fire ecology

a personal blog for Jamey Hampton

Look Alive, Sunshine!: Tales from the Zones

May 26, 2021 Jamey Hampton 0 Comments

It’s a known fact about me that I love The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. (You may even already be aware of this if you saw my review series of the entire run of the new comic, National Anthem.) But now I even get to put it on my resume, because I was recently a contributor to an awesome Danger Days anthology! Tales from the Zones was compiled by a very cool collective called the GraveRavers, and it had a very successful Kickstarter run back in January, but I just recently received my copies and I’m stoked!

Tales from the Zones is actually a set of two anthologies: the titular book compiles an impressive number of short comics about life in the desert, some of which star Party Poison and the other Killjoys we know and love, and others introducing us to a variety of charming Killjoys original characters. The second anthology is called Letters from the Dead and its a smaller zine of writing, a combination of prose and letters, and it features mainly OCs, which I love. The letters are my favorite part of the whole project; not only are they written with the voice of the characters, but also their handwriting! It really makes Letters from the Dead feel like a delightfully immersive artifact.

Oh, and I might be biased towards the letters, because I did write one of them! It’s called “Q – open this if you find it” and I’m excited to be able to share it here. (Full alt text is included if you have trouble reading the images!)

An envelope with a smiley face sticker that says "Q, open this if you find it"
Hey Q,

Did you hear my voice in your head just then? Just sit with me for a minute.

You found my note. I’m glad. Now — now for me, as I write it — I’m picturing you finding it and feeling, real in the flesh, that gladness, so that you can feel it residually in the now for you, as you’re reading it. Is it working? I’m going to assume it’s working.

It’s cliche to say but if you’re reading this, I bit the big one I guess. Wonder how I did it. I hope I looked cool. But I suppose you probably don’t want to relive that or whatever. Sorry, if it was my fault.

It’s actually kind of funny that you were always the one knocking some sense into me, and now I have to come from beyond the grave to be the one to knock some sense into you for the first time. Because I know you, I know what you’re thinking. “We didn’t have enough time.” Q, we had seven years. (More by the time you’re reading this, I’m not planning on dusting out tomorrow.) If it weren’t for you, I’d still be that scared girl, huddling beneath my window sill in that fucking city. You let me grow into the man I was always meant to be, the stuff legends are made of. My name is fucking FENNEC FIREWORK now. If I had known that I would only have ONE DAY to be with you, to be Fennec Firework, I would have done it all exactly the same. SEVEN YEARS. What a fucking gift.
I know it burns you, what you feel like they’ve taken away. But they’ve taken nothing from me. Everything I ever wanted, I took from them, you hear me? I know that’s not how you see it, but the day you’re reading this is my day to decide how things are. And speaking of that, you better not ever fix that dent my head put in the hood of your car. That’s MY dent, my mark I made on objective reality, and if you ever fix it, it’ll be like I was never there. Good, now I know you won’t.

Are you regretting teaching me to demand the things I want yet? If you’re not now, I guess you never will.

That was sad, I’m sorry.

But like, it is fucking sad, right? When I think about a future where the two of us aren’t together, my chest gets tight in this weird way and it hurts. And if you’re reading this, I won’t even be around to experience it, but the thought of it just… feels wrong. If it were me on my own after, I’d be tearing up the desert in my hurt, leaving destruction in my path. It fucking sucks that you’re the one who has to deal with the fallout. Like usual. But you’re not a fuckup like me. Knowing there was a little destruction out there in the sands in my honor feels kind of good, but don’t let yourself get all burned up inside. Please. You’re so good. We know people who are charred and angry and I couldn’t stand being the thing that made you like that. Live free for me. Don’t fix my dent, though. 

The first day we met, Question Mark, you asked me a question — and you thought you were the punctuation at the end of the question, but you were always the answer. I love you. 

Roll with me for a while, 
Fen

P.S. I know you think the Phoenix Witch is silly. (Actually I know you think she’s stupid, but I know I’d never catch you calling something I cared about stupid.) I suspect you’ll write to her anyway since you know it’s important to me, but I’m sure you will if I ask. So this is me asking, because I’ll rest easier if I’m sure.

I was really happy to be able to feature my original Killjoys characters, Fennec Firework and Question Mark. Question Mark has been in the Zones their whole life, and they’ve dedicated their life to helping smuggle people out of Battery City into the freedom of the desert and helping them get on their feet there. Fennec, the author of the letter, was one of those people; he was a trans boy who didn’t feel like he could transition within the city, so he escaped to the Zones for a chance to live the way he wanted. Question Mark was the first Killjoy he met and he fell for them immediately, deciding to gang up with them permanently to help them smuggle more folks out. I love love love Fen and Q, and Can Richards (of the GraveRavers collective, and a fellow contributor to the Life Finds A Way anthology) did this wonderful piece of art of them!

Basically, Tales from the Zones is an awesome project that I feel very fortunate to have been a part of, and if you’re a fan of the Killjoys at all, I really recommend picking up a copy! Physical and digital versions are both available on the GraveRavers website!

#anthologies#can richards#characters#graveravers#the true lives of the fabulous killjoys

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