Important: The Subject 218 series are considered explicit and is not suitable for readers below the age of 18.
Development of Subject 218
"I’m going to be blunt with you here, even if you’re some smart-*** with a degree or major or whatever those things are ******* called now; I have no manners. I say whatever the **** I want, when I want!" - Tim, Operation: Hunt Down
The origins of Subject 218
Dating back to 2004, Tim Adrien Argan started out as a random doodle Thomas use to draw on all of his school notebooks, often brandishing a knife or a sword. He was drawn in the style of Jhonen Vasquez in his early days, back when Thomas began experimenting with different drawing styles to see which felt comfortable; it could be said that Tim's first concept may have been that of a Fan Character because of this. However, outside of the style and the occasional mashup with Invader Zim characters, Tim was never actively drawn in fan-art of the series outside of being in the background to fill up space.
[image from 2004]
It would be in 2006 when Tim gained his own story and shift in his design; taking some of the traits of his original concept to keep him looking familiar, he began to be fleshed out and no longer resembled a typical Fan Character. His story also was developing by this point, with a basic concept of him being experimented on by the military against his will, gaining superpowers as a result, which he used to commit various acts of crime. This story remained stagnant and did not develop further for many long years. The first book, titled Operation: Hunt Down, was the original story concept for Tim, minus a vast portion of the cast it now has, and lacking any real structure. This story was not written as a book, but was roughly drawn out in panels for a comic. The only characters from this concept who remain to this day are Tim, James and Helena (albeit her role and personality was split between her and Freija in the final version).
[image from 2006/8]
The process started as early as 2008, however the first draft was never completed, as Thomas saw potential for Tim's usage in "The Jinimaru Chronicles" in 2010, after the concept of militarised creature experimentation on humans became the main plot-line for that book. A complete re-write of the story was made, but once again this draft was never finished. Thomas became frustrated at his lack of progress, a result of constantly changing the story foundation repeatedly, so in 2013 Hunt Down was dragged back to life, however many pages had become damaged or lost during several moves across the country. The story was full of holes! As for the re-write Thomas started, it still exists but may never see the light of day.
[image from 2013]
Thomas decided to stop trying to make the comic directly, as he would constantly change core plot points every time he started it, and failed to start the comic right from the beginning (opting to start from scenes he liked the most). This process was the main source for the delays, rewrites and entire scrapping of several stories, not just Tim's. By 2015 Thomas decided it would be best to write out a novel first, which would only allow him to make slight changes to the comic in order to avoid canonical confusion. By 2018 the first two volumes to the novel were finally finished, and in 2019 he started writing the prequel and drawing up the comic adaptation.
[image from 2016]
Whilst the story itself has changed drastically from the original concept from 2004, it still retains many traits from the original, including the title of the first volume.
- The novel requires no knowledge at all of Jinimaru since it does not feature them heavily, and when they do become present the basic information is provided.
- The language and themes of all volumes in Subject 218 are explicit.
- All volumes are written in first-person.
- Not all volumes are written by the same character.
- Comics are the canonical "true story", whilst the novels could be viewed as characters telling "half truths".