Jigaboo Junction is the fictional city in which the web-distributed underground comic The Belch Dimension is set. Jigaboo Junction is a fair-to- medium-sized community in an unspecified, though obviously Southern, state. The geography of Jigaboo Junction and its surroundings are plastic, changing to fit the needs of a story at whim. It seems to simultaneously have a beach and be in a landlocked state, be within walking distance of a desert such as one might see in the Southwest, be both a metropolitan and a rural area, and boasts a healthy underworld population, from gimmicky costumed supervillains to powerful, well-organized crime families and rich, corrupt businessmen.
The town seems to be owned wholly or partly by the shadowy, faceless conglomerate APEX, as many businesses, media outlets, and even institutions of learning are graced with its name and diamond-shaped logo. It seems to be a nod to ACME, the corporation who seemed to own and make everything in the classic Looney Tunes shorts ("apex" and "acme" are also words meaning "the pinnacle" or "top").
Series creator J.M. Sweet has described Jigaboo Junction as "one part Springfield, two parts Gotham City, and a healthy dash of Riverdale" (referring to the settings of The Simpsons, Batman: The Animated Series, and Archie, respectively).
The name "Jigaboo Junction" was chosen by Belch Dimension creator J.M. Sweet to convey "a sense of violent desperation awash in corrupt, incompetent government and years of racial divisiveness".
"The deliberate use of a racist slur to name a town is perhaps the most in-your-face statement I could make on the state of America. It's as if New York took The Reverend Jackson's suggestion seriously and renamed New York City "Hymietown", or changed the name of San Fransciso to "Gaywad Gulch". It's not even meant to be offensive; it's intended to be laughable, it's so over the top. It's holding up a mirror to society and watching it squirm at the sight of its own ugliness. I see Jigaboo Junction as the logical outcome of forty or fifty years of rampaging liberalism: a town so racially polarized and corrupt it's become a caricature, an absolute joke. Aspects of this really do exist over in real-life cities like Memphis and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina--folks who are so beat down by generations of dependance, leftist thinking and entitlement that all hope and ambition is bled from them. I do not consider myself a racist; I think that word is so overused by the left that it's become silly and meaningless--a party-game word, like "abracadabra": just chant it and poof, your enemy's credibility magically disappears. Go visit Africa, fartknockers--the Sudan, Darfur--then come back and tell me about real, hard, substantive racism, not this "wah, I can't get a cab at two a.m" shit, then maybe I'll take your dumb ass seriously. Morons. I just call it what it is: a town of, for, and about everything negative in man, as embodied by the black thugs that rule its nights."
The uncertain and often self-contradictory clues to the location of Jigaboo Junction is a running gag in the series. Real-life towns such as Cooter and Portia are said to neighbor the town, though in actuality these communities are both in different states and hundred of miles from each other. Hints in dialogue, backgrounds, and even covers have variously placed it in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia (one story shows the zip code to end in -1997, which is Atlanta), and possibly even Arizona. Jigaboo Junction is a three-hour drive from Pontotoc, Mississippi , a train ride from there to Biloxi (suggesting Jigaboo Junction has its own light-rail system, which would place it in or near St. Louis, Missouri).  The town is also located atop or quite near the New Madrid faultline , which would suggest all the afore-mentioned states, as well as Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In "Mystic Pizza" it is mentioned that the town lies in a state with both a common-law marriage statute and a community property law on its books. Currently Texas is the only state that fits this specification.
Sweet has admitted he modeled the geography, school, and many local businesses after his boyhood hometown, where he witnessed a number of racial incidences growing up. Aspects of Jigaboo Junction also resemble nearby Memphis, right down to a caricature of a mayor resembling Willie Herenton, the city's former mayor, in issue #32. As creator Sweet was born in Chicago, he often gives shout-outs to his native Shytown, e.g. jokes about and references to Married With Children and The Chicago Bears. A running gag is that whenever anyone says or is about to say the name of the state they are in, they are conveniently interrupted or drowned out by a loud noise. The state seal shows two blacks beating up a bald eagle. The state motto, when translated from Latin, is "Your ass is ours."
The town was founded in 1879 by Geoffrey "Mad Jeff" Jiggabeaux, a French-English fur trapper, hard drinker, and sometime Methodist preacher, who on Sundays preached hellfire to the local lumberjacks and local Indian tribes (often when in his cups).
The burgeoning town had at least two citizens who had distinguished themselves in the Civil War. One was Forsythe Montague--the great-great-grandfather of Tony Moneran. However, as Jon and Josh inadvertently altered the time stream in a trip to 1863, Montague became a hated man and a pauper, not a dashing hero.
The second was a 40-year-old corporal named Rutherford Crabbes Carbuncle, who at the Battle of Dana Hill distinguished himself by releasing an inopportune burst of flatulence while mounted. The long blast reverbated off his leather saddle and was mistaken for a cavalry trumpet, triggering a charge that turned the tide of battle in favor of the Confederacy. Carbuncle--known as "Codger"-- was promoted to captain. His nickname is said to come from the fact that, at the time, he was the "eldest non-commissioned officer in this man's army", though some wags also referred to him as "Ruthie the Ripper". The high school is named in his honor.
Within the decade, the last tree was topped and the last few deer hunted from the woods. The jacks and Indians prepared to pack up and move on. Seeing as he was about to lose his audience (and income) Mad Jeff Jiggabeaux turned the picked yet fertile swampland into farms. Within a few years "Jiggabeaux Corners" was a thriving agrarian community, growing corn, rice, soybeans, and its staple crop, cotton.
Jiggabeaux Corners swelled, soon sprouting small satellite communities like Jiggsboro, Jiggsdale, Jiggsburg, Jiggton, East Jiggton, Fagetteville (named for its prosperous cottage industry of prepackaging fagots, or dry bundled sticks for burning), Pickaninny Flats, and Honkeyburg (named for Mad Jeff's second wife, Sara Honkey). Shortly after it fully incorporated in 1889 the town was renamed Jigaboo Junction.
Mad Jeff, a great supporter of education, served on the board of trustees of Jigaboo Junction State University until his passing in 1933 of "a liver that just went tits-up". One of the campus' oldest buildings, Geoffrey Hall, is named in his honor.
Elements of the town's fictional history are based on the actual founding of Blytheville and sister community Armorel by a Methodist minister and a lumber magnate, respectively.
Jigaboo Junction's geography includes forests, meadows, a desert, a large lake, at least two rivers, and a swampland.
Major physical features include The Apex River, The Tallahatchie River, Lake Woebegone, a nameless, unincorporated desert wasteland that seems to be within walking distance of the town, and a seacoast (though in "The Foul Stench of Doom!" it's noted the town is landlocked, despite that in two different stories a character is being launched into the air and sailing over a metropolitan skyline overlooking some great body of water).
(An actual Tallahatchie River exists. It flows through, and is limited to, Mississippi. The bridge that spans it--made famous in a song--is a historical landmark. It is unclear if this is intended to be the real bridge, as a graphic on a news telecast in SweetTart (#25) mentions the Tallahatchie Bridge, yet shows shows a photograph of ordinary railroad trestle with the name KISS spraypainted on it. )
The town boasts two parks--Apex and Strohler--and Sunuva Beach, located on either a natural or man-made beach.
Jigaboo Junction wildlife includes various bear species in the Apex Woods, coyotes and mountain lions(some of which are said to prowl into the urban areas for food), and a number of unusual plant and animal species such as the Weeping Willow, a tree that looks like a crying Alyson Hannigan, and the razorback boar, a large pig with actual razors imbedded in its blood-streaked back, who puts other animals to sleep with its incessant dull yammering.
As seems obvious from the name, perhaps the town is largely minority, mainly African-American and some Hispanic. The town gained an influx of blacks during the Reagan administration, which settled mainly in the poorer quarters and within twenty years had integrated and become a burden on the school system, quadrupled crime, and virtually ruined the downtown area. "A Flip of the Coin" gives Jigaboo Junction's population as around 22,000 souls. The fallout from the Rodney King verdict has deeply scarred the city, however, and may have affected both the population's demographics and numbers. It is said that a fire set at the town dump in 1992 by rioters still burns to this day, despite both attempts from the fire department and drunken hoboes urinating on it to put out the flames.
This is based on actual data culled from and observed in Blytheville, Arkansas (pop.15,620 in the 2010 census) , where the creator grew up.
The city is divided into three basic zones: red, for areas of large black gang activity, yellow, for those with moderate activity, and blue, for areas with minimal gang threat. The railroad tracks is the town's largest red zone, and seems to bisect the city like a scar, being visible in the background in a number of stories. A frequent running gag is any white character who ventures onto the tracks being approached by a gang of blacks who simply appears from nowhere, armed, and beats them without any provocation. Most of the Warriors live in a nearby yellow zone, which is said to be "not the bad part of town--you have to walk half a block and turn left to get to that".
The downtown area boasts a number of businesses such as stores, several restaurants, many bars and liquor stores, a hair salon, a hospital, a pet food plant, a large mall, a zoo, a billiards parlor, a theater, a public golf course, a penitentary, several apartment houses, motels, and an inordinate number of factories, storefronts, and warehouses that seem in various states of disrepair or disuse (often quartering the town's large criminal element).
In SweetTart Tom Little is sent to a private mental hospital located "upstate". An even earlier reference to a (yet-unseen) mental health facility is given in in "Canine Calamity", back in #8, in which Tony Moneran is said to be sent to the Apex Asylum for the Insane to be treated for a nervous breakdown. It isn't until "Jiggawatt!"(#29) that the hospital's interior is visible for the first time, and in #31's "Little Romeoh-no", Little is seen in a cell there, hearing Moneran's distant screaming. This would suggest that Monty lives close to the mental hospital, or perhaps it's just a joke (akin to seeing a picture of the city or of Earth on-screen when some character shrieks in a cartoon or sitcom, humorously indicating it is so loud it can be heard from quite far-off.) A number of Jigaboo Junction criminals have been committed to the facility at least once in their careers. However, it also seems to offer to the public outpatient therapies which treat noncriminal behaviors and disorders. The head of the facility is Dr. Alvin Cole.
The town's wealthier citizens reside in Apex Courts, commonly called the "good" part of town. it's home to a number of large estates and even a castle situated atop a very high hill.
Jigaboo Junction is often shown to be very dirty and polluted, especially in its urban area, where there is garbage and graffiti all about. In a piece of Internet FanFic the city's drinking water is said to contain high amounts of urine (though as this was an early and experimental crossover effort by the series' creator, this may not be series canon).
The city has a nuclear power plant, as noted (but never seen) in "Guidance System" (#16). This is likely a nod to The Simpsons, with its power plant's disreputable and corrupt track record on environmental matters.
On a private island on Lake Woebegone is the Apex Anvil Factory, which puts out billions of tons of emissions a day. Josh and Ben paid them a visit in "Up in the Air" (#28) to speak to their C.E.O. about it. They still pollute just as much, but have since bought carbon credits and plant trees to deal with it.
Captain Maggot ran a fish cannery that violated all EPA laws in "Fishy Business". It, too was located on a private island--however, since this story is set on Carribean waters, and Jigaboo Junction is presumably inland, it isn't quite clear if the JJPD has any authority that far out.
An above-mentioned perpetual garbage dump fire presumably contributes a goodly amount the city's air problems.
Government and infrastructure
The current leader of Jigaboo Junction is Mayor Wilson W. Storkwaite, who strongly resembles ex-Memphis leader W.W. "Willie" Herenton, and is possibly, as is his real-life counterpart, a Democrat. The Mayor tends to be bullish and boisterous, and finds himself frequently at odds with constituents and the press.
The powerful Yass family has several representatives in Washington, DC, including state senator Holden Yass, whose campaign billoard is visible in "Ear Phonies" (#14), and who is identified in a news crawl as having to appear as a defendant in a Congressional hearing in "SweetTart". The Yasses also include Holden's sister state senator Ophelia Yass, who unsuccessfully ran for her brother's seat in the last election (""Hate Thy Neighbor"); Holden's elder brother, Sen. Wypen Yass; his younger brother, ex-U.S. Rep. Harold Yass, and former Congressman and current Senate candidate Harold "Harry" Yass Jr, Holden's nephew, who succeeded his father to Congress. Another nephew, Patton, is a member of the Jigaboo Junction General assembly, and a couple of other unnamed relations serve or have formerly served on the city council. The political progenitator of the clan is Uriah Patton Yass, founder of the U.P. Yass and Sons Mortuary (himself now deceased). They are likely inspired by the real-life Ford family, Memphis' most powerful and beleaguered political machine, and enemies of Willie Herenton.
The Trio of Trouble briefly served as senators from Jigaboo Junction in "Guidance System", but were forced to resign when it was discovered Ben had signed a comic-book deal and funded several taped lectures with money borrowed from his mother's purse (referring to the well-publicized scandal leading to the resignation of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Police and Fire
The Jigaboo Junction police department is seldom observed in the series throughout its early run, except for a nameless black officer in a story in issue #4 who shuts down Josh's fortune-telling business for not having a license, and several cops--including a female officer--who arrest a pair of crime lords in "What A Drag!" (see "Crime", below). This indicates that the local constabulary are absent, understaffed, or simply don't care, making the town ripe for the picking by master criminals and low-level thieves.
In issue #39 the first named officer, Det. Conrad Williams (a caricature of actor William Conrad from Cannon), appeared. He arrested Jon for armed robbery. Though it was clearly a setup (by Demi-Jon), Sweet says, Conrad will continue to mistrust and openly belittle Jon whenever he can. Sweet says, "They will enjoy a Batman/Bullock relationship throughout the series. Conrad thinks Jon's a little dick, but he'll admit--though off-the-record, and then deny it immediately afterwards--The Treehouse Warriors make his job a hell of a lot easier."
Other recurring named officers include the police commissioner Isadore Doolittle, Capt. Carolyn Escarlata, Officer Harold "Hal" Espen and Officer Robin "Remy" Remini.
According to Sweet, there is a Jigaboo Junction Volunteer Fire Department, though they have not been seen in the series yet.
Most of the organized crime in Jigaboo Junction is run by mob bosses. Two of the most prominent are Reggie Montenegro and Duke X. Machina. However, the majority of the crime done in Jigaboo Junction, as Machina states, is by "jackal packs of costumed lunatics, circus freaks, and tinpot bosses".
Hiss Hole is perhaps the most well-known of the city's criminal masterminds; he operates out of a well-equipped subterranean fortress called the Cobra Pit, though is known to commandeer abandoned warehouses and even Tony Moneran's clubhouse when operating up on the surface.
Many of the most dangerous and disturbed criminals, like Hiss Hole himself, are locked away in the local mental hospital, though they often escape or are released because of recidivism and drastically-cut city budgets. Less insane--though arguably just as dangerous and unpleasant--criminals are placed in Sing Song Prison (a parody of Sing Sing), a large penitentary located presumably right square in the downtown area.
Most of the violence come from bullies, gangs and low-level thugs, many of whom only appear once or twice. Sometimes The Warriors have to leave the city in order to face a threat, like the pirate Captain Maggot or the discredited psychology professor-turned-criminal Rasputin.
Public educational institutions in Springfield are Carbuncle High School, run by Principal Eustace M. Stonehart, East Jigaboo Junction Jr. High, Sonny Tufts Jr. High, and Apex Elementary. Public college institutions are Jigaboo Junction County Community College and Jigaboo Junction State University (located in Jiggsboro, about an hour's drive away).
Arts and entertainment
Jigaboo Junction boasts a civic center, for small events and shows, and Jigaboo Junction Square Garden, for concerts and live performances. JJSG was partly destroyed by an explosion in "Standup and Deliver" (#10), caused by a hydrogen tank Angela inadvertently left open, and a cigarette the Dice-sesque comedian lit right after tossing her out. It's been since rebuilt, as seen in "Squared Circle Jerks" (#43).
Apex Broadcasting Co. serves as the major media outlet, owning at least two radio stations and one television station:
- Television station KPEX-TV (Channel 6 7/8), features a nature show hosted by Steve "Dusty" Rhodes, as well as a number of local news broadcasts, televised sports, syndicated sitcoms and dramas, and game shows like "The Weak Stink". There's also a cable news station, DNN (a parody of CNN).
- Will B. Caustic and Professor Bobcat host the morning show on KSSA-FM.
- KSTR is a rival radio station which is hosting the fair in "A Fair Fight" (#3) and is accidentally destroyed by Bobcat in a story in #38. Fired from KSSA and having trouble getting work, he is hired on at a rug-cleaning firm. While shampooing (badly) a carpet in the booth, Bob unwittingly broadcasts a belch so loud it causes the building to implode. He is subsequently hired back at KSSA.
The city paper is The Apex Gazette. Its sunburst logo looks suspiciously like that of the Jonesboro Sun .
The town has a football team called the Apex Raiders ("Small Medium at Large", #4) It also has a wrestling franchise, Jigaboo Junction Wrestling Federation, or JJWF (a parody of WWE, formerly called WWF).
The town also has a reputation for having ties to both the occult and to extraterriestrial phenomena. On at least two occassions sightings of spacecraft have been reported; though largely pooh-poohed by reputable scientists, the encounters have indeed been real.
In an odd quirk of fate many of the visitors seem to be both refugees from Flung, a distant world destroyed many years ago, and to have some connection to the Warriors.
Years ago an emisary ship containing an influential being named Barbaeus--a boboka, or Flungarian elder-- was struck by lightning, disabled, and crashed in a field mere blocks from 10-year-old James Segal's apartment. He was the first human being to experience an encounter with the Flungarian race.
One day a second ship--containing Flunger, Gort, and a set of newly-hatched alien triplets--crashed in the Apex Woods. By then the planet had been wiped out, likely due to war (though as records have been lost no one really knows). They currently live with Jon and his friends. The series has yet to explore their first meeting, though it would likely have fallen in the same time gap between Jon at 9 and Jon at 14, when most of his pivotal life events took place.
The Warriors later found a female Flungarian, Khani, in a carnival owned by Dr. Ichabod P. Freely...in fact, the wife of Flunger. It was strange, quirky fate that led her to Earth, the same place as her husband, and just mere miles away. Khani--who also revealed she was pregnant--left with several other boboka for New Flung, a colony of repatriated refugees, while her husband opted to remain on Earth.
Magic also seems to exist freely in this word, in the forms of dark arcane arts practiced by men (of sorts) like Hiss Hole, and in magical objects and artifacts found in all manner of places. Even a hardheaded pragmatist like Jon must admit to its existance, as he has met spellcasters (of both the real and the humbug variety) and even battled ghosts and demons in his young but checkered career. Jimmo once said that the citizens of Jigaboo Junction are more "comfortable with the unorthodox" than most folk. The Flungarians and Jimmo, thus, move about freely and uncommented on despite their appearance, indicating the world (or at least folks in that town) knows of the existance of aliens and magical beings, or are at least very good at looking the other way.