"Tales from the 'Burbs" is the brainchild of Thomas Mikkelsen. It consists of a series of short stories, all written in the spirit of the famous (or to many, infamous) EC comic book series of the 1950's, "Tales from the Crypt".
"Tales from the 'Burbs" was conceived as a project in the fall of 2001, in the period after the airing of the final episode of season 5 Daria, but prior to the release of the movie "Is it College Yet?", which would mark the end of the series.
Thomas enlisted for this effort two other fanfic authors, Kara Wild and Milo Minderbinder. Each author was tasked with writing at least one story for TFTB, and Milo created art and designed the web pages that would hold the whole thing together.
Each story written would follow a simple set of guidelines:
- Each “tale” would be introduced by the series “cryptkeeper”, played by Ms. Johanson, the gluttonous consumer of charity chocolate bars introduced in Daria during the first season, but who in “Tales from the ‘Burbs” has apparently expanded her diet to include members of her family, an ex-boyfriend and the hapless Gupty kids.
- Each story focused on one character. The forward written by Thomas set the standard for each story. “Over the years there have been lots of ‘Daria’ fanfic. And while there have been no end to funny, romantic, dramatic, pornographic and just plain boring stories. Stories with the characters getting shot, burned, stabbed, eaten, electrocuted and so on have not been as forthcoming”. The stories in "Tales from the 'Burbs" remedied that.
- The end of each “tale” would feature an ironic, grizzly “twist” ending, in keeping with the original “Tales of the Crypt” theme.
“Tales from the ‘Burbs” was released on a web site hosted by a Danish ISP in December, 2001. It remained up for several months after the end of the Daria series, and then was taken down. The site was picked up by Lawndale Leftovers a short time later, where it and the stories it contain are available today.
When “Tales from the ‘Burbs” launched it contained 5 stories. Milo and Kara Wild wrote one “tale” each, and Thomas wrote three. A quick synopsis of each story follows, in the order they appeared in the issue.
“The Braineating Football Player” by Thomas. Kevin is having a problem maintaining his grades, and that might cause him to lose his place on the football team. However, with the help of Andrea, Kevin finally gets a brain, or two, only to discover that in this modern world, one must take extra care with ones diet…
“Hearts of Lawndale” by Milo. Poor Stacy is the girl who has “loved and lost and loved and lost” so many times, that when she meets her special someone, she makes a deal with Andrea and sells her soul to the devil and (quite literally) wins her young mans heart.
“Music to Die For” by Thomas. Trent is (still) having problems making it to the big time in the music business, but a little quick surgery by Mad Scientist Ruttheimer gives him a voice to die for. It’s a shame his career is still going to the dogs…
“Revision” by Kara Wild. Helen has found the secret of eternal youth, thanks to a spell she finds in “The Business Woman's Guide to Successful Sorcery” where the prime ingredient is Daria’s unrequited love of Trent. But when Tom and Daria kiss, things start getting ugly…
“Heathers II” by Thomas. Finally, Daria gets her chance to star in her own “tale”. She discovers with a few suggestions, she can make the people in her life that bug her “go away”. If she only knew when to stop…
The working title Thomas came up with originally was “Tales from the Suburbs”. When Milo designed the “cover” for the first issue, he changed it to “burbs”, which worked better on the cover and was a single syllable, like the word crypt. Thomas at first objected to the change, but finally went with it, stating that he didn’t really have that good of an understanding of American slang.
Shortly after the release of “Tales from the ‘Burbs”, Brandon League wrote a fanfic inspired by the “tales”. Cool finds Jesse dead from an auto accident, and Trent willing to do anything to bring him back. Really not a good idea…
Quinn in retrograde. When Milo wrote "Hearts of Lawndale", there was a rumor that Quinn would be depicted in “Is it College Yet” as being involved with alcohol and acting irresponsibly. As it turned out, this rumor was unfounded, as it was Quinn’s new friend in IICY was the one in trouble. Milo would write later “Who would have thought Quinn would be the responsible one”. So the Quinn depicted in this tale bares a closer resemblance to the Esteemsters “burger, movie, backseat” Quinn than she would to her depiction in the final episode of “Daria”