John “The Gneech” Robey was born at a very early age in the remote province of northern Virginia, the son of DeOrman Robey, a hard-working milkman, and Freida “Is This Thing On?” Robey, a mysterious CIA agent who operated under the code-name “Gabby.” Always something of an outsider, Gneech was shunned by his peers as “that weird Robey kid,” and in preschool was voted “Most Likely To Be Killed By An Angry Mob,” a prediction which was to cast a dark shadow over Gneech’s life for many years.
Kidnapped by Russian spies as a toddler, The Gneech was taken to Moscow, where he outwitted his captors and escaped. His brilliant ploy (now famous as the first use of the line, “Hey, look over there!”) would later be the basis for several successful escapes by Ian Fleming in his pre-Bond days. Deep in cold-war Russia was not a kind place for a young American boy at that period in history, particularly a boy with an obscure sense of humor and a tendency to speak his mind. By the time he was ten, Gneech had made so many enemies that the guards at Checkpoint Charlie had been given orders to shoot him only if he was caught trying to go back into East Germany.
They needn’t have worried; Gneech worked out a complex and roundabout escape route from Soviet territory through China and eventually ended up in Yokahama, Japan, where he trained at “Mad Toshiro’s Ninja Emporium,” a martial arts dojo and used car dealership on the waterfront. The rigorous training and mental control required for ninjutsu were no problem for The Gneech, but the gaudy rhinestone-studded polyester suit and cowboy hat were too much, and he fled.
Gneech attempted to smuggle himself back into the United States in a crate full of Atari 1200 video game consoles, but he was caught because he had the volume turned up too high while playing a game of “Pitfall.” When asked about it later, Gneech said, “I couldn’t help it; that electronicy-sounding Tarzan yell was just too cool.” The pilot of the cargo plane Gneech was riding on, who was a strict disciplinarian, kicked him out of the plane.
Gneech has never given an adequate explanation of how he survived the thirty-thousand foot drop without a parachute. The most detailed answer he ever gave was to a reporter from the Sydney Daily Mail, who quotes him as saying “It’s amazing what you can do with a passing seagull.”
During his time spent in the Pacific, Gneech became increasingly sure of the fact that the lost city of Atlantis was not in fact under the ocean at all, but was instead somewhere in the eastern United States. What evidence led him to this conclusion is unclear, but he told a reporter from National Geographic “I just like it there.” Selling off his less-vital organs for airfare home, Gneech moved to Richmond to kill time by getting a college education. “Hey,” he said. “You never know when one of those might come in handy.”
While attending Virginia Commonwealth University, Gneech met and fell in love with his wife Laurie, whom he insisted on referring to “Lawatoni, The Jungle Goddess” for no readily apparent reason. Why Laurie, a brilliant, gorgeous, and amazingly patient woman, settled for The Gneech is unclear. Whatever the reason, the two of them moved back to northern Virginia, and Gneech began his search for Atlantis in earnest. Now convinced that it lay under the fountain in the center of the Fair Oaks Mall, Gneech was annoyed to no end when he couldn’t find it there, but not half as annoyed as the Fair Oaks management when Gneech hired a crew and started excavating.
Gneech now has a rubber room at the Northern Virginia Asylum For the Incredibly Silly, where he dresses like Napoleon and plans to conquer the Earth.
A Slightly Less Fictional Version
John “The Gneech” Robey is the creative force behind the popular webcomics, NeverNever and The Suburban Jungle, Starring Tiffany Tiger. Although schooled as a writer (with a B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University), Gneech builds web pages by day and is a cartoonist by night. There are currently five collections of his cartoons in print: La Vida Panthera, Love Bites, Orange Alert, and Tough Breaks are the Suburban Jungle collections, and Childproof the Unicorns is from NeverNever. Previous writing credits also include pieces for White Wolf Games’ Mage: The Ascension line, Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game supplements, and West End Games’ World of Indiana Jones. Gneech has received several honors for his work, being named Guest of Honor at the 2005 Mephit Furmeet, Iron Artist (Comics) for three years at Further Confusion in San Jose, and of course, multiple-time recipient of Websnark’s “Tasty, Tasty Biscuit.”
The Gneech is married; he and his wife Laurie are owned by a Flame-Point Himalayan cat, named Buddha, and his adopted baby brother, a rampaging spaz of a cat named Dasher.