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October 8, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

MAHF Magazine: Special Abandoned Issue!







Abandoned probably began when I was surfing Wikipedia.  I came across a New Zealand soap opera from the 90’s and early 2000s-The Tribe.  The concept was, a mysterious virus has wiped out all known adults, leaving the kids to fend for themselves.  So, they pretty much reinvent society-put on wacky clothes and makeup, change their names, and form tribes.  Tribes are groups of people who fight or trade for resources.  All tribes have their own names, history, and set of values.  And I was thinking, “What a neat concept!”  Eventually, I found myself probing Youtube, and wound up watching the first couple of episodes, both of which were super-fun.  So, I sat myself down and started to write about the same scenario (I might even wind up throwing in a few references to the original series-too late, already have!), only in a much more well-known place-New York City.  I started creating characters, and before you know it, I was having too much fun to stop!  And that, dear readers, is how Abandoned got started.

When it comes to Sham, the leader of the Players (Abel’s tribe, in case you haven’t read the first episode yet-do that right now, actually), I find that he is actually one of the most fleshed-out characters I’ve ever done.  I mean, on one hand, he’s a definite leader.  He’s smart, a little sly, and always thinks about his actions before he does them-good qualities for any head of a tribe.  But on the other hand, he finds himself conflicted-be a smart and diplomatic leader, but be sometimes found as cold and uncaring.  Or, he could be a loving leader who’s willing to put his life on the line for complete strangers.  While he might gain favor amongst his tribe, it could lead to security risks.  And then of course, there’s the everlasting conflict between Sham and Abel.  Now, the President of the United States might not get into daily arguments with an average Joe, so it’s odd how Sham and Abel get to talk so often, but I’m thinking that the two might have a history.  Maybe I’ll cover that in later episodes, hmm?

 One thing’s for certain, though: the root of the two’s constant quarreling.  Abel is a little more caring and generous than Sham.  For example, in the second and most recent episode, the story of how Abel and Leil’s friendship came to be is told.  Abel found Leil while foraging for food, and took her in.  Obviously, this caused a big stink with Sham, and the two got into a huge fight about it.  Now, Leil stays, though Abel has to share his food ration with her.

The world of the Tribe, known to fans as the Tribeworld, is a shadow of the past-a world without adults, and therefore, no real rules of society.  Some choose to make it on their own, as strays, but they don’t often last long.  Others join or form tribes, and gather members to recreate the world they were forced to leave behind.  Nowadays, you go to New York and see-what?  A Broadway show?  The flashing neon lights of Time Square?  If you’re living in the Tribeworld, forget all of those things.  There are no actors to act, and the Cyberpunks rule most of Time Square.  Most of the stores have been looted a thousand times over, and if you aren’t so lucky, you might get caught by villains on patrol.  This is a very different world, and there’s no changing that fact.  So get used to this world, because maybe in a few decades, it’ll be gone, replaced by another generation.

Abandoned centers around the Players, a large tribe with a large place to call home-the huge Toys ‘R Us in Time Square (Hey, they aren’t called the Players for nothing!).  The Players are sort of a cross between a dictatorship and a republic-they have one leader, but that leader sometimes relies on the common people for help.  And help Sham does need.  Player population tops out at over eighty or ninety-it’s a really big tribe.  Luckily, with the size of the Toys ‘R Us, each person can have a place all their own.  Abel and Leil live in a Lego aisle, in what is probably the largest housing area in the Players’ territory.  If you really think about it, you could probably house a couple hundred people in that toy store, but what with food and water, a hundred’s probably the maximum number of people Sham wants.  I’ve figured out food rationing, too: three cans, per person, per day.  Two if the entire tribe is on lockdown, for whatever reason.  As you can imagine, it’s a pretty fun place to live, with animatronic dinosaurs and a practically unlimited supply of technology at your fingertips.  Now, if you can get that technology to work, you can have contact with the outside world.  Sadly, Sham has bigger issues on his mind than communication.  He’d rather keep his own little society going.

But who are the tribes living in this new world?  How do they interact with each other, and how long might they last?  Most of Abandoned takes place in Manhattan, but I might set some episodes in other places.  Anyway, some of the tribes that I have or plan to have mentioned are:

  • Players-C’mon, we all know these guys!  They live in the largest toy store in the world, which counts as a pretty neat territory.  Members include Abel, Sham, Leil, and Paco.
  • Cyberpunks-The de facto rulers of NYC.  They play the role of the Locos (one of the antagonists in The Tribe), even patrolling on a police car.  Members include Krios and the recently murdered Wingnut.
  • Irons-These guys are probably the second or third most powerful tribe in the city, thanks to their having tons of supplies.  They’ve staked their territory in the famous food court Chelsea Market, and are currently at odds with the Players.  I’ve been working on an Iron character named Leo, but other than that, I’ve got nothing in the way of members.
  • Rollers-The Rollers utilize the popular Tribeworld vehicle of roller skates as a hunting technique.  They’re nomadic, mostly just traveling the streets and ambushing food foragers, but who knows?  They could be a real threat someday.
  • Historians-The Historians call the American Museum of Natural History home.  They’ve made good use of whatever’s available, even eating the crickets sold in the museum gift shop (no, I’m not kidding).  They tend to be one of the more peaceful tribes, and I plan for a future episode to revolve around them.
  • Moles-If you look up the word deadly in the dictionary, you’ll probably find a picture of the Mole leader, Martina.  She’s ruthless and cunning, yet oddly pretty.  The Moles themselves are even deadlier, having taken shelter in the subway system.  They’ve even gotten the old trains working again, and have launched a mass attack on NYC.  I plan for the next few episodes to take place during that time.
  • Groundhogs-One of several tribes that lives in Central Park.  The Groundhogs are actually based on my experiences at middle school camp.  You see, during that camping trip, we were split up into several groups during the day.  One of those groups wore dark makeup under their eyes, like football war paint.  I kept thinking that they looked like something out of an episode of The Tribe.  What was that group called?  You guessed it: the Groundhogs.
  • Bullfrogs-The Bullfrogs also live in Central Park, and have laid claim to the more watery areas.  Despite their amphibious lifestyle, the Bullfrogs are also expert ambush soldiers.  They hide in trees and then pounce on their prey, as you might have noticed in the second episode.
  • Tropics-The Tropics are one of the more primitive tribes.  They have claimed Ellis Island, and have managed to get the old ferries working.  Tropics are also on good terms with the Players, given that they were eager to join Sham’s anti-Mole militia.

But what’s next for Abel and Leil?  Obviously, there’s going to be a lot more action, especially with Martina and her forces laying waste to the city.  But there’s going to be a lot more than that, and I might have a few surprises for you!  But let’s focus on some of the details: yadda yadda, the Moles get kicked out, but then what?  I’m considering an episode where the Players get a radio working, but the group who’s on the other end is going to be kept a secret until I figure out whether or not I’m going to do it.  On the other hand, I’m almost certain that I’ll be delving deeper into the relationship of Abel and Leil.  That’s right, readers, you just might be getting some romance!  But whether or not we get some radio-based surprises, or see a kiss for the first time ever on this blog, be assured of one thing: I’m just getting started.

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