<> Cryptomnesia
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One of the initial inspirations for Decrypting Rita was the first issue of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I didn’t actually read it, mind you – I just read an appreciation of it, with a couple of pages scanned here and there. The description of it starting with Fury climbing a tower to fight a mysterious man resonated, and a little later that day I’d opened up Illustrator and drawn the title page of Rita.

The other night, I decided to finally read the damn thing. I found a torrent and set it to downloading. Today, I stuck the first volume of the comic onto the iPad and started reading.

The first issue quickly establishes that Fury is unkillable – first by killing Fury four pages in, then revealing this was actually a robot double on a testing exercise. Then by making Fury run two miles in less than ten minutes and catche a moving rocket sled to escape from a missile when a test of his invulnerable-to-explosions suit goes wrong.

Meanwhile, this down-on-his-luck dude is handed a briefcase full of two hundred thousand dollars and a bomb, phones home to tell his wife and kid, and is blown up.

It’s like Steranko wanted to eat his cake and have it too in the same way I’m doing with Rita: he’s got this wild tale of super-action and a story about normal human emotions. But in the end he gives up on it when Fury’s hyperkinetic action steals the show. Later issues are much more firmly about Fury. Me? I’ve got this crazy formalist experiment I want to try, so I keep having to think about the normal world as well as the crazy superpowered one. I also have a lot more space to work in, so I don’t have to dump huge chunks of plot via dialogue like Steranko does!

Of course, it also helps that I have no deadline on this thing, so I can keep on tying my brain in the knots required to write two stories at once. Steranko’s run on Nick Fury is all of about half a dozen issues before he moves on to other things.

<> FRPG
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ROSA from Jesús Orellana on Vimeo.

Here is a short, dialogueless film called “Rosa” about some very, very, very pretty robots. I mean seriously pretty, the kind of space I was going with the Wind-Up Boy in Five Glasses of Absinthe (NSFW).

Sadly it gets kinda wound up in its fight scene; halfway through I kinda quit caring about the green-eyed lady as a character and just wanted to see how pretty she was for a little while longer.

And speaking of green-eyed ladies, yep, now there’s FOUR Ritas in play here. This one may be riffing on the ideas Nick and I had for the first sequel to Five Glasses of Absinthe, though I swear I didn’t pick the color palette with that in mind. For that matter I wasn’t expecting to have a fourth world in here for a while yet! I need to update the cast page to reflect this, and finish documenting the other three worlds in it for that matter.

<> Encounter Screen
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This page took too long. Way too long. A week of distraction followed by two weeks of vacation and a funeral, followed by a week of recovery. Today I finally managed to get together enough sustained effort to do several panels in one day. I’ve got partial scripts and pageflow for the next four pages; hopefully they’ll come a bit faster. Sheesh.

Meanwhile… My old friend Gabe’s been doing this cool little strip about growing up in the seventies. It’s kind of the polar opposite of this story about the future, really. He just came out with a collection of it.

You can pick it up here; if you want a copy. Or get a PDF for five bucks if you’re going all digital.

<> A Challenger Appears!
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Hey, it’s a page! It was nice to have an excuse to draw Blue Rita again, even if she was in Red Rita’s palette.

And since this is the first page of the new year…

Also, I went back through the story so far and tagged each page with what character shows up on it! Maybe later I’ll edit the theme so the tags actually show up near the page. But right now I should get some stuff together for Further Confusion.

(I was hoping to have some printed copies of Rita to sell there, but that’s just not gonna happen. I will however have some copies of the first chapter of Absinthe, and a few Tarot decks!)

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