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Halo Babies was a fan site[1] that ran from 2003-2009. The site showcased comics of Halo characters as "babies" in the style of the 1980s Muppet Babies[2] cartoon. The comics were created by Bungie community member Gruntsbane and hosted on the site that mrsmiley and Gholsbane ran.

Background[]

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Halo Babies Concept Art by Lorraine McLees

The comics were originally conceived as a 2002 April Fools joke made by Bungie and Lorraine McLees announcing an animated Halo television series[3] that was scheduled to debut on fall 2002.[4] In addition to the announcement, McLees created concept art.

A website was launched called the "Definitive Halo Babies Episode Guide,"[5][6] giving episode recaps and naming several celebrities who would be voicing the characters, such as Baby Cortana being voiced by Cameron Diaz.

History[]

Beginnings[]

Gruntsbane started drawing fan art comic strips of Halo Babies in 2003. mrsmiley, an avid fan of the comic, contacted Gruntsbane with a simple proposition: "I'll make the website if you draw the comics." Gruntsbane agreed, as he was a budding artist at the time and looking for a way to fill out his portfolio to get more drawing experience.

The original Halo Babies fansite launched on July 26, 2003, as a Homestead-hosted site, created with their proprietary web-builder. The site ran out of bandwidth and went offline within a couple days of being announced due to the high amount of traffic. The site began going online and offline whenever Homestead's bandwidth limits would reset: when a new cycle began, Gruntsbane and mrsmiley would release a new comic, and then the site would immediately go offline again due to the traffic.

New Website[]

A few months after the site's launch, Gholsbane, another community member and co-manager of myth.bungie.org, contacted mrsmiley on bungie.net and offered to redesign the website using an actual CMS to manage all posts and comics; mrsmiley agreed. One month later, the blueprints of the new site launched, using much less bandwidth.

HaloBabies.net went offline on February 20, and during the 24 hours or so while the site was being overhauled, HBO was flooded[7] with people asking what had happened. The new site design went live that same day.[8]

Website Donations[]

Four days after the revamp went live, mrsmiley launched a contest for people who donated $10+ to keep HaloBabies.net funded. The winner would be drawn into a Halo Babies comic and received a framed print of their strip. The site received over $1000 in donations, taking care of hosting of the site for the remainder of its life.

Storyline[]

On April 2nd, the first Halo Babies fan-art series (following an actual storyline) was released. The series planned to reach its apex at the launch of Halo 2, when the baby Master Chief character would receive his new armor design, along with Cortana. The Halo Babies fan artists also got Frank O'Connor's permission to write his popular "Mister Chief" character into the strip.

April Fools[]

Since Halo Babies was born of an April Fool's joke, the HaloBabies.net team felt obliged to continue to pull pranks on April 1st of each year. The first joke,[9] regarding Gruntsbane being attacked by a mob of fans, was met with mixed reactions as a lot of people did not understand that it was an April Fool's prank. The site's 2005 prank[10] about a Halo Babies brand of diapers was bought by a surprising amount of people. The pranks stopped after the first two years due to decreased comic activity on the site.

End of the comics[]

On January 6, 2006, the last of the regular Halo Babies strips[11] was posted as a fill-in for Stuntmutt, who was taking a paternity leave from drawing his own One One Seven comic. After over two years of weekly strips, Gruntsbane's duties at as an artist and a student had grown to the point where he was unable to keep up with drawing the strip. The final Halo Babies comic was posted a year and a half later on July 19, 2007.

Despite the lack of new comic strips, HaloBabies.net turned into a thousands-strong gaming art site, and started featuring community artists on a regular basis, one of whom was 2phast.

2009 Attack[]

In the spring of 2009, the HaloBabies.net fansite was hit by a hacker. The forums were scrambled and malware was installed to the server, causing the site to be put on Google's warning list for websites. Despite several efforts by mrsmiley to recover the data and rebuild the site he simply didn't have enough resources and time to relaunch it. As a result, the website closed in the summer of 2009.

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More Halo Babies Concept Art by Lorraine McLees

Present Day[]

As time went on, newer Bungie fans either forgot or never knew about the joke, thus giving Bungie.net regulars a chance to "prank" them when they asked about the rumors. Master Forum Ninja Recon Number 54 was famous for saying that he "covets Shishka's laserdisc set," while Master Forum Ninja x Foman123 x often claimed to own the DVD box set. After a few hours of mysterious confusion and pranking, the people who asked about the Halo Babies series were usually let in on the joke so that they may continue its legacy against future unsuspecting new Bungie Community members.

While the website no longer gets updated, it still remains online as an archive for the enjoyment it provided.

Related External Links[]

  • HaloBabies.net - A Halo Babies fansite where several dedicated fans created comic strips based on the original Halo Babies joke.
  • /r/halobabies - A subreddit dedicated to the old Halo Babies website and acts as a "guest book" to those who use to visit the site but were abruptly unable to communicate anymore.

References[]

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