Please subscribe for a buck a month. It's super-easy; see Patreon to find out how. -Now, don't worry; everything will remain free to read here, but I'm a full-time cartoonist living on the edge and volume counts. There are hundreds of folks reading, so those who are able, please consider chipping in. 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!
New Episode #249 - Next Episode, Thursday December 10th
-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!)
Friday, November 27th, 2015
New Pages posted - 48 to 50
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!
I'll make it easier. -Which films do you like? Let's look at two in particular.... They happened a while ago, so everybody has had a chance to see them or not see them and to have allowed the experience to settle. Let's do some less than immediate, non-sound bite pop culture examination here.
So... Mad Max, Fury Road and Tomorrowland.
Two big, big films which both hit theaters at nearly the same time.
Mad Max! -A story about a man and awoman in an Apocalyptic Wasteland drama, everybody hurting and dying of thirst, bullets and barbaric ignornace in a radioactive hell on earth. The film was well-shot, exciting and featured charismatic actors.
Tomorrowland! -A story about a girl and a boy who discover another world. -In a different dimension overlapping our own. The drama revolves around how our world is doomed to become.., well, an apocalyptic radioactive hell on earth because everybody is choosing it to be that way. That is.., the world is being blanketed by a psychological broadcast of doom in an effort to alert everybody to the dangers of our destructive, violent ways; essentially: "Smarten up and have a nice planet to live on, or continue along towards your own destruction." But guess what? Humanity doesn't take the warning as a warning. Rather, they gobble it up! They accelerate toward the hell-on-earth because that is what they want! They can't wait to get there! How can our heroes solve this problem?
Tomorrowland was also well shot, exciting and populated with charismatic actors.
One of these two films did bigger business than the other. (Like, a lot bigger.) -One of them made millions of dollars. The other one lost millions of dollars. Guess which.
Now the coolest thing was that Tomorrowland was actually a direct comment on its own failure at the box office and the success of Mad Max. How meta is that? Neat!
Today we have that video game, Fallout 4. -It's enormously popular, because running around killing people in an apocalyptic wasteland is an attractive form of entertainment, huge fun, for many people. At one time I would have agreed, but now... Well, I seem to have shifted. I watched a walk-through of the game on YouTube because I've always been intrigued by stories in video games. Except this time I quickly bored of the spectacle. Watching violent people collect weapons and kill each other looks both miserable and endlessly tiresome. What a lousy game!
Except... wasteland survival at one time seemed like a really exciting adventure to me. So what changed? -Well, obviously I did, but why? What gives..?
"Fun" generally equals "Learning", as far as I'm concerned. When the body and brain are trying to figure out how to survive and excel, humans need to practice and explore the limits of their bodies, brains and environment. This takes practical experimentation and lots of it. It's a survival imperative. So the Brain makes learning Fun. Turns all of that vital practice into Play. -Makes climbing trees and throwing rocks or playing with tools and dolls and all that stuff inescapably attractive, precisely in order to train the attached human for successful existence in Reality.
So.., what Reality do you think you're preparing for when you play Fallout 4 and find yourself attracted to Mad Max's dusty, bloody world?
Now, I'm not writing this as a form of judgment or condemnation. If that's where you need to go next, then that's just how it is. There's a reason for every experience and lesson in life. I'm sure there's plenty of stuff to learn, plenty of adventures to be had out in a radioactive, kill-or-be-killed wasteland. It wouldn't be part of the Creation otherwise. God likes Fallout 4, and everybody is invited. If they want.
But if you happen to be done with all that stuff.., fed the hell up with the shooting and the fighting and the living in pain and fear, well, there are other alternatives...
See, it's like this...
Every choice you make sends a signal to the Universe about where you belong. Those signals build in strength over time, like a tectonic force increasing along the mantle of your reality. And when enough choice pressure builds up... Pop! Split! Reality collapses into the most appropriate one for you.
Does that sound like science fiction? Or pop psychology based on hippie dippie theory?
Guess what? It's not. That's my conclusion after spending the last few years banging my head against Quantum Mechanics and the double-slit experiment and relativity and all that stuff, trying to make heads or tails of it. There are a few points I'm not settled on yet, but the reality splitting thing.., yup. That's how it is, folks. So just be aware; that's the premise I'm working with from this point forth. Take it or leave it. It's your choice.
Don't get me wrong.
I am absolutely not advocating ignorance.
"Uh.., excuse me?" I hear you ask. "Who said anything about ignorance?"
That's a fair question. Here's what I'm on about...
I know people who will be blind when this line of text strikes their eyeballs. They'll read the stuff above this paragraph and take it as a valid excuse to practice ignorance and self-delusion. It is not my intent to grant that permission through this essay. -And I'm sure they won't read that sentence either. It just blew past them and they're well into fluffsville right now, twisting my words and my intent to suit their own desires. I've seen it happen countless times before, and you know what? Fine. Fine. That's their choice, but I still need to get it out there. Crossing my tees and dotting my eyes before I continue...
So here we have the big old world, and it's full of.., well, a whole lot of insanity and violence. Every single system in the world is back-to-front. The food we eat is wrong. The money we use is wrong. Medicine, energy, industry and education... all loaded down with backwards thinking. And to top it off.., there sure is a whole lot of shooting and killing going on.
And this is all stuff happening by choice. None of it has to be this way. -And it became this way through two channels; Through Force and through Trickery. -A new child born into this world is locked into slavery without much chance of escape; the psychopathic world set the rules and organized the terrain. As that child grows into adulthood, his or her life is channeled and limited through forcefully removing choices and through trickery, lying about how best to live, what is real. -All so that growing person does not stray from the prescribed prison grounds. The way out of this rat trap is through Knowledge Accumulation and through the Application of that Knowledge. Learn and Do. Pretty obvious, right?
Now, of course no single person can change the world, but you can learn about the world, and with that knowledge, make choices which matter. Each choice and act which matters, makes a little bend or dent in the fabric of reality. Little pushes. Each decision is a signal to the Universe at large that you see what is going on, you don't like it and you do not fit with it and will not be made to fit.
This doesn't mean what it might seem to mean. -I don't mean actions such as going out to parade in the streets waving fists and flags and Donald Trump mannequins. What it means is refusing to treat your neighbor with disrespect. It means choosing to help people who need help. It means deciding to share your resources when it would be easier not to. To take a courageous positive step when it is easier to hunker down and continue in a 'safe' but miserable pattern. It means being the one to stand up when others are too afraid.
It means choosing to spend your time learning and improving your skills and your mind and your body rather than playing video games, drinking booze, taking drugs and watching TV and avoiding reality.
It means looking reality in the face rather than lying to yourself.
Because realities.., split.
Things can get worse or they can get better. The reality you end up living in is entirely up to you; it is the result of the choices you make.
And I mean that in a very real sense. The reality you envision and choose step by step, is the one you end up in.
If you are into Fallout 4 and Mad Max... well, polish off your gas mask and prepare to brave the radioactive wastelands.
If you are into Medieval Recreationism, well.., get ready for lots of mud, crop failures and black death.
And avoiding dark stuff is how you get there. -Which is a confusing statement. I understand, so let me try to clarify how it all works...
So, some might think, "Hey! I will not focus on negative things, because I don't want to live in a negative reality!"
Sounds good, right?
By ignoring reality as it currently is, you cannot make effective choices. You are in fact, tacitly accepting the current reality. It doesn't cease to exist simply because you are not looking at it.
"But... earlier you said that going to see a Mad Max film was going to send me into an atomic wasteland..."
Yeah, it did sort of sound like that, didn't it? But this is me clarifying. Read the next few sentences carefully because this is where you'll see what I'm saying...
Movies are Fun. They are about learning the rules of possible futures. What you choose to learn today might indicate what you are moving towards because you feel you need that knowledge.
News is depressing and scary and it takes work to follow a story to dig out the Truth. This is not easy. This is different.
Paying attention to and digging for truth in dark topics is not done in an effort to learn the rules for a future reality which you are cementing into place for your future self; it is done in an effort to learn the nature of the reality here and now so that a different future can be chosen; so that your decisions and actions carry weight.
Ah...! Now I'm beginning to make sense.
A map is useless until you know where the "You Are Here" dot is.
If a person avoids researching an upsetting topic; let's take child abuse and slavery as an example, then that person will be unaware of the chocolate bars being sold at the local convenience store existing as a direct result of children kidnapped and forced into slave labor. Like Oliver Twist, but real and much more horrible. If an ignorant person buys that chocolate bar while thinking s/he is avoiding a dark reality by not thinking about it, well, s/he is wrong.
Those children are still enslaved and still suffering even if people choose to look the other way and not think about it while chewing on their chocolate bar. In fact, those kids are enslaved and suffering precisely because people aren't thinking about it.
That's how tacit agreement works. Through ignorance and through deciding to remain ignorant, people are choosing to align with darkness.
How do you align not with darkness? Easy. Buy a fair-trade chocolate bar from a vendor who has made every effort to employ humanitarian practices from farm to product. Better systems do exist, and they grow stronger when people choose them. But you only find those solutions when you become aware of the problems.
When you choose to dive into the problems, to look at them in earnest, even when it disgusts you and hurts your soul to do so, you are enabling yourself to make real choices. Choices which carry the weight of Knowledge. -And that's not just a metaphor or a bit of colourful language.
People who choose with the weight of knowledge behind them can be felt from across the room. They are not sleepwalking bits of human lint; not bundles of helpless anxiety sucking energy from all those around them in an effort to maintain their make-believe world where everything is happy when really it is not. When a strong person filled with knowledge and directed choice enters the room, you can feel the air alter when they move. Watch closely, and follow their example, because they aren't going to be sticking around.
Every reality split takes them further away from this one. -And leaves perhaps a lesser copy of themselves behind.
I wonder what their world will look like?
Wolfville, Nova Scotia,
November 21st, 2015
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