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Hey all, I hope you are having a good summer! This month I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con from July 20th through July 24th. In the past I’ve been in the small press area, but folks always had a hard time finding my table because the small press section has a different way of numbering tables. So this year I’ll be joining Alina Pete and Sam Logan at table 1229. It’s right along one of the main rows, so it should be easy to find if you enter through the B1 doors.
In other exciting news, the Seven Seas Union has been officially recognized. I’m very excited about this moving forward and seeing how negotiations go. At my SDCC table, I’ll have some free pins of both pirate cats for anyone that supports the union.
In June I went to Minneapolis for a friend’s wedding. I spent an extra day or two looking around the city and took pictures of all the art deco looking buildings and walkways the city has. The City Between’s future city has an art decoy look, so I am always on the look out for unique looking art deco buildings.
I also look pictures of friends pets. u_u
As for this month, I’ll mostly be working on Murky Water and You are the Chosen One again. Ya know, the usual. If you’ve been watching my twitch streams, you’ve seen that You are the Chosen One is in the middle of scene with too many horses. I wanna be done drawing that scene before I leave for SDCC.
After SDCC is done though, I’m gonna take sometime to work on the script for Blue Moon. I need to finish that before the end of the year. So my plate is looking pretty full.
But Cautionary Fables South America is almost ready for it’s crowdfund to launch. It’s going live in August, so get ready for some news on that.
Hey all! Another month as come and gone. I’ve mostly had my nose to the grind stone on the usual comics, The City Between and You are the Chosen One. I did pop on to War Rocket Ajax to promote You are the Chosen One, since chapter 3 has gotten the ball rolling. We detour into talking about video games a bit, but I do talk about how I came up with the characters names. So give it a listen.
Because I’ve been on War Rocket Ajax a bunch of times the listener questions are werewolf focused. And after the show it lead to me talking to my pal Kevin about something I think is a common problem in werewolf related media. Basically, there is a show called Wolf like Me on peacock’s streaming service. It is about werewolves. You can tell it’s about werewolves because of the name of the show. The problem is that it wants to build up to the reveal of the werewolf. So for several episodes it is building tension/momentum by hinting that one character is a werewolf but because you know know the title of the show you already know the character is a werewolf. Instead of building interest in their reveal/mystery, they are mostly building:
And it’s a problem I’ve seen in a lot of werewolf media. That desire for a slow burn is something I understand. The slow burn is something I love when pulled off well. But it’s at odds with the title/marketing/etc, wanting people to know here be werewolves. This sorta conflict is something I’ve been thinking about in regards to the werewolf comic I’m working on, Blue Moon. The shows/movies I’ve seen where the slow burn works usually have another plot going on and the slow reveal of the werewolf is a b-plot.
Anyway, besides thinking about werewolves I watched a lot of Our Flag Means Death. If you don’t know, Our Flag Means Death is the new pirate comedy starring Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi. They play Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard. It’s a show that is very funny. It takes a little bit to gain steam but once Taika’s Blackbeard shows up, the show hits high points and keeps out doing itself. Stede and Blackbeard grow closer every episode and the two have a romantic arc. It’s one that I appreciate is text rather than subtext. I also got very invested in the non-binary pirate Jim’s story of getting torn between wanting vengeance and staying with the crew. I definitely hope it gets a season 2.
February has come and gone. Spring is right around the corner.
I spent the month working on the new chapter of You are the Chosen One. I took a chunk of February off of it, so that I could do some concept art before diving into all the pages. But now it’s ready to get the ball rolling. When I’m working on Chosen One stuff, I have the whole thing written as a script. Then I go through and mark what are new areas and characters that need to be designed. This time around I sat down to make sure the characters had more than one outfit. There are only a few new locations in this chapter, so switching to that now seemed like a good idea. Like I always say, it’s available to read for anyone who backs my patreon.
Speaking of my patreon, I’ve been considering making a discord server for Patreon backers. Is that something that you all would be interested in? It’s something a lot of the patreons I back have. They are nice. I might use them to do movie nights once a month or something. Maybe a monthly q&a? Anyway, chime in if this appeals to you.
While working on all these new pages, I’ve done a good job stay ahead by doing art streams with Alina Pete and Jose Pimienta. It has been a pretty fun time. I put Alina and I’s streams together on a youtube playlist. So if you want to check it out, you can watch archives of Alina and I chatting here.
We mostly talk about what we have been reading and watching. Alina is in the middle of playing Cyberpunk 2077. I talk about whatever I’ve been watching or reading that week. We also go off on a lot tangents about whatever comes up, whether that be furries, opinions about different writers, and anything really.
One of the things I mention is a novelle Psalm of the Wild Built by Becky Chambers. It’s about a world where AI was created and when the robots rebelled they didn’t kill all the humans. They simply stopped doing their assigned buts and ventured off into the wilderness to find their own meaning. Now centuries later the monk main character is traveling to an abandoned temple to find the reason for her unhappiness. She runs into a robot and the two travel together and learn about each other. It was very quiet and introspective. The bulk of the book is the two leads on a road trip through the woods. They trade assumptions humans and robots have about each other. There is discussion about finding purpose in life, burn out, and taking care of yourself. It’s kinda short which I think helps the pacing. It’s long enough to really dig into its themes but if it was longer it could easily ended up dragging. I found it because I was looking for some books exploring Solarpunk, a more hopeful and pro-environmentally friendly view of the future and sci-fi worlds (in contrast to the bleakness to cyberpunk dystopias)
I’ve also been getting into Mythic Quest, a comedy on Apple TV that is about a game studio. It’s really funny. But I especially like that both seasons so far have an episode in the middle which is a self contained story that is only tangentially related to the rest of the season. But it is tied to it thematically. Like in season 1 you get an episode that follows the rise and fall of an indie game studio in the 90s. You see it through the eyes of a couple that made a successful game together, but when they try to make a sequel there is a clear clash of art vs commerce. That is spilling into the couple’s romantic relationship. It’s very bittersweet and connects thematically to the clash between the creative director of Mythic Quest and it’s head coder. It was a nice poignant story that added some more emotional depth to what is at stake for the employees of Mythic Quest.
Then the second season has its own one off episode. It follows the early career of an old fantasy writer who writes the lore of the Mythic Quest game. He’s trying to break into scifi and fantasy writing in the 70s, but his talents aren’t suited for prose. In the episode, his short story is critiqued by two other newbie authors. He takes their criticism badly and spirals. However, after drunkenly seeing pong in a store window, he has an epiphany about the future of writing. When he tries to explain he basically explains open world games and games with variant endings.
The thing that I appreciated (and maybe it’s something I picked up because I write) is that the criticism he gets makes it clear that he’s a writer that is frequently distracted by making things different with his world and explaining why. And because he is so caught up explaining why the world developed a certain way, he is forgetting to make the reader invested in the plot and characters. That’s bad for prose, but is well suited for an open world game where the gameplay is more the focus than the backstory. The player’s investment is in their character because they made themself. Then they can engage in world lore as much or as little as they want.
Anyway, I’m gonna keep my nose to the grid stone in March. The City Between and You are the Chosen One are staying on track with their weekly updates. But I also have a graphic novel to write. Blue Moon by me and Meredith McClarren is go. So I’m sitting down to write a bunch for that.
That’s all for this month. Thanks for your support! Please back my patreon or get something from my store if you can. Have good month!
I spent a good chunk of it annoyed with instagram. Last newsletter I mentioned I was gonna try to up my social media game. Well, that is not to be. Like two days after, my instagram was disabled for some unknown reason. I honestly have no clue why. Seriously. There wasn’t wasn’t a message saying why and instagram has no way to contact them. I spent a weeks looking for it and couldn’t find anything. What I did find was a reddit thread of 2000 people that had the same thing happen. The solution they proposed was if you buy ads for your facebook business page, THEN you can talk to someone to get help for facebook or instagram. Which I did, and was told submit a report. I did and now it’s 3 weeks later and… nothing. Coooooooool. So I think I’m done with instagram. I didn’t have much of a following on there, so it’s not a big loss. But I don’t have the energy.
Kinda hijacked my attempt as getting social media rolling again.
What I did end up sticking to was exercise…
A few years ago I decided to get in good enough shape to capable of the One Punch Man work out. If you aren’t familiar with One Punch Man, is can defeat anyone in one punch. When asked how he got so strong he replies:
The joke being the average person could get in good enough shape to do these. So I’ve started and stopped exercise over the past couple of years for various reasons. One of my new years resolutions is to at least get the running bit sorted out. I’ve done a decent job sticking with it. Yesterday, I jogged for 30 mins straight.
I’m also doing some weight lifting so that I can eventually get to the push-ups too. But that is less exciting to report at the moment. I might ended making a little comic my various stops and starts. But the questions would be when would I find the time.
Buried in Comics
I also have been continuing to work on The City Between and You are the Chosen One. Right now, You are the Chosen One is on a brief break while I do some concept art. Mostly I’m drawing locations like this tavern.
I’ve been mostly drawing both during my streams with Alina or Jose. Streaming has been doing a good job getting me to stay focused on drawing after finishing my editing work each day. I might end up doing more streams with I have other cohosts.
So stop by on Tuesday or Wednesday nights 8pm PST. We mostly talk about whatever media we have been consuming while we work. A lot of comics talk on there. Mostly because I’ve been trying to make a dent in my to read pile/shelf. I basically have a whole small bookshelf of unread comics. One of my other goals for the year is to get through those.
Man, I have too many comics. Both ones I’m working on and ones I gotta read!
Hey all! Happy New year! It’s been awhile since I sent out one of these. I’ve had a lot of going on and kept just putting writing newsletters off. What have I been doing? Well for one, I put the finishing touches on Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories. That kickstarter finished out at the most funded comic anthology on twitter! HUZZAH!
Then shortly after Real Hero Shit launched on kickstarter I got a job at the publisher Seven Seas! So getting the hang of things in the manga editing process took up most of my November and December. I’m super glad because I really got to rethink how my comics are making money. This is gonna give me some flexibility and time to think about a new direction.
Why a new direction?
Well, cons still aren’t back in the full swing. I don’t have a lot of faith in things bouncing back in 2022. I went to Rose City Comic Con and Emerald City Comic Con in 2021. Both were okay but not in full force, also Emerald City was right when the Omicron variant first got reported. I don’t think things will bounce back by July 2022 (which is when San Diego Comic Con, my next con is scheduled)
The short version is it is a way of coding that uses a shit ton of power. The environmental impact is too much for me and a lot of other comic artists to ignore. Part of Kickstarter’s “clarification” is them saying they are gonna use a blockchain that offsets their carbon footprint, but said blockchain is self reporting.
I mentioned a lot of other comic artists are taking this stance, as are a bunch of indie tabletop game developers. Also several of Kickstarter’s staff have quit over this. But Kickstarter is still going full steam ahead. I’ll be super surprised if they change things up. It’s frustrating because they have been so good until now and they don’t really seem to have a plan. I need to look into more crowdfunding options. Currently, I am looking into Indiegogo and Zoop. Indiegogo is more established but a lot of scammers have used it in the past, so I don’t know. Zoop is newer and takes a bigger cut, but it handles fulfillment and is comics only. So like maybe they will adjust to specific comic needs quicker? I don’t know.
I’m now gonna take this moment to post a general reminder to anyone who wants to start a webcomic in the future, please make your own website. Make sure people know about, otherwise your hard work can be wrecked by a corporation’s whim. Use all the tools, social media, whatever online that you can, but a hub/website you control is important to building something that can weather the ever changing internet.
With all these shake ups, are you wondering how you can help support me in the meantime? Well, here is my Amazon author page. Please review my books on there. It does help them sell better and get recommended to other people.
Yes, I know Amazon is also bad for the environment. But even if you don’t use Amazon or try to avoid it, you can still leave a review.
Meanwhile, I’m restructuring what I’m gonna be doing with my website, patreon, and online presence. Where am I doing that? Well…
I’m gonna try to be more active on twitter again. In mid-2019, I was super burnt out on twitter. I’m not even talking about discourse or shitty people getting into fights with me on twitter. Just the act of trying to post on it regularly, to think of what to say, and stay active, I found it exhausting. Like I wasn’t burnt out on anything else, just twitter (and well other social medias). If you follow me on twitter, you might have noticed I only posted that my site updated. Those are all auto-posts from my website. After about 2 and ½ years, I think I’m ready to at least try to post stuff on there again. And I’ve got a few experiments to see if I can figure out a way to use it without getting burnt out.
I’m also gonna try to post more on instagram and my facebook page too. But those are a lower priority. Facebook because it hides posts from like 2/3s of the people that like the page unless I give them money. Instragram because my account there is newer and building something up from scratch is harder than just getting older things running again.
I’m also gonna be streaming more art. Jose Pimienta and I had a good time streaming on Wednesdays, but we are gonna move it to the evening rather than at lunchtime. I figured that it would be easier to do editing work in the morning, and then art after dinner. Since they went well, I’m also gonna be streaming on Tuesday evenings with Alina Pete. Both of those streams will start at 8pm standard time. Keeping both of these going is gonna help me balance doing art and editing.
Bones and I are also gonna get back to streaming video games again. It’s gonna be a mix of Rimworld, Crusader Kings, and Don’t Starve Together. We’ll announce which before streaming each Thursday. To get back into the groove we streamed some Rimworld on Christmas and New Years Eve. I installed the Forgotten Realms mod. It adds a bunch of races from dnd into the game, so we gave playing as the Illithid squid monsters. You can give it a watch here and here.
As for projects coming in 2022, I got a lot of plans and hope I can get some off the ground. So here are some pitches I’m working on (these are all working titles):
Next The City Between will start soon. Murky Water is gonna wrap up in mid-2022. I have a couple ideas for the next story. Two are about half way written. I’m having my Patreon backers vote on which is next. I am also gonna think about if I want to do an omnibus of City Between books. But that’s on the back burner since cons aren’t back in full force and I’m not using Kickstarter anymore.
You are the Chosen One is gonna keep going on my Patreon. I’m gonna take a break before starting Chapter 3 because I need to do some concept art. Also, Patreon isn’t really the best place to read something serialized. So I’m talking to Kevin, the guy who built my website, about making a password protected archive on my site. I want it to be easier for folks to catch up.
Blue Moon is a YA horror/romance about a non-binary teen in a small town who gets drawn to a mysterious drifter passing through town. I’m writing it and Meredith McClarren is drawing it. I got the pitch packet mostly made, but gotta tweak it a little to clarify some stuff.
As Time Goes By is a middle grade story about a town stuck in the late 50s. A modern preteen and their family pass through. Said preteen befriends a queer local preteen and the two of them try to help local kid escape the time trapped magic town. This one doesn’t have an artist and I still need to clear up some stuff. But once Blue Moon is ready to get pitch around I’m gonna focus on cleaning this one up. I’m trying to go for a Brigadon meets Pleasantville vibe.
Eat the Witch is an adult graphic black comedy about werewolves eating the rich. Kinda. Basically, it uses magic as a metaphor for inherited wealth. So the werewolves are focused on fight (and eating) a group of spellcasters based in a country club. This one I want to write and draw. I’ve posted some character designs on instragram about this. Right now I’m mostly reading some political theory nonfiction books as research. That way I can clean up the parts in the story that are currently vague and make sure it’s reinforcing the metaphor I’m aiming from. This one will probably be a while I do anything public with it. I also don’t really know where I’d send this out as a pitch.
I think that is everything. Hope you all have a good new year! Thanks for your support. Please support my patreon if you can.