Afraid! Be Very Afraid.
You know, I get the idea that we've
been scaring off our readership gradually, over the past few months. Initially,
we kind of promised a one-page-a-week deal with the possibility of expanding
into (gasp!) two pages per week once our illustrious artist mastered the
art of Speed Drawing from the Fred
Gallagher Monastery of Webcomicry. Here we are, (checking the date
five months later, and we've managed six pages, plus a whole bunch of
extras like this one. However, I would be just pleased as a zebra in a
sack full of rhinos if our forum became just as unmanageable as a herd
full of monkeys.
(Checking what I just wrote for metaphorical correctness
Eh, close enough. Anyway, we offer constant excuses for our apparently
lazy behavior, and as I've mentioned before, people seldom see the behind
the scenes action. I've been working nearly every night (every morning
in Esa's time zone) on developing the comic further and on creating more
sprites and art for the GDM game. Oftentimes, Esa is rather unmotivated,
after having slept probably two hours for the entire week and living on
a diet of stimulants and more stimulants. Still, I tell him that he can
do it, and little by little, slowlyever so agonizingly slowlybut surely,
the work gets done. He runs into blocks, and I help him work past them.
Now let us pause to reflect on how difficult webcomicry
really is, as opposed to writing, which we all know gets done quickly
and easily, and only truly lazy bums could ever hope to fall behind in
pursuing even very long storylines. (Checking what date it is
when I had planned to get the fanfic done
) Ah heh, yes, well
such is the way of thing.
Esa's mentioned before that he has to redraw each frame
and redo the page layout three times or more to get it to look right.
In drawing terms alone, that might tack an extra hour on what might otherwise
be a quick process. But between all that, he must do what all creative
people must do eventually: wonder if it's good enough, decide that it's
not, and have to be convinced that it really was anything worth looking
at in the first place, then redraw it twice and repeat the cycle over
and over again.
Sometimes, I wonder how the comic might turn out if we
just threw caution (and quality) to the wind and just used the first frames
to come out. It would likely be very, very messy.
I drew that one. Innit perdy? (twitch, twitch)
The lesson of the matter is: good art is hard. Esa's
told me time and time again when I say Terra should be cute, "Cute
is HARD!" And that's why I've kept him around. He's slow
but does good work. He's so loyal he stays up whole nights working on
this stuff, and when that's still not enough, he goes on to agonize about
not being able to do better and do it more quickly.
I must admit, though, that there's nothing quite like
it when your artist's been working all day on the comic (4 hours coding,
8 hours drawing), wants a revision in the script, and asks for it in a
flawless Gollum impression. "We wants it. We NEEDS it. Our precioussss!"
"Words! Good Hobbits
Did you catch it? That should have been my first clue
that it was beddy-bye time for my dear artist. But me, being the clueless
one that I am, let him go on and do more work on the page until his optic
nerves started dying. Most people will take care of themselves and act
selfishly in the end, out of a sheer need for self-preservation. An artist,
who has been working far too long and can barely see, ought to say, "Look,
Ben. I love this project we're working on, and it could someday become
something great, but I've got this really, really important program I
need to be working on in the morning, so I'm going to bed right now and
you can't stop me! Later!"
But Esa didn't say that. He might have thought that,
or not, but he kept on going until 5:00 A.M. without a break. Is that
dedication or is that insanity?
The answer is, of course, "yes"!
We have no idea what we're doing, this is the first webcomic
we've ever worked on, our continuity's based off a decade-old manga series
and TV show aimed at strange young Japanese women, the legality of which
is highly in question. I keep asking for more cuteness
ninjas and pirates while we're at it, and Esa slowly churns them out.
I say, "Hey! How about a video game parodying Princess Maker? That
sounds like fun!" and people go along with it, albeit at their own
Life slowly becomes a simulacrum of a Dilbert
comic, where I am the pointy-haired boss, and people around me are
aggravated while I don't understand what the problem is. The comparison
is frightening, since I'm currently attending the Eller Business College,
where everybody gives me these ill-defined (or overly-defined) huge projects
which must be accomplished in groups bound together by contracts, and
schedule the whole thing out as well. Certainly, I'm an MIS major, but
I'm told by some with Computer Science majors that the CS people really
dislike the MIS people.
What does this have to do with the comic? My lack of
management skills. I brought everyone together, I'm supplying the scripts
and documentation, I'm doing what nudging I can to keep the whole thing
from falling apart around me
and once it all falls apart, all participants
breathe a long, happy sigh of relief, and get back to work on it. Creative
destruction, as it were.
And the same thing happens over and over again. Once
we think the project is dead and it will not rise ever again, it gets
back up and starts dancing the rhumba for a bit before falling over again.
A voice in my head says, "Welcome to reality, Ben!" and then
I have to tell it to hush up.
Likewise, just when I decide to stop trying to figure
things out, a perfectly logical solution presents itself to me
diagrams and a Powerpoint slideshow.
all this uncertainty has got to be frightening the people that actually
like my work (and Esa's) and have been faithfully following it, despite
all the setbacks and excuses we've pumped out. Oh, the truly loyal fans
of the series will not be deterred, but in the meantime they'll be forced
to grin nervously while one or all of us jump into the lion tamers' circle
and gets gnawed on.
But because I am beginning this sentence with a preposition
No, wait, that's one of Danny's jokes
(That's Circular Humor there.)
All of us get distracted with real life things, such
as school, work, video games, and bright shiny objects. I'm surprised
any of us ever crawl out of bed (especially Esa, after what I put him
throughor what he puts himself through ^_-). Still, we go on, we
get knocked down, but we get back up again. We will figure out
the Great Secret and unlock Esa's hidden Super Drawerjin powers of speed
drawing and sock-sorting. There's no excuse, really. He should be doing
a full page, twice a day, in 32-bit full color, uphill, both ways, in
the blinding snow, dragging a broken sled
Now where was I? I guess the point I'm really trying
to make is
I think zebras in sacks full of rhinos wouldn't be very
comfortable. That's all I'm really trying to say.
The original title of this article was "Internet
Piracy," but I didn't quite see how I could relate that. But we've
got a pirate-guy that's going to be dumped into the storyline as well,
along with the kunoichi and any other random characters we decide we want
to toss in. Without further ado, or what-to-do, here's another mystery
character that fits into the grand scheme of things. Feel free to discuss
it on the forums in a completely random manner. Odds could be that you're
right about who and what he is.