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Vol. 2, Issue 2
November 15, 1999
Under Cover :
J.D. "Illiad" Frazer



by Rowan "Sumaleth" Crawford

lliad will be a name very familiar to regular readers of loonygames, well, it should be! Apart from doing the cover for issue 1.29, Illiad's ISP-inspired kinda-sitcom-stype comic series, User Friendly, has been featured inside the hallowed pages of loonygames every day since issue 1.12!

But first things first. Illiad? What sort of name is that? It certainly had me pondering that question for a long time - was it his real name? If not, what does it mean? How is it pronounced? Was it Egyptian maybe? Can it be used to hurt people? The truth behind the name is actually related to one of Illiad's personal interests - poetry - and stems from one of his favorite poems; Homer's epic, The Iliad.

click to enlarge!

The cover image from Illiad's new book (73k).

OK, I guess if I had known something about poetry then the name wouldn't have been quite so enigmatic, but the additional 'l' really threw me off the track! (And who'd have guessed that, as well as working in the atomic power industry, Homer was also a poet? Not I!)

So we know that it's not his real name now, but the name, Illiad (pronounced; ILL-EE-ADD), is mentioned everywhere, including on his new book (discussed below) with no mention ever of his real name. So what is his real name? Well (I feel a bit like Shaggy at the end of an episode of Scooby Doo, just about to tear off the mask and reveal the true identity of this weeks baddie!), Illiad's real name is J.D. Frazer!

Ooh, initials! There's still some mystery after all!

Regardless of whether you want to call him Illiad or J.D., history will record him as the creator of the incredibly popular comic strip, User Friendly, a project that started innocently enough, with Illiad drawing a few of his work mates, but it was quickly to become a success that even now is still growing, with plenty of fans in high places. "Eric S. Raymond? Jerry Pournelle? John Carmack? There are others, take your pick!"

click to enlarge!

Illiad does the Matrix (88k).

Our Editor loonyboi, is also a huge fan of User Friendly and its little group of strange inhabitants. I asked him why he approached Illiad about running UF daily on loonygames. "Because the strip rules. If Dilbert were remotely funny, it still wouldn't be half as entertaining as User Friendly." Actually, the Dilbert reference also comes up in Amazon.com's glowing review of the book:

"User Friendly is to the open-source world what Dilbert is to swarming hives of Windows cubicles." [Amazon.com]

Illiad has a seriously wide-ranging background, seemingly happy to give anything a bit of a go. Take his university career for example. "A year of criminology, two years of geology/planet science, and about two years of classical studies and literature. Never graduated." If nothing else, he could probably write a really interesting book about industrial companies that illegally dump toxins into the atmosphere (!).

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Credits: Cover illustration © 1999 Illiad. Under Cover is © 1999 Rowan Crawford. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.