Super I.T. Friends
Created By: Mike Manor
Where are you when you’re online?
"I didn't like Earth that much anyways." – Some person who littered a lot
Super I.T. Friends is an animated action/comedy series about four buds sticking up for humanity inside a new digital Wild West. After an avoidable nightmarish blight makes the earth uninhabitable, humanity uploads their consciousness into a virtual reality universe called The Interverse. The Interverse is the internet as a physical place. Memes are celebrities and online communities are planets. Society itself has turned into an MMORPG, and like most online games, The Interverse is no utopia. The virtual world has been corrupted by the same villain that ruined the earth. Huge chunks of The Interverse are lawless, and that's where the Super I.T. Friends step in. The Super I.T. Friends are a group of loner pals brought together by helping the helpless, vanquishing villains, and survival.
"I'm done with today, can we go to the Cute Subverse and pet some celestial pups?" – Rose
The Interverse is the Internet split in two. At the center is the dual capital city, New Angeles. One side is friendly and fake, the other is chaotic and in your face. Both sides frequently grapple. One is like Instagram and the other is like Twitter. There’s also a separate city like Facebook, but it sucks and no one wants to live there except for moms who post wine memes, and people who monologue about politics/psychedelics. Outside the city, The Interverse is broken into small individual planets called Subverses. There is a subverse for every conceivable internet community, whether it be a planet of thrash metal fans or anti-shower conspirators. All are linked by the high speed connection highway. Here are some examples:
Evil Subverse Examples
Dark Net (Market of illegal Interverse items)
Hacking Subverse (City of universe breakers)
Pirate Bay (Pirate haven)
5chan (land of pre-pubescent toxic internet boys)
Friendly Subverse Examples
Guggle Search Engine (Public transportation)
Cute Subverse (Land of adorable animals)
Gaming Subverse (Elaborate world of every conceivable game)
Spinefeld Subverse (For those who love the sitcom Spinefeld and want to talk about it 24/7)
Rose, The Outlaw
"I didn't lose, Dutch. I just haven't won yet." – Rose
Rose joined The Super IT Friends after being captured as a bounty. She bargained her membership/freedom by saving The Friends’ ship from imploding. At 3AM, you'll find Rose wrist deep in grease modifying her arm cannon, charting a new realm of the deep Interverse, or struggling to learn a new school of coding. Rose is a tireless bookworm with a bottomless curiosity. She’s not the most technical fighter, but damnit she’s got a lot of heart. She’ll win a fight with pure pride and stubbornness if she has to. Her pride is her weakness. No one is harder on her than herself, and those high standards make her extremely sensitive to criticism. Rose has a great destiny. As long as she can remember, she has been pursued by assailants. She doesn't know it, but she's the only one who can stop the evil that destroyed earth by using the Interverse's original code language. Everything in The Interverse is created through coding/hacking, its comparable to magic and although Rose has infinite potential, she has no real skill. Mastering the original code would give Rose full control of the Interverse, and with it she could seal away the evil inside The Interverse and return everyone to earth. She is sought after by heroes and villains alike, looking to protect or capitalize on her potential power.
Felix, The Floaty Robot
"I don't feel comfortable accepting unless we read the whole terms and services agreement." – Felix
Felix is a discarded, experimental, overly-empathic, artificial intelligence program with a missing memory. Rose picked Felix out of a trash can. They're best friends. Felix loves to help, like a blocky cheerleader. If you asked him to move a chair, he’d apologize for not having arms. He is the teams emotional backbone and find himself maternally taking care of everyone. He’s capable of remembering and learning anything, but his missing memory puts him developmentally behind other AI so he’s remarkably gullible. Felix has the ability to possess electronics, and usually acts as a support in combat by providing The Friends’ with information about their foes. He’s especially protective of Rose, and as happy as he is to be with The Friends, that feeling of being discarded never quite leaves him. Most people want the earth to become habitable again, but Felix knows that when it happens everyone will leave and he will be left behind. Rose knows this and has promised to find a way to make Felix real. Felix joined The Friends in search of his memory and a way to exist outside of the Interverse.
Dutch, The Ronin
"Eat my memory? Okay. Then how will I remember how lovely you are?" – Dutch
Dutch tells everyone he founded The Super IT Friends for glory and cash, but that's far from the truth. He's an anxious extrovert, and a reckless charmer. His people pleasing ways get him in and out of trouble at an equal rate. Fortunately, Dutch thrives in chaos and has an eye for using it to his advantage. Yet, is often too showy for his own good. Out of all The Friends, he is the most skilled fighter. He masterfully wields a unique, low level sword as a self imposed challenge. When he's with his friends, he's a hardcore nerd in every sense. He loves comics, card games, and fantasy books, but around others he plays it cool. Dutch can be hot headed, and has trouble accepting love, but secretly values community. Rose and Dutch butt heads a lot. His figure-it-out-as-we-go attitude drives her crazy, and they often find themselves in friendly rivalries that can spiral out of control. Dutch became half-robot as a result of his family name. When his parents stood up for humanity on earth they paid with their lives. Dutch paid when they paralyzed half his body. He truly started The Super IT Friends to get revenge, and though he has no human body to return to, he swears the people who killed his family will die by his hands.
Guff, The Incomprehensible
"This is my new friend Snoot, he was serial killer so I invited him to our breakfast party." – Guff
The wild card. Co-Founder of The Super IT Friends, Guff is impulsive, grossly optimistic, and has a confused concept of danger. Plainly put: Guff is a sweet, dumb boy who wants the best for everyone, even those who would kill him. Guff is a pacifist. In combat he acts as a drummer boy by using a giant keyboard shield to protect his friends, and play fire beats to inspire their victories. Guff is a friend to all, and approaches life with a pure, whimsical, dog-like energy. During a funeral, you'd have to ask Guff to stop doing the Milly Rock. In his mind, no one should be sad, for a life is always worth celebrating. He is magnanimous to a fault, and his friends often find others taking advantage of his kindness. There’s always a second or twelfth chance with Guff. His exact origins are unknown to The Friends and himself, but it’s clear he has never been to earth before. He was found by his foster parents during an excursion to the outskirts of the Interverse. Ultimately, Guff wants to bring peace to The Interverse so everyone can chill out and enjoy life.
The Friendship is the Super I.T. Friends enormous home base. It’s a unique, infinitely shifting, Hogwarts-like vessel. The Friends only occupy 1% of it, and no one has ever full explored it. Upon discovering a mysterious inheritance, Guff instinctively blew all his money on the ship despite not being able to fly it. With Felix’s help, the ship is now mostly self-sustaining, and sometimes spiritually responsive to the needs of Guff. Though the friends assume this is a weird quirk of the already strange ship, the truth is far freakier.
Danger! & Villains
"Silence, flesh bag! I am not Peaches! I am Fluffernaught! King of the internet cats!" – Fluffernaught, King of the Internet Cats
Like the internet, The Interverse is wrought with evil and toxic behavior. From evil bugs that think it’s funny to change your speaking voice from English to Japanese, to 10 year old hackers who steal your loot and talk smack about your mom. If that isn’t enough, The Interverse’s design is far from perfect, so caution is necessary when adventuring through its disconnection storms, glitching landscapes, and unfinished areas. Conflict also comes from interpersonal issues between The Friends themselves, like accidentally posting an embarrassing photo from someone’s camera log or racing to figure out who’s the best Mario Kart driver. Super IT Friends has an ensemble cast of recurring Adventure Time-like side characters. Some villains are misguided fools, while others are quite mustache-twistingly evil. Below are a few examples:
The Clifton Bros.
“I think the Fedora really pulls the outfit together” - Andy
The Clifton Brothers are two chaotic hackers, hell bent on destroying The Friends to become cool in the eyes of the villainous community. They share a body to intimidate their foes as pictured below. Andy wears the pants in the friendship. He’s a virtuosic hacker/bug creator, but his schemes are always short sighted. Bob is the muscle. He’s impressionable, and the only one who thinks Andy’s ideas are genius. The two of them together create an echo chamber of stupid. For example: While creating black holes to destroy the friendship might accomplish their mission to destroy the super it friends, what happens when the black hole inevitably spins out of their control and destroys the entire interverse? Not smart. The brothers regularly endanger everyone including themselves in their half baked schemes. Their convoluted ideas aren’t only confined to villainy. Andy is socially pinheaded. He’s the type to go to a bar and try a gross pick-up line on someone while Bob roots him on. This behavior makes it impossible for them to make friends. The other villains constantly make fun of them and think they’re hopeless dweebs. Andy and Bob will never quit. Their teenage vision of riches and power provides endless fuel for their numbskull antics.
Fluffernaught, King of the Internet Cats – The vicious, militant leader of the blindly devoted internet cats. Don’t tell him he’s cute.
Glitchbeard, The Pirate Baron – A pirate lord who sails across the universe pirating media, commandeering ships, and hunting for treasure.
Lank, The Deleter – The silent overseer of the desolate land that holds the nearly deleted. Aka the recycling bin.
Father – He’s the reason earth was ruined. He funneled everyone into The Interverse to syphon their life force and make himself immortal.
"I knew it was going to be sentient cat overlords." – Dutch
Every episode personifies how we experience technology in a physical space. It could be Tinder speed dating, where people physical swipe others out of the way when they get bored mid-date or battling an antivirus bot that hurts your ship more than it helps. We all know what it’s like to experience a computer freezing. In The Interverse, that’s a lag blizzard, where they would have to bundle up and wait for it to blow over. The show is about taking those tiny moments and building a world around them. The Friends get into these frustrating situations innocently enough, and escape elsewhere with a villain vanquished, a heart broken, or a friend gained. It's always just another day surviving in The Interverse. Most episodes are one off shorts and don't need to be watched in order. There are also plot development episodes which reveal more information about the character’s pasts, and push the overall story arc forward.
"You gave that refrigerator an existential crisis. Come on Guff, lets go home." – Rose
EXAMPLE 1: GUGGLE
Dutch and Guff are in The Friendship living room goofin’ around, trying to jog their memory of a song they’ve forgotten the lyrics of. Felix, mildly agitated by their poor musical impressions, suggests they ask the algorithm bot at “Guggle.” The Friends arrive at the hellish, busy, DMV-like, search engine subverse, when they notice the bot is having an aggressive customer service meltdown. Felix inspects the bot and learns he’s been corrupted with malware. The Friends confront the bot who quickly transforms into a giant and attacks them. The Friends evenly battle the bot until he turns invisible and captures Dutch and Guff. Rose and Felix, just in the knick of time use coding to break his incognito mode. Dutch and Guff, still in grave danger of being crushed, suddenly remember the song and start singing. The bot forgets himself and joins in. While distracted, Rose knocks the malware out of his body, and resets him back to normal.
EXAMPLE 2: GOING POSTAL
Rose and Felix walk in on Guff going through Dutch’s photo log, but become curious themselves and stumble onto a hilariously embarrassing photo. While they’re all cracking up, Guff gets carried away and accidentally hits the post button. A disturbingly devoted postman arrives and takes the post. Rose stops him, and explains it was all a mistake. The postman righteously monologues how everything sent must be delivered and whizzes off to deliver the post. While The Friends panic, Dutch learns what happened, and fights with Rose about how he shouldn’t need a passcode at home. Felix devises a plan to cancel the post at the postal inspection service, but when they arrive the inspector won’t hear any of it. They try to bribe him and the inspector calls the police. The Friends flee the scene to confront the postman one on one and find his ship hauling ass towards the delivery port. After some heated words, and the police in tow, The Friends open fire on The Postman ship. The Postman masterfully counters them at every turn, his devotion to the post seems unstoppable, but Dutch has an idea. He creates a new post to lure the postman onto their ship. The postman takes the bait, but still manages to defeat them and grab their new post. As he’s about to exit, Rose makes an offhand comment about how the post sucks. The offended postman monologues again, forgets about his ship, and it explodes as it crashes into a wall. Destroyed by his mistake, the postman deems himself unworthy of the post and surrenders to civilian life.
EXAMPLE 3: I DON’t KNOW, IT WON’T TURN ON
The Friends travel to Old Cat Lady Higgens’ house to restart her printer. However, they discover her cats’ have a plot to kidnap Higgens and turn the house into a printer powered escape ship. The Friends lose the printer to the cats, they launch their ship, and escape with Higgens’ and Guff as prisoners. Guff sneaks out of his cell, and learns the militant cats have set their destination to porn site pussyhub.net which they’ve mistook as a cat safe haven. The Friends arrive in their fighters and battle with the cats. Guff manages to escape with Higgen’s before the cats zip away on the high speed connection bullet line.
EXAMPLE 4: LIKE & SUBSCRIBE
Aboard The Friendship, Rose and Dutch are making cookies via Felix (who used his powers to possess an oven) when they realize Guff is missing. The Friends trek up to Guff’s room and learns he’s fallen down a vast video void that’s consuming him like quicksand. Felix scans the void and discovers that Guff has created a ViewTube hole as a result of binging too many asinine vlogs. Rose devises a plan to rescue Guff by lowering Dutch down the void with a fishing poll that she’s increased the strength of through coding. Dutch, skeptical of Rose’s coding skills, hurts her feelings when he wants to find another way. Felix, anxious about Rose’s damaged feelings, oversteps Dutch and volunteers the two of them anyways. In return, he secretly promises to eat a large bee instead of cookies if the plan fails. The plan immediately fails when Dutch jumps and the rod pulls both of them down the void. Rose starts to panic, when suddenly Guff is awoken by the smell of Felix’s oven body. Rose promises Guff he can lick the spoon if he gets everyone safe. The promise of the spoon sends Guff into a bloodlust and he hurls both his friends to safety.
Other Episode Ideas
“But there’s hot singles, Rose! In our area!!” – Dutch
99% Loading: The Friends are traveling home via Loading Screen when they experience a connectivity issue and freeze at 99% loading.
Spacebook: The friends try to delete their Spacebook accounts, but must defeat, Zark Muckerburg and his bureaucratic maze.
Patched: After downloading a fake Interverse update, The Friends get infected with a bug that randomly transfigures their body parts.
The Prince: Felix answers a Prince's spam email, and the friends are sent on quest to help him get back his fortune.
Social Vampire: After answering a disappearance call, the friends battle Dutch's influencer ex-Tinder date "Chickbate."
Poltergeist: After Guff opens a mysterious chain letter, The Friends don't pass it on, and the ship gets haunted by a ghost.
Bamboozle: Pirate Lord, Glitchbeard steals a copy of Dutch’s favorite film, The IT Friends travel to the Pirate Bay to regain it.
PvP: Rose and Dutch both enter a fighting competition to take down a hacker, but instead focus on who among them is the better duelist.
Please Hold: The Friends get their money digitally stolen, and have to travel through the hellish realm of customer service.
E for No One: The Friends are tasked with saving a child's game subverse after it goes "Adult."
Hot Singularity: Dutch stops the ship at a mysterious island of babes. The Friends battle with their leader as she tries to eat Dutch's memory.
Anti-Virus: Feeling under appreciated, Felix stops maintaining the ship. Dutch installs an evil anti-virus replacement: Norton.
Candy Slush: Dutch and Felix get addicted to a game called Candy Slush. Rose and Guff must beat the game to free everyone.
People spend more time online than in reality. In an age of over-indulgence, this show aims to be a cathartic release of frustration and a celebration of our culture’s inability to shake technology. Episodes are currently shorts designed to be built out into a traditional 11 minute episodic format. Pixel Art as a medium is cheap, fast, and popular. Many of my pixel art contemporaries have large social media followings with a viral level of popularity for their animated GIFs. The style appeals to young audiences as well as those who have any nostalgic feelings towards the earlier days of gaming. Beyond that, I believe the concept is stronger than the style and I am flexible visually. However, I do believe pixel animation is an overlooked medium. Here are examples of me and others using pixel art as a visual story telling medium:
Conclusion & About Me
When you're online where are you really? Super IT Friends aims to visualize that. It's designed to entertain light and heavy internet users alike by characterizing all the familiar moments we quietly experience with technology from opening a bad email, to dealing a toxic Fortnite teammate. Beyond the universe, the show is about doing good for the sake of doing good. It's about friendship in the digital age. The internet is setting a global culture. I want to paint that picture.
Mike Manor has worked in online media for 10 years. His work has been featured in Sundance, IFC, Adweek, and E3. He has worked on visuals for Flying Lotus, Pi’erre Bourne, Young Nudy, Rich Brian, 21 Savage, and Anthony Fantano. He has worked on projects with companies 88Rising, Atlantic Records, Columbia Records, Stonesthrow Records, Bethesda, and Machinima. Mike enjoys playwriting, hiking, music, and being a good person.