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How Ian JQ Anticipated Dolly Parton’s Biggest Decision Ever, No Foolin’

It was a joke, since the earliest days of Fleen — ask Ian Jones-Quartey when he would finish RPG World and he would delay the return by a month.

Eventually, he gave us the end of RPG World, in an episode of OK, KO!, some 17 years after he’d launched it. No more jokes about October 2038, no more complaining from people that it was their favorite¹, just some well-earned closure.

But the internet hates to let anything go; sometimes that’s bad, but sometimes it’s not.

When Jones-Quartey let RPG World go, he said that anybody that wanted to continue it could, and that’s what a guy named Bryan Howard wrote to me to tell me he was doing, partnered up with the pseudonymous AtariBetch. RPG World Fan Revival kicked off with a catch-up page and a pointer to the original Keenspot archives before jumping in with their best guess as to what the story might have looked like. Taking inspiration from the original, RPGWFR has had its own lengthy hiatuses before adopting a regular schedule in midsummer 2018.

RPGWFR isn’t a continuation Ian Jones-Quartey’s RPG World, but you could call it something between fanon and tribute. A fork, in computer code terms, maybe. There’s an awful lot of story that could happen between the last bit of plot before the Big Hiatus and the canonical end, so maybe it’s like a remix of all the stuff in the middle? It actually reminds me of something Dolly Parton said² in the last episode of the Radiolab offshoot from Jad Abumrad and Shima Oliaee, Dolly Parton’s America.

Dolly was talking about how her team is planning for the end of her career and a time after Dolly; she’s written some 3000 songs and we haven’t heard all of them by a long shot, and she’s spending a lot of time in the studio. Not producing full songs, mind you, but recording just vocals on a click track³.

When there’s no more Dolly, there will be all these vocal-only recordings that people can create their own arrangements around. Dolly’s music will last as long as people want to tinker with it and the current form of English is comprehensible. Shakespeare’s lasted 400 years and people reinterpret his work, but this will be people partnering with Dolly for the next few millennia.

About five years back, I said that RPG World was sort of immortal, and by letting people take their own whack at his toys, Jones-Quartey has done the same thing that Dolly eventually decided on. Oh, sure, he’s not the one person that’s universally beloved by everyone from conservative church ladies to drag queens, but there will always be somebody out that that finds RPG World to be the greatest thing in their world.

Maybe it’ll be this revival — or the 37th one for that matter — that they love and follow it back to the original recipe. Maybe Jones-Quartey’s next show or movie redefines storytelling so much that completists obsessively dig through his earliest work. Maybe other, uncompleted or orphaned webcomics need to thrown open in this way.

Or maybe we should just be grateful for the sharing that he’s done, and is doing as I write this — check out the unreleased work from OK, KO! that he’s been posting on Twitter for the last day, and enjoy the weekend.

Spam of the day:

The 64 billion dollar optometry industry is desperately trying to hide this from you

Hide what? The fact that eyes change shape and malformed ocular lenses can be compensated for with a piece of glass ground into a specific shape, a technology we’ve had since the 17th century?

¹ Or maybe their kids, given the amount of time that had passed.

² Stay with me.

³ Not to be confused with a Chick tract; I don’t want to speak for the lady, but I’m pretty sure Dolly would have no time for Jack Chick.

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