This piece may be short but there’s a lot to unpack. It’s a tightly-woven thriller, full of incident but light on detail (and completely lacking in real-world logic). Short sentences with multiple exclamation marks tell us we’re in a tense situation, but one simple paragraph tells over two months of story. It’s a bizarre, contradictory little tale that I’ve often overlooked, but in many ways, it’s the ultimate Fairburn story - a compact distillation of everything I’d learned so far, concentrated into its purest form, ready to be mainlined straight into your temples, where it will flood your brain with the most meaningless, childish, violent crap an eight-year-old can imagine. “NEW THRILL!” barks the explosion in the top left-hand corner - an idea I stole from 2000 AD, signifying my latent desire to turn my schoolbooks into school comics. The Fugitive - which, impressively, is actually about a man who appears to be running from something - is apparently ‘A Ward’s 7 Production’. Whether that means it’s set in the same fictional universe as Ward’s 7, we’re never told, but I think it’s more a case of saying ‘Brought to you by the creators of Ward’s 7’ - a tiny first step towards the unifying umbrella of Shep Comics and Shep Books. We never learn anything about the titular character or what he’s apparently running from. In fact, we never learn anything about anything. He runs towards an HQ, but what is it the headquarters of exactly? A brick flew through the window, but there’s no clue as to who threw it, if it was even thrown at all. It hit a person. Someone else got shot. There’s basically no descriptive detail here at all. But what’s striking about that is it’s obviously deliberate. I’ve set out here with the specific intention to erase anything specific. It’s such a bizarre choice for an eight-year-old to make. I wish I knew what made me do it. The lack of detail continues even into the second half when our protagonist pilots a rocket into space and gets shot to pieces by an unknown assailant. To write a story with so few details when so much happens is almost breathtakingly weird. Unless, of course, I was in a hurry. Is that why it turned out the way it did? I guess, if I wrote it straight after The Flame in the Desert - there’s no date, so that’s probably what happened - I would have had my eye on the clock. The whole thing ends with an image we’ve already seen in this term not once, but twice: a man jumping out of an exploding spaceship. We see - and even hear - the explosion, but just like the story, there’s no detail in the picture, not a single thing telling us who the man was, what his rocket looked like, who it was that blew him out of the sky. We’re left with a feeling of what Adrian Mole’s best friend Nigel might call “all hole and no bleeding toad.” And yet, the thing’s full of toad. There’s way too much toad, flying all over the place. The illustration encapsulates this perfectly - way too much toad, exploding all over the hole. You’ll be lucky if you catch any before it evaporates into space. And here’s another thing. The story’s called The Fugitive. But what if it’s about two fugitives? There’s the man at the beginning, who runs towards the HQ. Then there’s the man who gets shot, and it’s him - not the man at the beginning - who runs away and blasts off into space. The more I read it that way, the more convinced I am that it’s the man at the beginning who hurls the brick through the window. Does that mean, in some warped way, he throws it at his future self? Is it him that chases himself into space? Who is the hunter and who the hunted? Are we all the same person or do we take turns? Have I taken too much acid? Could I do with a bit more sleep next time I write one of these? So many questions! So many layers. So many possibilties. I hereby declare this Waen Shepherd’s Best Story… so far…
Ward's 7: Death Planet
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Waen Shepherd 2 Waen’s heroic antics in the far-flung future of 2007 AD!
The Fugitive
The Fugitive
Christmas 1979 Can Waen last the night without opening his presents?
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
Fiends of the Eastern Front Vampires, paraphrased from 2000 AD
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
Happy Easter! A home made Easter card I made for my Mum and Dad
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Waen Shepherd 2 Waen’s heroic antics in the far-flung future of 2007 AD!
The Fugitive
 The Fugitive
This piece may be short but there’s a lot to unpack. It’s a tightly-woven thriller, full of incident but light on detail (and completely lacking in real-world logic). Short sentences with multiple exclamation marks tell us we’re in a tense situation, but one simple paragraph tells over two months of story. It’s a bizarre, contradictory little tale that I’ve often overlooked, but in many ways, it’s the ultimate Fairburn story - a compact distillation of everything I’d learned so far, concentrated into its purest form, ready to be mainlined straight into your temples, where it will flood your brain with the most meaningless, childish, violent crap an eight-year-old can imagine. “NEW THRILL!” barks the explosion in the top left- hand corner - an idea I stole from 2000 AD, signifying my latent desire to turn my schoolbooks into school comics. The Fugitive - which, impressively, is actually about a man who appears to be running from something - is apparently ‘A Ward’s 7 Production’. Whether that means it’s set in the same fictional universe as Ward’s 7, we’re never told, but I think it’s more a case of saying ‘Brought to you by the creators of Ward’s 7’ - a tiny first step towards the unifying umbrella of Shep Comics and Shep Books. We never learn anything about the titular character or what he’s apparently running from. In fact, we never learn anything about anything. He runs towards an HQ, but what is it the headquarters of exactly? A brick flew through the window, but there’s no clue as to who threw it, if it was even thrown at all. It hit a person. Someone else got shot. There’s basically no descriptive detail here at all. But what’s striking about that is it’s obviously deliberate. I’ve set out here with the specific intention to erase anything specific. It’s such a bizarre choice for an eight-year- old to make. I wish I knew what made me do it. The lack of detail continues even into the second half when our protagonist pilots a rocket into space and gets shot to pieces by an unknown assailant. To write a story with so few details when so much happens is almost breathtakingly weird. Unless, of course, I was in a hurry. Is that why it turned out the way it did? I guess, if I wrote it straight after The Flame in the Desert - there’s no date, so that’s probably what happened - I would have had my eye on the clock. The whole thing ends with an image we’ve already seen in this term not once, but twice: a man jumping out of an exploding spaceship. We see - and even hear - the explosion, but just like the story, there’s no detail in the picture, not a single thing telling us who the man was, what his rocket looked like, who it was that blew him out of the sky. We’re left with a feeling of what Adrian Mole’s best friend Nigel might call “all hole and no bleeding toad.” And yet, the thing’s full of toad. There’s way too much toad, flying all over the place. The illustration encapsulates this perfectly - way too much toad, exploding all over the hole. You’ll be lucky if you catch any before it evaporates into space. And here’s another thing. The story’s called The Fugitive. But what if it’s about two fugitives? There’s the man at the beginning, who runs towards the HQ. Then there’s the man who gets shot, and it’s him - not the man at the beginning - who runs away and blasts off into space. The more I read it that way, the more convinced I am that it’s the man at the beginning who hurls the brick through the window. Does that mean, in some warped way, he throws it at his future self? Is it him that chases himself into space? Who is the hunter and who the hunted? Are we all the same person or do we take turns? Have I taken too much acid? Could I do with a bit more sleep next time I write one of these? So many questions! So many layers. So many possibilties. I hereby declare this Waen Shepherd’s Best Story… so far…
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Fiends of the Eastern Front Vampires, paraphrased from 2000 AD
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE