5 Years Later is a crossover continuation of the television shows Danny Phantom (Created by Butch Hartman and owned by Nickelodeon) and the Original Ben 10 Saga (Created by Man of Action and owned by Cartoon Network).
It is meant to do justice to the respective franchises as they were mistreated by their network towards the end of their run despite the incredible amount of potential the shows have.
Starting with Chapter 3, the Invader Zim franchise joined the 5YL roster as the third show integrated into the crossover.
It's been five years since Danny Fenton, retired ghost-fighting superhero, revealed his identity to the world and saved it from destruction. When accidentally thrown into an alternate world while trying to complete his father's work, a new cross-dimensional threat is revealed to Danny, and his old arch-nemesis, Vlad, is somehow connected. Now, he must "Go Ghost" again with the help of that universes' greatest hero, Ben 10, to defeat the threat before he can obtain his mysterious goal.
Back in early 2015, Kuro had done drawing requests free-of-charge on Facebook for publicity. One request was a picture of Ben Tennyson using Ghostfreak to fight Danny Phantom. After its completion, Kuro became fascinated with the idea of Ben and Danny fighting together and began to draw versions of them in a multitude of art styles over the course of 2015.
The more elaborate the illustrations became, the more a story began to develop. Originally, it was scripted as a short, five-chapter comic book. It took place shortly after each series ended, Eon was not involved, and there was little effort to distinguish it from regular fan-fiction. It was around that time that Butch Hartman's first Danny Phantom: 10 Years Later YouTube video was released. This inspired Kuro to develop the story further, and add a significant time-skip to give plenty of room to expand the universes more.
Assembling The Ink Tank
Part of 5YL's advertising was the various social media accounts it has and creators' social media accounts who advertise it.
- This is Kuro the Artist's second successful webcomic after Dead!
- The entire comic was based off a drawing request/supposed fanfiction.
- The plot has similarities to Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United.
- When asked who the prime character for 5yl is, Kuro confirmed he centered the story around Danny Fenton, while also stating Ben Tennyson, Vlad Masters and Eon could also be considered main characters.
- When asked about the progress and work put into 5yl, Kuro made several statements
- "How do you make sure the comic is not simply just another fanfiction?"
- Kuro Replied: "In terms of writing the series, the two core ideals I focus on are 1) Characters: Ensuring the characters seems consistent with their canon selves. They need to believably act, speak, and have grown in a convincing way so the readers have a much easier time allowing themselves to get into the story. The earlier Chapters are a little more reliant on having the characters act pretty identical to how they would in their shows, but I later expanded their personalities and took the notion that it has been five years more seriously. 2) Plot: While I did write the whole premise in advance, it was also important to make sure the plot "exists" in the universe(s) it is in. You can create any antagonist and give her/him any power with any backstory, but it should feel connected to the world it lives in. Involving things like The Hands of Armageddon, a Dwarf Star, Ecto Energy's potential, and Nanites and all that makes the worlds more familiar. These things also work better when they are a part of the story, and not just thrown in. Although, I am a big fan of Easter Eggs, too."
- "How has 5yl effected Danny and Ben?"
- Kuro Replied: "I'd say Ben feels almost too prepared for it, and Danny doesn't feel prepared at all. I wouldn't say Ben is acting arrogantly, but he's dealt wit his fair share of universe-shattering events beforehand, so he tends to slip into his default-tactical mode, which does make him less empathetic. Danny, on the other hand, has never dealt with stakes raised this high, and is expected to being the key to victory while barely grasping his true powers."
- "How to handle a Crossover like 5yl?"
- Kuro Replied: "You never want to steer too fan-fictiony, no matter how tempting. I think crossovers are a very cool thing, and it's easy to play up the tropes like revisiting tons of important areas and having similar characters meet each other and whatnot, and while sometimes those may help the story, the gimmicks should never out-weigh the plot. It's also important to make sure to reintroduce everything in subtle ways, for those that may be less familiar with certain shows. I try to treat each new character and concept as if it's the first time you're seeing it, even if you've seen them before from the shows, just to make sure everyone is up-to-speed."
- "How do you handle the side characters like Kevin and Ember?"
- Kuro Replied: "They should always have something put into them. We usually come up with extra details about all the characters when designing them, even if it's not going to be in the comic, or even on the wiki, just to help us understand them better when drawing them. We want each design to have strong personality."
- "How do you handle spoils and teases for 5yl?"
- Kuro Replied: "I honestly have no interest in spoiling, so it's easy for me to resist. Whenever I want to watch a new movie or TV show, I always like to know as little as possible about it, so everything can seem like a fresh surprise, and I want people to feel that way when reading 5YL. I do end up having to tease things every now and then to keep people talking between the long releases between chapters, and it's more difficult to decide what to spoil than to decide what to keep away. I think things like And Beyond and the commission aliens help people stay active in the community without me having to show too much about future chapters, which helps, too."
- "Do you only use your ideas, or are open to added others to the comic?"
- Kuro Replied: "I try to keep a pretty open mind about what I add to the story, but the deciding factor is always "will it change the plot?" I do add-in new ideas as the chapters go on, like new powers we come up with, or new character traits and history, but there is a very solid timeline of what I need to happen and how they need to happen, and if a character/ idea/ lore element may either contradict or change what's going to happen, I opt out. So far, I seem to have a pretty strong lore, but every now and then people ask me about something I didn't plan for, and I have to rethink about everything to find a way for it to make sense."
- "Do you feel the ending you have prepared will be the best for 5yl?"
- Kuro Replied: "Best ending possible? One can only hope. I can at least say for sure that after all this planning, it will be exactly what I wanted it to be. I can't say much, but the whole idea for the plot of 5YL was based on the ending. I thought "What if __? And what would it take to get there?" And thus, I started putting together the pieces. I think I'll know if my ending is good or not is that if people think I did a good job at setting up my tricks before the magic happens."
- "How do you make sure the comic is not simply just another fanfiction?"