to have them as the Rats' next-door neighbors. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. I do know, however, where I got the idea for Daphne's Southern accent: it came from "Stork Naked". Mel Blanc (who, in his autobiography 'That's NOT All, Folks!', admitted he didn't do women's voices very well) originated the role of Daphne, and to my ears at least, it sounded like she was speaking with a southern accent. End of story. (Hey, it's possible! Daff could have met her on one of his yearly treks south...)
#7: "Parallels Vol. I: Parallel Parking"
(8/30/1996; rv 6/3/97. FP: Sep. 15, 1997)



At the time I wrote this, I thought it might be fun to put the Toonsters into a "parallel tooniverse", because it hadn't been done. (Little did I know at the time about MNTT: TOSOC :) ) Oh, well... The great thing about doing that kind of story is, it's so darned easy to come up with characters for it! (The notion of using Jeremy Jurrens' character 'Alex Redolence' came just as easy, although Alex himself might have been surprised to find himself in what was essentially a dramatic story!) The hard part was giving the alternate characters such different personalities. I think I succeeded... Please note that the name "Ukariah" was based on my confusion over how to pronounce a certain fanfic list moderator's name (Gee, I wonder who THAT could be?); however, the title has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
#8: "Miranda"
(8/15/1997. FP: Sep. 15, 1997)

I'm informed by my cross-country writing partner (about whom more in a moment) that the name "Miranda" means 'admired'. Apparently, a lot of folks felt that way about her. As I recall, she was inspired by a conversation on the list about handicapped toons. Her name comes from a song by the late Phil Ochs, but her species (mink) was suggested by Zachary Zulkowski, which I guess makes him her co-creator, doesn't it? Shortly after I wrote this story, I wrote a sequel, which remains unpublished. The reason? I didn't think it was that worthy of a follow-up.
#9: "RuBarb"
(co-written with Lee Withers) (12/25/97. FP: Feb. 17, 1998)

I always felt sorry for RuBarb. (Mainly because she got such short shrift in "Hoops Du Jour Pt. 3".) This was my way of making it up to her. As I was writing this thing, Lee peeked over my shoulder and kept adding one-liners here and there, until finally he added so many lines that I had to give him co-author credit! They say the mark of a good collaboration is that you can't tell who wrote what. To this day, when I read this story again, I STILL can't remember which lines were mine and which were Lee's! (With one exception: The exchange between Miss Treatment and Miss Informed, "Do you see what I see?" "I'm not sure. How often do you mix your medication?" was definitely mine. It also remains my favorite joke, but I'll probably also never be able to top it!) Incidentally, H. Allen Smith was a real author, and "Don't Get Perconal With A Chicken", "Life In A Putty Knife Factory" (mentioned in RuBarb 2) and "Rhubarb" (his classic about a cat that owned a baseball team) are all real books, and if you haven't read them, or any of his other works, then you've led a hollow existance, that's all I can tell you.
#10: "Parallels Vol. II: Parallel Bars (Or, The 14 Kt. Rabbit Returns!)"
(9/9/1996; rv 2/14/98. FP: March 15, 1998)

Returning to Perfecto Plaza, this time for a not-so-heavy (or should that be "heavy-handed?") adventure. Please note, this time, the title had everything to do with the story. In my mind's ear, I could hear the off-center record of the "Wagon Train" theme as I was writing that scene. Also note, at the end of the story, originally I was going to use Dizzy Devil instead of the choice that was eventually made, for reasons that wound up in the story itself! And Ukariah's line "A mouse? You brought a mouse?" is lifted almost wholesale from Wayne Knight in SPACE JAM. Sorry, Wayne. The check is in the mail.
**HONORARY MENTION**: "Who's Minding The Mine?"

Not many people know this, but I actually contributed one line to Lee's magnum opus. No prizes for guessing which one it was.
#11: "The Bloomin' Loonies 1: Entrances" (co-written, as are all of the BL stories, with Jennifer "Rottin Kid" Cleckley)
(3/17/1998. FP: Apr. 16, 1998)

Ah, yes, the Loonies. What can you say about Leo, Liz and Nigel Carrotte that hasn't been said about, say, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Beats me. It all started when "RK" sent me an email asking if she could use my continuity for her story, and would I be interested in co- writing? (or something like that). Naturally I jumped at the chance. Because I didn't have anything else going on at the time. (Also, it gave us the chance to slip in some of our favorite musical references, such as Dead Or Alive, They Might Be Giants, White Town, and Slade... and that's just in the FIRST story! In fact, one of the reasons I love doing this series is, I can actually get away with sneaking in more of my fave musical references! ;) Heh heh heh... But believe it or not, the reference to Riders In The Sky (see Lee's The Toony Way saga) was hers!) It also occurred to me that this might be the perfect opportunity to wrap up some loose threads left hanging from my previous stories. Oddly enough, it all worked! What I thought was interesting was the fact that Leo was immediately smitten with Miranda, while completely overlooking her handicap. And the pairing of Nigel and RuBarb shouldn't work, but it does. Brilliantly. (Jen's idea).
#12: "The Bloomin' Loonies 2: Football: It's A Looney Old Game (No Matter HOW You Play It...)"
(8/1998, rv 1/10/1999. FP: Sep. 19, 1998)

Here we go again. Roddy's continuing unreasonable jealousy towards poor Nigel gets blown up to ridiculous proportions (even more so than in the first story), and Nigel lets on how he feels about RuBarb, with disastrously comic results. Also, I get to sneak in a little bit of The Who and Sailor. Plus, the Bobbo/Monty sub-plot rears its ugly head, revealing the reason Ruby's Perfecto tuition was jacked up so high in the first place. And, we meet RuBarb's father for the first time, the enormous (in more ways than one!) Harry Purrenstein, who (it seems) has a slight grudge against Bobbo, for reasons as yet unclear...
#13: "The Bloomin' Loonies 2 1/2: Football: It's STILL A Looney Old Game..."
(1998-1999. RV: April 21, 2000. FP: July 15, 1999)

And on we go. Buster and Babs (remember them?) return to the Ruby continuity, Nigel and Rue have a lover's quarrel, and Acme and Perfecto FINALLY get around to playing the big game, the outcome of which decides who owns Perfecto. Also, I tied up the last remaining loose thread from "HDJ" (I think), but I still didn't answer the question, "Why is Harry Purrenstein still cheesed off at Bobbo Acme and Perfecto?" To answer the criticism that Lizzie didn't get to be featured as much in this one... you're right. She should've been. Lizbeth Carrotte fans of the world, I apologise.
#14: "RuBarb 2: When The Roof Caves In, The Bottom Falls Out"
(5/24/1999. RV: April 21, 2000. FP: July 15, 1999)

I'll bet you thought you'd never see Miss Treatment and Miss Informed again. Well, neither did anybody else... especially RuBarb! Introducing Millicent (Millie) Rat, a receptionist at St. Switchit's who, by story's end, winds up playing an important role in the lives of both Harry and RuBarb. Leo and Nigel Carrote make return appearances in this one.
#15: "Miranda 2: Changes"
(3/15/1999. FP:July 15, 1999)

This is probably a shorter story than "Writer's Block"; but then, there's no law saying they all have to be 'War And Peace', now, is there? :) This is the story where Miranda finally gets out of her wheelchair for good, but as it turns out, not completely unscathed. Incidentally, although in her original bio, I'd written that we never see her parents, for a story like this, I was willing to make an exception, introducing her mother, Amanda. This was also the first post-Bloomin' Loonies story in which I utilized the Carrottes. I've got a feeling these Brits are keepers...
#16: "Parallels III: The Rat Stuff"
(1996; rv 11/5/98. FP: Aug. 15, 1999)

No, that's not a typo. It really did take three years from the time I first finished this last chapter in the Parallels trilogy to the time it finally got published. Why? I wasn't happy with the original ending (a real downer), and opted for something a little more upbeat. The poignant epilogue was a last minute idea. Surprised? Since the Parallel trilogy in its original version was written before the creation of RuBarb, Miranda and the Carrottes, I saw no need to go about revising the revisions just to include them. (This does not mean, however, that I (or Jennifer) won't be tempted to write a new sequel including the Bloomin' Loonies in the near future. Because to tell you the truth, we are... tempted, that is...)
#17: "Go Chase Your Tail"
(Feb. 7, 2000)

My take on the eternal chase between Calamity Coyote and Little Beeper. I wrote this one mainly to see if I could still write a TTA story using just the original TTA cast members. Also, because I've heard it's hard to write for non-speaking characters. Did I succeed? You be the judge.
#18: "The Bloomin' Loonies $4.95 (Marked down from $9.98): The Sound Of Carrottes" The evolution of a rock and roll band... Introducing Sir Rupert and Lillian Carrotte. Among other concepts.
#19: "Akron In Reverse" At long last! Furrball stops living in 1996 and brings us up to date... well, assuming the date is 1999, that is. This concerns itself with the true story behind everybody's favorite mink, Miranda... and then some!
#20: "If Wishes Were Horses..."
(July 10, 2000)
Wow! Story number 20! This one's set in both 1990 and 2000. I wish I could say I'd planned something special for this milestone, but the truth is, I hadn't. It just turned out that way; and what better way to do it than to take a key element of Rhubella's fanfic existance and turn it upside down? (I'm not telling what it is... you'll just have to read it!) Suffice it to say, any future Ruby fanfics will never be the same after this. The hardest part was coming up with the ending (for which I thank Jennifer Cleckley for giving me the idea on how to do that!). Thanks again, RK.
#21: "The Bloomin' Loonies 5: Count 'Em. 5!"
(November 19, 2001)
A long time in coming, but it's finally here! The fifth story in the ever-increasing Carrotte Saga. How does Roddy get to manage the Loonies? How do the Loonies manage Roddy in return? And what is the real history behind Bobbo Acme and Harry Purrenstein? We don't really know either, so we thought we'd make the whole thing up. This is what came out.
#22: "Akron In Reverse, Part II: Surprise! Surprise!"
(April 17, 2002) Co-written with Jennifer Cleckley
An even longer time in coming, but it finally showed up! The subsidiary of the ever-increasing Carrotte Saga continues. This one took so long to write that in the interim, Jen and 'Ghost Wolf' wrote another story, "WolfToon" that follows this one! (Meaning, of course, I had to do a bit of adjusting in this tale!!) If you haven't read "WolfToon" yet, by all means, hold off until you read this one first. Then the events in WT will make more sense.
#23: "One More Time..."
(9/15/2005)
I don't believe it, folks! The 23rd story, five years in writing, and only 3 1/2 years since the last tale, but it's here, and it answers one or two stray questions from one of the earlier fics, as well as introduces a new character whom we may (hint, hint) see again... The time is June 1997, and Ruby has just graduated from Acme Loo (Magna Cum Looney). And that's the *sanest* thing that happens!

1999-2005 Jerry D. Withers. If you think you can jog my memory about some details that might be missing, you're more than welcome to try! Just direct your email here. Oh, yes, all illustrations are by Thorne except those for "Parallels Vol. 1", by Leloni Bunny.


Oh, well, back to the drawing board...