Stand Still Stay Silent
|Name:||Stand Still Stay Silent|
|Date(s):||November 2013 - Present|
|Country of Origin:||Finland|
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Stand Still Stay Silent (SSSS) is an ongoing Webcomic created by Minna Sundberg, who previously published A Redtail's Dream. It is available to read in its entirety online, and two physical collections have been published so far, through funding from IndieGoGo with logistical support by Hiveworks.
The comic is set 90 years after a mysterious "rash illness" wiped out most of the world's population, except for a few safe areas, primarily in Scandinavia. The illness turns people and animals into mutated monsters called "Trolls". The story follows a ragtag group of adventurers on an expedition into the "silent" or infected areas for the first time since the outbreak. It blends elements of horror and post-apocalyptic themes with magic and Northern European mythology.
The first SSSS fanfic was posted to Ao3 in December 2014, and to Fanfiction.net shortly after, though Ao3 remains the more popular choice. Some fanfic was showing up in the Disqus comments and the forum before that.
One major source of early fan activity and speculation was the identity of "Braidy", the character pictured in much of the promotional art with long red hair worn in a braid and later revealed to be named Reynir. As the last character to be introduced (he did not appear on-page until November 2015, two years after the launch of the comic), many fans offered theories on his nationality, name, and how he might come to join the crew. It became a common joke within the Disqus comments to point out a red object in a particular page and speculate that it was actually Braidy. This was extended to many other things, like cats, boats, and other minor objects that people would "call out" as being the Braidy Character in disguise or through some other magical means. Despite not knowing his name or anything about him, fanart was already being produced based on the few appearances he made such as in the website banner and other official artwork.
Emil/Lalli is the most popular M/M ship. Many works with this pairing focus on their language differences (Emil only speaks Swedish, Lalli only speaks Finnish), and how they learn to work together and create a relationship despite that challenge.
Following their continued interaction in canon, Onni/Reynir has also gained some traction.
A major theme of the comic was the variety of languages spoken by the cast, not all of which were mutually intelligible. On October 14, 2014, Minna posted an illustrated language tree meant to showcase the distance between Finnish and other Scandinavian languages. The image quickly went viral and was reposted and covered by mainstream news and culture sites, drawing a lot of new readers to the comic.
City of Hunger
In 2016 Minna announced that she has started work on a narrative RPG in order to branch out into work that was more interactive than comics. This project, still in development, came to be called City of Hunger, and featured Alternate Universe versions of characters from SSSS, along with a different plot and setting. Fans quickly latched on to the concept, despite the fact that very little plot or setting details had been revealed.
Early fan interaction was limited to the comment sections of individual pages. Speculation about worldbuilding and characters could be found there, with occasional replies from the author. Occasionally, fanfic and poetry were posted as well, to varying reactions from the other fans. On September 2, 2014, a fan forum was created by a user named Eich. Minna offered to link to the comic in the following day's comic page, as well as contribute some hi-res graphics for use in the forum's theme and interface. This sort of official "endorsement" would later create some tension in the fandom, as some people believed that the content and tone of the forum discussion should not veer too far from that of the comic lest it somehow tarnish the image of the creator and the comic.
The forum proved to be a big hit, with many users who frequented the comment threads migrating there. In addition to users posting their written works and fanart, it also allowed for more permanent documentation of things like headcanons, small details about the story, and the archiving of relevant replies by Minna from the Disqus threads.
In December of 2014, a forum user sought to gauge interest in a chatroom. The initial attempt was on TinyChat, however this eventually became inactive. A more stable and permanent IRC chatroom was created, offering fans a more real-time way to interact. Currently a Discord server also exists.