Toons are etherbeings generated on earth from enriched ether via the Cohl process or by incidental generation. Eventually, a sufficient amount of ambient ether is affected by the toon either that under the right circumstances, toons can generate without human interference. This is called incidental generation. Toon health is a function of the quality of the ether from which they are generated. Often, the ether must be processed too heavily which results in genetic degeneracy in toons. Many toons created in the 1980s suffer from genetic conditions as a result. Created toon are called first generation toons; their children are called second generation, third generation, and so forth. While many toons are sterile, some can reproduce with other toons or occasionally even humans. Toons that are born rather than generated are called heritage toons. The Cohl process was developed in 1916, possibly with the use of Shepherd technology. From that point on, toon generation became rampant. At first, they were used as actors and advertising agents, but then for more menial jobs. Eventually, they were generated as slave labor, soldiers, or for other untowardly purposes. After the second world war, two separate toon nations were estabilshed: One in the Baltic region, and another on three adjacent islands in northeast Polynesia. The social revolution of the 1960's brought new rights and liberties for the toons, though they would continute to face social adversity.
Toons generated via the Cohl process for specific roles, i.e., as "cartoon characters" or advertising icons, the are subjected to the Brodsky Technique, a means of equipping toons generated as adults, and who therefore have not had a lifetime to accrue experiences and knowledge, with personalities, often tailored to the roles to which they will be assigned.
Toons are distinct from ancient earth etherbeings in that either they or their progenitors were generated via the Cohl process. This often shortens their lifespans, adversely affects their health, and also dictates aspects of their physiology: toons are often extremely pliant and are sometimes able to manipulate their own bodyshapes, as well as the of ambient ether.