Please become my Patron! It's super-easy; see Patreon to find out how. -Now, don't worry; everything will remain free to read here, (many of my readers do not have credit cards, after all). But I'm a full-time cartoonist and I need to pay the bills. There are hundreds of folks reading, so those who are able, please consider chipping in with as much or as little as you choose. Even a buck a month would be a blessing! Those of you who have already extended your support, oh my goodness, Thank-You! It literally means the world to me!
Also.., Jenny Mysterious is now LIVE and will have regular weekly updates!Yessss! Been a long time coming. Jump to her section below. Thanks everybody!
-No DRM -No Hassles -Super High Quality -Whole Books with all the extras!
Technical note: I'm using a new sales system for this which doesn't require all kinds of complicated filling out of forms and such. The back-end magic is worked by Gumroad, an awesome new on-line system designed just for digital content; easy payment, reliable delivery, no mucking around. -And holy smokes! They play fair, taking 5% + 25 cents per transaction. Are you paying attention Apple and Amazon? This is how it's done.
NEW! Stardrop eBook Now Available! (See the Studio News (below) for the scoop on this!)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
New Pages posted - 134 to 135
I've decided to publish the long-talked about Jenny Mysterious free on-line, with new pages every week, starting right now! BUT I am asking folks to become Patrons. Please support my comics with as little or as much as you choose with a monthly subscription, (even just a dollar would be fine!). It's really easy. See my Patreon page for details.
Sample Chapter from, Thieves & Kings, Volume 3, "The Blue Book"
Thieves & Kings is not a webcomic. It's an all-ages fantasy/adventure graphic novel series which I've been working on since 1994. It is nearly done; I hope to wrap up the story in the 7th volume, (currently in production). The chapter featured here offers a good example of what it's like to read Thieves & Kings. --It's a peppy sequence, and it contains both regular comic pages, and some text pages. It doesn't show much of the title character, (Rubel) and none of the Shadow Lady, but Heath and Varkias carry the show quite nicely. I do hope you enjoy this sample of my work!
The Walking Mage is a complete story. Originally it was done in black & white, (which you can check out here, if you like). I wanted to experiment with color and so began by using a computer to color the Walking Mage for its print release. After a few panels I decided that it would be a lot more fun to paint it by hand, and so switched to water-color around episode six.
The story itself is quite a good little yarn; funny and pointed in many places, as political satire ought to be. I was actually quite surprised to learn this! I found myself laughing out loud in several places. --I don't know why this story in particular was so hard for me to accept, but it was. I avoided reading it for several years after it first went to press. The ending is rather abrupt, but it was a serial strip, after all.
So anyway, after having let this web-comic languish in the digital attic, I've decided to pull it out and post it again for all the world in its full-color glory. This is the first time the Walking Mage has been available in full color on the web. I hope you enjoy the adventures of Quinton and Varkias. Cheers!
The Perfect Word and The Girl Under the Cash Drawer
Aug 30th, 2016
This has been bugging me for years. About 18 of them, to be exact.
I was living in Toronto, and Bakka Books (retailers of sci-fi and fantasy) had moved to Yonge Street. I was visiting, backpack over one shoulder, leaning on the cash desk, with that wonderful collage of fantastic torn off book covers pinned to the wall behind.
And there was this super-neat girl working the till, and I was chatting with her. Side story: I met her only twice; she must have been part time or something. -I met her once for this conversation which I will describe in a moment, and once while she was curled up sleeping under the cash register.
-The other store attendant also working that afternoon informed me that the reason the girl was sleeping was that she had been on some kind of adventure for days and nights, and came to work utterly tapped out, and so was trying to rest under the desk, -and also, I wasn't to give away her presence with any glances or untoward gestures, because, DON'T LOOK AROUND, but over my left shoulder, that guy there behind me had an obsessive crush on her and wouldn't leave her alone, and she just didn't want him to know she was there.
The other time, she had been awake, and she left a maddening brain shard in my head.
-We were talking about travel. She'd recently gone to Newfoundland on some trip, hiking or camping or both, and it was cold and blustery and rainy and, -and this is the part-
She said that Nature in some parts of the world was kind and gentle, like the warm beaches of California, but this was not so in Newfoundland. No! In Newfoundland, the trees grew sideways because of the wind. The landscape was made of tufted grass clinging to rocks worn round. There, Nature was not kind. You were allowed to stay only under ______.
And she used a word.
-A word which described perfectly the feeling that Nature was accepting of your presence only under extreme duress. Except that wasn't the word.
"Your presence was tolerated under protest."
But that wasn't the word either.
But it was a perfect word. -I went back home, and recalled the conversation, partly because she was adorable and fascinating and slept under a cash register, but also because she had used a perfect word with elegant literary flair like it was no big deal which left you thinking, "Whoa. Good word. I'll have to remember that!" Except I didn't. I found upon arriving home that I'd forgotten it.
And it drove me up the wall.
Once or twice every year since that afternoon, I'll poke at my brain and try to recall.
Newfoundland's lands were harsh, and she only allowed your presence under..., argh!!!
So today, I went for a bike ride. And while looking out over a beautiful field which looked out over the valley and the Minas Basin beyond, was reminded of that adorable girl napping under the book store cash register, and her perfect word.
And I was determined, after all these years, to perform brain surgery if necessary to extract the damned thing from memory.
I got close. I'd labor up another hill to the next high road, where more of the valley floor was revealed, and stand there squinting and working my brain.
"Dammit, was it even 'under' something at all?"
Think of all the letters of the alphabet. Which ones sounded like they were more likely than the rest to be the first one in that mystery word? G or R or S perhaps..?
And I rode my bike higher and higher, and got closer and closer.
Finally, I ran out of hill. I found myself overlooking an apple orchard I'd never visited before, and things were very clear. Even my shortsighted vision which renders reality slightly fuzzy at all times had sharpened up amazingly, so that I could see windows and rooftops in detail from miles away, on the other side of the bay. -Which is kind of astonishing in and of itself if you think about it. Pressing my brain so hard to see into the past was apparently linked to actually seeing. Eyeballs are just big neurons, after all, directly connected to the brain. But astonishing as that was, I didn't even care about it so much at that point.
I got close. Reeeeal close. It wasn't "Under protest" because the land is endlessly powerful, like a Dragon or Poseidon, a World Goddess, and such beings do not 'protest'. They don't 'complain'. Or register their reservations. They allow you to stand on their flesh like an insect, glower at you, but can't quite be bothered to do anything about it because you're just too small. But should you make a mistake, your death will be swift and well-deserved and unmourned.
And I refuse to look it up online in a digital Thesaurus. -I *could*. I think I have enough phrases at this point to zero in and nail it down with technology. But somehow, I feel like doing so is why people need glasses.
So a compromise...
I'm asking YOU instead, putting a human element into the equation so that maybe the sanctity of the search will be maintained. It's just one word! The perfect word.
What do you think?
(Friend me on FaceBook if you would like to comment.)
No More Commissions!
Aug 28th, 2016
I'm in commissions purgatory.
Don't get me wrong; I'm working on several really cool images, and I'm very pleased with their progress thus far -and I offered them happily, but after this...
NO more commissions!
I don't see how other cartoonists *do* this! -I'm pushing miles of pencil and pen, but getting no actual work done; Jenny Mysterious and the Stardrop crew are just sitting there looking at me accusingly like, "What's up, dude? Don't you care? Why are you spending all of that creative energy on something nobody except a couple of other people are even going to see?"
If any of you have ever gotten a drawing from me in the past, feel lucky. The only way to get one from now on is to catch me at a convention or somewhere. -Or to take one of the images I've drawn on my own free time because I felt inspired and not because anybody requested. Or to give me enough money to cover some *serious* expenses or press time so that Jenny and Ashelle and the others will nod speculatively and say, "Yeah, fair point. We can wait if it means a hard cover edition."
Okay. Just needed to vent a bit.
Back to it.
Eos Fine Foods!
Aug 26th, 2016
As many of you know, I like to feature my town in Stardrop. The image above is Eos Fine Foods here in Wolfville, the local health food store. One of my fave spots to shop for cool grocery items.
The girls are picking out ingredients for making chocolate chip cookies, which Kytanna has never done before. A nice little bonding experience, which will be cut short by Todd, the space plant. (Episode 170)
I like how this book is shaping up, with normal, every day locales and events, mixed with outtathisworld sci-fi stuff. It's neat to think that Kytanna can fit comfortably into shots like this, and in the same book, be cycling across an alien landscape.
Many of my Wolfville friends and acquaintances strike me as being similarly equipped for such adventures. -Just the last week, the guys from the Dead Sheep Scrolls comedy troupe posted pics of themselves rock climbing the treacherous horizontal face of New Brunswick's King Street.
Comics are fun!
Wolfville, Nova Scotia,
August 26th, 2016
Aug 23rd, 2016
Partly due to staying up waaaay past my bed time, and not being able to sleep easily, (see below) I lay in bed in a state of extreme exhaustion.
And could smell the oncoming Autumnal air. What a sense! It always wakes me up from the drifty heat dream that is Summer.
Perhaps a combination of my brain being all full and prepared to dream, but not being able to sleep, mixed with the cold air of the coming season worked together to put me into an oddly meditative state where near visions were easily accessed, right near the top where they rarely come. -The sort of thing, where when you're in it, you think, "Ah! So THIS is reality. How sublime!" -while also knowing it will be a brief window of sense into the world which will close again after rest, returning me to the normal busy illusion I walk around in every day with the rest of the world.
I found my mind walking the halls again of my old Junior Highschool, probably because of a piece of Jenny scripting I'm fiddling with just on the conceptual level at the moment.
For the first time ever, I found myself looking at those old memories from outside my own head, while at the same time remembering the visceral senses within myself. -What it felt like to sit in mister Bugarski's music class, all the students set in orchestra pit seating, and the memory of what it was like to cluster out the door and walk between classes. -The smell and sound of the newly swept hallways and the slightly sickening worry of, "Will I make friends on my first day?" The metallic scuff sound of the chairs and desks and the slightly waxy feel of those old black surfaced lab benches in the science class downstairs. -The threadbare blue gym bag I'd gotten at a Blue Jays game the previous year in which I carried my books on the way home, hands on cold metal handle bars on my bike, with the few leaves crunching on the sidewalks.
All these are common enough sorts of memories for most of us, but with an extra element which I'm having a hard time recalling now...
The various phases of being human, of girls and boys growing up, trying to figure out what the world is and how they fit into it, the hormones making us all feel crazy, wanting and dreaming things we are programmed on a genetic level to seek and deal with, while our personalities try to find a way through to create expression.
The human monkey is on a fixed trajectory, with fixed features, born and raised through childhood, into the reproductive and working age, then hitting a phase much later where we begin to think, "Wait? What was all of that now?" -Our little souls inhabit our monkeys for a while, we ride along through these phases, looking out.
There was more, which unless you have also missed a lot of sleep and are lying there with the cool night air drifting through your curtains, I cannot capture or explain. But it left me realizing, yet again, that with a character like Jenny... it's like she's fallen off the ride. How does she cope? Seeing the monkey trajectory through life, and not being able to forget enough to click into the world clattering around her? Will she be able to make friends, or will she alienate everybody? Will they view her from a distance and try to ignore her distressing qualities and comments?
But I think perhaps there is a very good reason we forget.
Wolfville, Nova Scotia,
August 23rd, 2016
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