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Nuke 'Em 'Till They Glow!! - The  Early Years

An Exercise in… Finding Time for Everything
Written by Benjamin A. Oliver
Artwork by Esa Karjalainen
June 10, 2003
Galactic Destroyer

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again!

In Star Trek: Generations, just before the writers came up with an excuse to kill off Captain Kirk, one of the main characters was revealed to have a family. Good old Sulu managed to keep hidden from fans and the rest of the cast, and he had a honest-to-goodness legitimate daughter old enough to pilot the Excelsior-Class Enterprise-B. Kirk asked how Sulu had time for a family in between all those escapades the whole crew were always going on. Scotty replied that sometimes, for important things, "you make the time".

Speaking of which, I need to make more time for dating and social events—but in the meantime, there's writing, webcomicry, and game development to take care of. At the present moment, there's precious little material built up, but that fifty-meter-tall carved marble monument to the joys of Swiss Cheese wasn't grown in a Shroomday, y'know… Okay, so maybe it was. The point is that things take time to get built up, and along the way, we encounter a gajillion setbacks and brick walls to bash through.

SketchesTake the art, for example. Esa has to draw dozens of preliminary sketches before he comes up with the right idea for any given frame in the comic, and even then it may not come out right. It's shocking how much the art mutates from the sketch to the final product. It may have taken a lot of revisions for dinosaurs to become birds, but evolution's got nothing on Esa's sketches. But does he give up?

Someday, I'm going to ask Esa to write one of these Extras articles, and I'll do the art for a change. That way, he'll be able to explain his position a bit better without me announcing what a brilliant, hard-working artist he is. But, back to the question of giving up, so far, I don't think he's quite ready to die off yet. I think we had a sort of agreement that as long as I'm willing to continue writing, he's willing to continue drawing.

I mean, you can't beat a deal like that. It gives me motivation to continue when I'm feeling burned out and ready to settle down and become an accountant. It reminds me that however rough things get on my side, there's always going to be a visual reward as long as I put forth the extra effort and keep making things happen somehow. So, even if I'm feeling like goofing off and playing video games instead of writing, I know that a greater reward is available to me if I sit down and make some more nifty plots. So, it's definitely worth it to me to make the time for this—because I love it!

Esa once mentioned to me that it's like a struggle of wills—he keeps trying not to draw, and then I jump back in and try to get him to do more. Writer's and Artist's blocks are dangerous things, and they happen all the time, never letting up. They knock us down and halt our progress like a log in the middle of a crowded highway. At that point, we can either give up and go home, becoming used-dinnerware salesmen and forgetting our aspirations, or we can get back up, kick the log off the street, and get back to going someplace spiffy.

Certainly, there are larger challenges to deal with, such as a billion pages of math homework or fifty-page group marketing projects, but it is in the midst of such challenges that true creativity can begin to shine. Remember, it was pretty close to the due date when I came up with the concept for the Galactic Destroyer Maker game, and that's inspired several people to help out where they can. As long as we don't give up, it will happen. As long as I'm willing to tell people what the True Vision of it is, progress will happen—as long as they don't give up, either.

All too often, I notice people giving up on their hopes and dreams, simply unable to balance both them, work, family, and other important things as well. It's often been used as an excuse that people can't be everywhere at once; people can't honestly be expected to read others' minds and predict the future, can they?

As Scotty said, sometimes we just have to make the time. Personally, I think it is possible to do everything—we just manage our time poorly, that's all. We can fulfil our responsibilities while advancing our visions and not giving up. It's all a matter of finding or making time for things. I often find myself saying, "Time is everywhere. The trick is finding it".

And yet, we still have to find time to sleep in between all that. I think someone once said, "Sleep is for the weak!" I disagree, because if we don't relax a bit, our minds end up doughy, then they sizzle, and finally, they're fried and we're forced to become used-dinnerware salesmen. This is not to say I have anything against used-dinnerware salesmen—I'm sure it's quite a fulfilling job—but it's not exactly my cup of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, if you know what I mean.

But the key has to be not giving up. We find our disappointments now and again. In fact, starting things up, we encounter a great deal of disappointments because we don't have all the more advanced achievements to look back on and take comfort in. I hear stories of webcomics that start up strong, but fade away after a couple of months because they didn't become the hottest thing on the web by then. They might have great art, a terrific storyline, and all that good stuff, but what do they lack? Staying power, that's what. If you don't stay and fight to the finish, you may as well not have fought the battle at all—the net result is the same.

This next page for the NETTG comic will get done, or it'll make a certain white seal very happy—which can never happen. Why, just a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to look at a very faint sketch preview of this next page:

We're introducing another new character into the comic who'll play a pretty important role later on in the creation the flagship character from the NETTG fanfic. It's a really nifty plot that's still stewing in my head. It'll probably be in chapter 4 or 5—or several thousand sketches into the future if evolution holds true. Ah, survival of what depresses the artist the least! You know I love it.

Are we going to give up on this webcomic? How about the game? Or the fanfic, maybe? Something's gotta go—I mean, a person can't work on all of that and still deal with real life issues like school, work, and social relationships, can he?

If I've got anything to say about it (and I'm trying as hard as possible to make sure I do), I'm not giving up on any of them until they're done. A lot of it depends on the actions of other people, but the trailblazing, loadbearing burden of it is on me. I love this stuff, and I want to see it go until it's done. Thanks for everyone's support so far! Indeed, it's because of people who have spoken up and said that they liked this stuff that's encouraged me to continue this far.

So, makenai, don't give up. I get knocked down, but I get up again—ain't never gonna keep me down. But most of all, we'll make time for everything, because it's all important.

Elder Jupiter

I mean, look at this! Who wouldn't want to have a character like her in a webcomic? To quote Sluggy Freelance, "is it not nifty?"

Hang tight, and we'll yet make it out of this alive! ^_-

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June 2, 2003: Taking a Joke Way Too Far


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