How did Mr Jones inspire the oddball Realms? Well, he was a unique boy. For example, he would drink whilst lying down and so the Mr Jones drinking poem came into being –
Doesn’t drink his water
Like he oughta
He’s lying down
The crazy hound
Aaaanyways, when he was just a pup, Mr Jones revealed his penchant for chewing bamboo and for sniffing out snails. Yes, snails. Yes, bamboo. He would go hunting and rooting in the garden and return with a snail held lightly, but firmly, in his mouth. Eventually, he’d give it up which is just as well as we’re pretty certain they’re poisonous to dawgs so he couldn’t have actually stomached one of them!
‘D’you feel lucky?’
And that inspired Lloyd to draw his first animan – Panda Jones himself. ‘Panda’ because of his love to chew bamboo, you see. Duh! And Panda Jones was an adventurer who hunted…snails. And the next thing you know we’d created a whole world for Panda Jones to explore, populated with other animan and … snails. And the next thing we knew I’d written half (Well, okay, a third. Alright then, a few chapters of!) a novel about Panda Jones and his side kick – Lieutenant Ripley (who happens to be our Welsh Terrier) – who hunted…snails.
‘Panda Jones, a snail and Vega the snow leopard’
Well, cutting a long(ish) story short(ish), we were inspired by Panda Jones’ shenanigans to create a similar but different (more fantastical and steampunky) world populated with animan as the backdrop to an adventure game we’d designed. So the oddball Realms were born and when we showcased it at the UK Games Expo several years ago we were elated by the response it got. The oddball Realms attracted a lot of attention from all sorts of people – from tattooed, middle aged bikers to 7 year old girls. And the rest is history…in the making.
‘Panda Jones and Lieutenant Ripley’
With the passing of Mr Jones, we felt only right in sharing the story of how he set the oddball rolling, our own personal little muse for an entire world (well, two actually). Our Mr Jones will be immortalised within the oddball Realms as Panda Jones, Snail Hunter – appearing on an oddball Aeronauts card soon from the dextrous mitts of Lloyd Ash Pyne.
‘Panda Jones: Snail Hunter, work in progress’
Not only was Mr Jones an inspiration to us, he was one of a kind. He was, quite simply put, one of our family (one of those family members you actually really like, get on with and have a great time with – although on occasion they can be … challenging – as opposed to one of those who just downright annoy you and you only barely tolerate at family gatherings). He is sorely missed already.
p.s. keep a look out for those snails – there’s a reason Mr Jones hunted them!