One of PG-13's chief tragedies is the failure of its innovative updating system. When we started out, the system was set up to split the workload with the viewers: you send me a picture, I post one of my own as well. This idea might work a lot better in the Web 2.0 era, but working with plain HTML, I inevitably buckled under the tedious pressure of twice-weekly updates in such small chunks. Updates became basically quarterly for a while, and they became special events unto themselves-- every update was a new artist's coming-out party. Though the share-the-load tactic may not have panned out, its ultimate goal was achieved anyway. So many of the greatest artists and writers of this community are 'graduates' of PG-13-- no other website besides DeviantArt has come close.
Speaking as a Bokononist, I honestly feel that PG-13 was the wampeter
of a magnificent karass--
the axis, that is, of a circle of people who are part of a design beyond our understanding. In my short time on this planet, it was the most concentrated collection of talented, wise, charismatic, skillful, and lovable people that I've ever been privileged to observe. Thankfully it can't be called a granfalloon,
a false karass
based on the one thing we all had in common-- the fetish-- because, of course, there were also plenty of unsavory people that none of us wanted anything to do with.Everyone Else:
Normally this comes last on the list, but here they have to be first, because there are far too many wonderful people I knew over the years who I've lost touch with but wanted to thank. If you don't see your name here but you remember me from PG-13, rest assured, I remember you too, and most likely fondly. This especially goes for the people whose presence on the site itself was low, but whom I've become much closer to outside of PG-13's influence.Sliptide213:
Easily my earliest and most fervent fan, and also a boundless well of ideas. I've had the privilege of a long friendship with him since the birth of the site, and through all the years he has retained such a preternatural understanding of sweetness and charm that he's usually the first person I go to to ask if something is cute.Jack Cain:
He was illegal. Seriously, when PG-13 started, he was actually under the age listed in the title. Not that we knew that, of course, we just thought he was a really dumb guy who could barely type. But, far from breeding contempt, our familiarity with Jack built affection, as he went from the dork with the Digimon signature file to one of our most trusted advisors and elders in the community. Sometimes you have to give people a chance to grow into the roles they were born for, and Jack knew it before any of us did.Jolted
A second wampeter
of our mighty karass,
Jolted was our most beloved and dedicated fan in the early years of PG-13, and everything we posted, everything I made, I eagerly awaited his reaction. In those early days he didn't draw or color, but he had such an infectious joy for what we were doing that it made it all worth sharing just to please him. Then he changed, becoming strongly disenchanted with PG-13 and the way I ran things (and who could blame him?). He was the founder of PG-13's first legacy site, the late and lamented Baby-Ball Mall, which took a completely different tactic than PG-13: most of its art was produced on commission. This made it hard to compete with, so I simply didn't bother for quite some time; eventually he lost interest and all the new art, as well as all the new artist friends he'd made, gravitated back to PG-13. Although it felt like a personal slight at the time, the Baby-Ball Mall was one of my favorite sites in our community's history, and for the first time I felt like I couldn't coast any more and needed to hustle to catch up. Thanks, J-bun.Axel Rosered:
Axel's arrival on our site was tantamount to when video games jumped from 8-bit to 16-bit. There was still no actual competition
, but somehow all of us artists suddenly found ourselves working a whole lot harder to keep up with the new standards. Some of us never did catch up with where he was from the start. Axel is raw, uncensored talent that cannot be contained by one genre or theme, which is why he mostly works in webcomics these days, but his arrival made us all feel like we were suddenly respectable.Kaileigh Blue:
It's cheating to say "what can be said," but what can
be said about the one person who was so dedicated to our cause that I started a whole sequel site to share her voice? KB is an inspirational individual to know and be friends with, and though she's quick to write herself off as a simple attention whore, no one can ever say she fails to earn even a lick of it. Everyone in the community, not just the infamous sluggards like me, would give their four pinky digits to have the merest chunk
of her ferocious work ethic. Not just the 'lone girl', but the lone ant
in a colony of grasshoppers, yet she refuses to be influenced negatively by her peers. Though she may back this up with a public personality that frequently runs hot with attitude and sarcasm, I'm privileged to attest, through experience, that to know her is to love her.Requiem:
Req's art made its debut on the PG-13 message board. It was flat out the worst pregnancy art we'd ever seen, and everyone knew it-- even Req. Yet this was a wonderful thing for the site, because it was the final straw for KB, who took that opportunity to begin her career of kicking lousy artists' asses and making them want to improve. In the years since then Req has made such quantum leaps in his work that you'd never recognize him as the same artist today, and he'll always tell you that the reason was because PG-13, unlike the gazillions of furry art and fetish art sites it had to contend with in its time and since, had a standard of excellence that we expected him and everyone else to live up to.Saburo X:
A genius. I don't use that word lightly, either. Saburo blew onto the scene in 2004 in a whirlwind of artistic talent and vision, quickly becoming everyone's favorite artist, and then proceeded to lead the march in praise of excellence, demonstrate astonishing humility and scruples in the face of that success, and basically kick ass at anything he's ever lifted a finger in the interest of doing. I want to say that more than anyone else, he's the successor to the spirit that built PG-13, but somehow that just doesn't seem like giving him enough credit. He's our reluctant chosen one, our Barack Obama, our Rodimus Prime; and despite our long friendship, I still feel honored and humbled when he says hi.Darien Shields:
Look over the PG-13 message board archives and you'll see me and Darien fighting a lot and being rude and sarcastic to one another. This, I feel, is why Ayn Rand's perfect society could never work: people who are cleverer and more talented than their peers get used to having things their own way, and when you put them in a box with lots of that kind of people, such as a message board for creative perverts, there is inevitably a struggle for dominance that can destroy all the things they might have built on their own. Thankfully Darien and I have a genuine affection for one another under all the snark, which kept us civil enough to make things better and brighter than they could ever be on PG-13 without that connection. Sometimes blades can sharpen one another if you clash them just right, and I have always felt all the sharper for Darien's influence.WicTMn:
This is where everyone listed before says, who?
This individual doesn't really have a name within the community: I call him Li'l Brudder. He was an early adopter on PG-13 under the other name, who followed the Jack Cain model of being younger and more obnoxious than the rest of us, and for many of us more forgettable for that reason. Yet he also made drastic steps to improve himself, much like Requiem before, gaining writing skill through experience, becoming a true master of worldbuilding and the Rule of Cool. It may have taken until after the site closed to complete, but he's a shining example of how a community content consumer
can become a producer.
I eagerly await the day he reveals himself to the community at large, for it is far overdue.Steph Cherrywell:
The very first day PG-13 went up, I was delighted to get a compliment on the Stuffed message board from its most standout regular artist. I suggested an art trade, and the next day received a lovely picture of Lum as a gift. That was the beginning of a friendship that's lasted ten years, five of which were spent together in my hometown as Steph and I job-hunted, talked politics and fandom, girlwatched, mall-walked, and most of all made each other laugh so hard we couldn't breathe. Many of my PG-13 friendships have become real-life friendships since then, e.g. KB and I doing San Diego Comic-Con together in '09, but Steph is the first one with whom it's become so much a part of me that sometimes I actually forget how it all started out. There's always a little hint of relevance in Steph's comics that reminds me, though, and I'm happy all over again that I started the site, if only because it helped me meet my best friend.Mistress Fire-Hazard:
In her first few mentions on the site, I called her "the real-life Lovin". And so she was, because our perky pregnant mascot Lovin was based on her in all ways, from her constantly flowing and shifting interests to her boundless affection for my stand-in, the inappropriately-named photographer Akira. We did sometimes disagree on the characters-- she would occasionally make suggestions for Lovin that portrayed her as downright slutty,
a trait I never felt was in character. More than anything, though, she served as my model for womanhood itself: the character of Wilder from Ninpuchan was a reflection of MFH at her sweetest, while reluctant ally Sara reflected her at her coldest and most cutting. Brigadier Swirl shares MFH's ethnic makeup (half Irish, half Mexican), and her world was our joint creation, as were so many other things. Creation, wild frenetic unsustained creation, was our bond; whole worlds were born from the driver and passenger seat of her '97 Corolla. It was so much a part of us that, when finally got my driver's license at the shamefully late age of 28, I joked that without driving together so much, our marriage would be doomed the day I got my own car.Busy, busy, busy....