She is likely the first character created in this way. Jenny Everywhere has been described both as existing in every reality and being able to shift between realities. This gives the character the ability to be inserted into the continuity of any existing or new work, such as various comics or webcomics.
The concept may also be extended to other mediums. She was created by Canadian comic book artist Steven Wintle, who uses the internet alias Moriarty, and originally developed with members of the Barbelith Underground online community in 2002 and 2003.
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The original website was www.JennyEverywhere.com. However, that website has not been online since 2007 (as of October 2010). Some of the original JennyEverywhere.com website can be found on Archive.org’s Wayback Machine. Here are some quick links. Some of which has not been incorporated into this site or has been slightly changed.
JennyEverywhere.com (the Archive.org partially saved website)
Original website. Not every avatar was saved to the archive, and nearly all the stories have nothing more than the first page saved.
“FAQs: Page 2″ (the Archive.org partially saved website)
Most of the FAQs on this page were not included on this site because they did not apply.
The Original Blog
This is the original Jenny Everywhere Blog. From July 10th, 2003 to October 3rd, 2004.
Some interesting started points:
Some of the Barbelith Underground community members that thought up the concept of Jenny Everywhere are listed below. But here are two threads, in particular, that show the beginnings of “The Shifter”:
Open Source Comic Book Characters (the idea)
Collective Comics Project (the birth)
The Early Creators
This content is paraphrased, updated from, or quoted from the original website, but portions are quite likely fairly out-dated by now.
Though the idea of The Shifter was initially sparked by Steven Wintle, Jenny Everywhere was truly born of the minds of several people on the Barelith.com forums. Steven was also the original webmaster and creator of the original JennyEverywhere.com site. It had seemed to disappear from the web sometime in May or June of 2007. It is currently unknown if the old site will ever come back online.
Nelson Evergreen is a budding artist, writer and occasional musician who works and sleeps in a languid little terraced house at the top of a hill in Brighton UK. Aside from his ongoing Shifter collaboration with Mr Macaré, his own self-penned comic projects are slowly approaching pitchable/publishable shape, and he continues to seek financial gratification in the areas of illustration and videogame design. He is posterlord for Brighton music promoters The Gilded Palace of Sin, has recently had work published by Yorke Notes and Sybex, and enjoys writing about himself in the third person far, far too much.
John Miers, a.k.a. "MC Lentil", spent four years on a fine art course doing paintings full of cartoon imagery before realising that he should probably just have been doing comics. The greatest moment of his life was when, voyaging through the nether realms of the pysche, he unearthed the Slab direct from the appendix of the Collective Unconscious. His life since then has been an attempt to understand that moment.
David LoTempio is an aspiring writer with a wife, two children, and dog. He has been published by a variety of free newszines and fanzines, notably contributing many articles and interviews about the history of comic books. A fast-food chain once stole ideas from his satire comics for their advertising campaign. Wishes he could write like Nelson Algren.
Rob Cave, often sighted in less reputable drinking establishments, is an evil mercenary who writes and edits for money. He would like Britain to convert to a café culture soon so he could drink more smoothies and experience the occasional summer. Rob lives in rainy London. Email [possibly outdated]: email@example.com.
Alex Hernandez is a writer/magician who lives in smoldering Miami. After a recent and rather brutal possession by the fictional entity known as Jenny Everywhere, he has written dozens of scripts in rapid fire succession paying little attention to health, sanity, and all literary convention. He is now planning stages of his next project: becoming a dominant force in all media. Email [possibly outdated]: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andres Allocco is an Argentinian comic artist, web designer, and art school teacher. He was born in a little town called Ezeiza. He has done a lot of comics books and two expositions.
Mario Torres II aka "The the Enigmata", emperor, almighty god, and charismatic web-cult leader; resides bitterly in a smoldering desert far, far away from any human contact. “He derives his artistic talents from the spooky forces of Satan and Al Roker.” Even though he has little need for friends, the street carrion are very fond of him.
Catherine Wright doesn’t really know what to say about herself and is thinking a bit more.
Scott D. M. Simmons is a freelance comics artist who has pursued dual careers in art and photography, having done work for Hasbro Toys, Kroger, Procter & Gamble, National Amusements, Loews, ASMP, Squeri Foodservice, Perspectives, and Barocco Films. Recently, Scott has been hitting the comic convention circuit and the worldwide web, promoting his artwork, Angelwolf Comics, Deke and Vinnie, The Last, and Lady Ice. Email [possibly outdated]: email@example.com.
2007 Origin Questions
As answered by The Shifter Archive, just as a resurgence of Jenny Everywhere was making it’s way around online; all just as the original site went down. These are not “official” answers, but merely our best interpretations, based on researching the old forums and additional data mining.
Are there any similar characters about, or was she a one-off?
Octobriana appears to be the ONLY other comic character that is similarly open-source and public domain… However, Octobriana seems to have some scrutiny with her origins. Still, in essence Jenny Everywhere and Octobriana (these days), for practical purposes, appear to be the only characters similar of their kind.
When did Jenny appear? How?
The thought of creating an open-source comic book character started on July 25, 2001 here:
http://www.barbelith.com/topic.php?id=3026 — of which Octobriana is mentioned.
On August 13th, 2001, Steven Wintle (aka “Moriarty” on the Barbelith.com forums) breathes the idea for “The Shifter” complete with two images which he later deems as “Public Domain” images.. which can still be found on the original site he posted them at [website missing], as well as in the Art section of The Shifter Archive. Still, from here, they all still work out the character. She is not fully born yet. Still developing, but we have a general description, she’s Multi-Dimensional, she has a basic look, and “The Shifter” as the super hero surname. It is deemed that her past is non-important, and keeps her mysterious.
At this point both threads are being used to discuss the Open Source character artistically and practically. Because Jenny Everywhere, aka “The Shifter”, if not just a character, but also an idea…. The Idea, of sorts, cannot be summed up here since it is talked about and fine-tuned by several people in both thread links….. Just know the final result was a huge collaborative effort.
On July 24th, 2002, Moriarty (Steven Wintle) dubs her “Jenny Everywhere, aka ‘The Shifter'”. At this point they start talking about how she needs to be recognizable, so they are developing her look more solidly now. A scarf, goggles on top her head, and short hair. These are the original and most identifiable visual characteristics of Jenny Everywhere. Shortly after this, her favorite food becomes “toast”.
On January 29, 2002, Wintle suggests the first “anti-copyright” notice for The Shifter, which is practically the same to the one used to today. The original:
The character of The Shifter is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving The Shifter, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.
(“All Rights Reversed” is a way of saying that everyone is free to use it.)
After this announcement, there was still some discussion on her official final name, buy “Jenny” stuck. Jenny Everywhere, aka “The Shifter” it remains.
On February 5th and 6th, 2002, it seems that Steven sketched a comic starring Jenny: Cars —- this appears to be the earliest comic involving Jenny, despite still being worked on. This comic was not publicly available. It is even deemed, at this time, that the “Jenny Everywhere” concept is not yet public.
It is believed that Nelson Evergreen was the first to draw Jenny Everywhere in a complete comic available to a wide audience. First in “Names Not Down” (which I believe was complete or presented around October 24, 2002) and later “Damn Fine Hostile Takeover” (2 parts). I am told that there was a limited print run of these comics. However, it seems that “My Bloody Valentine” was being worked on first. Although I am unsure if it came out before Evergreen’s comic.
Using the original “jennyeverywhere.com” page (as found on the Archive.org Wayback Machine), we can interpret the following release order:
1 – Names Not Down
2 – My Bloody Valentine
3 – Mrs Zirma
4 – Damn Fine Hostile Takeover (pt1)
5 – Damn Fine Hostile Takeover (pt2)
6 – The Late Shift
7 – Holiday Pandemonium
8 – Graveyard Shift
9 – Makeshift Multiverse
10 – Beauty as a Beast
11 – The Death of Jenny Everywhere
12 – Bacterial Lunarversity
13 – Soulless Mate
As far as Dates, I cannot find specific ones with the resources I have used.
Was it just that burst of activity in 2003, or is she still alive and well?
That burst in 2003 was due to an article in Exclaim! Magazine and a New York Times article in September of that year. Jenny Everywhere had been popping up in webcomics as cameos, as well as a few independent strips as well. Some other blog articles and stories have been written as well. Some links have been forever lost to the “404” zone however. The more recent examples of Jenny start with Benj Christensen’s “Infinity Apartment” webcomic, and my own “The Crossing Over Worlds” (which is no yet done, but done up to go along with a different webcomic event in 2007). It was at about time that I expressed a big interest in Jenny Everywhere, and later developed The Shifter Archive Project sometime in May or June of 2007.
Without going into more research, I believe the 2nd “major” upswing of Jenny started in 2006, (I believe, but am not sure), but REALLY kicked off October of 2007 with a competition on Stripfight.org and the comic book story “When Casting Calls” came out. October 2007 was also the official launch of “The Shifter Archive”. The comic book story was purely coincidental, but I ended up promoting heavily (as much as I could) in various webcomic communities.
Why did the energy fade?
I can’t answer this honestly. I can only assume that people moved on with whatever lives they had, and not many people kept up on it. Most likely working on their own projects. Honestly, all it takes are a few people to get real geeked up about it to have a bit more happen. However, nothing comes close to those two news articles in 2003.
Is Jenny more of a political stance or a strong character? Etc, etc.
If interpreting this question correctly: Jenny was created to be, in part, a statement of making an open source comic character without having to pay a ridiculous licensing fee and such. Of course, the energy of creating a character pushed people to creative heights, which you can see in the two Barebelith threads as evidence. A real passion arose. Her character is that of a strong hearted person. You have your super hero that does not get too full of herself, but loves to have fun. A bit of a rebel indeed. A hero for the people really.
Of course, the openness of Jenny, and her multiple dimensions can allow her to some other characters and versions as well… but really you’d lose a little something by doing that…. however, when done in the past, it is usually balanced by having other dimensional, “more accurate” Jenny Everywhere’s in the story as well…. but this may be open to interpretation, and/or best left to be answered by the original creators.