Who is Jenny Everywhere?
Jenny Everywhere (ak.a. “The Shifter”) is an open source comic character.
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.
You can get a more detailed background on Jenny here on The Shifter Archive, the “official, unofficial archive” of Jenny Everywhere, but below is a small cross-section:
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.
On January 23, 2002, in this thread:
http://www.barbelith.com/topic.php?id=5491 — Her name was also originally pitched as “Julia Everywhere” by Tom Miller aka “Captain Zoom”.
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.
For the past few years, head by Benj Christensen, Jenny Everywhere Day (rather, Jenny’s decided birthday), is August 13, 2001. August 12, 2013 will be her 12th birthday. Benj seeks yearly contributions for a big collection of Jenny art and/or comics to be posted on www.JennyEverywhereday.com
Frequently Asked Questions, The Shifter Archive Project
The Late Shift © Rob Cave and Nelson Evergreen
"The Shifter" © Fes Works
Two bottom images drawn by Steven Wintle, and released as public domain.
The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.