Jones takes time out from signing to chat with costumed fan George Dugong at Saturday's Fallcon.
Minneapolis comic artist Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes) was already a fan of Doctor Who when the parodic 'Inspector Spacetime' was introduced as a running gag on NBC's Community. The Doctor Who spoof debuted as a show within the show, inspiring fannish obsession among both members of the Community cast and real life viewers.
The satirical sendup of low budget British sci-fi made Travis Richey, the actor embodying the titular Inspector, an overnight cult sensation, and Jones was part of the cult following when the two first met in Los Angeles.
"He really made an impression as a creative and entrepreneurial force," says Jones. "I thought at the time he'd be fun to have at CONvergence, and generally I always like networking with creative types in all different fields." To that end, Jones worked with his partner Hal Bichel on an IndieGoGo campaign that brought Richey back to the Twin Cities in July.
Richey, a Wisconsin native who studied at the University of Minnesota before leaving for Hollywood, raised $25,000 through Kickstarter to produce a six-part web series in 2012. As he neared his goal, Richey realized that funding wasn't his only hurdle: NBC and Sony promptly served the new series with a cease and decist order over unauthorized use of intellectual property. Rather than fight them, Richey circumvented their objections by redubbing his project with the awkwardly clever name 'Untitled Webseries About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time' and changing his character's appearance.
Once finished, the 2012 web series garnered praise from fans and notice from some mainstream press, so Richey pledged himself to a more ambitious second season. According to Richey's Kickstarter page, episodes in Season 2 will run three times as long as in Season 1. A new director will helm the project as well, and Star Trek actors Robert Picardo and Chase Masterson have signed on for extensive screen time. The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik will also join the cast, and the funding goal has jumped to $125,000 to pay for these additions.
Christopher Jones' respect for Richey made him eager to join. "He was so clearly wanting to take advantage of the opportunity of this character while being very appreciative of and respectful to the fans," says Jones. For his part, he created a faux comic book cover depicting an Inspector Spacetime comic, and made signed prints of the cover available to project backers.
"If I lived out in the Los Angeles area I'd want to find a way to work on the production directly. As it is, helping bring Travis to CONvergence and supporting his Season 2 Campaign with a print seemed like a good alternative."
And supporting the Kickstarter campaign may be the only way Richey's fans (dubbed Inspectators) will see his character return to the screen. Although Community is slated for another season on NBC, Richey hasn't been invited back.
The 'Untitled Web Series' Season 2 Kickstarter campaign continues through November 13.
[Photo: Rob Callahan]