School Spirit – the Web Comic, is about growing up in the Australian bush, seen from the perspective of the students of Come-by-Chance Primary, somewhere in country Victoria. The school is right next to the local cemetery, which is populated by ghosts and spirits who play a key role in shaping the way the kids see the world.
During 2003 Mr V was writing the first few scenes of what would soon be a musical production named School Spirit, a script focusing on an eleven year old boy named Casper who meets a young ghost by the name of Wendy. An early plot point was Casper’s interest in a twelve year old girl which was to be the main thread of the story. The first song, ‘Eleven’, was a melancholy love song for just this situation.
About this time Mr Q from several towns to the east sent Mr V a message over the internet. It was along the lines of ‘I want to make a webcomic, and because you can draw, you’re going to draw it for me’. Mr V sent him a reply back along the lines of ‘I’m a teacher, where am I going to get the time to draw a comic?’ Perhaps MrV was just in a perceptive mood at the time, or perhaps it was because he was working on the musical script when the message came through, but within half an hour he had sketched a strip about Casper and sent it to Mr Q and School Spirit: the Webcomic had begun.
From that evening, across sixty kilometres of internet line, Mr V and Mr Q set about slowly developing a webcomic based on the characters of a yet to be completed primary school musical. Neither can even remember which of them came up with the name School Spirit in the confusion of all of the conversations had over a period of about a month, but before long they had taught themselves enough to put their own little webpage on the net. They worked on stories for the characters and developed the individual strips and both worked to bring the site up to a decent standard. It was October 2003 and School Spirit was on the internet.
On 12th June 2004 the comic moved to its next location, the hosting site known then as Keenspace, which was renamed Comic Genesis a few years later. It’s official online history is reckoned from that date onwards. The previous strips appeared each day until early July of 2004, and for two months updated twice weekly on Sundays and Thursdays. The update schedule was increased from the beginning of September 2004 to three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and has not missed an update since in it’s official history.
During 2006, School Spirit moved hosts again, this time to Comic Dish, a new hosting server, and the offer appeared too good to pass up. Free hosting, helpful people to get the site off the ground, forums if needed, a few other little details, and best of all, no advertising banners unless you put some up yourself. School Spirit stayed on Comic Dish for a few years from that point on.
In mid 2009, it was suggested that School Spirit apply to join the Spiderforest Collective. The chance was taken and the strip was accepted, so since then it has been an appreciative member of this group of webcomics. Finally, in September of 2010, the website was completely redesigned and several old features from other sites finally reincorporated into the current site, most notably the Strine translation page.
By the end of 2004 Mr Q decided to leave the project to pursue other interests. He played a critical role in the creation and early influence on this comic, as Mr V would never have found himself doing this had it not been for his original message telling him that he was about to start a comic. The comic logo, strip templates and design are of his creation and devising. Since then they just continued to pester each other over the internet when they weren’t eating each other’s food while crashing at each other’s houses. While Mr V has been running School Spirit – the Web Comic for many years, recently Mr Q returned to the fold, if only to throw around ideas and stories and occasionally, if we’re lucky, post something in the news section.
As for School Spirit: The Musical, it was completed in early September 2004, just weeks before opening night in late October. It performed five shows over three days and was a successful event. It was just fantastic to see live action versions of the characters we’ve now been drawing and writing for some time walking about on stage. The kids brought the characters to life in a way we never thought we’d see them.
It is doubtful that there are any comics out there, even in the great vastness of the internet, that can boast both a live performance of their characters and general story, as well as a completely original musical soundtrack to complement its world. We’re proud to think that School Spirit has achieved something like this in such a short time, and are indebted to many different people for the various contributions they have made to the world of these characters.
That is the history so far of School Spirit, both the webcomic and it’s original form as a primary school musical. It’s still only a hobby but they don’t feel the urge to let it run dry any time soon. Whatever happens in the future in regards to Casper, Cody, Wendy and the rest of the School Spirit characters, we’d just like to think that other people will wander by from time to time and lose themselves every now and then in their little world.
School Spirit may not be the way the world really was, or the way it really is, but maybe it’s the way it really should be.