It's not very often when somebody creates a world so imaginative, so influential, that generations of creators call on it as their inspiration. This past weekend, the creative world lost a giant - a man who crafted a world of woodland creatures living in an Abbey in the middle of Mossflower Wood, and created a community of fans and admirers that I sincerely hope will continue to be influenced by his incredible body of work for years to come.
In a world that changes on the whims of focus groups and sales charts, here was a man who honestly did not care about any of those things. The Redwall series transcended reviews and bestseller lists. The Redwall series simply was - and every year, almost like clockwork, another book came out that you could read, each one offering a simple guarantee that for a short amount of time, you would be whisked away to the world you'd been reading of since childhood, and it would always be the same, always safe, always familiar, no matter how dark or dreary the real world became.
Despite the fact that my one personal meeting with Mr. Jacques did not go very well (it involved a Redwall video game pitch back in 2004, and interviews have since proven that this was not an idea he was very keen on), I owe him so very much. To thank him for the Redwall series itself seems insignificant - instead, I look beyond it to see that Rachel and I would probably not know each other if there was no Redwall series, and this comic tale, this world, these characters - they simply would not exist without the Redwall series as a guiding light in our early years.
My long-standing and irreplaceable friendship with Sean Rubin began with that Redwall video game pitch - and other friendships I cherish (Kristen, Vero, Zach, everyone - too many to list) began with a common interest in the Redwall series. My work on David Petersen's Mouse Guard series would not have come to pass either, without the series' incredible impression on both his work, my work, Sean's work, and our friendship. Truth be told, most of my personal creative endeavors are due to Brian Jacques and the fantasy series he created.
I don't know what the future holds for the Redwall series now - but I know that regardless of what happens with the series proper, that it will continue to evolve and improve in the hearts and minds of the creators it inspired. Redwall was more than a book series to me - it was and always will be an idea; a creative spark that, as long as we continue to hold it with us, will never die.