"Those are wonderful wings," Billum said. "Do you think this Jump Tribe will make me a magician?"
"Don't know," said Yaboo. "Maybe. But we got to be careful with this hole. The Jump Tribe calls them Zelaquars. They use them to jump from world to world." "How many worlds are there to jump to?"
"Eleven times eleven times eleven..."
from Yaboo's Tale - 2005
In the summer of 2005 Barker collaborated with Art Asylum to create the first of a series of plush toys known as the Jump Tribe. As with The Tortured Souls, and Infernal Parade they may attract fans of Barker's written work who might not routinely be tempted by the plush figures. (See our Jump Tribe page for more on the figures themselves.) Those who do buy the toys will find a short history accompanying each of them; character studies of the 'Jumpers' which, although discrete, will interconnect to develop the curious world of The Jump Tribe...
"I'm creating the stories to go with a series of what are called 'plushies', characters called The Jump Tribe of which I've designed 240 of them - it's a company called Art Asylum and they produce toys for kids and they call the toys plushies; soft toys, and I had painted 240 characters on five canvases... this is The Bestiary that I was working on, and the guy came round and said, 'Could we have that?' and I said, 'What would you do with it?' and he said, 'Well, we'd make a world around it, we'll produce plushies for all these characters,' and I said, 'You're on - as long as I can write the stories to go with each of the characters.' So at Comic Con in San Diego this Summer, we will unveil the first four Jump Tribes - Jumpers, as we call them - three good guys and a bad guy and the four stories that go with them and a fine time will be had by all... "It's really fun and so I've written three of the stories and one to come of those first four. I don't think we'll ever do 240, but we will build a substantial world if people enjoy these characters... The stories are certainly aimed that way [at kids], always with a touch of something that hopefully an adult would have fun with. The stories are 1,500 words long, very short, but if they're all added together in a fashion that I've learnt from Tortured Souls, they will make one huge story."
The Lazarus Muse: Nights Of Magic, Days Of Gore
By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 2 June 2005 (note: full text here)
[re the Jump Tribe] "They jump through holes, they jump through dimensions... By writing stories about the good, the bad
and the ugly, we begin to create sub tribes. Wacky and weird can be loving and likable. That's one of the reasons I love
playing with the Jump Tribe stories. I over think things - it's about the joy of the creation.
"I thoroughly enjoy writing for a younger audience, when I look at these canvases, there are 240 of these guys. The best illustrations are the ones that go on in your head - to me that's the best thing about this kind of storytelling. It's a place to take refuge from a world."
The Destiny Of Clive Barker
By [ ], Playthings, Volume 103, Issue 8, 1 August 2005 (note - full text online at www.playthings.com)
"The whole idea was, let's make this neat little book which will look ancient and strange. And then David came up with the idea of creating an alternative language, so kids can write obscene letters to each other at school! And Miss Mulrooney will come and say, 'What is this? Are you learning Sumerian?' And they'll say, 'Yes, I am!' The fun thing is we're trying to find a whole little world to jump into and, just speaking for myself, I feel more in need of places to take refuge in, if you will - in books, in paintings, in comic books than ever... "
Jump Tribe Panel
San Diego Comic Con, 14 July 2005
"Well, there are going to be four in the first wave; the Comic Con thing was a special. The idea was that the one that came
out at Comic Con was specifically for Comic Con and it's a sort of experimental vehicle; it's very fun but, it's an experimental
vehicle. I think we will have got things a little bit smoother by the time we get to the second one which will, in truth, be the
first of the real, commercial run. For instance, we put it - the one for Comic Con - in a white box simply because we hadn't
even begun to think about packaging by the time that came around, which is nicely minimalist, but you know is it going to
work in a store? We sold most of them and there were thousands of them, and they went to - the youngest of the purchasers
was nine months old! And she purchased it by just stealing it off the display as her mother walked by and then her mother
coming back and saying, 'Excuse me, how much is this? She won't give it back!' By that time, every inch of Yaboo had been
sucked to pieces, so there wasn't much chance of reviving it! It was very sweet, really.
"[At Comic Con] we only had Yaboo and we had a couple of really very early, early passes of the others... but to my mind, they're crude first starts. The fun is watching - because there are 240 of these designs - watching people decide, because we took the paintings down there, watching people decide which is their favourite is almost like a Rorshach test! Do they like the aggressive ones that are all teeth, or do they like the ones that look like pale little parchment-coloured penguins? Very fun, very fun."
Rummaging Through The Toybox: Plushes, Plagues and Plaudits
By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 11 August 2005 (note: full text here)Jump Tribe bibliography...